A tale of two quarterbacks. Stats as varied as their physiques.

In the limited time we saw Paxton Lynch play last season, he seemed to be Trevor Siemian’s polar opposite. The stats show this to be true, as well. Below I’ve put them side by side to compare where they are most different. Why does it matter? Because when new Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy puts together a complete game plan for one of these guys, it won’t be able to accommodate two very different styles.

Obviously, the numbers are limited on Lynch, but with the same coach and game plans, it does show he opted for and did better on throws between the seams and between 11-20 yards. The bread and butter throws. With his throws that required timing with the receivers on jump balls, he was poor. Very bad. Based on only having practice with the Starters for a total of ten days the entire season, this could account for some of his poor timing.

We also can see that the more Lynch played, the more he improved. This held true in college as well. (see stats below) We can also see that this wasn’t true for Siemian. It could be that the more passes he threw, the more pain he was in, resulting in poorer throws.

Or defenses had his game figured out, while Lynch was still an enigma. They say it takes defenses three to four games to figure a QB out. Since Siemian completions dropped almost every week throughout the season, it could’ve been a combo. Before he was hurt in TB, he punted six times, the two scores that half were the results of Aqib Talib interceptions on the 11 and 27.

On throws over 21 yards, neither QB was great, with Lynch being downright awful. This may be a combination of accuracy from poor footwork and timing issues.

We do know he was told in the Jacksonville game to avoid interceptions at all costs, so some of his flaws could also be playing conservatively to assure the Jag’s number two best ranked pass defenders couldn’t get the ball. Unfortunately, if you’re throwing so far away from a covering defender, it means you’re needing your own guys to be Stretch Armstrongs.

We can see that on throws between 11-20, Lynch was money, but Trevor attempted them more often. We can see that on the field, from the 20 to the 20, Siemian did best and Lynch did better in the red zone. We can see that one preferred the left sideline almost as much as the other preferred the right sideline. The types of passes and where they threw, show very little similarity. Mirror images of one another.

When it comes to WR/TE, it’s tough to see who did better with what grouping because we don’t know how the TE’s were used. However, it appears Lynch did better with more choices of guys with hands and Trevor less so.

Our TE’s were pretty crappy, so not sure how these stats help determine all that much other than one did better with blocking TE’s (we didn’t have two guys on the field at the same time who can catch) and one with catching.

We do know that when it came to drops though, our team had one of the better records. According to Sporting Charts, only 2.5% of catchable balls were dropped. 9th best in the league. Cowboys, Titans, Redskins, Patriots*, Falcons, Bucs, Bengals and Packers did better. 1.7-2.4. As an aside, among the worst was the Raiders (4.9) and Chiefs, (4.9).

This could also be due to the pass defenses we played (minus the Jags, the rest were consistently ranked in the 20’s), while the Chiefs and Raiders played us twice (the best). The Chargers had a 3.2.

Had Lynch played more and Trevor less, I’m guessing some stats may have changed. The more you throw, the better you should be with your receivers, but it also opens you up to more incompletions. I’d guess that for each, this stat would show up the most in the deep throws.

Also, according to Football Outsiders’ ALEX rating, on third downs, Lynch threw past the sticks twice as often as Siemian. 3.0 to 1.5, this metric shows how aggressive a QB is. This is one area I’m not sure you can change, no matter how many reps one has, because it’s about personality. Ask Andy Reid, he just moved up a bunch to grab Patrick Mahomes after losing out on Lynch in 2016. The ALEX is named after Alex Smith, which is self explanatory.

When you look at where each completion percentages on throws past the LOS, Lynch was best between 11-20 yards and the middle of the field. Siemian did best on throws under ten yards and to the left.


Completion % by Q   Trevor   Paxton
1st 59.8 64.3
2nd 60.1 38.9
3rd 59.4 61.9
4th 59.4 66.7
Attempt completion %
1-11 62.0 53.3
11-20 59.2  53.3
21-30 60.2 72.2
31+ 55.4 80.0
Direction comp%
right side 61.2 62.5
right sideline 53.4 44.4
middle 55.8 71.4
left 68.2 70.00
left sideline 58.9 62.5
% of att per direction
right side 14.5 19.27
right sideline 25.7 32.53
middle 23.36 16.86
left 18.51 12.04
left sideline 31.8 19.27
Distance comp%
BLOS 75.9 88.9
1-10 yards 64.7 64.4
11-20 47.7 73.3
21-30 33.3 12.5
31-40 35.3 0
41+ 0 0
% of att per distance
BLOS 12.63 10.84
1-10 yards 55.55 54.21
11-20 23.31 18.07
21-30 3.9 0.96
31-40 3.6 0.48
41+ 0.87 0.24
own 1-20 54.5 60
21-50 63.7 58.5
49-20 59.2 56.5
(Red Zone) OPP 19-goal 50.9 66.7
(Red Zone) Opp 10-goal 47.1 66.7
2 WR 53.3 52.4
3 WR 60.8 58.6
4+ WR 58.9 63.6
0 TE 57.7 62.5
1 TE 61.7 56.8
2 TE 49.3 57.1
3+ TE 75 N/A

* years with bowl games

As you can see from college and the pros, the more Lynch threw, the better he got. His offense was also full of walk-ons in college. This progression hasn’t been as apparent with Siemian. The NE* and Christmas Day massacres highlighted that he has not improved, as do the stats.

So, what does this tell us? How does it show where McCoy will lean when having to pick one QB to surround the playbook with? It has been reported, Lynch has shown mastery of the initial McCoy playbook. This means, it can be added to as McCoy did when going from a Tebow kindergarten playbook to a Manning sized one.

Based on McCoy’s history, we know he likes a passing offense using three WR’s and a TE who can catch. He likes big armed guys and running backs who also can catch. (Hello, Jamaal Charles and Jake Butt.) He also likes to use his QB’s legs if they have them. In 2014, Phillip Rivers rushed for 104 yards. In 2011, Tebow ran for 660 yards. He has had four (now five) BIG QB’s: Orton, Tebow the tank, Manning, and Rivers. While McCoy does plan for the talent he has, he now has to make a choice.

When you look at these two QB’s in their style of play and their personalities, you’ve got a choice between a smaller Orton or a taller Rivers.

Which means McCoy and Musgrave, must either plan for a gunslinger or a system type guy. Vance Joseph has weighed in saying he wants the better decision maker who doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s also said he wants an aggressive offense with juice.

Dear coach, almost all aggressive QBs turn the ball over. They also throw a bunch of TD’s, too. It’s the nature of the beast. Aggressive means showing no fear, having confidence to throw it everywhere and taking chances. It also means be willing to hang it out there to make plays. Philip Rivers.

Good decision makers with little turnover are usually system QBs, who like low risk passes. Short balls to the side, rainbow passes down field for the WR to get. Kyle Orton.

There is no history of Siemian being an aggressive QB with few turnovers. There is however, one with Lynch. Granted, college is over, but one drafts based on what one sees in college.  It appears Rivers and Lynch are twins.  Big bodied iron men who are rarely injured, who throw a lot, and take chances. They also don’t throw the prettiest spirals or have the quickest release time. The opposite is true of Siemian.

Since Elway will weigh in this time on who starts, it’s clear he has a preference on the style of QB he likes. He looked at Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick before drafting Lynch. I don’t think Smith, Orton or Siemian comes to mind when looking at those names.

Will Joseph be overruled if he wants a Smith-type over a Rivers-type? Based on Elway hiring McCoy, a former HC to run the offense, I’m guessing what Mike and John want, will be.

The time is approaching when the PR dance in Englewood will have to end and my money is it ends at the giant-sized feet of Lynch.

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