Michigan’s Denard Robinson: Overrated, Below Average Passer


Denard Robinson

Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson is exciting and fun to watch. But he’s not a “dual threat quarterback.” That term is getting thrown around by the media way too liberally these days. Literally, it means a signal caller that can both pass and run effectively. But the way it’s applied, it really means any QB who’s a great runner.

Technically, both Denard and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez are “single threat” QBs because both are electric runners, but neither can actually pass the ball very well.

So please stop the talk about why Denard’s just a phenomenal, transcendent type player. I’ll go into detail on why he’s extremely substandard as a thrower.

Denard has made some big plays on some deep routes, especially versus Northwestern and Notre Dame, but they were essentially just jump balls where his very big, very tall, very athletic receivers made some plays for him. Almost all his deep throws are just hail marys and his receivers go up and get it. He has no accuracy on the long ball.

Robinson has completed 57% of his throws this season for just over 1,100 yards. He has 10 TDs, 9 INTs. Very average numbers, but he’s actually far below average if you look at it much closer. His numbers are inflated by playing three terrible secondaries that seem to specialize in blown coverages.

First was Notre Dame, “led by” DB Gary Gray, who looked injured in the “under the lights” game. Gray couldn’t jump or catch up to anyone in that one, and was a de facto d-3 level DB.

His next good game came versus the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who really don’t even look like they’re trying this season- that’s how bad they are.

The third “good game” he had was against Northwestern, who’s dead last in the Big Ten in pass defense (97th overall) and 105th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. DBs Ibraheim Campbell and Jeravin Matthews have kind of been a train wreck in 2011.

So take these three games out of his 2011 body of work, and look at how ugly his stats become, And the NU and ND games themselves weren’t even solid overall outings. Denard was terrible in the first half of each. You could say he was the main reason the Wolverines trailed in each of these games.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke was asked about what happened with Denard, why he was two different QBs in that game. And if he suffered a step back as a passer in Evanston. Hoke dodged the question

“I don’t know if I could tell you the difference in the throws except they caught ’em in the first half and we caught ’em in the second half,” Hoke said before talking about how he needed to see the tape and the offensive coordinator needed to talk to Denard about what he saw in those situations, before making any judgments.

When it comes time to make a challenging throw consistently, Denard is about as effective at that task as he is in giving the media interesting soundbites to print.

But hey, he’s still exciting to watch. He’s kind of like Brett Favre- he’ll throw a bunch of interceptions to get your team trailing. Then later throw a bunch of TDs to get them winning again.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He’s appeared on live radio all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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