Mike Reilly Sneak Success (2018)

    This was written in 2018.

    In the Most Outstanding Player discussion, one of the factors which needs to be taken into account is Mike Reilly’s rushing touchdowns. He has 13 rushing touchdowns on the year, and all of them have been QB sneaks. How should we value these 13 rushing touchdowns? And should Mike Reilly be the MOP?
    The average sneak was successful (the yardage to go was gained, or a touchdown was scored) 91.2% of the time. By contrast, Mike Reilly was successful on his quarterback sneaks 96.7% of the time, with a 59 sneak sample size, the most in the CFL. Because Reilly accounted for ~16% of sneaks, it makes sense to remove him from the average, where we find the average sneak success with Reilly removed as 90.1%. In fact, Reilly came second in sneak success rate for quarterbacks with double digit sneaks. Pipkin had an 100% success rate, but only snuck 18 times. For reference, here are the top “sneakers” this year.
    So what does this all really mean? How much value can we ascribe to Mike Reilly because of his sneaks? The question really is difficult, as there are a number of confounding factors, including play-call, offensive line, defensive line, etc. Mike Reilly appears to be about 6.5% better than league average on QB sneaks. Given Mike Reilly's volume, a league average quarterback would have about 12 QB sneak touchdowns on the same number of attempts from the goal line. Therefore, though Reilly’s rushing touchdowns jump off the page, he really only gained 1 touchdown over average, and his 12 rushing touchdowns were mostly as a result of volume (he was the QB doing the sneak), instead of his skill (ie, a replacement could come in and do close to the same job, like many other teams do). Moreover, QB sneak success rate could be attributed to the offensive line more than the actual quarterback. Unfortunately, Reilly was the only Eskimos quarterback to sneak the ball, and thus, we cannot compare him to another quarterback behind the same offensive line. 
    To conclude, I believe that Mike Reilly’s rushing touchdowns should be counted in the MOP race, but they should be counted correctly. Reilly gained one touchdown over the average quarterback while sneaking, which should be the measure of his contribution in the “sneak game,” as opposed to being measured by his 13 rushing touchdowns. Reilly’s contributions elsewhere (passing game & rushing yardage on non-qb sneaks) should be weighted more heavily than his QB sneaks. This invites Bo Levi Mitchell and Jeremiah Masoli to the MOP party. Lots of quarterbacks are able to replace Mike Reilly’s sneak production, but not many can match his production in the passing and rushing game.