Before I disappeared for three weeks in Eastern Europe, I said that putting a single NFL team in London was not a great idea and that expansion of the NFL to accommodate international expansion was probably a worse idea. My reason was that there is not enough quality quarterback talent to go around as it is.
A reader sent an e-mail suggesting that I do an analysis of the mediocre quarterbacks in the NFL and I agreed that was a good idea but that I did not have time to do it while preparing to go on vacation. Now that I am back, I have run out of excuses…
In order to do this, I have to separate the starting QBs into categories and so I have put them into five categories sort of in the shape of a bell curve. The categories are:
The Top 4 – or – The Elite
The Next 7 – or – The Really Good QBs
The Great Unwashed 10 In The Middle – or – The Good
The Lower 7 – or – The Bad
The Bottom 4 – or – The Ugly.
As I was doing the allocations here, I immediately recognized that there will be arguments about where I put certain QBs. However, I don’t think there will be any cases where someone will think I was off by two categories. So here is the distribution in alphabetical order in each category:
The Elite: Brady, Luck, P. Manning, Rodgers. Some might want to suggest that Peyton Manning is on the downside of his career at this point and/or that Andrew Luck has not won anything yet. Fine… I still think all four of these QBs belong in this category
The Really Good QBs: Brees, E.Manning, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Romo, Ryan, Stafford. Some might object to putting Ryan or E. Manning in this category at the expense of Flacco or Palmer. Fine… My objective here is to get to bottom two categories to check out the mediocrity levels there.
The Good: Bradford, Carr, Cutler, Dalton, Flacco, Foles, Newton, Tannehill, Palmer, Wilson. I can sense the unrest boiling up in the readership already. I just put Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco (Super Bowl winners both)in the same category with Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton; yes, I did. More interestingly to me is that I put Nick Foles and Sam Bradford in the same category and they were traded one for another in the offseason.
The Bad: Bridgewater, Cassel, Griffin III, Kaepernick, Mariotta, Smith, Winston. I had to put Winston and Mariotta somewhere and since most rookies struggle a bit I figured to put them here. The Bucs and the Titans have to hope that they will not be in this category should anyone think to do this again next season. However, with regard to the others in the category:
Bridgewater showed improvement late last year but let us not mistake his performance with the stuff of legends.
Cassel has been in the NFL for 10 seasons and has had 2 good years (2008 and 2010). This year he battling EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor for the starting QB job; any QB in the NFL who is a “certified journeyman” would be the hands-down starter over either of those other guys.
RG3 had a great rookie year and has stunk in spades ever since. Because of that rookie year, I put him one notch above the abysmal QBs for this year – but one more season like the last two and he will go to the back of the class.
Kaepernick regressed last year along with the rest of the Niners’ team. Maybe he belongs one category higher here but I do not know who to “demote” from the list above to accommodate him there.
Smith is a game manager and not much more.
The Ugly: Bortles, Hoyer/Mallett, McCown, Smith/Fitzpatrick. The Texans are trying to decide between Hoyer and Mallett as their starter; for me, this is a coin flip that does not turn out well for the fans in Houston. The Jets will have to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick until Geno Smith’s jaw heals but the fact of the matter is that neither one is very good.
Bortles has all the physical tools but here are last season’s results. His QB Rating (flawed as that yardstick is) was 69.5. To give you an idea who else is at that rating level, let me point you to Kordell Stewart. Ka-beesh?
McCown will start his 13th season in the NFL in September; he has averaged fewer than 4 starts per season in his career. Last year in 11 starts, his team was 1-10.
The 11 QBs in the bottom two categories here are not great QBs who suffer only by comparison to the elite ones at the top of the scale. They are a pretty mediocre lot and it makes my point that if the NFL expanded to 36 teams (the next logical number for the league) there would have to be even more mediocrity starting under center in the future. Is that what you really want to see? I don’t.
Finally, to lighten the mood here a bit, here is an observation on the MLB All-Star Game from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Pete Rose was in the Fox broadcast booth for the All-Star Game. He was very informative. I had no idea that the underdog covers the spread 32 percent of the time in All-Star Games.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………