HomeFootball DirtBrock Purdy's Descent to Earth: A Slow Decline

Brock Purdy’s Descent to Earth: A Slow Decline

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Look, the numbers say Brock Purdy is the NFL’s best quarterback. Even if he followed up Week 16’s bed-wetting against the Baltimore Ravens with two more brutal implosions in Weeks 17 and 18, he’d probably finish 2023 as this season’s most efficient quarterback. That, of course, doesn’t mean he’ll be league MVP. Purdy vacated his spot as betting favorite thanks to Christmas night’s four-interception performance. In his place rose Lamar Jackson, who had two touchdowns and just under 300 total yards in Santa Clara. Jackson’s numbers aren’t wholly impressive; even advanced stats paint him as a top 10 quarterback instead of a top three guy. But he’s impossible to quantify thanks to his ability to flip a game on its axis with a single play, whether it’s on the ground or through the air. Well, let’s see who lies between the top-ranked Purdy and No. 10 Jackson. Expected points added (EPA) is a concept that’s been around since 1970. It’s effectively a comparison between what an average quarterback could be expected to do on a certain down and what he actually did — and how it increased his team’s chances of scoring. The model we use comes from The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin and his RBSDM.com website, which is both wildly useful AND includes adjusted EPA, which accounts for defensive strength. It considers the impact of penalties and does not negatively impact passers for fumbles after a completion. The other piece of the puzzle is completion percentage over expected (CPOE), which is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a comparison of all the completions a quarterback would be expected to make versus the ones he actually did. Like EPA, it can veer into the negatives and higher is better. So if you chart all 31 primary quarterbacks — the ones who played at least 256 snaps in 16 weeks — you get a chart that looks like this: via RBSDM.com Top right hand corner is good. Bottom left corner is bad. Try splitting those passers visually into tiers and you get an imperfect eight-layer system that looks like this: via rbsdm.com and the author These rankings are sorted by a composite of adjusted EPA and CPOE to better understand who has brought the most — and the least — value to their teams across the small sample size. It’s not a full exploration of a player’s value, but it’s a viable starting point. Let’s take a closer look. Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via AP 1. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers: 0.199 EPA+CPOE composite Purdy’s composite score dropped by 10 full percent after getting stomped out by the Ravens’ pressure and coverage. He’s still way ahead of the pack, because he was efficient as hell most of 2023. Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports 2. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: 0.154 EPA+CPOE composite 3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: 0.150 4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: 0.150 Behold, the hall of quarterbacks helming teams you don’t quite trust in the playoffs. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images 5. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: 0.134 EPA+CPOE composite 6. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles: 0.125  7. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: 0.116 8. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions: 0.108 9. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 0.102  10. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: 0.100 Jackson beat Purdy head to head and his composite number didn’t budge an inch. Mayfield, on the other hand, shot into the top 10 thanks to the heater that has the Buccaneers on the brink of an NFC South title. There were plenty of us who’d thought they’d be in contention to draft Caleb Williams next spring, in case you need some perspective on how great he’s been. AP Photo/Adam Hunger 11. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers: 0.095 EPA+CPOE composite 12. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos: 0.095 13. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks: 0.085 14. CJ Stroud, Houston Texans: 0.086 15. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams: 0.084 16. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars: 0.081 Love is capable of playing like a tier one guy or a tier seven guy any given week. Stroud’s return gives the Texans a chance to revive their playoff hopes. Lawrence has sunk to the middle of the pack due to injury and might take the Jaguars’ playoff hopes down with him. Wilson hasn’t been great, but he doesn’t exactly look like the kind of guy who gets benched for Jarrett Stidham.     Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports 17. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers: 0.073 EPA+CPOE composite 18. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals: 0.069 19. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints: 0.067 20. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans: 0.048  21. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears: 0.047  We expected better from all these guys. Except Levis, the rookie second round pick who mildly exceeded expectations in Nashville. He’ll have the chance to stake his claim as the Titans’ franchise quarterback next preseason. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports 22. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders: 0.036 EPA+CPOE composite 23. Gardner Minshew II, Indianapolis Colts: 0.034 24. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons: 0.027 Howell was a fourth-tier QB for a while. Now he’s the backup to Jacoby Brissett, whose 0.383 composite is nearly twice as good as Brock Purdy’s … albeit in only 30 dropbacks. Ridder’s been benched for Taylor Heinicke twice this season, who is similar in overall impact but doesn’t drop the ball (literally) in the red zone and is thus an improvement. via rbsdm.com Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports 25. Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals/Minnesota Vikings: 0.020 EPA+CPOE composite 26. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers: 0.019 27. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers: 0.019 28. Mac Jones, New England Patriots: 0.011  29. Zach Wilson, New York Jets: 0.008  30. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: 0.006 Murray has now played enough snaps to qualify for this list following his return from ACL surgery. The results aren’t great. Though he’s coming off his best game of 2023 he’s clearly limited by a weak supporting cast and the nagging feeling his passing game just isn’t quite there. But each loss leads him closer to drafting Marvin Harrison Jr., so at least there’s that. Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports 31. Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders: -0.007 EPA+CPOE composite You know what? The Raiders are somehow in the playoff race with an interim head coach and a fourth round rookie quarterback. No complaints here.

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