The NFL’s worst quarterbacks against every type of coverage

Who failed last season against everything from Cover-0 to Red-2? Doug Farrar reveals the NFL’s worst quarterbacks against every type of coverage.

Complexity of coverage has expanded exponentially throughout the NFL’s history, and specifically in the NFL’s recent history. The days of the Tom Landry “umbrella” base defense are long-gone, though those concepts led the way in pro football for decades. The implementation of the zone defense in the 1960s and 1970s, the acceptance of the slot defender as starter in the early days of the new millennium, spin-offs and iterations of single-high ahd two-deep concepts in recent years, and the addition of match coverage as s staple from the 1990s to now have all expanded the picture regarding what defenses can throw at quarterbacks and their targets.

Just as offenses have never been more diverse and efficiently explosive than they are now, there have never been more different ways to deal with a passing game from a coverage perspective than their are now.

In line with that, we have studied the NFL’s best quarterbacks against every type of coverage…

The NFL’s best quarterbacks against every type of coverage

…and you know how this goes. If there’s a best, there’s got to be a worst. So, here are Touchdown Wire’s worst quarterbacks against every type of pass coverage.

(All metrics courtesy of Sports Info Solutions unless otherwise indicated).

How the Bears can give Justin Fields half a chance in 2022

Justin Fields suffered through the Matt Nagy era as we all did. Here’s how the new-look Bears can get more from their young quarterback.

There are times when rookie quarterbacks enter the NFL, and the entire deck is stacked against them. Some are able to overcome it, and some really aren’t. Bert Jones of the Baltimore Colts threw four touchdowns to 12 interceptions in his rookie season of 1973, became the only rookie quarterback ever to post a negative and went on to become one of the NFL’s most dynamic passers in the later part of the decade — Jones was John Elway before John Elway to a degree. Terry Bradshaw threw six touchdowns to 24 interceptions in his rookie season of 1970, and it took a number of years before he gained Chuck Noll’s trust and became the Hall of Famer he eventually became. And most of us remember Peyton Manning barfing up 28 picks in his rookie season of 1998 before things eventually turned around in a positive direction.

Rookie yips are pretty common. There are other times when quarterback and coaching staff just don’t work well together, and you get some really bad rookie results. Think of Jared Goff’s 2016 season. The first overall pick was saddled with Jeff Fisher’s coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Rob Boras, and Goff produced some of the worst DVOA (-74.8%) and DYAR (-881) numbers in Football Outsiders’ long history. Not that Goff rebounded to become a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but he did manage to dig himself out of quite a canyon when Sean McVay came calling in 2017.

Moving to the case of Justin Fields, who the Bears selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft (trading their 2022 first-round pick to move up to do it), we have another situation in which a rookie quarterback was monumentally ill-served by his coaching staff. Fields had to endure all kinds of garbage about his NFL readiness in the pre-draft process — things that are sadly common for most young Black quarterbacks — when his Ohio State tape told a very different story.

On Black quarterbacks, the desire to be great, and the words we use

Once Fields was past all that, he had to deal with a far more tangible obstacle — the involvement of then-Bears head coach and offensive “play-designer” Matt Nagy. Nagy refused to let Fields play in the preseason with the starters, did all he could to promote Andy Dalton of Fields as the starter, and saddled the rookie with game designs that betrayed a stunning ignorance of Fields’ specific skills.

This would be one example — a bit of research I came across when I was writing this year’s “Best NFL quarterbacks for every type of throw” piece.

Fields showed that he was an adept passer outside the pocket, so Nagy didn’t let him do it. Fields was far better than Dalton when under pressure, and Nagy ignored it. Fields was far more dynamic when given the benefit of play-action, so, of course, he was barely ever given the benefit of it. Fields’ passer rating with pre-snap motion of 96.6 was far higher than his 63.7 passer rating without it, so guess what didn’t happen as often as it should have?

The only time Fields had any opportunity to do what he’s able to do in 2021 was when offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took the reins for a short time… and then, Nagy took them back.

Bears QB Justin Fields shows what can be done with a real play-caller

The Bears have never fired a head coach in-season in a franchise history that goes back to 1920, and Nagy should have been the first.

Now that Nagy is mercifully gone, replaced by former Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (and new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy), it’s time for Fields to be given even half a chance to succeed in the NFL after a season in which he was doomed before he ever walked into Halas Hall.

Not that Getsy needs our advice, but here are a few things he might want to consider.

(All advanced metrics courtesy of Pro Football Focus, Sports Info Solutions, Football Outsiders, and Pro Football Reference unless otherwise indicated).

Bears nearing deal to send Khalil Mack to Chargers

Khalil Mack seems headed for a return trip to the AFC West

The news cycle continues to spin at warp speed for the NFL. This time it involves a defensive star.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday the Chicago Bears are in the process of trying to work out a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers that would send six-time Pro Bowler Khalil Mack back to the AFC.

The Chargers are sending a 2nd rounder and a 6th rounder in 2023 for Mack.

Mack was traded to Chicago by the Oakland Raiders, so now Las Vegas would have the pleasure of seeing him twice a year.

Mack has 76.5 sacks over eight NFL seasons. He reached double digits in his first season in Chicago after three consecutive years with 10-or-more with the Raiders.

Chicago Bears set to hire Matt Eberflus as head coach

The Chicago Bears have zoned in on their next head coach

The Chicago Bears are going from an offensive head coach in Matt Nagy to a defensive leader. Reports Thursday said the NFC North team is going to hire Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their next head coach.


Eberflus has been coaching in the NFL since 2009, where he served as linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns (2009-10) and Dallas Cowboys (2011-17) before becoming the Colts defensive coordinator in 2018. Eberflus interviewed for head coaching jobs with the New York Jets and Houston Texans last year.

Nagy was 34-31 in four seasons. However, 12 of those victories came in his first season.

Nick Foles magical as Bears sink Seahawks on late 2-point conversion

The Bears went for 2 with 1:01 left and came away with a win in frigid Seattle

Matt Nagy wasn’t going to play for any damn tie.

Not when his Chicago Bears had scored 9 straight points in the fourth quarter to climb within one of the Seattle Seahawks with 1:01 left on Sunday.

So, he let the magic man, Nick Foles do his thing, and the former Super Bowl MVP delivered a pass to Damiere Byrd in the back of the end zone and the Bears had a 25-24 victory.

The weather was far more Chicago-like than what is typical for the Northwest and the Bears clawed their way to their fifth victory.

Bad news for Bears’ backers with wicked bad beat

The Bears scored on the last play of the game and that created a bad, bad beat

The Chicago Bears were besieged by COVID-19, players coaches. They still had to play the Minnesota Vikings on Monday at Soldier Field.

Try as the might, the Bears were unable to find the end zone until 60 minutes elapsed in a 17-9 loss to their NFC North foe.

You ask how did they finally find the end zone after time ran out?

On the final play, trailing 17-3, Justin Fields threw a 19-yard pass to Jesper Horsted, the Princeton man.

Amidst some confusion, an official looked to rule Horsted short of the end zone, the referee then announced to all it was called a touchdown on the field.

Great, if you were getting the Bears and seven points as the spread had ballooned thanks to Chicago’s woes. The PAT would get you a push or a 2-point conversion would be the ultimate holiday gift cover.

Sorry, bad news for the Bears’ backers.

Because the touchdown came with 0:00 on the scoreboard, there would be no PAT.

Game over, 17-9. And in a 4-10 season, the Chicago Bears’ faithful took another brutal beat.

No one would blame anyone if they felt like hibernating.

Bears’ David Montgomery with ultimate stretch uniform

David Montgomery’s uniform belongs in the Hall of Fame for staying intact

There used to be the great tearaway jerseys all football fans loved to watch come apart.

Now, the uniforms give and give and give and won’t break.

The image looks Photoshopped but it isn’t. That is part of David Montgomery’s equipment somehow staying intact while stretching for about three yards.

Lions and Bears each try to defer after Thanksgiving coin toss

A bad matchup started off with a bizarre coin toss

Who could blame either of these teams with the way their offenses have played in 2021?

The coin toss for the Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions game turned into a comedy routine.

The 3-7 Bears called the toss and lost — of course. While the players enjoyed some holiday chatting, the 0-9-1 Lions decided they would defer.

The poor official then tried to get the attention of Bears LB Christian Jones, who was having more fun with the Lions’ Alex Anzalone and his blonde locks.

Watch as Jones tells the official he wants to defer, too.

Finally, the official was able to get Jones to focus and make a proper decision.

There is something about the Lions and Thanksgiving coin tosses.

Chicago Bulls fans chant: Fire Nagy

Matt Nagy’s name was chanted at the Pacers-Bulls game and it wasn’t good for the Bears’ coach

You know things are going poorly when the coach who fans want to be fired isn’t the winless one in a Thanksgiving Day game.

Monday night in Chicago, Bulls fans took out their frustrations during a blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers on Bears coach Matt Nagy.

Give a listen as they chant in unison: “Fire Nagy.”

The Bears play the winless Detroit Lions on Thursday and Nagy should be thrilled it is a road game for Chicago.

The chant also took place at a high school football game.

The school principal apologized. Don’t expect the Bulls to make a similar statement.

Overall, Nagy is 31-27 as Bears coach. He won 12 of those games in his rookie season as head coach. The Bears are 3-7 heading into the game with the 0-8-1 Lions.

Bears lose star LB Khalil Mack to season-ending foot surgery

The Bears have lost star LB Khalil Mack for the rest of 2021

The Chicago Bears were hit with a jolt Friday when it was learned star linebacker Khalil Mack is done for the season.

Mack faces foot surgery and that will sideline him for the rest of 2021.

Mack had 6 sacks in 7 games this season.

In other moves, the Bears signed outside linebacker Bruce Irvin to their practice squad, placed linebacker Danny Trevathan on injured reserve and promoted outside linebacker Cassius Marsh from their practice squad to their active roster.