My distaste for Mock Drafts months in advance of the NFL Draft and/or anything that even resembles “Bracketology” more than two weeks before Selection Sunday should be clear to anyone who reads these things. There is another form of this same sort of silliness that infects the NFL:
Weekly projections starting in October as to who is the MVP.
Since the award is based solely on the regular season, we have reached the point in the season where such projections can begin to be meaningful so articles of that type from here on out are acceptable. All the earlier ones are wasted bits of memory somewhere out there on the Internet.
Another thing that ought not to surprise readers here is that the world is viewed differently here in Curmudgeon Central. I will look at the MVP Award and probably agree that the recipient is deserving and move on. I doubt that the selection – whoever it is – will give me agita. However, recognizing that the MVP is a quarterback about 75% of the time, I often think of it as the MVQB award. And that leads me to look at the world differently and wonder who – in 2016 – might be the LVQB or the Least Valuable Quarterback.
I eliminate from consideration all of the 3rd string QBs who never see the field; obviously, they have no particular value to a team but that does not make for an interesting discussion. That criterion eliminates Tony Romo from consideration here even though he is taking down a large chunk of salary cap room for the Cowboys while contributing nothing so far this year. In my mind, the LVQB is someone who is out there on the field on a regular basis but performs in such a way as to make his teammates and his coaches wish he were somewhere else.
The nominees are – in alphabetical order of the teams they play for:
Cleveland Browns – RG3 and Cody Kessler and Josh McCown as a tandem: Note that I have not included Charlie Whitehurst or Kevin Hogan to this list because neither of them lasted long enough to throw 30 passes in the season. The stats for Browns’ QBs do not really tell the tale for two reasons. First, the team is always behind and has to throw the ball to try – ineffectively – to catch up; and second, the offensive line is so porous that the team has had to start 5 different players at QB this year because of injuries. I will combine stats here except for the QB ratings which I will report separately:
- RG3 QB rating is 58.5; Cody Kessler is 92.6; Josh McCown is 72.3.
- They have thrown 12 TDs and 10 INTs
- They have a completion percentage of 58.5%
- They average 6.7 yards per attempt.
Houston Texans – Brock Osweiler: If the Texans’ Front Office does not have a deep sense of Buyer’s Remorse about now, they are comatose. They signed Osweiler to a 4-year deal worth $72M with $37M guaranteed 10 months ago. Now he is on the bench having put up these sorts of stats for 2016:
- He has a QB rating of 71.4.
- He has thrown 14 TDs and 16 INTs.
- His completion percentage is under 59.6%.
- He averages 5.8 Yards per attempt.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles: I have to admit that I thought the Jaguars were going to be a division winner this year and much of that thought was based on the progress Bortles had made last year as a maturing QB. Let me be polite here and say that train jumped the tracks in 2016:
- He has a QB rating of 75.8
- He has thrown 21 TDs and 16 INTs.
- His completion percentage is 57.8%
- He averages 6.0 yards per attempt.
- Oh, he and his teammates have gotten his coach fired already this year.
Los Angeles Rams – Case Keenum and Jared Goff as a tandem: The Rams gave up a lot of assets to move to the top of last year’s draft to take Goff so Keenum was a “placeholder” from the outset of the season. Goff has played only a couple of games but has certainly not set the world on fire while in there. I will report combined stats here other than the two QB ratings which I will report separately:
- Keenum’s QB rating is 76.4. Goff’s QB rating is 65.7
- They have thrown 13 TDs and 17 INTs
- They have a completion percentage of 58.7%
- They average 6.4 yards per attempt.
- Oh, they and their teammates have gotten the coach fired already this year.
New York Jets – Ryan Fitzpatrick: I presume the Jets’ braintrust recognized that 2015 was an aberrant performance by Fitzpatrick and that is why they did not sign him until the 11th our and 59th minute. He had an excellent year last year and in order to regress to the mean, he is now having an awful year. He was benched for Geno Smith earlier this year which is inglorious to be sure and then he was benched in favor of Bryce Petty which seems to have been a desperation move by the team. Here are Fitzpatrick’s stats for 2016:
- He has a QB rating of 69.1.
- He has thrown 10 TDs and 15 INTs
- His completion percentage is 56.8%
- He averages 6.7 yards per attempt.
San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick as a tandem: When Chip Kelly has to decide which QB to put on the field, it is like he is deciding whether he would rather be hung or shot. In case you forgot, Kaepernick signed a 6-year contract with the Niners for a total of $116M with $61M of it guaranteed back when it appeared that he might become a real NFL QB. I will combine their stats here except for the QB ratings which I will report separately.
- Kaepernick’s QB rating is 86.6. Gabbert’s QB rating is 68.4
- They have thrown 18 TDs and 9 INTs
- Their completion percentage is 56.0%
- They average 6.2 yards per attempt.
Before announcing my selection here – The Committee’s vote was unanimous because it consisted of only one member, me – let me assure folks who may be frustrated with the QB play of their favorite team that I did consider Carson Palmer, Tyrod Taylor, Sam Bradford, Trevor Siemian and the troika of QBs in Chicago for the list of nominees. I can understand how fans of the teams they play for may not be fully satisfied with their performances in 2016, but I put them a clear step above the nominees here.
I understand that “value” in the title of this anti-award ought to imply that the cost to the team receiving these underwhelming performances is part of the calculus. For that reason, I will take the Browns’ tandem and Blake Bortles off the list of nominees first. Next, I will take Ryan Fitzpatrick off the list because his is a short-term deal and the Jets really had no choice when you consider the other three QBs on their roster this summer.
That leaves a short list of three. All of them are worthy. The Curmudgeon Central Committee decision is:
The LA Rams tandem of Case Keenum and Jared Goff.
The Rams gave up two first round picks, two second round picks and two third round picks essentially for the right to take Jared Goff first in the 2016 NFL Draft. These two QBs do not represent a large monetary investment or a salary cap problem for the Rams, but the loss of those picks over last year and this year’s draft are going to have a negative impact on the team for a while down the road. Any prospective new coach needs to assess the talent needs of the team as a whole in light of two “lost draft picks in 2017” along with the potential of either of these QBs to turn into a serious NFL QB before taking the Rams’ job no matter what the salary offer might be.
I realize that the mere consideration of a Least Valuable QB Award at this time of year is out of step with the festive spirit of the season. I do not intend this to be a buzzkill and so let me close with the definition of “buzzkill” from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Buzzkill: Someone who brings up the subject of world hunger during a lap dance.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………