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ESPN Insider on Chad Pennington


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Chad Pennington is on the hot seat, largely due to his performance the past two games. In Pennington's first three starts, his passer rating was a stellar 105.8. In his last two starts, that figure has dropped to 51.6.

What is the cause for the decline? Many pundits are claiming the problem is Pennington's inability to throw the ball vertically. The evidence they point to is Pennington's meager 28.2 passer rating on deep throws (passes 21-plus yards downfield) this season. He also has attempted zero bomb passes.

But those numbers don't tell the entire story of Pennington's woes.

Deep and bomb passes are only two segments of the vertical passing game. Medium passes are also considered vertical passes and typically account for 60-70 percent of a team's vertical throws. Pennington is doing a fantastic job on medium throws, with a 103.9 passer rating at that depth level this season.

Furthermore, take a look at Pennington's depth level metrics in the past two games:

Hanging Chad

Depth Att Comp Yds TD INT Pen P-Yds YPA

Short 33 20 120 0 2 1 4 3.8

Medium 12 7 122 0 1 0 0 10.2

Deep 11 5 115 1 1 0 0 10.5

Bomb 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0

His medium- and deep-pass numbers are more than adequate, and if the 54 yards he lost on dropped passes was factored back into his passing yardage, his overall medium/deep yards per attempt during this stretch would be 12.6. To put that figure in perspective, consider that Pennington's medium/deep YPA average in 2006 was 10.2 yards.

It is also worth noting Pennington has never been much of a bomb passer. He threw only 20 bomb passes in all of 2006, the third-lowest total among quarterbacks with 16 starts. Only Steve McNair and David Carr threw fewer bomb passes.

Pennington's real issue has nothing to do with arm strength and everything to do with bad decision making. In the past two games, Pennington has made five bad decisions in 63 total dropbacks, for a 7.9 bad decision percentage, more than three times his 2.3 rate in 2006. It is not just the volume of bad decisions -- the variety of bad decisions is just as disturbing.

On two occasions, Pennington stared at his receiver, leading to the defender getting his hands on the ball. On two other passes, Pennington didn't see a defender in the passing lane. The other bad decision came when Pennington fell victim to a defense disguising zone coverage as man coverage.

The staring has been a consistent issue for Pennington. He had eight of these types of mistakes in 2006, but the other two types of bad decisions are quite unlike him.

The numbers indicate a solution to Pennington's recent slump won't come from time spent in the weight room. It will come from time spent in the film room.

KC Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider. His core passing metrics can be found in the ESPN Fantasy Football Magazine, which is on newsstands now. A free sample of his latest release ("Scientific Football 2007") is available at his Web site.

Whatch ya'll think?

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My first thought is that it's not fair to factor in "yards from dropped passes" unless you know what the league norm is because everybody drops passes. Besides, they are taking away the circus catches that bail him out. I agree that people are making too much out of the inability to go deep. He's thrown some fairly long passes this year, enough to keep him at last year's success rate. His problems are different and bigger than that now.

I thought he stared down Coles on the out picked against the Giants that went for a TD. but my Big Blue interactive cousin says supposedly they knew the route from film study. They say that the Jets only run certain plays from certain sets. May be contributing to some of Schotty's problems this year now that there is a bigger body of work to study from. Anybody else hear this? I read the Jets articles, but don't waste time with too much Giants news over here.

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My first thought is that it's not fair to factor in "yards from dropped passes" unless you know what the league norm is because everybody drops passes. Besides, they are taking away the circus catches that bail him out. I agree that people are making too much out of the inability to go deep. He's thrown some fairly long passes this year, enough to keep him at last year's success rate. His problems are different and bigger than that now.

I thought he stared down Coles on the out picked against the Giants that went for a TD. but my Big Blue interactive cousin says supposedly they knew the route from film study. They say that the Jets only run certain plays from certain sets. May be contributing to some of Schotty's problems this year now that there is a bigger body of work to study from. Anybody else hear this? I read the Jets articles, but don't waste time with too much Giants news over here.

Yeah, there is one formation where we run 96% of the time. It's hilarious how bad we are. Last year it was new so you couldn't really be predictable, or maybe that's wrong too as we really didn't finish very strong. Every time I say we have bad coaching someone gets really angry but I mean if this isn't bad coaching what is? These are terrible gameplans.

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My first thought is that it's not fair to factor in "yards from dropped passes" unless you know what the league norm is because everybody drops passes. Besides, they are taking away the circus catches that bail him out. I agree that people are making too much out of the inability to go deep. He's thrown some fairly long passes this year, enough to keep him at last year's success rate. His problems are different and bigger than that now.

I thought he stared down Coles on the out picked against the Giants that went for a TD. but my Big Blue interactive cousin says supposedly they knew the route from film study. They say that the Jets only run certain plays from certain sets. May be contributing to some of Schotty's problems this year now that there is a bigger body of work to study from. Anybody else hear this? I read the Jets articles, but don't waste time with too much Giants news over here.

I remember after the game Sam Madison saying that they knew the route from film studies , so it was easy to jump it.

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Yeah, there is one formation where we run 96% of the time. It's hilarious how bad we are. Last year it was new so you couldn't really be predictable, or maybe that's wrong too as we really didn't finish very strong. Every time I say we have bad coaching someone gets really angry but I mean if this isn't bad coaching what is? These are terrible gameplans.

Exactly right. It's the formation where the single RB is like 8 yds. deep behind the LOS. I remember an announcer mentioning it a few weeks ago. Sure enough it played true in the Eagles game. If the announcers know it the DC of the other team knows it PLUS about a ton more about our O. That's why they study game film.

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Exactly right. It's the formation where the single RB is like 8 yds. deep behind the LOS. I remember an announcer mentioning it a few weeks ago. Sure enough it played true in the Eagles game. If the announcers know it the DC of the other team knows it PLUS about a ton more about our O. That's why they study game film.

Yep, they had been saying that for a couple of weeks. During the game the announcer mentioned it and said that they have to run because when the back is 8 yards deep he is useless for pass protection. If Sam Madison can guess what's going on you're in big trouble. It shouldn't be the case with what is supposedly such a complex offense. Being able to use all these sets and run different options out of them should be a reason to keep Pennington in there, but if the other team knows what's coming it'd be much better to have the NFL arm. I wonder if they have other plays from these formations and don't use them (Schott's fault) or audible into them (Penny's).

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Yeah, there is one formation where we run 96% of the time. It's hilarious how bad we are. Last year it was new so you couldn't really be predictable, or maybe that's wrong too as we really didn't finish very strong. Every time I say we have bad coaching someone gets really angry but I mean if this isn't bad coaching what is? These are terrible gameplans.

You would like to think at some point they would use that to their advantage by running a flea flicker or playaction out of that formation. you would have to figure somebody would be able to slip downfield.

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I would love to see his numbers off of PA, especially for the Eagles game (There was one very bad drop from Coles though IIRC).

Had we utilized it more on Sunday. We would have won the damn game.

Earth to IJ, you cant use PA if you arent running the ball.

Jones' final number was really good, but we couldnt run the ball in the last 2 1/2 Quarters, mostly because the defense stacked the box daring Chad to beat them deep and he failed.....again.

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Earth to IJ, you cant use PA if you arent running the ball.

Jones' final number was really good, but we couldnt run the ball in the last 2 1/2 Quarters, mostly because the defense stacked the box daring Chad to beat them deep and he failed.....again.

130 yrds isnt running???:confused0082:

Notice how they were playing the run all the way and we were calling plays which didnt capatilise. Seriously I think Chad tried PA about 5 times all game and 2 went for big gains while another was dropped which would have been a big gain.

Chad is good off of PA Barton, even you can admit that. We had so amny oppurtunties to use it and we stayed away from it. We kept running on 1st down and they knew it was coming, if we try PA on some of those downs we could have had some big gains.When the D stacks the box taht is a good time to go Play action, but we didnt do it.

As for the plays on the 3 yrd line at the end. They were beyond ridiculous. The D had 11 men on the LOS and we tried to sneak it. I mean WTF???

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130 yrds isnt running??? :confused0082:

Notice how they were playing the run all the way and we were calling plays which didnt capatilise. Seriously I think Chad tried PA about 5 times all game and 2 went for big gains while another was dropped which would have been a big gain.

Chad is good off of PA Barton, even you can admit that. We had so amny oppurtunties to use it and we stayed away from it. We kept running on 1st down and they knew it was coming, if we try PA on some of those downs we could have had some big gains.When the D stacks the box taht is a good time to go Play action, but we didnt do it.

As for the plays on the 3 yrd line at the end. They were beyond ridiculous. The D had 11 men on the LOS and we tried to sneak it. I mean WTF???

Are you even listening? I said the final line was good, but we didnt run the ball well the last 2 1/2 Qs.....so you bring up the final line to make a point. Genius!! Anyways.....

Yeah, try PA when the defense is stacking guys with 9 players, your QB cant throw deep and the defense is blitzing. Great idea. Chad would have gotten killed before he could throw the ball.

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Whatch ya'll think?

They should post what the "yards in the air" was. For example...lets say CP throws a 4 yard in route that is then broken for a 56 yd gain...he gets credit for the extra 52 yards that he did not throw. Or a 7 yard out that is then broken into a 36 yd gain. The qb's should have a stat on YARDS IN THE AIR (YITA). Look at that stat for CP and see if he can deliver the ball over a certain distance.

I am leery on these stats cited in the article. As a jets fan, I have seen a CP pass float for 6 yds and cotch/coles break it an additional 10-20 yds.

Thoughts?

LL

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They should post what the "yards in the air" was. For example...lets say CP throws a 4 yard in route that is then broken for a 56 yd gain...he gets credit for the extra 52 yards that he did not throw. Or a 7 yard out that is then broken into a 36 yd gain. The qb's should have a stat on YARDS IN THE AIR (YITA). Look at that stat for CP and see if he can deliver the ball over a certain distance.

I am leery on these stats cited in the article. As a jets fan, I have seen a CP pass float for 6 yds and cotch/coles break it an additional 10-20 yds.

Thoughts?

LL

So we can't count these stats when they're Chad's, but other QB's can throw a short slant that gets turned into a 75 yard TD and it counts for them? Got it.

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