The NFLN top 100 sucked. That said, I don't know how to say that players at the top of their game and playing in schemes that limit or maximize talents are better than each other. Doesn't mean we can't figure out what we think that talent level is.
I think it is impossible to say who is better than who is a standard ranking format, so I will rate QBs in tiers. None above the other, just levels of excellence or suck. Here they are. I am no QB guru, so pick at my decisions as you see fit. Put in your own ratings. Or rank them in order of greatness if that is what you like to do. Have at it!
Below are my 5 categories of QB.
1. QBs who you only hope to contain.
2. Damn good, but sometimes they just suck (also known as the Mudbone group).
3. Replacement level QBs.
4. Kinda sucky, but every once in a while...
5. Mark Sanchez. Yeah, it is a level of QB. It's above the Tebow level, only barely.
Tom Brady. Seattle held him to just 422 yards. Yeah, I know! But he only turned that 422 in 23 points. And it took him a game record number of attempts. And he got picked off a couple of times. But really, when you face Tom, you just hope to get a couple of key stops. I suspect even now, when he is losing all the guys he did well with last year, he will throw for 4000 yards.
Drew Brees. He gives Russell Wilson fans hope that someday Dangeruss will throw for 5000 yards in a season. He is a genius at using his weapons, making line calls, and has a work ethic second to none. Seriously Wilson fans, the stories we hear about Russell's work ethic are yawntastic to Saints fans.
Aaron Rodgers. The human JUGS machine is really good. He might have gotten a running game this year. Look out.
Russell Wilson. Haters, shut up. List a bad game he had the last half of 2012...
Still Waiting. If you are a yards per game geek, you will hate Wilson. This is not homer shit. The guy smoked the at the time best pass D in the league, the Bears, on the road. He threw 4 on the Niners. Russell is truth, and if a defense has the talent to take away our run game, I have full confidence Wilson can carry the team. Ethic, talent, brains, and drive. He will hoist a Lombardi.
Peyton Manning. Manning is the offense wherever he goes. Last year his weak arm was a problem early on, but he made the adjustments to his game. That is a hell of an accomplishment.
Matt Ryan. He trusts his weapons, and is clutch. He got done dirty at the end of the NFCCG, otherwise he might have made a SB.
Ben Roethlisberger. This guy and Eli will be the most controversial in this tier, but Ben can carry a team. Ends just bounce off him, and his sandlot style is fun to watch and has to make DBs cry as they try to cover for 5 seconds. Last year he was beat up and still was quite good, this year he is reported to be as healthy as ever.
RGIII. System guy. Stacked reads. Great run game helped him. And so what. His deep ball is a thing of beauty, and he makes DCs wake up with the cold sweats. I honestly feel sorry for him that he has to play on that abomination of a field with that rat face of a coach, but damn if RGIII isn't one of the 5 most exciting players in the league.
Category 2: Guys who are damn good, but sometimes just suck.
Colin Kaepernick. I want to rate him a level higher and a level lower at the same time. Niner fans will pinch a loaf just reading this, but I am on solid ground here. Colin's red zone passing sucks, he turns into a much worse passer if his feet aren't set in the pocket, and his play action is first read or nothing. But Drop Colin back and let him keep his eyes on the D the whole time and he is pretty damn good. And his running will give a DC the cold sweats. He nearly singlehandedly pulled out a terrible passing game vs the Rams with a long run. If he can eliminate this just awful games that he had a couple of last year, and distribute the ball more evenly, he will move up. Also, Colin is a fumbler.
Eli Manning. Yeah, he throws a couple of stinkers in there every year, and throws too many picks. But when he is in the playoffs he turns into money. Like Colin, I want to put him higher, but can't. The playoff success is hard to discount, but the pure number of interceptions and sub 60% completions say something too. There is one thing I do love about Eli, he flat out trusts his playmakers and is willing to challenge them.
Tony Romo. Mr Anti-Clutch plays like his ass is on fire, but trying to do too much gets him in trouble. The game he had in Seattle was one of the best 7 point performances I have ever seen. Don't laugh, just watch the game and see how he throws dimes from some of the strangest arm and body angles while Seattle can't quite put hands on him. He was let down by a soft team with a soft coach that day. And at the end of the game he tried to do too much, because, well, Tony Romo. A story that unfolds too many times for him to be higher.
Joe Flacco. He won a SB. Looked great in the playoffs. Got PAID. And I think he makes his team worse a few games a year.
Flacco is a deep to short reader, and his deep ball is beautiful. There are holes. Flacco is actually a bit worse when his team has the lead, and he completes less than 40% of his passes to the far left side. He has good tight ends but struggles to throw to the short middle of the field. I would love having Pitta and Dickson in Seattle, and I think Flacco could be tons better at using them.
Andy Dalton. I struggled with this one, but I think Andy will post the numbers to support it, even if his arm seems grossly inadequate. He has the weapons, and seems smart enough to use them correctly. I don't think 30 touchdowns is out of reach for him. He can be rattled and don't let Cicny fans lie to you, the weak arm is a problem. He simply struggles with deep outs and is a below average QB when the Bengals get behind.
Alex Smith. Alex plays the position with no ego, and his numbers were crazy good because of it. However, he is the Anti-Eli-Romo, he does not trust his playmakers. Look at his numbers for the last 3 games he played, it is simply stunning he lost his job, at least until you watch the games. He lost his job because Colin is a playmaker, and trusts his playmakers, at least between the twenties.
It feels like Andy Reid/Alex Smith is a marriage made in heaven. Reid will invent a ton of ways for Alex to complete short passes, and Alex doesn't have the ego to do other than what Reid wants. But Alex still has to conquer his own red zone issues.
Category 3:Ho Hum. Replacement level.
Matt Stafford. How does a 5000 yard passer become replacement level? 20 touchdowns, that's how. A touchdown pass every 250 yards is astoundingly inefficient. And Stafford turned that into a payday. The new NFL, secure your prototype big guy QB, then scramble to assemble the rest of your team. Matt Stafford is one of the worst QBs in the league when playing with a lead. WTH? How did he get paid? Pete tried to gameplan Stafford the right way last year, and it blew up in Seattle's face, but the numbers say Pete was right to do it the way we did. Stafford is the new Jeff George.
Carson Palmer. The arm isn't there. It's that simple. He will win some games, Arizona has a few playmakers, but Carson cannot carry a team and Arians will try and chuck it all over the place, it is his nature (see his stints in Indy, Pitty).
Andrew Luck. The media slobber is easy to explain, they anointed him 4 years ago in college and nobody will admit they were even slightly wrong. However, I expect him to be good QB over the next couple of years for one reason, he has clutch capability. Arians did him an extreme disservice making him throw north of 600 attempts last year. Don't buy the awful team excuses from his acolytes, Indy has playmakers at TE and WR. Luck is a smart guy, and will adapt, and given a OC who doesn't pretend Ben Roethlisberger is behind center might actually thrive. But the actual performance last year was not good at all.
Cam Newton. I have a hard time with Cam, because he makes DC's lose sleep. However, he makes his own coaches lose sleep too, so the lack of Z's kind of offsets. Put him against a cover 2 type D and watch him kill it. Put him against a team with lateral speed and above average size and watch him stink. I feel like his weapons are better than his results, and I feel if he was actually a student of the game he would be way better. Less super man, more Clark Kent and he would be one of the 5 best in the league.
Josh Freeman. Another enigma. Plays poorly with a lead because he struggles with play action. Josh can carry a team to victory one week and sink his team the next. He doesn't have the confidence of his staff, which can only be a result of him not being the leader they want, as the actual player is both prototype and decent result.
Matt Schaub. Everything about Schaub feels average. He should be posting silly play action numbers with that run game, but he isn't. And if they get behind, the Texans are kinda screwed. See: New England game.
Jay Cutler. Where do you start? And why do I think Trestman will make Cutty look really good this year?
Cutty lacked weapons, it's Brandon and nothing else. They solidified the line, got more playmakers, and took away any of Jay's excuses to fail. Contract year. Look out. But last year? Sub 60%, under 20 TDs.
Philip Rivers. Philip used to use the middle of the field better than almost anyone, but a loss of weapons and what looks to me like some kind of loss of arm strength has really hurt him. also, Philip is a fumble per game guy. Don't be fooled by the high percentage.
Mike Vick. the athletic skills are diminished as he ages and what is left is not much. A fumbler who struggles with play action and needs a great offensive line. Will Kelly revitalize Vick? Maybe. I fell pretty good saying Vick won't keep his job this year, injury or no.
Kevin Kolb. Don't look now, but the guy labeled soft last year quietly put up good numbers behind a terrible line last year, and he is about to hand off to CJ Spiller. I don't think he will make it easy for some over drafted rookie to take his job.
Sam Bradford. This is probably too high. Simply not a playmaker, but he is going to be an albatross in STL. Can he be adequate? That feels like his ceiling.
Blaine Gabbert. Quietly, this guy is winning me over. That team is awful, so look for great numbers from him right after you take your crazy pills. But something feels right about him after his awful rookie season that he never should have played in.
Ryan Tannehill. I crushed on him at A&M, however watching a dozen of his games cured that last year. He is just a guy who can be schemed. He has a bit of TJ TJ TJ to his game. All the parts look right, but the sum is less than it should be. They got him a great sandlot WR in free agency, but I don't think Tanny is a great play extender. We will see.
Level 4: Kinda sucky, but every once in a while...
Jake Locker. Mental toughness meet glass jaw. And it sounds like there will be some read option for him this year. Will he survive the Seattle game?
Christian Ponder. How do you play as badly as Ponder when AP is running loose? Noodle arm and what the hell was he thinking all in one package.
Brandon Weeden. Weeden is a hashmark thrower and little else. To his credit, he may have been miscast as a precision west coast offense guy. With that running game, there will be little slack given him for what I expect to be a difficult season.
Level 5. Yuck.
Mark Sanchez. a bunch of picks and fumbles. Mark Sanchez may not even be the day 1 starter, but the sad part is he might be better than the rook they drafted to take his job. He is being undercut and eroded by that staff daily, so maybe team politics will leave him with a clipboard. If so, pencil Geno in here too.
Matt Flynn. Flynn is screwed in Oakland. He is a sacrificial lamb, and if he lasts the season or even beats out Wilson (oh, the irony) for the opening day job it might be as good as it gets for him.