Football Outsiders is out with advanced metrics about NFL quarterback passing trees in 2021, so what do they say about Lions quarterback Jared Goff?
Vincent Verhei of Football Outsiders recently broke down NFL quarterbacks last year by route type, using FO’s metrics DVOA (Defense/Opponent Adjusted Value Over Average) and DYAR (Defense-Adjusted Yards Over Average). Quarterbacks had to have at least 200 pass attempts to qualify for the charts, with expected Saints starter Jameis Winston (161) as the exception to make 34 total qualifying signal callers.
So what does the route data say about Goff?
A look at Jared Goff’s 2021 passing tree, according to Football Outsiders
Starting with curl routes, Goff comes in 13th in DYAR (91) with the sixth-highest DVOA (10.3 percent). Curl routes accounted for 12 percent of his targets in 2021.
Moving to out routes, Goff had the highest out route target rate in the league (15.8 percent). But his DYAR (26) and DVOA (-6.6 percent) did not back up that kind of volume.
On slant routes, Goff climbs back up to 15th in DYAR (46) with a 17.6 percent DVOA (10th-best). Amon-Ra St. Brown’s emergence late last year certainly helped Goff here. Slants were just 4.4 percent of Goff’s targets last year.
On wide receiver/tight end screens, Goff was 11th-worst in DYAR (-68) with a bottom tier DVOA too (-38.8 percent). These screens are not a prolific play league-wide, and they accounted for 7.8 percent of Goff’s targets last year.
On dig routes (5.3 percent of his targets) last year, Goff lands top half again in DYAR (57, 14th) with the 12th-best DVOA (17.5 percent).
On flat routes, Goff landed with the fifth-worst DYAR (-28) last year. His DVOA (-26.9 percent) wasn’t quite as awful, but the damage was somewhat minimized by flats only being 5.7 percent of his targets.
On played deemed “broken plays” last year, Goff was in the lower middle in DYAR (2) and DVOA (-10.8 percent). Naturally, as inherently a pocket passer, his target rate (3.8 percent ) and target volume (18) on broken plays sat among the lowest in the league.
Shifting to drag routes, Goff had the seventh-best DYAR (39) and eighth-best DVOA (11.7 percent). A 5.0 percent target rate here feels too low.
On deep crosses, a lower percentage route in terms of completions, Goff had the seventh-best DYAR (93) and the fourth-best DVOA (91.4 percent). He was helped by the second-highest YAC on deep crosses (12.6), but 12 attempts (2.5 percent target rate) is underusage.
On go routes, Goff came in with the second-worst DYAR (-57) and the fifth-worst DVOA (-69.3 percent). The Lions lack of a viable deep threat for much of last season, and only fleeting after Josh Reynolds arrived, did not help Goff here (14 go route targets, 2.9 percent rate).
Goff only threw four corner routes last year, which renders a strong DVOA (67.9 percent) and a not-bad DYAR (22) irrelevant.
Goff also didn’t throw many post routes last year (six). So his poor DYAR (-12) and DVOA (-35.4 percent) on them are rendered moot.
These numbers back up the eye test for Goff last year, and many years of his career. He doesn’t throw downfield a lot, and throwing certain shorter routes he’s quite good.
From a broad view, if Goff will pull the trigger on more deep crosses and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson incorporates more drag routes, the results could be pretty good this year. It’s safe to assume the two have worked together to find the things that work best for Goff, and this kind of data is part of the picture.