It's third-and-10, and your favorite team's quarterback just threw a 3-yard pass, bringing out the punt team.
Isn't that frustrating to watch? Wouldn't it be great to have a stat that measures which quarterbacks do this the most, and to what degree? This is why Air Less Expected, or ALEX for short, was created at Football Outsiders.
Inspired by conservative passer Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs, ALEX measures the average difference between how far a quarterback threw a pass (air yards) and how many yards he needed for a first down. If a quarterback throws a 3-yard pass on third-and-10, then that would be minus-7 ALEX. The best application of ALEX is to look at third down, when it's really crucial to get 100 percent of the needed yards to extend the drive.
We looked at the 10 most accurate quarterbacks on Monday and the 10 least accurate quarterbacks on Tuesday, using our C%+ metric. Next we moved on to the 10 quarterbacks who were the most aggressive (highest ALEX) on third downs in the regular season last season, and now we look at the least aggressive:
2016 ALEX: minus-2.5
As sure as the sun rises in the east, Jared Goff ranks last in another 2016 statistical category. Goff had the worst third-down conversion rate (23.1 percent), and he beat Blaine Gabbert (minus-1.7) and Jimmy Clausen (minus-2.2) for the lowest ALEX by a rookie quarterback since 2006 (minimum 200 attempts). To be fair, Goff faced the longest third-down situations (8.8 yards) of any quarterback last season. Still, this is not a promising look for his future, but we'll see if a new head coach (Sean McVay) and greatly improved receiving corps help him dig out of the (very deep) bottom in 2017.