NFL Teams
Seth Walder, ESPN Analytics 32d

Can it get any worse than Browns' QBs? Yes! (but not much)

NFL, Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns' current group of QBs rivals the worst quarterback rooms in the Total QBR era.

Kevin Hogan hasn't played well. DeShone Kizer was even worse. Through six games this season, the Browns' passers have recorded a Total QBR of 21.9.

If they kept up that exact level of play for the rest of the year, Cleveland would have the fourth-worst team Total QBR in a season since 2006, as far back as the statistic goes. At the moment, the Browns are behind only the 2010 Panthers, the 2008 Raiders and the 2007 49ers.

So what has been the problem for the Browns' quarterbacks?

Kizer, who has the worst Total QBR among qualified passers in the league this season, has had no shortage of issues:

  • On third down, he ranks last in raw QBR.

  • Passes of 10 air yards or fewer? Also last. Passes of 11 air yards or more? Last.

  • Against the blitz? Second to last.

  • Inside the pocket? Last. Outside the pocket? Last.

You get the picture. Almost no matter how the numbers are sliced, the result is about the same.

Hogan, meanwhile, sports a slightly better Total QBR of 36.8 over 75 pass attempts this season. That would nestle him right between Blake Bortles and Andy Dalton in the rankings if Hogan qualified.

In Hogan's case, a couple of areas -- third downs and passes of more than 10 air yards, for example -- are worse than others. A major issue for both passers is simply their accuracy. Among quarterbacks with at least 75 attempts this season, no quarterback has thrown a higher percentage of his passes off target than Hogan (25.3 percent) or Kizer (26 percent).

That inaccuracy has been especially pronounced on passes more than 10 yards downfield, where Kizer (49.1 percent off target) and Hogan (51.7 percent) again lead the league. They rank better on shorter passes.

Some might note that given the state of the Browns' roster, Cleveland's QBs might be getting less help than others around the NFL. The Browns' quarterbacks have been pressured on 28.5 percent drop-backs, which is above average but not unusual, and is the ninth most in the league. They also haven't received a ton of assistance from their receivers in terms of yards after catch (4.39 per reception, 24th most). But in both cases, Total QBR partially incorporates these factors into its rating. The statistic attempts to isolate the efficiency of the quarterback himself.

The third quarterback on the roster, Cody Kessler, recorded a Total QBR of 43.4 last season.

Ultimately, the one thing the Browns' quarterbacks have going for them is they are all young, therefore offering hope of development. But if they don't improve or if they get worse, the 2017 Browns will join the ranks below, comprising the worst quarterbacked teams since 2006.


3. 2007 San Francisco 49ers, Total QBR: 21.6

QBs: Trent Dilfer (219 attempts), Alex Smith (193), Shaun Hill (79), Chris Weinke (22).

This, at first glance, doesn't seem like all that bad of a group.

It includes a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and the current QB of one of the best teams in football right now.

But in 2007, this crew wasn't so hot. Dilfer was in what would be the final season of his playing career, and Smith still had a ways to go before he would be the player he is today.

Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick, started the season under center for the 49ers but scuffled early despite earning two wins in the first three games. In the fourth game of the year, Smith suffered a separated shoulder, and Dilfer had to take over.

A few games later Smith returned, starting three more games before his shoulder kept him out again, this time for the rest of the season. Dilfer took over on Nov. 18 of that year again, but on Dec. 9 he was knocked out because of a concussion. Hill took over and started the next two games before he also was hurt, prompting Weinke to start the final game of the season.

Hill was the best of the 49ers' quarterbacks that year with a Total QBR of 58.9.


2. 2008 Oakland Raiders, Total QBR: 21.1

QBs/other passers: JaMarcus Russell (368 attempts), Andrew Walter (49), Marques Tuiasosopo (2), Michael Bush (2), Darren McFadden (0, one sack).

Unlike some of these other cases, this team's poor quarterback play almost solely came from one starter.

After barely playing in his rookie season, Russell started 15 games in the Raiders' disappointing five-win campaign of 2008. Russell had barely played as a rookie the year before (following a lengthy holdout) despite being the No. 1 overall pick.

Russell had more touchdowns (13) than interceptions (9) but completed just 53.8 percent of his passes and fumbled nine times. His Total QBR for the year was a league-worst 29.2.


1. 2010 Carolina Panthers, Total QBR: 18.8.

QBs/other passers: Jimmy Clausen (299 attempts), Matt Moore (143), Brian St. Pierre (28), Tony Pike (12), Brandon LaFell (1), Armanti Edwards (1).

Carolina invested a second-round pick in Clausen, a Notre Dame product, in 2010. Matt Moore started the season at quarterback, but after struggling early, Moore was benched for Clausen in the fourth quarter of the team's second game of the season and what became its second loss.

Clausen did not fix the Panthers. And, in fact, after only three games (and three losses) with Clausen as a starter, head coach John Fox decided to bench him and go back to Moore.

On Nov. 7 of that year, it got even uglier. Moore was injured in the first half of what turned out to be a blowout loss to the Saints, and Clausen couldn't even finish the rest of the game before he was benched again. Fox turned to Tony Pike, a rookie out of Cincinnati, to finish the game in what would be the only regular-season appearance of his career.

Clausen then took over as the starter for the rest of the season, though he missed one game because of a concussion. In the end, Clausen finished dead last in the league with a Total QBR of 13.8. The Panthers drafted Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick the next year.

For more from ESPN Analytics, visit the ESPN Analytics Index. 

^ Back to Top ^