QBER/Week 6: J.C. Superstar Who? All Orton Does Is Win Football Games

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIOctober 21, 2009

(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive, easily understood rating system that I devised to place the emphasis where it belongs—the ability of a quarterback to advance the ball, avoid negative plays, and score touchdowns in comparison to his peers. A rating of 100.0 is the league average.)

It was then Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan who once said of a wide receiver years ago, “Lemme tell you, all Cris Carter does is catch touchdown passes.” Much the same can be said of Kyle Orton, the Denver Broncos quarterback who doesn’t do much more than win football games.


That the Broncos are off to a 6-0  start rates as one of the surprises of the early season, but maybe it shouldn’t come as a complete and total shock. In three seasons with the Chicago Bears, Orton had a 21-12 record as a starter despite fairly average talent around him, further proof that the best QB isn't necessarily the one that throws the tightest spirals but manages the best game.


Orton never had the full support of team management, however, which was stuck on Rex Grossman from the start. When the Broncos made Jay Cutler available last summer, Orton was kicked to the curb.


Months later, the trade appears to be a steal for the Broncos, not the Bears. Orton may have a low glitz factor, but his QBER ranks No. 5 overall, three places higher than his NFL passer rating.


What separates Orton from the pack is his remarkable consistency, as his rating has never been lower than 132.0 in any week. And while Cutler continues to be a turnover machine among qualifiers, only Kerry Collins, Jake Delhomme, and Mark Sanchez give up the ball at a higher rate the man he replaced has been guilty of only one such mistake in 208 pass plays.


So lemme tell you, unlike a certain wide receiver, don’t expect Orton to be released any time soon.



The QBER leaders after Week Six of the regular season:


1. Brees 165.2

2. P. Manning 150.2

3. Favre 148.3

4. McNabb 142.6

5. Orton 139.8

6. Ryan 136.8


7. Schaub 135.4

8. E. Manning 131.0


9. Brady 122.6


10. Flacco 121.9

11. Rodgers 120.5


12. Hasselbeck 113.4

13. Cassel 113.0

14. Roethlisberger 112.1

15. Rivers 109.0

16. Cutler 106.2


17. Warner 106.1


18. Hill 104.8


19. Romo 102.0


20. Bulger 100.9

21. Palmer 90.4

22. Leftwich 88.2

23. Wallace 87.5

24. Garrard 84.9

25. Kolb 80.42


26. Edwards 80.38

27. Campbell 79.3

28. K. Collins 75.6

29. Stafford 62.5

30. Johnson 61.5

31. Russell 60.2


32. Sanchez 44.4

33. Anderson 37.7

34. Delhomme 13.5


A few observations:


  • A large part of the QBER system is tied to the ability to avoid negative plays, one of the most overlooked factors in performance at the position. David Garrard has lost a league-worst 230 yards in sacks, fumbles, and interceptions. On the flip side are JaMarcus Russell andDrew Brees, who have lost two and three yards, respectively.
  • At 165.2, Brews has the highest QBER since the first week of the season, when his 209.2 mark was off the charts.
  • If may be time for the Carolina Panthers to pull the plug on Jake Delhomme, whose QBER ranks last for the sixth consecutive week. In 148 pass plays, Delhomme committed no fewer than a dozen turnovers (10 interceptions, two fumbles), by far the worst rate in the league.
  • Is there a QBER jinx? One week after Matt Hasselbeck took over the top spot, he inexplicably had a 74-yard, two-turnover, no-touchdown performance. He tumbled to No. 12 as a result.
  • Tom Brady cracked the top 10 for the first time this season, as QBER doesn’t take into account the kind of passive resistance that the Tennessee Titans defense displayed last weekend.


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