Davis Mills Performance in a Clean Pocket
After a few questions on Twitter today (follow me @TexansCap) concerning Davis Mills’ performance against the Titans, one particular comment was made concerning Mills’ performance in a clean pocket this year.
This peaked my interest, to compare Mills’ 2022 performance from a clean pocket compared to the rest of the league. Let’s dive in…
Note: All stats below are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (PFF) and RBSDM.com
Offensive Line Performance
The first metric I wanted to review was the PFF metric titled Pass Blocking Efficiency. Using this metric should provide a level of efficiency in pass blocking sets for the Houston Texans.
From PFF: The PFF "Pass Blocking Efficiency" rating measures pressure allowed on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks allowed.
Houston’s offensive line ranks in the bottom third of the league in this metric. There are other variables to consider like QB’s taking a sack, coverage sack, and time to throw.
Dropbacks With Clean Pockets
The second metric I wanted to review was what percentage of quarterback drop backs were deemed clean pockets. The clean pocket percentage for Davis Mills should come at no surprise with the above graphic on PBE.
Performance From a Clean Pocket
Now that we have some baseline information to work form, knowing that Mills faces a lower than league average amount of clean pockets to work from. The next area to review is performance from a clean pocket.
The first chart is a scatter plot measuring PFF Passing Grade with QB Rating, operating from only a clean pocket.
Davis Mills is operating under the league trendline below the median PFF Passing Grade and below the median QB Rating. Again, sorely from a clean pocket.
In this second chart, the correlation is very low between the two data points but could highlight Mills’ aggressiveness.
This chart has PFF’s Big Time Throw Percentage against Turn Over Worthy Percentage. Again working solely from a clean pocket.
My interpretation of this chart is Mills takes care of the ball with good decisions but does not take very many chances on big throws. Is this a function of the scheme, talent, or decision making? Probably a bit of everything. Regardless Mills is situated in the area of the chart that you want your quarterback to be.
Tale of Quarters
With Davis Mills commanding a successful game winning drive against Tennessee, the next area to look at is efficiency by quarter.
Charts are sourced from RBSDM.com
Below is efficiency per drop back in the first 3 quarters of the game in 2022.
Davis Mills is a bit behind the pack here, under the trend line and behind the median league numbers for CPOE and EPA/Dropback. Mills is ranked 32nd of 35 eligible quarterbacks on CPOE/EPA per dropback composite scoring.
4th Quarter Performance
For Mills 4th quarter efficiency we get the below chart. The Win Probability was increased to filter out the “garbage time” stats.
Mills still comes in lower left quadrant below the trend and median lines. For 4th quarter efficiency Mills ranks 25th out of 31 eligible quarterbacks.
What does all this mean? It is open to interpretation as with any set of data points. I challenge you to give us your interpretation of this data in the comments below.
For me this confirms what I see when watch Davis Mills play. A player with average performance and efficiency who doesn’t take too many chances and continues to play to his floor (on potential). The distance between Mills performance floor and ceiling are pretty close to together. Some weeks Mills will be an above average player, and some weeks he will put in a horrid performance.
The continued inconsistency is another issue. Perhaps that is a function of a declining team with the talent level decreasing as the season progresses.
Can Davis Mills raise his ceiling (and floor) with an improved offensive line, improved offensive scheme, and improved talent around him? The answer is most likely Yes. The big question is…how far can he raise his performance and efficiency?
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