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The Case for Anthony Brown

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A call for patience and perspective.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When a football team under performs, the criticism is inevitably directed towards two individuals: the head coach and the quarterback. So while Coach Addazio has (rightly) taken the lion’s share of the blame in the wake of a woeful loss at Florida State, there have also been a number of people calling for EJ Perry to replace Anthony Brown.

Hastily benching Brown would be a mistake. While he is prone to inconsistent stretches, Brown is only a sophomore, and he is trending upward in every statistical category from his freshman campaign. He has now attempted just about the same number of passes as last season, and his completion percentage has jumped by 5%, he’s gaining 2.2 more yards per pass attempt, and his touchdown/interception splits have gone from 11/9 to 17/7. In other words, he has progressed, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to do so.

I’m not saying that the Eagles shouldn’t introduce Perry into the offense. Inserting him for one or two drives as a change of pace could be an interesting wrinkle to the existing bland scheme. Additionally, it would provide Perry with some meaningful game experience, should Brown endure another injury or struggle to the point of a benching.

To pin the onus of a disappointing year on the young quarterback is not only irresponsible, but inaccurate. This season Brown is ranked 54th in the NCAA in passing efficiency, which is fairly mediocre. But among underclassman he ranks 14th nationally, and among qualifying ACC QBs, he ranks 4th (min. 200 attempts).

Let’s take a look at how he stacks up against the three most prolific passers in Boston College history. Here’s a breakdown of the first 500-ish* pass attempts of their respective careers:

*Due to game-by-game data limitations, Glenn Foley’s sample size is a bit bigger.

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Player Years Completions Attempts Percentage Yards TD INT Rating
Player Years Completions Attempts Percentage Yards TD INT Rating
Anthony Brown 17-'18 275 506 54.3 3237 28 16 120
Matt Ryan 04-'06 300 506 59.3 3525 19 12 125.45
Glenn Foley 90-'91 335 647 51.8 4411 32 38 113.62
Doug Flutie 81-'82 251 503 49.9 4114 20 26 121.39

As you can see, Brown’s output to this point is more or less on par with the best quarterbacks in school history. This is not to say that he will ascend to the same heights as Flutie or Ryan, it simply illustrates that it is much too soon to rule it out.

Given the opportunity, I believe Brown will go down as a top five BC quarterback. He currently ranks 12th in passing yards, and 9th in TD passes. In fact, he’s already thrown for more career TDs than Matt Hasselbeck, and he’ll likely surpass Tim this weekend. Even if his progression stagnates, by simply doubling his production to this point he would vault into a tie with Ryan for 3rd in all-time TD passes, and 5th in passing yards.

So if you want to blame Steve Addazio for another middling season, be my guest. Go air your grievances from the top of Gasson Hall. But I would urge prudence in regards to Anthony Brown, as his ceiling is yet to be defined.