Forget NFLN, let's rate the players (quarterbacks edition)

Discuss any and all NFL-related topics and matters of interest here. RATING: PG-13
  • 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.

    Category 1:
    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.
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  • pretty good list...

    I think your #1 category should only have: Brady, Brees, Peyton, and Rodgers.

    I do think it's interesting that you're lower on Stafford than Alex Smith. Also think you may be biased against Andrew Luck, but overall seems like a pretty good list.
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  • NinerBuff wrote:pretty good list...

    I think your #1 category should only have: Brady, Brees, Peyton, and Rodgers.

    I do think it's interesting that you're lower on Stafford than Alex Smith. Also think you may be biased against Andrew Luck, but overall seems like a pretty good list.

    Alex played damn well last year, and is a great short passer. Reid likes the short game. Alex doesn't have many bad games. He is patient. The game where he went 19 for 20 because they were letting him have it is a case study in Alex. Alex is the anti-Stafford. Stafford is simply inefficient.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:
    NinerBuff wrote:pretty good list...

    I think your #1 category should only have: Brady, Brees, Peyton, and Rodgers.

    I do think it's interesting that you're lower on Stafford than Alex Smith. Also think you may be biased against Andrew Luck, but overall seems like a pretty good list.

    Alex played damn well last year, and is a great short passer. Reid likes the short game. Alex doesn't have many bad games. He is patient. The game where he went 19 for 20 because they were letting him have it is a case study in Alex. Alex is the anti-Stafford. Stafford is simply inefficient.


    And I guess you can make the statement that Stafford has never not had an elite WR... AJ Green at Georgia then Calvin Johnson in Detroit... still, I'd prefer Stafford over Alex if I were a GM.
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  • I am going to follow this thread with interest. I think you rate Blaine Gabbert too high but that may the team as you say. Absolutely spot on about Flynn he is in a Jim Plunkett/Archie Manning situation. I hope he survives this season and finds a way to escape Oakland before he gets killed.
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    next man up.
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  • Oh cool, I was wondering when you'd post this.

    You've seen my list, so you know that we almost perfectly agree.

    I liked your take on Luck, my only difference was that I'm not sure Arians really hurt Luck throwing deep so often. Both of his TEs have above average speed and both Wayne and Hilton are very good deep threats, especially Hilton who is almost like a non-bust version of Ricardo Lockette. It's always best to play your team according to the talent you have, and with Luck's great arm, terrific deep accuracy, mobility to extend plays, play action abillity, and four different targets that all rate as "plus" for the deep ball, it was clearly the right thing to do for Luck to go deep as often as he did, especially since he wasn't a run of the mill rookie starter.

    Now, did Arians hurt Luck by making him throw 600+ times? Yeah. But I think that had a bit more to do with their O-line's run blocking and the dumpster heap they call a RB corps.

    I would have Stafford over Dalton. FO actually rated Stafford #7 in DYAR. That's a counting stat so it's a bit biased in Stafford's favor since he threw so many passes, but still, DYAR is kind of a variant of DVOA, which is all about efficiency. Last year was a really tough year for Stafford anyway, so it's a bit unfair to judge his outlook based on a down year. I'm glad you cited Romo's performance against us, it was very good and totally overlooked. Romo played well enough to win in Seattle and that's saying a lot. Stafford's performance against Seattle was like that Romo game on steroids. He was unreal on 3rd and long in that game, and kept making plays right as most QBs would be getting sacked or throwing the ball away. It's just one game, but it's not often you see an average QB play at that level against an elite defense.

    I am very much on the fence about Dalton. He was top 10 in passer rating near mid-season, then he kind of tanked. Jay Cutler was the same story. Dalton really was a foolish draft pick based on what good scouting would have told you at the time, but he's over-achieved so far and is even learning to expand his reads and make better decisions. I didn't watch him closely during his slump but I caught some of his games early in the season and I thought he had made major progress. He's the definition of average statistically, when you combine his good + bad. It's also hard to say which direction his trajectory is going right now, too.

    I get why you compared Stafford to George, it's interesting. I've heard a lot of people use the George comparison for Jay Cutler, probably because they think Cutler is an ass.

    Funny writeup, of course. I won't list them all but you got 6-7 audible chuckles out of me while reading that.
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  • I believe that Peyton, Brady, Rodgers and Brees are in a league of their own. The others are close, but Ryan needs to prove a little more imo. Russell needs a stronger body of work before he gets put up there with the big boys (no pun intended, kinda laughed when I read it again... sorry). Big Ben is overrated imo and I would rather have any of the young guns before him. RG3 - see Russell

    Gabbart I would have with Weeden and Ponder. He hasn't showed much, but hasn't had much to work with either.

    I think all the quality young guns should be grouped together in any order, "somewhat." That list includes Russ, Kaep, Cam, RG3, Luck, Dalton, Dalton. They just have so much more to prove. I'm reaaaaaaaally looking forward to seeing where that whole group is two years from now.
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  • Totally agree on Romo's game in Seattle. Dude was the best player on the field that day.

    I can't wrap my head around your Gabbert take. Even if he was worthy of his draft status, that rookie year ruined him. He's gun shy.
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  • pehawk wrote:Totally agree on Romo's game in Seattle. Dude was the best player on the field that day.

    I can't wrap my head around your Gabbert take. Even if he was worthy of his draft status, that rookie year ruined him. He's gun shy.

    He is my new Grossman. What can I say? I have no defense. And I hated him out of college. I pilloried people who had him ranked high. Maybe I feel sorry for him being on that team? IDK. He threw 9 tds and 6 ints last year, and after that abomination of a rookie season, like Kolb last year I felt moved to rank him a bit higher.
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  • Pretty good list and a really fun read. Good stuff man.

    Huffin' the laughing gas on Gabbert tho. He shows you some serious arm talent and good to great accuracy when he's got the red jersey on. But when the Riddells start popping he turns into a deer in the headlights. Terminal case of pussitis I'm afraid.
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  • SH, I admit it is a big stretch. After Gabby got a haircut, I became a believer.
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  • lol Gabby. Wonder if they call him that in the locker room.

    Edit: i need to bring a little more to the table than that.

    Because the sunk cost is kinda high, because he does have all the prototypical measurables, because he's young, and because he doesn't out and out *suck*, he makes me think Sam Bradford - a guy who sorta hangs around longer than most guys would while the team reorganizes itself.

    I think the new regime in Jacksonville has their act together and they will construct a good football team. I see them leaving gabby in place for 2 maybe 3 years while they build out the lines and install a running game (mojo's best days are behind him).
    RIP Les. We will miss you.
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  • Russell Wilson may or may not win MVP next season, but I feel pretty good about him leading the league in passer rating. If he doesn't, he'll be in the hunt going into the final weeks. That's my expectation. To me, that makes him a no-doubter 1st tier QB. That's not me being a Hawk homer, that's just being a RW homer. I thought he could be a HoFer for the right kind of team before he was drafted.

    Gabbert was a very nice college prospect. His problems are purely mental/experienced based. He also plays in a pretty "meh" division. Indy and Tennesee have bad defenses, and the Texans defense was a bit shaky down the stretch. I barely saw Gabbert play last season, but when I did catch a Jags game he looked like a different guy. Not great, but no longer an abomination. Jacksonville passed on Matt Barkley and Geno Smith multiple times, so I'm guessing they believe in Gabbert enough to give him one more season.

    In fact, they didn't draft a QB at all, though they did pick up Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers in UDFA. Either one could be a threat to push Gabbert, and maybe even take his job down the road if they can stay healthy. But still, that's a pretty big vote of confidence for Gabbert. As is drafting Luke Joekel with your first round pick when you already have a top 10 pick starting at LT. Great protection might be one way to help calm those jitters.

    They also got Denard Robinson and Ace Sanders who are YAC producers. Expect plenty of cheap yardage for Gabbert next season. Jacksonville probably won't be a great offense next year, but it should be fairly easy to run.

    Also, how dumb is it that Jordan Rodgers went undrafted? It's not a stretch to say that he has similarities to his brother on tape, and Aaron Rodgers isn't even an inch taller than his brother. Aaron Rodgers is widely considered the best QB in the game today. When Eli came out in very similar circumstances, he was the #1 overall pick, and the Giants traded a ton to get him. But Rodgers goes undrafted completely, all because he's 6'1". I'm not saying he should have been a 1st rounder, but I'm pretty sure that he would have been taken before Barkley and maybe before Smith if he were an inch taller. Just a hunch. I'd bet on it if I could. The NFL isn't going to learn, are they?
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  • Seems Bradley did though. Give it two years.....the Jacksonville Rams are going to be dangerous.
    43-8...it's all about that action boss....
    next man up.
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  • Jordan Rogers was my sleeper from jump. A good QB hidden in poor school and system.
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  • Oh, and good work, Scotte. Thank you for this. I didn't know the NFL Forum could be used for actual NFL discussion, I always assumed it was for 49er and Seahawks fans to bicker at each other.
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