I think we all know that Kubiak has been able to get a lot out of his QBs, but I think few of us realize just how deep and impressive this accomplishment is. I did some research and looked up the stats of every QB who had started at least 4 games when Kubiak was either the HC, OC or QB Coach, and compared that QBs stats while playing for Kubiak, to the rest of their career. The results astounded me, and I found quite a few interesting bits of trivia along the way. It is incredible how Kubiak was able to elevate the play of so many different QBs, from the all-time greats (Elway, Steve Young), to the talented underachievers (Plummer), to the career backups (Frerotte, Brister, Rosenfels), to the first round busts (Carr), to the stagnated Veterans (Flacco), to the downright awful (TJ Yates), and everything in between.
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The only two QBs who didn’t play better under Kubiak were Beuerlein and Manning, who were both at the very end of their careers and in physical decline. Removing those two outliers, QBs averaged 11 point higher passer ratings under Kubiak. That’s the difference between Peyton Manning’s career passer rating, and Jay Cutler’s. Or between Jay Cutler’s, and Mark Sanchez’s. Additionally, approximately 10 of the 15 QBs who played for Kubiak had their “career year” under him.
A few of the accomplishments worth pointing out or remembering:
- In Kubiak’s first year in the NFL, Kubiak was Steve Young’s QB coach. Young set the record for the single season passer rating on the way to his only super bowl victory (or appearance) as a starter. The record would stand for 10 years until Manning would break it
- Although likely having more to do with Dan Reeves than anything else, Elway posted his worst season (sans his rookie campaign) the first year Kubiak was not his backup. Broncos fans know the success Elway put up with Kubiak from 95-98, including two Lombardi trophies.
- In Griese’s second year as a starter, he went 7-3 and lead the league with a passer rating of 103 before injuring his shoulder and missing most of the rest of the year.
- Bubby Brister Gus Frerotte, and Steve Beuerlein were able to fill in to varying degrees when called upon during the 1998, 2000, and 2003 seasons, and helped the team clinch playoff births all three years.
- Jake Plummer posted only one season with a QB Rating above 75 without Kubiak. With Kubiak, he was never had a rating below 84. Plummer imploded in 2006 after Kubiak left, and has talked about the affect Kubiak leaving had on him
- Most forget that David Carr started Kubiak’s first year in Hou, put up some of his best numbers, and lead the league in completion percentage.
- In 2011, Houston was 7-3 when Schaub (who was having a career year) was lost for the season due to injury. Kubiak was able to will TJ Yates and Matt Leinart to a 3-3 record for the teams’ first ever playoff birth. Yates was even able to beat the Bengals in the Wildcard Round.
- In the 4 years since Flacco signed his monster deal, he has had only one winning season, and only one season with a passer rating above 83. Both came under Kubiak in 2014. Ravens fans were quite sad when Kubiak left
- Osweiler put up significantly better numbers here in 2015 than he has in Houston, despite having to face NE, Pit and Cincinnati
- 5 of Kubiak’s 8 most recent trips to the playoffs required significant play from backup QBs (1998, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2015). You can only wonder what results could have been accomplished in some of those years if it weren’t for injuries to the QB positions. Two other years (2001 and 2016) saw teams barely miss the playoffs despite injuries to the starting QBs.
- Despite his physical limitations, Manning was able to earn only his 2nd super bowl ring under Kubiak.
- As I’ve discussed earlier, this year Kubiak and staff got some of the most production ever out of a young, late round QB. Time will tell what the future holds
Thank You Gary Kubiak