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Monday, November 21, 2011
QBR ranks: Can Cardinals develop QBs?

By Mike Sando

Most young, inexperienced quarterbacks are going to struggle on the road against top NFL defenses.

John Skelton's performance for the Arizona Cardinals against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11 undercut even the most guarded expectations. Skelton finished the game with a 10.5 NFL passer rating and 0.9 Total QBR that ranked among the lowest recorded since ESPN began tracking the stat for the 2008 season.

The performance came at a time when the Cardinals' ability to develop quarterback talent was already inviting tough questions. Injured starter Kevin Kolb has struggled and arguably regressed during his first seven starts with the team, while ex-Cardinal Matt Leinart has a shot at taking the Houston Texans to the playoffs.

The questions we discussed when the Cardinals acquired Kolb linger:
These questions might not have clear answers. But continued struggles at quarterback will amplify them, particularly if Leinart appears vastly improved under Gary Kubiak in Houston.

Total QBR, which measures how quarterbacks affect their teams' chances for winning, shows Kolb and Skelton lagging badly. Their scores are in the 30s out of 100, with 50 being average and 65 over a full season representing Pro Bowl-caliber play. Warner was at 66.5 for the 2008 season and 64.5 the following year.

The first chart shows QBR scores for NFC West quarterbacks by week and for the season.

Rich Bartel's low score in Week 5 reflects, in part, the hopeless circumstances he inherited late in the game at Minnesota. There was nothing he could do to improve the Cardinals' win probability in a meaningful way.

Quick thoughts on how NFC West passers graded out in Week 11 according to Total QBR, with NFL passer ratings in parenthesis as a reference point:
The chart below shows how quarterbacks from games involving NFC West teams fared in Total QBR for Week 11.