Pro Football Focus recently released some interesting data regarding the responsibility of NFL quarterbacks taking sacks. Here, we'll focus in on how the Eagles QBs, Michael Vick and Nick Foles, ranked in 2012.
PFF defines QB sack responsibility based on the following:
[Q]uarterbacks who brought the most sacks on themselves or, to put it another way, those players who took too long to throw and got taken down or simply ran straight into a defender when other options were available.
Four seconds is the time over which we say the QB takes responsibility, but this excludes instances where they were pressured within that limit, had to take evasive action with no opportunity to throw the ball away, but got taken down after it.
You can see the complete charts for all qualified NFL QBs in the PFF article. Here's how Vick and Foles ranked:
Eagles Quarterbacks Responsible Sacks:
|Rank (out of 33)||Name||Drop-backs||Sacks||%Sacks||Hits||Pressures|
According to this data, not only was Vick responsible for more sacks than Foles was in 2012, but he was also among the highest in the league in this category. It should be noted that Vick's sample size was a little larger than his counterpart, but the data seems to match the eye test here. It's clear that Vick was guilty of holding onto the ball too long and is responsible for a number of sacks he takes.
This is important to consider when trying to place the blame of Vick's poor 2012 performance solely on the poor state of the Eagles offensive live. Was the Eagles O-Line bad at pass blocking? Absolutely. They were among the worst in the NFL. The offensive line wasn't doing Vick any favors at all. But Vick was also responsible for holding onto the ball for the second most-longest time on average in the league (3.07 seconds, only ahead of rookie passer Russel Wilson at 3.35). In short, both the OL and Vick were to blame.
This data also shows that Foles wasn't as responsible for the sacks he took.
Here's how the Eagles QBs ranked when throwing after 4 seconds:
|Rank (out of 36)||Name||Drop-backs||Att.||Comp.||Yards||TD||INT||QB Rating||Total PFF Rating||Rating/Drop-back|
Here we see that Foles was proficient when throwing after 4 seconds or more. This data matches the eye test which tells us that Foles generally made some good decisions when throwing the ball. The same can't be said for Vick. The numbers show that Vick wasn't a good decision maker, especially when holding onto the ball.
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The Eagles QB competition appears to be wide open going forward and will ideally be won by the best performing QB. If this data is any indication of future performance, it's an encouraging sign for Foles and bad news for Vick. It remains to be seen how these QBs perform in Chip Kelly's offense as compared to Andy Reid's, but I imagine coach Kelly values getting the ball out quick and not taking sacks. If that's the case, the data here confirms that Foles may have an advantage.