I have been wondering lately just how Garrett Gilbert compares with recent Texas quaterbacks at similar points in their careers. My sense was that he was not as far along as Simms or Young (and certainly not as advanced as McCoy) at similar stages in their development. But my memory isn't always the best, so I decided to review some of the numbers.
For the sake of argument, I think it is reasonably fair to compare Simms' year 2000 and 2001 seasons, Young's year 2003 and 2004 seasons, McCoy's 2006 season, and Gilbert's 2010 season. Combining 2000 and 2001, Simms' has a similar number of total attempts to what Gilbert had this year. Young wasn't the starting quarterback at the beginning of the 2003 season, but he ended up getting many of the snaps. I am just throwing in his 2004 season for context. (For the purposes of this argument, we are only looking at passing numbers; so I am intentionally ignoring VY's rushing yards.) Here are the results, after the jump:(All data from http://www.sports-reference.com)
Simms 2000-- 117 ATT, 57% comp, 9.1 y/att, 8 TD, 7 INT
Simms 2001 -- 362 ATT, 59% comp, 7.2 y/att, 22 TD, 11 INT
Young 2003 -- 143 ATT, 59% comp, 8.1 y/att, 6 TD, 7 INT
Young 2004 -- 250 ATT, 59% comp, 7.4 y/att, 12 TD, 11 INT
McCoy 2006 -- 318 ATT, 68% comp, 8.1 y/att, 29 TD, 7 INT
Gilbert 2010 -- 441 ATT, 59% comp, 6.2 y/att, 10 TD, 17 INT
McCoy's 2006 was a fantastic season. It just blows everything else out of the water.
Let's look at the other lines. It seems like 59% has been a pretty typical completion percentage for young Texas QB's. Gilbert fits in with this. But what is really worrying about Gilbert's season is the low yards/attempt number. 6.2 yards/attempt is not very good. Compare that with Simms, who at a similar stage in his development was averaging 7.7 yards/attempt (weighted average between 2000 and 2001). Even if we just take Simms' 2001 season on its own, the yards/attempt number is still a lot better than what Gilbert has done. So Gilbert doesn't really stack up all that well.
This isn't entirely fair to Gilbert. He certainly doesn't have the big play receivers that Simms and Young had. Both Simms and Young were throwing to Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson, and Sloan Thomas. Simms also had Hodges Mitchell, who was a solid receiving threat out of the backfield, and Bo Scaife. Young had two NFL tight ends (Scaife and David Thomas). Gilbert also didn't benefit from the running game that Simms or Young had.
So how much should I worry about Gilbert's future?