“Could our offensive coordinator call a decent play to help out our quarterback?”
“How can our QB find an open receiver if the offensive line can’t hold a block?”
“Could a receiver get open?”
We’ve all said it, and for good reason. We watch quarterbacks play, especially in Chicago, and it always feels like the team isn’t doing enough to properly support the development of the quarterback.
There are so many things that go into helping a young QB. Receivers that can get open, good coaching, a strong offensive line, a solid running game, a good defense, every expert has a different piece of the puzzle that they feel is most important, but there really has never been a way to quantify it.
But that may have changed thanks to our own EJ Snyder.
EJ has spent the bulk of the last season working with Arjun Menon to try and figure out how to turn “Quarterback Support” into a statistic, and they very well may have done it.
Here’s what they did.
They looked at EPA from special teams, defense and the running game, they utilized pass blocking grades from PFF and also when plays were perfectly covered by the defense. They combined those numbers and created a QB Support composite score. The chart below lays it out well.
I know there will be a lot of questions about how we pulled this together; what numbers we used, and why we used them. This chart that @arjunmenon100 created shows summary data for all of the 2023 regular season. The final column (OVERALL COMPOSITE SCORE) = QBS pic.twitter.com/dImVUvUrRc— EJ Snyder (@FootballEJ) February 6, 2024
Obviously, Bears fans will immediately look for Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. How did the Bears support Fields in 2023? It certainly wasn’t too bad.
“Justin Fields got average support from the Bears this year,” Snyder explained to me. “The Bears scored a QBS (Quarterback Support) rating of 48.4 on a scale of 0-100. That landed them 17th in the league, or almost exactly dead average.”
EJ took it a step further and looked at how the quarterback played in relation to their support. Unfortunately, that didn’t look great for Fields.
This comet tail plot shows QBS (marked by the QB pictures) and their EPA/play mark (the sharp point). Long tail pointed right = outperformed their support. Short tail either way = performed fairly equal to support. Long tail pointed left = underperformed relative to their support pic.twitter.com/PscYoLOpTA— EJ Snyder (@FootballEJ) February 6, 2024
So, according to this new statistic, the Bears were average in how they supported Fields, but Fields underperformed that support. There are QBs that underperformed their support more than Fields, and even excellent QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson underperformed their support, but EJ mentioned in those cases, their support is so close to the 100 composite score that it’s almost impossible for the QB to keep up. Simply, that just shows the makings of an excellent team.
If the Bears decide to drop a rookie quarterback on this team, is it a good idea? We discuss all the time about how the Bears didn’t do Mitch Trubisky or Justin Fields any favors with how they supported them. If they drafted a quarterback with the first overall pick, would it be a better situation?
“If Chicago were to choose a rookie QB, that player would not be landing on the typical talent-deprived team,” Snyder explained. “With just a few additions the Bears could be tickling a top-10 rating in QBS next season. With the resources at the Bears’ disposal (draft picks and available cap space), GM Ryan Poles should be able to secure those upgrades. If that occurs, Chicago would be a very solid landing spot for a rookie signal caller.”
With the expected upgrade of Shane Waldron over Luke Getsy, potentially adding another key player (perhaps a wide receiver) with the ninth overall pick, and the expectation for the Bears to also add to their offensive line, most likely at center, the offense, with a rookie QB, could be in a position to have success immediately in 2024. Now, with QBS, if a rookie quarterback is playing for the Bears, we can see just how well Chicago’s football team is supporting him.