Fair or not, Jimmy Clausen will be compared to Brady Quinn for as long as he is at Notre Dame due to Brady’s phenomenal success playing QB for the Irish so let’s look at how Jimmy is doing compared to Brady at this point in his career. Below are some stats comparing Jimmy’s freshman season to that of Brady’s in 2003. Since Jimmy has two more starts against some poor defenses, he can build these up a bit, so I will update these again next week and a second time at the end of the season. Still, I think people may be surprised at how favorably Jimmy has performed compared to Brady despite the overall ineptness of the offense this year.
|Brady Quinn (2003)||Jimmy Clausen (2007)|
|0 INT starts||2 (USC, Navy)||3 (MSU, UCLA, AFA)|
|2+ INT starts||4 (Pur, BC, FSU, Syr)||1 (BC)|
|3+ TD starts||1 (AFA)|
|0 TD starts||2 (FSU, BYU)||5 (PSU,.Mich, MSU, UCLA, BC)|
|300+ yard games||1 (BC)|
|<100 yard games||1 (Pitt)||4 (Mich, MSU, UCLA, BC)|
A few stats I think really jump out so here are my observations of these numbers.
- Brady obviously had much more success throwing the ball downfield. He has a big edge over Jimmy in terms of yards, yards/completion, and yard/attempts.
- Jimmy has been better protecting the ball by throwing interceptions at a far lower rate – once every 36.2 attempts vs. Brady’s one per 22.1 attempts – but Brady got the ball in the end zone at better rate once ever 36.9 attempts vs. 42.25 for Jimmy.
- Brady had just 2 starts where he didn’t throw an interception while Jimmy’s got TD-less five times already. Jimmy does have a 3 TD game, however, something Brady never had as a frosh.
- Team rushing statistics and sacks are the two biggest disparities though. Brady was aided by a running game which gained 174.6 yards a game in his starts, while Jimmy’s gotten just 41.5 yards of help from the ground attack this year. Brady also got sacked just 13 times compared to Jimmy’s 27. This can be seen as Brady avoiding the rush better or as Jimmy receiving much worse blocking – the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Obviously these stats don’t paint the whole picture since the two seasons were vastly different for the Irish, but I think they show that despite how poorly this offense has performed as a unit, that Clausen might be performing better than some are giving him credit for. Basically, it shows that he has been smart with the ball but hasn’t been able to get the ball downfield nearly as well as Brady did. It will be interesting to see how these numbers look the next couple weeks.