clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Comparing Mitch Trubisky to other quarterbacks after 16 NFL starts

New, comments

Mitchell Trubisky has now started 16 consecutive games, so let’s take a peek at the numbers from a few other QBs to see how they performed after their first 16 starts.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The first thing I heard when walking into work on Monday morning was, ‘How about that game by Trubisky, you think he’s a franchise quarterback now?”

I received a similar text after the game, and I’ve seen stuff just like that all over social media too after Trubiksy passed for 354 yards and 6 touchdowns against the Buccaneers.

Some of the people asking about Mitch, with this new-found faith in him, are the same people that were asking me if I thought he was a bust earlier this season.

Here’s my answer I gave to both questions; it’s too early to tell.

Mitchell Trubisky just finished his 16th consecutive start as a professional quarterback. That’s just too small a sample size to make a definitive determination on what he’ll end up being. I’ve seen traits in his play that make me lean to believing he’ll an above average player, but he needs to show consistency with the good, while knocking out some of the bad.

A few weeks ago a Lion fan troll was trying to tell me that Trubisky was a bust. He was so sure of himself, because there wasn’t a break-out game by Mitch yet, and Mitch’s overall numbers weren’t eye-popping. I told him then that you can’t tell anything so early in a young quarterback’s career, and his response was to laud his guy, Matthew Stafford, and tell me how great he was as a youngster.

So I pulled Stafford’s numbers after his first 16 starts as a pro.

I wasn’t impressed.

But that gave me an idea to pull some numbers from other quarterbacks after their first 16 starts in the NFL.

Since totals can be skewed by the type of offense a young QB plays in, and by the talent that he’s surrounded by, I focused of five stats; completion percentage, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating.

To be honest, most of the numbers weren’t very impressive, but I guess that’s normal. Playing quarterback is hard. There’s a learning curve they all need to fight through. Some QBs are fortunate to stay in the same system through their formative years, while others bounce around with different offensive coordinators. Some quarterbacks sit and learn behind a veteran, while others are just throw in into the fire as rookies. There is no right or wrong way to bring a QB along, and there’s no way to know what a player will be until he has a good body of work to study.

With Sunday being Trubisky’s 16th consecutive start, I plugged his numbers into my spreadsheet and looked at him against 20 other quarterbacks, most of which are still playing today. The only criteria I used to pick which QBs I used was it had to be players that had their first 16 starts be consecutive. This way I could use the sort function of Pro Football Reference and not worry about doing my own math.

Before I share with you the names, here are the numbers to see if you can guess which quarterbacks are where.

QBs first 16 starts

PLAYER Comp % TD % Int % YPA Rating
PLAYER Comp % TD % Int % YPA Rating
1 67.8 5 0.9 8 104.9
2 63.6 5.2 2.4 7.5 93.8
3 65.1 4.8 2.7 7 90.1
4 62.9 5 3.4 7.8 89.3
5 61.3 4.5 3 7.4 86.8
6 58.4 4.3 2.3 7.2 85.5
7 60 4.1 3.3 7.8 84.5
8 62.4 3.3 2.2 6.8 84.3
9 58.3 4.1 2.8 7.6 84.2
10 58.1 3.9 2.5 6.6 80.4
11 60 3.3 2.8 6.9 80.3
12 62.4 2.6 2.3 6.2 79.3
13 60.8 3.2 3 6.2 76.9
14 58.1 3.5 2 5.5 76.6
15 54.1 3.7 2.9 7 76.5
16 58.3 2.5 2.7 6.8 76.1
17 57 4.7 3.9 6.4 75.8
18 56.7 4.5 4.9 6.5 71.2
19 58 2.5 3.2 6.1 70.6
20 50.2 4.3 3.6 6.2 68.9
21 56.6 2.5 4.5 6.2 64.8
QBs first 16 starts

Here are the 21 quarterbacks listed above (listed alphabetically by first name);

Aaron Rodgers

Alex Smith

Andrew Luck

Andy Dalton

Blake Bortles

Cam Newton

Carson Wentz

Dak Prescott

Derek Carr

Drew Brees

Eli Manning

Jameis Winston

Jared Goff

Jay Cutler

Joe Flacco

Marcus Mariota

Matt Stafford

Mitch Trubisky

Peyton Manning

Ryan Tannehill

Tom Brady

The two that are no longer playing are Peyton Manning — I looked him up because he’s still recent, and one of the best of all time — and Jay Cutler, whom I looked up for his obvious Bears’ connection. Some of that group have been All Pros, and some have been named to Pro Bowls.

By now, those of you that are impatient have already googled Trubisky’s passer rating (84.3) and figured out that he’s 8th on this list.

Here are where his other numbers rank; completion % (5th), TD % (15th), Int % (3rd lowest), YPA (11th).

Now here’s the chart above, but with the player names inserted.

Quarterback’s first 16 starts

PLAYER Comp % TD % Int % YPA Rating
PLAYER Comp % TD % Int % YPA Rating
Dak Prescott 67.8 5 0.9 8 104.9
Aaron Rodgers 63.6 5.2 2.4 7.5 93.8
Tom Brady 65.1 4.8 2.7 7 90.1
Jay Cutler 62.9 5 3.4 7.8 89.3
Marcus Mariota 61.3 4.5 3 7.4 86.8
Jared Goff 58.4 4.3 2.3 7.2 85.5
Cam Newton 60 4.1 3.3 7.8 84.5
Mitch Trubisky 62.4 3.3 2.2 6.8 84.3
Jameis Winston 58.3 4.1 2.8 7.6 84.2
Andy Dalton 58.1 3.9 2.5 6.6 80.4
Joe Flacco 60 3.3 2.8 6.9 80.3
Carson Wentz 62.4 2.6 2.3 6.2 79.3
Drew Brees 60.8 3.2 3 6.2 76.9
Derek Carr 58.1 3.5 2 5.5 76.6
Andrew Luck 54.1 3.7 2.9 7 76.5
Ryan Tannehill 58.3 2.5 2.7 6.8 76.1
Matt Stafford 57 4.7 3.9 6.4 75.8
Peyton Manning 56.7 4.5 4.9 6.5 71.2
Blake Bortles 58 2.5 3.2 6.1 70.6
Eli Manning 50.2 4.3 3.6 6.2 68.9
Alex Smith 56.6 2.5 4.5 6.2 64.8

So, will Trubisky regress like Dak Prescott?

Will be get hot like Jared Goff?

Is he the next Drew Brees?

Will he end up like Alex Smith?

After 16 starts, we still don’t know where Trubisky will end up. It’s still a process. He’s still learning and growing as a player. I like his chances with the supporting cast he has this year, and with the head coach he’s getting to work with now, but it’s still too early to tell.

What are your thoughts on the numbers above?


If you want to sort the table to see how the players stack up in different categories you can head over to the Google doc I used (I think it’s sortable).