Bat-downs revisited: Where Wilson stands

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
9:20
AM ET

An NFL quarterback standing 3 feet tall surely would be at heightened risk for having passes batted down.

Russell Wilson stands much taller than that, ESPN's Trey Wingo notes during a height-related conversation with Tim Hasselbeck and Jerry Rice in the video above. And in looking at stats for batted passes, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information, it's clear that factors beyond height influence the numbers.

Drew Brees, roughly an inch taller than the nearly 5-foot-11 Wilson, had only seven passes batted down in 657 attempts last season. Six other quarterbacks had at least twice as many, even though each attempted at least 100 fewer passes. The towering Joe Flacco (6-6) had seven of his 542 passes batted.

Thirty-six of the 44 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season suffered a higher percentage of batted-down passes than Brees suffered while topping 5,000 yards passing. Arizona's Kevin Kolb, who is 6-3, topped the list with 10 of his 253 attempts (4.0 percent) batted down. San Francisco's Alex Smith was 12th at 2.7 percent (12 of 445). He's had none batted so far this season, even though he is just an inch taller than Kolb.

Brees has had five batted down this season already. That probably has more to do with being under siege than being under prototypical height. The Saints are struggling.

Hasselbeck suggested to Wingo and Rice that Wilson has a higher release point than some taller quarterbacks. Another ESPN analyst, Trent Dilfer, has pointed to a quick release, not height, as key to getting passes over opposing linemen.

The chart ranks NFL quarterbacks through Week 2 by percentage of attempts batted by opposing defenses. The sample size remains small this early in the season. I'll revisit the numbers as the season progresses.

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