Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get to Know 'Em: Sage Rosenfels

It seems only fitting that as I spent my time yesterday writing about a long shot at quarterback, Pat White, the Vikings were busy getting to the brink of a deal with Houston for Sage Rosenfels. So while I'm happy to hear that the competitor for Tarvaris Jackson isn't going to be someone that Tarvaris will likely beat (I'm looking at you Gus), it just figures that the news of a trade would break right after I hit "Post" and used up what free time I had on Pat White.

Anyway (it's rough being me, isn't it?), as you probably recall, the Vikings' chased Rosenfels before this season. As I wrote then, Rosenfels is a very accurate passer (he completed 66.7% and 64.2% of his passes the last two years) who is one of the better quarterbacks at avoiding sacks:
"Another thing Rosenfels has going for himself is that he rarely gets sacked. He was only dropped once every 41 times he went back to pass, an astoundingly low rate. Rosenfels has only been sacked 10 times in his entire career and was sacked only once every 39.8 pass attempts. To put that in context, Tarvaris had about as many pass attempts (313), but was sacked 19 times last year, or once every 16.5 dropbacks, which isn't that bad of a sack rate (David Carr's sack rate is once every 9.4 drop backs)."
Rosenfels wasn't as succesful at avoiding sacks last year, going down 9 times in 183 drop backs, a rate of once every 20.3 pass plays. His sack rate wasn't helped by an offensive line that dropped from 10th to 16th in Adjusted Sack Rate last year. Of course, the Vikings were 28th in ASR last year, so he will be facing more pressure than in Houston if the Purple don't upgrade their line.

Another reason that Rosenfels may have been sacked more is that he was more willing to hang in the pocket for a deeper route to come open. His yards per attempt jumped from 6.67 YPA to 7.50YPA. He also completed 4 passes for more than 40 yards, the same as 2007 and 18 passes for more than 20 yards, which was one more than in 2007, despite running 63 fewer pass plays. He can get the ball downfield accurately and is willing to hang in the pocket to do so.

Of course, there's a reason why Rosenfels is available to the Vikings for a fourth round pick--he throws a lot of interceptions. He's thrown 22 in the past two years, which, when you consider he only had 414 pass attempt, is horrible. That's an interception rate of 5.3%, which would have lead the league last year (Frerotte was the actual leader at 5.0%). That interception rate is a big reason why he had fewer DYAR and a lower DVOA last year than Tarvaris Jackson.

His propensity to throw interceptions is the main reason Rosenfels likely isn't the best answer to the Vikings' quaterback situation. But, as I've said before, the time to find the best answer is long past. Cassel is going to be expensive and has big question marks about his ability to play under center without Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and while Garcia is probably a better answer, Childress doesn't seem to like him and he gets hurt too frequently. Rosenfels is an improvement on the "Gus and Tarvaris Traveling Sucking Spectacular" that we saw for most of last year, and that's probably enough. He's a legitimate contender for the starting job (unlike Frerotte), which means that if Tarvaris beats Rosenfels out, he'll have earned it with strong play. And at this point, that's enough for me to be happy about the Purple's quarterback situation.

1 comment:

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