Quarterbacks who got the most help in 2023: The players aided by pass protection, receiving corps, scheme and more

2WFEC5D San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws during the NFC Championship NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Philadelphia Eagles pace the NFL in pass blocking: The Eagles led the league in pass-blocking grade in 2023, paving the way for their run to a playoff berth.

San Francisco 49ers stand alone at the top of PFF receiving grade: The 49ers totaled four players who saw 100 or more targets in the regular season and playoffs. All four earned an 85.0-plus PFF receiving grade. 

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The topic of which quarterbacks get the most help gets discussed throughout the NFL. Recently, it was a huge part of the discourse around whether or not Brock Purdy was a deserving MVP candidate for much of the 2023 season.

As we did last year, we’re looking at which quarterbacks benefited from the best scheme and supporting cast by looking at six key categories.

Pass Protection: Highest team pass-blocking grades in 2023

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: 77.0
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 74.5
  3. Minnesota Vikings: 74.4
  4. Atlanta Falcons: 74.2
  5. Denver Broncos: 72.7

Of the Eagles' primary five starting offensive linemen, right guard Cam Jurgens was the only player to earn a PFF pass-blocking grade lower than 70.0. Both starting tackles, Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson, recorded 80.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades. 

The New York Giants posted the lowest PFF pass-blocking grade in the league, coming in at just 43.4.

Receiving Corps: Highest receiving grades in 2023

  1. San Francisco 49ers: 91.0
  2. Miami Dolphins: 85.7
  3. Detroit Lions: 85.1
  4. Houston Texans: 81.3
  5. Dallas Cowboys: 81.2

The 49ers totaled four players who saw 100 or more targets in the regular season and playoffs. All four earned an 85.0-plus PFF receiving grade. 

At the opposite end of the scale, the New York Giants (62.3) and New York Jets (63.0) were the two lowest-graded teams in the league in terms of PFF receiving grade.

Open Receivers: Passing snaps with three or more open receivers in 2023 regular season

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: 228
  2. Baltimore Ravens: 195
  3. Arizona Cardinals: 186
  4. Buffalo Bills: 185
  5. Houston Texans: 178

Despite their issues at the wide receiver position over the first half of the year, the Chiefs were still far better than any other team in football at getting pass-catchers open. Their 228 snaps with three or more receivers open in the regular season was 143 more than the Tennessee Titans in last place.

In their first season with Todd Monken as offensive coordinator, the Ravens ranked second, as they ranked just 24th in 2022. 

Screens: Expected points added (EPA) per play on screen passes in 2023

  1. San Francisco 49ers: 0.357
  2. Dallas Cowboys: 0.107
  3. Green Bay Packers: 0.106
  4. Atlanta Falcons: 0.100
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 0.084

With an EPA per play average more than three times higher than the next-best team, the 49ers screen game was in a class all by itself. Including playoffs, they picked up 517 receiving yards and five passing touchdowns on screens.

The Kansas City Chiefs called 32 more screens than anyone else in the NFL — 135 including the playoffs — while the New York Giants‘ 43 was 13 fewer than anyone else. 

Run-Pass Option (RPO): Expected points added (EPA) per play on RPO passes in 2023

  1. San Francisco 49ers: 0.498
  2. Buffalo Bills: 0.405
  3. Denver Broncos: 0.332
  4. Seattle Seahawks: 0.266
  5. Los Angeles Rams: 0.260

The 49ers generated a positive EPA on a whopping 88.2% of their RPO passes in 2023 including the playoffs. Their quarterbacks went 15-for-16 for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception from 17 dropbacks.

The Philadelphia Eagles recorded more EPA dropbacks than any other team in the league, but they averaged -0.272 EPA per play on those 75 dropbacks.

Play-Action: Expected points added (EPA) per play on play-action passes in 2023

  1. San Francisco 49ers: 0.416
  2. Buffalo Bills: 0.328
  3. New Orleans Saints: 0.281
  4. Detroit Lions: 0.280
  5. Baltimore Ravens: 0.264

The 49ers once again led the way here, far outpacing any other team in the league. Their quarterbacks went 104-for-140 for 1,348 yards with 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions including the playoffs last year.


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