One month ago, I compared Kelly Bryant’s stats against the Missouri starting quarterbacks of lore— specifically the last full season that each quarterback suited up for the Tigers. Back then, when we were so much younger and the future was bright - so bright - and full of promise, KB was on pace to be comparable to James Franklin. Let’s see how he’s shaping up after each quarterback completed eight games.
(I hope I get the formatting fixed on this one. Apologies for the last one, and further apologies if this one gets screwed up as well)
Brad Smith - 2005
Poor Brad Smith really had a helluva senior year. Thanks to the offseason offensive overhaul, Smith was trying to learn a new system to maximize his mobility while a young Chase Daniel was subbing in the first drive of every 2nd quarter. That Iowa State game is where Brad got knocked out and Chase had to swoop in and save the day. I completely erased any memory of that awful kansas game, but WOW— was that a terrible showing for all offenses involved. At this point in the year, Brad had thrown for over 1,500 yards and only 8 touchdowns paired with 10 sacks, 6 interceptions, and only 7.2 yards per attempt. The difference, as usual, was in Brad’s scrambling, where he added nearly 900 yards on the ground in these 8 games.
Much like our previous installment, Bryant is a more prolific passer, but easily less of a threat on the ground. And while the accuracy is within 1.3% percentage points, the yards per attempt is much more in Bryant’s favor, a full 2.1 more yards per attempt.
Chase Daniel - 2008
Again, this is just not a fair comparison. We’ll probably never see the type of production and accuracy that Chase could muster game in and out... even in losses he was completing over 75% of his passes! 8 games in, Daniel was at a 76% (!) completion rate, nearly 2,700 yards, 23 TDs to 6 INTs and 6 sacks at 9.1 yards per attempt.
KB, to put it lightly, is not comparable at any level to Chase and only exceeds his production on the ground (with fewer yards per carry).
Blaine Gabbert - 2010
Ah yes, the 2010 model that I keep comparing this squad to. And, lo and behold, it’s actually pretty comparable from a passing standpoint. Blaine Gabbert had just over 2,000 yards at 8 games in with a 64% completion rate, 12 TDs, 4 INTs, 13 sacks, with a 6.2 yards per attempt. Bryant has a slightly lower completion rate and yards (on fewer attempts, mind you) but more TDs, better yards per attempt, and better ground production compared to the statuesque Gabbert (although Blaine actually had a rushing touchdown to his name by this point).
James Franklin - 2013
I find it incomprehensible (and maybe it’s bad charting data?) that James Franklin was not sacked in the first 8 games of the season. Granted, he missed the back half of the Georgia game and all of the Florida and South Carolina games, but still! Zero sacks! Kelly Bryant did not have the luxury of missing games due to injury (as he’s clearly playing through his), but even given two extra games of production... well, we saw what he did with it. Tanklin has a better completion rate and yards per attempt, while KB has more yards through the air and on the ground with a few more interceptions tossed in. I think we should all appreciate James Franklin more, but that’s a stump speech for the offseason.
Maty Mauk - 2014
Maty, Maty, Maty... at the time I knew he was scattershot, but I didn’t realize it was this bad. That Georgia game in particluar....good lord, man. And South Carolina. And Florida. And Vanderbilt. Looking back, I appreciate the 2014 defense even more given what the offense was putting up.
KB has Maty beat in almost every category except... running the ball? Yeah, I was shocked to see that as well.
Drew Lock - 2018
And, of course, our favorite Denver Bronco had a much cleaner season 8 games in than KB has had so far, with more yards, passing TDs AND rushing TDs, but KB has been more accurate and actually has the exact same yards per attempt.