New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston are at different stages of their respective NFL careers, but their style of play has one major factor in common: they both love the deep ball.
Brady ranks second in the NFL with 9.03 yards per attempt, while Winston ranks sixth with 8.00 YPA. NFL’s Next Gen Stats reveal an even closer connection.
Winston leads the league with an average completion of 8.7 yards down the field. Brady ranks second with 8.6 air yards per completion. It’s reasonable, then, that Winston leads the league with an average pass 11.7 yards down the field, with Brady ranking second with 11.2 air yards per attempt.
“[Winston] can throw the ball with people hanging all over him and he can throw it accurately and throw it pretty far, too,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “He stretches the field on you, sideline to sideline, vertical passer, five-thousand yards the last two years offensively, 50 touchdowns. They’ve had a lot of production on offense in two years. Coach Koetter has done a great job with him. He’s done well.”
And what’s even more impressive is that these two quarterbacks also lead the league in the average depth of their throw with regards to the first down marker. Winston throws the ball 3.1 yards beyond the first down marker, the greatest distance in the league, with Brady in second with 2.6. This means that on an average first-and-10, Winston would throw the ball 13.1 yards down the field, while Brady would throw it 12.6 yards.
For reference, Aaron Rodgers throws the football 1.1 yards short of the sticks- he would throw it 8.9 yards on first-and-10. Other quarterbacks that throw the ball short include Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Alex Smith, and Derek Carr.
The Patriots and the Buccaneers also boast two of the worst passing defenses in the league. New England allows opposing quarterbacks to average 324 passing yards per game, the worst mark in the league. Tampa Bay is allowing 316 yards per game, the second-worst mark.
Look for both Brady and Winston to try and push the ball down the field, and don’t be surprised when both defenses allow it to happen.