Josh Freeman takes lead in air time

We’ve talked quite about how Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman has one of the strongest arms in the league. Well, the evidence just keeps getting stronger.

Freeman has moved into the lead in a statistical category that’s not officially kept by the league, but it tells us a lot about the league’s quarterbacks and the offensive systems they are in. The statistic is air yards per attempt and it’s kept by ESPN Stats & Information. As it sounds, this stat is how many yards a quarterback actually throws the ball in the air per attempt.

Freeman has moved into the lead league in this category. He’s averaging 10.5 yards of air time per attempt. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vince Young and Brett Favre are the only other quarterbacks averaging at least 10 yards in the air per pass.

After Freeman, there’s a pretty steep decline among NFC South quarterbacks in this category.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who throws a lot of underneath passes to tight end Tony Gonzalez, is No. 24 at 7.62 yards per air attempt. New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen are at the bottom of the league in this category.

Clausen is No. 29, averaging 6.77 yards of air per attempt and Brees is No. 30 at 6.42 air yards per attempt.