Football is a game unashamedly obsessed with statistical analysis. The information gleaned thereofis often twisted to fit neatly within a chosen narrative. Perhaps more than ever before, especially given the ever-rising popularity of fantasy football, fans want data delivered instantly to feast upon.
Such supply and demand has led to NFL analytics experts pouring over tape to scrutinize and measure a player's every move. It's become the accepted norm.
Enter Pro Football Focus, the leading advanced analytics site on the planet, which, for whatever reason, seems to have bur under its saddle with regard to Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock — since even before he entered the NFL.
PFF has become a font of information for eager fans, but one particular nugget the site dropped this past week will be sure to interest Broncos Country. Broncos' first-round wideout Jerry Jeudy was among the league leaders in dropped passes as a rookie in 2020; no surprise to fans who watched every game.
However, based on whatever arbitrary factor PFF's analysts have conjured, Jeudy purportedly led the NFL in one unenviable category: he had the most incomplete targets that were the fault of the quarterback.
On 26 occasions that Jeudy got 'open', per PFF's analysis, the pass was off-target thanks to the QB. Statistically, perhaps the rookie was on the losing end of some up-and-down QB play during his first year in the league but this (again, arbitrary) analytic fails to show the full picture of how the data was compiled and factored.
As is often the case in the NFL, just as Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner said last week, when something goes wrong, it's almost always the quarterback's fault. Blame Lock, who's left to carry the can.
"I wouldn't trade my job to be a quarterback in the NFL for a day," Risner said on the Matt Lombardo Podcast. "I wouldn't do it because they have the hardest job in the league—one of the hardest jobs in the world to perform in front of everybody. And if anything goes wrong, they're the easy scapegoat. It's Drew Lock's fault."
Frankly, Jeudy himself has to shoulder some, if not most, of the responsibility for what was an inconsistent debut season. So much was expected of the route-running sensation and yet, he appeared sullen and weighed down by expectation at times.
The sheer talent of the former Alabama star allays most fears and doubts that cropped up in the wake of his uneven rookie year, while the most despairing fans already worry — albeit, extremely prematurely — that he'll be a draft bust.
But, Jeudy has entered the offseason refreshed and perhaps determined to atone for the 12 drops that marred his debut campaign, as his social media posts have showcased.
Thanks to PFF, the Doubting Thomases in Broncos Country might feel only increased justification in pounding the table for GM George Paton to draft a QB early. Every receiver would prefer the ball to hit them in stride but perfect conditions, regardless of the QB, are rarely on the menu in the National Football League.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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