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Is Andy Dalton an Upgrade for Bears?

April 3, 2021
One of the notable moves on the recent free agent quarterback carousel was the Bears signing of former Bengal and Cowboy Andy Dalton to become the team’s new starting quarterback. He replaces the primary starter for the last four seasons, Mitch Trubisky. As a lifelong Bears fan, when I initially saw the news, I wasn't sure it was an improvement but I wanted to see what the analytics showed.


Over the past four seasons, Dalton and Trubisky have started nearly the same number of games in the time period (49 vs 50). Trubisky has accumulated 118 Total Points*. Dalton has totaled 156. That’s 32% more for Dalton. Seems like a significant improvement, no?

*Read an explanation of how Total Points is calculated here

But when looking at all quarterbacks, there are 44 with 1,000 or more snaps since 2017. Trubisky ranks 41st in Total Points per game started. And despite how much better Dalton seems to be, Dalton only ranks 35th (for reference, the Bears' other quarterback, Nick Foles, ranks 37th).

If you want to rate with the elite quarterbacks in Total Points in that time period, you would need to more than double Trubisky's production. Seven quarterbacks have more than 400 Total Points in that span. Tom Brady leads with 490. Patrick Mahomes ranks second with 475 and leads in Total Points per Start with 10.3.

Improving at QB from 41st to 35th out of 44 is unlikely to make much of a difference for a .500 team like the Bears, who made the playoffs with an 8-8 record in 2020.


Most Total Points Per Start
2017 to 2020

Quarterback Total Pts Per Start
1. Patrick Mahomes 10.3
2. Aaron Rodgers 8.3
3. Andrew Luck 7.7
4. Drew Brees 7.7
5. Justin Herbert 7.7
6. Tom Brady 7.7
35. Andy Dalton 3.2
37. Nick Foles 2.9
41. Mitch Trubisky 2.4

*Minimum 1,000 Snaps

If you're looking for baseball content, check out the SIS blog's previews of the defenses for the AL EastCentral and West, and NL EastCentral, and West



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