Ask anyone who has ever played or coached football and they’ll be sure to tell you that it’s a team game. They’ll also tell you, though, that quarterback is the most important position on the field, and that because of that, QB’s receive more credit and more blame than anyone else on the team. They’ll also tell you that a quarterback is often unfairly judged by their win-loss record, which of course is a contradiction to the “team game” thing. If it’s a team game, even a great QB can finish a season below .500 and with a great team, an average QB can certainly find himself in the playoffs–or even in back-to-back AFC Championship Games.
That brings us to Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne–the quarterbacks of the Jets and Dolphins. Because Sanchez has found himself a win away from the Super Bowl each of the last two years and because Henne hasn’t played in the post-season, there seems to be sentiment among many fans that Sanchez is a superior quarterback.
In 31 career games, Sanchez has thrown for 5,735 yards while tossing 29 touchdowns and 33 interceptions with a QB Rating of 70.2 In 32 career games, Henne has thrown for 6,246 yards, with 27 touchdowns, 33 interceptions, and has a QBR of 75.3. Last year, Henne’s QBR was 75.4, Sanchez’s was 75.3.
Those are the basic numbers–and they’re pretty much a wash. I’m sure some of you would say that basic stats “don’t tell the whole story,” which is true, so let’s get a little bit more in depth.
In a recent blog post, ESPN.com’s Tim Graham shared some great numbers from “football scientist” KC Joyner that take you much deeper than touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Henne is often criticized for his decision making, but in each of the past two seasons, he has a “bad decision rate” of 1.9, meaning one out of every 50 passes is a bad decision–this puts him in the top 13 in the NFL. Sanchez on the other hand, made a bad decision one out of every 28 passes, which ranks him in the bottom six of the NFL.
Joyner also put together both Henne and Sanchez’s yards per passing attempt at varying distances and the numbers are very close: Henne has more yards per attempt on passes between 1-10 yards and the guys have identical ypa on passes between 11-19 yards. On deeper passes, Sanchez has a slight edge (9.3-7.7 on passes between 20-29 yards & 12.2-11.9 on passes over 30 yards). Overall, the two QB’s average exactly 6.6 yards per attempt on all of their passes.
Their head-to-head numbers are nearly identical as well: in four career games against each other (of which three have been won by the Dolphins), both men have thrown six touchdowns and one interception. Sanchez has thrown for more yards (909-771), but Henne’s completion percentage is superior (57.8 to 48.9).
The overall point is this: Chad Henne is probably better than most casual fans think and Mark Sanchez is probably worse than most casual fans think. Most importantly, both are young, developing quarterbacks that have a lot to show as they enter the 2011 season.
You make also like: Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News discusses the two quarterbacks.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.