Jay Cutler Is the Latest Beneficiary of the Mike Martz Effect
No matter what kind of quarterback a player was before or what kind of quarterback he will be afterwards, while he is playing in Mike Martz's offensive system, he will have the best seasons of his career in terms of yards per pass attempt and yards per completion. The quarterback may very well have career-high seasons in other areas, but the improvements in yards per pass attempt and yards per completion are the most consistent results of playing for Martz.
The Martz Effect first presented itself in the NFL in the career of Kurt Warner. Martz did not entirely make Kurt Warner, as Warner went on to have success with other teams in his career, but Warner never reached the heights in yards per completion and yards per attempt for those teams that he did under Martz.
In his 56 games as primary quarterback under Martz, games in which he either attempted the most passes or threw for the most passing yards for the team, Warner posted averages of 8.6 yards per pass attempt and 13.0 yards per completion.
Both of those statistics are statistically significantly better than what he did as primary quarterback for non-Martz offenses where in 74 games, as Warner's passes netted 7.6 yards per pass attempt and 11.7 yards per completion.
Playing for Martz, Warner also had his best seasons in terms of touchdown percentage. His touchdown percentage was a statistically significant superior 6.1 touchdown percentage than his 4.7 touchdown percentage playing in other offenses.
However, Warner also had a statistically significant higher interception percentage under Martz (3.8 interception percentage) than he did playing for other coaches (2.6 interception percentage). Since the advantage he holds in touchdown percentage (29.8 percent higher) is lower than the disadvantage he holds in interception percentage (46.2 percent higher), he actually was worse under Martz in his touchdown to interception ratio.
During Warner's tenure as primary quarterback under Martz, there were six games in the 2000 season where Trent Green stepped in as primary quarterback. Even though Green only received those six games as a primary quarterback under Martz, he still put up numbers better than what he did for the rest of his career.
For those six games, Green gained 8.3 yards per pass attempt and 13.8 yards per completion. His yards per attempt average was 10.7 percent better than the 7.5 yards per pass attempt he averaged in his 111 other games as primary quarterback, and his yards per completion average was 11.3 percent better than his 12.4 yards per completion in other games.
Green also threw an amazingly high rate of touchdown passes during those six games, posting an impressive 6.6 touchdown percentage in relief of Warner. That touchdown percentage was 57.1 percent higher than his 4.2 touchdown percentage for the rest of his career.
Despite playing in such a short time span, Green still had his best games under Martz.
Marc Bulger was the next quarterback who benefited from having Martz direct the offense, and like Warner and Green before him, Bulger's yards per pass attempt and yards per completion averages were the best of his career.
During his 42 games as primary quarterback for Martz, Bulger gained 7.8 yards per pass attempt and 12.2 yards per completion, which were statistically significantly better than the 6.7 yards per pass attempt and 11.2 yards per completion he has gained without Martz.
Further cementing the fact that Bulger experienced his best seasons while playing in Martz's offense, his 64.4 completion percentage is statistically significantly better than the 59.7 completion percentage he has had in other offenses as is his 4.6 touchdown percentage statistically significantly higher than his 3.1 touchdown percentage he has posted in non-Martz offenses.
Bulger's 3.5 interception percentage under Martz is also statistically significantly higher than the 2.5 interception percentage he has accumulated in other offenses, but unlike Warner, Bulger still had a better touchdown to interception ratio playing for Martz.
Martz's offensive scheme is so friendly to quarterbacks that even Jon Kitna and Shaun Hill, two quarterbacks who will never be confused for star quarterbacks, also saw improvements while playing for Martz.
For Kitna, the improvement he had in yards per completion was fairly minimal compared to other Martz-coached quarterbacks; the 11.4 yards per completion his passes netted in the 32 games he played as Martz's primary quarterback is only 3.6 percent higher than the 11.0 yards per completion his passes have netted in his 99 other games as primary quarterback in the NFL.
Where Kitna truly excelled under Martz were in a higher completion percentage and a higher yards per attempt average. Kitna's 62.8 completion percentage and 7.2 yards per pass attempt are statistically significantly superior to the 59.2 completion percentage and 6.5 yards per attempt he has produced in his other offenses.
Similarly to Green, Hill played in a limited number of games as Martz's primary quarterback, and in those nine games, he played the best football of his career.
Comparing his time in Martz's system to when he has played outside of it, Hill's completion percentage is 2.3 percent higher (62.8 percent to 61.4 percent), his yards per pass attempt average is 10.9 percent higher (7.1 to 6.4), and his yards per completion average is 8.7 percent higher (11.3 to 10.4). Again, under Martz, a quarterback had his best yards per pass attempt and yards per completion averages.
In his first season playing for Martz, current Martz primary quarterback Jay Cutler has already benefited from the Martz Effect; in his 16 games as primary quarterback for the 2010 season, Cutler's passes gained 7.7 yards per pass attempt and 12.9 yards per completion.
Cutler's yards per pass attempt average under Martz is 6.9 percent higher than the 7.2 yards per pass attempt average he had in his 52 other contests as primary quarterback, and his yards per completion average under Martz is 11.2 percent higher than the 11.6 yards per completion average he had when not playing under Martz.
The rest of the time Cutler spends playing for Martz should result in similar statistics.
With the way in which Martz is able to take any quarterback, regardless of the player's talent level, and elevate his passing statistics, Martz is rightly regarded as one of the preeminent offensive minds in the NFL.
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