The 10 Worst Red Zone Quarterbacks of 2015

Nick Foles had a rough season, but was he the worst passer in the red zone this year?

Earlier in the week, we looked at the best red zone quarterbacks of 2015. But, as we all know, there's another side to this -- there are quarterbacks who rode the struggle bus when they hit their opponents' 20-yard line.

Similar to the other piece, we'll be using our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric to help show how well these passers perform in the red zone. NEP, in essence, looks at each down-and-distance situation on a football field and shows, depending on how a player performs, how that player did versus expectation. Why, after all, should a 15-yard gain mean the same on 3rd-and-14 as it does on 3rd-and-20? One picks up a first down, while the other results in a punt or a field goal.

You can read more about NEP in our glossary.

Here's a list of the worst red zone passers of 2015 (minimum 20 attempts), ranked by Passing NEP per drop back.

Name Passing NEP Per Drop Back Success Rate
Jay Cutler -12.68 -0.16 36.25%
Sam Bradford -9.33 -0.16 36.84%
Eli Manning -17.49 -0.18 39.58%
Tyrod Taylor -7.72 -0.21 24.32%
Teddy Bridgewater -12.57 -0.23 23.64%
Matt Hasselbeck -10.27 -0.26 38.46%
Matt Cassel -8.27 -0.34 20.83%
Johnny Manziel -14.12 -0.35 25.00%
Nick Foles -13.33 -0.39 23.53%
Colin Kaepernick -18.15 -0.41 22.73%

Really, there are few surprises here. The two worst quarterbacks in the red zone within our Passing NEP per drop back metric were Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick, and both passers lost their starting gigs at some point during the season. Johnny Manziel (Billy?), Matt Cassel and Matt Hasselbeck wrap up the bottom five -- none of them began the year as starters. In other words, they weren't really supposed to be highly efficient quarterbacks.

When looking at this list, the most surprising name has to be Eli Manning. How in the world did he finish with a -0.18 Passing NEP per drop back -- the average this season in the NFL was 0.15 -- when he's throwing passes to Odell Beckham

Well, a quick answer to that is turnovers. No quarterback threw as many red zone interceptions in 2015 as Manning, who tossed five. If you look at his Success Rate -- which measures the percentage of positive plays made by that passer -- you can see that it's the highest among the group. What this tells us is that, despite a low Passing NEP per drop back rate, big plays were kind of skewing his results. Those big plays, obviously, were interceptions.

There were 37 quarterbacks who threw 20 or more red zone passes in 2015. Eli's Success Rate actually ranked above average at 17.