The Mathlete’s latest post is about interceptions and sacks – more specifically,
… how does a viable pass rush or a ball-hawking secondary affect the performance of the opposing offense on plays where there isn’t a sack or a pick. Likewise, what is the correlation between an offensive line that gives up sacks regularly or a mistake prone quarterback?
His findings will both surprise and not surprise you.
Not surprising, in that defenses that generate sacks and picks are better defenses for it, even on downs where neither occurs. Interestingly, he finds that sacks are more valuable than interceptions.
On offense, though, those items don’t matter as much. As somebody who sat through the second-half debacle of last year’s Kentucky game, it’s kind of hard to wrap my brain around this statement, but there it is:
… Interceptions and sacks will always be bad plays for an offense, but their rate of incidence is not strongly correlated to performance on other downs. In fact, if given the choice between a quarterback who threw a lot of picks the prior year but was generally successful otherwise and a quarterback who was very safe but not all that productive, my guess is you will be better of going for the quarterback with the picks.