Pro Football Focus puts together a series on quarterbacking every year, looking at things like performance under pressure. Pressure isn’t the end of the world for all quarterbacks. Andrew Luck, for example, performs well whether or not there are 97 guys hanging from his magnificent beard.
The story on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and pressure in 2014 was that he saw a ton of it. Jonathan "The Human Turnstile" Martin had problems stopping everyone, and Alex Boone’s hold out meant he didn’t round into form until the second quarter of the season.
What’s interesting in PFF’s pressure charting though, is that Kap didn’t see an outlandish amount of pressure compared to the NFL average. He saw pressure on 34.7 percent of drop backs, and the NFL-average was 33.4 percent. That’s an increase of 6 pressures over the course of the season, based on Kap’s 577 drop backs.
While Kap saw an average amount of pressure, he performed just slightly below average when pressured based on PFF’s charting.1 But Kap performed even WORSE when he saw no pressure at all. He ranked 26th our of 37 ranked quarterbacks, putting him firmly in Mark Sanchez/Andy Dalton territory.
Thus far the initial prognosis one we’ve heard before: Teams should sit back and make Kap beat them with his eyes and arm. When pressured Kap seems to step his game up, even if slightly.
This is just one part of the picture, and there’s definitely more to come from PFF’s series, including performance against the blitz. Stay tuned.
While PFF calls their scoring system an "advanced statistic", it’s really just a number score placed on a subjective observation on the success of a play. It’s a useful number, but definitely just one part of the largest puzzle. ↩