TBO and I have raved about Thigpen since last year. He was on my fantasy team and did well for a few weeks- even helping the ex-Bear Mark Braldey get some fantasy headway. When the Chiefs got Cassel I thought it was dumb because my Chiefs already had a young good QB- Thigpen. Then when news broke that Thigpen- who for some reason was 3rd on the Chiefs depth chart- got traded to Miami, I thought Miami was getting a steal. But then I looked at Thigpen's numbers from last year.
Tyler Thigpen was 27th in passer rating, 24th in YPG, 29th in YPA, and 30th in completion percentage. For some reason after "watching" Thigpen play I thought he was good, but stats don't lie. So TBO told me to look even further, that I should "trust my eye", and that the Chiefs O-line and receivers were awful last year. So I'm going to do that and compare what he did last to what Miami did last year/ have done so far this year to see how Thigpen will fare in Miami; to see if my instinct before looking up his numbers was right, or if the numbers won't lie.
I think one way to help decipher completion percentage is by looking at Thigpen's wide receivers- and look at their catch rate. A quaterback can make good passes to a reciever, but if that receiver messes up/ doesn't catch the ball, the numbers look bad on the quarterback (see: Jay Cutler, game one this year).
Dwayne Bowe was the Chiefs best reciver last year, and he only caught 55% of his passes- that means he only caught a little over half the passes thrown his way. Mark Bradley was Kansas City's 2nd best receiver- and he was garbage. Besides having negative DVOA and DYAR, he only caught 48% of his passes. However, Thigpen did have the benefit of throwing to Tony Gonzalezx last year- and he caught a darn good 62% of his passes. There are some other wideouts that caught a handful of passes but again, with unimpressive catch rates.
But now let's see how the Dolphins receivers did last year. Davone Bess caught 72% of his passes last year, Greg Camarillo caught 66% of his passes, Ted Ginn caught 66% of his, and TE Anthony Fiasano caught 64% of his.
On the face it, it seems the Miami receivers will only help Thigpen's numbers because they seem to have a better ability to catch balls. However, it wouldn't be a good argument if I didn't look at other factors. As Skip Bayless has argued, the Miami system is one of just dink and dumps, which makes for higher comp %. And Chad Pennington has always been an extremely accurate passer. So the high comp % is probably to a combo on Pennington's accuracy and the west coast offense. But won't Tyler also do dink and dumps as well? Now I'm not quite sure how Thigpen's accuracy truly his given his small sample size, but given the offense he will now play in and the recievers he has, his completion percentage should gratly improve.
Now I think it's also fair to look at the team's offensive lines. No matter how accurate you are, if you're getting bombareded and rushed all the time, no way you're going to complete throws.
Last year Miami had the 12th best pass blocking offensive line. Kansas City has the 21st best. Clearly Pennington has much more time to get off his throws, especially compared to Thigpen. However, in three games, Miami has the 25th best. Si Thigpen is absolutely not coming into the same situation as he was before. However, I think Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano has shown to work his way around a poor offensive live. The dink and dumps and the wild cat formation is designed to take advantage of a poor offenisve live. I actually didn't think Miami's O-line was all that good last year, but Sparano designed plays based off of the QB and RB to show a statistical improvement in his offensive line.
What concerns me most about Thigpen is when I look into his game log. TBO said if you discounted his first couple of games, then his numbers improve. However, they actually don't. In 5 out of his last 7 games, Thigpen has a completion percentage under 55% and never boasted a passer rating above 86. Yes, there was a streak between week 5 and 10 where he threw 5 TDs and no INTS, but in the time where he should have improved (weeks 11-17), he threw 10 TDs but 8 INTs.
However, considering their starter is now out for the year, I'd have to think that Thigpen is Miami's best option, and the pick they gave up probably won't be that high considering the Chiefs don't seem to care about Thigpen. So on that front getting Thigpen will probably be worth it. But how well will he play? And to be honest I can't really tell you based on the evidence I've been given. I assume that Thigpen can dink and dump, but will Miami's receivers make Thigpen better, catch more of his passes and thus improve Thigpen's numbers? Or was it that the Chiefs receivers had a low catch rate because Thigpen wasn't that good? I don't know. My first gut reaction, after actually looking at Thigpen's passing numbers is that Miami is getting a subpar QB that has experience. But who's to say that Thigpen won't improve, or even make the Miami receivers better? There's no evidence to say that he can't? But if you twisted my arm and made me say how Thigpen will do, I'll tell you that he'll Kyle Orton-eqsue- at best.