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Ryan Finley’s debut was underrated, and he will get better

Don’t worry about Ryan Finley.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Connelly’s latest on quarterbacks is a raw examination but also interesting for what might eventually come from it—namely a useful opponent-adjusted metric for comparing quarterbacks across styles of play. For now, there are no schedule adjustments, but the numbers still tell some interesting stories.

Connelly placed each FBS quarterback into a category based on run/pass ratio and graded them on their percentile performance in several categories. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley is in the “statue” category, meaning he’s in the group heavy on passes vs. running plays. There are a number of caveats that can go into the style tiers Bill has established and before airing them, I would go read his article.

While Bill’s numbers still present only a rough interpretation of quarterback performance, in Finley’s case they feel like a reasonable approximation of his 2016 season. He’d grade higher with schedule adjustments, but in raw terms his composite performance last season was in the 75th percentile of all FBS quarterbacks, eighth among FBS QBs in that “statue” category.

That might seem underwhelming, but it shouldn’t—it’s just that we’ve been really spoiled by our quarterbacks for more than 15 years, which can mentally undermine our impression of what Finley accomplished in 2016 as a first-year power-conference starter.

His highest rankings withing the “statue” group come in sack rate (16th) and interception rate (20th). The latter is probably what a quarterback can control the most, and if he keeps up the good decision-making and the OL continues to keep dudes off his back and the receiving corps has a breakout year? I think this season could work out okay.