Power Ranking: 32 Starting NFL Quarterbacks Heading into Week 4
Power Ranking the 32 Starting NFL Quarterbacks Heading into Week 4
The elite among the NFL's cadre of starting quarterbacks used to be as easy to name as your high school crush, but many have not lived up to their well deserved reputations as being among the very best at what they do after Week 3. Though his team is sitting pretty with a perfect record, Tom Brady hasn't exactly been playing terrific.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is off to a record-setting start. There are also players who were on the verge of being being a bust but are now having breakout seasons that few could have guessed would occur. Then there are those who may be in the throes of a sophomore slump of epic proportions. Least I forget those players who don't fall into any of the aforementioned categories yet are being included on this list for the simple fact they are starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
I will attempt to rank these quarterbacks based upon their relative skill sets, their stats, their passer ratings and wins/losses will be taken into consideration as well. If you think that your favorite starter has been slighted by their positioning, and there's a strong chance you will, there's no need to fret too much.
The NFL is an unforgiving league in that one cannot "fake it" for too long. There are too many eyes upon them for that to happen. The very best will eventually rise to the top and if your player is among that number then you need not worry. They will eventually be vindicated by their play, or indicted by it.
Ricardo Hazell is a freelance writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google.
32. Christian Ponder
You could probably forgive Christian Ponder and his spaghetti arm if he won a few games. But there are many knocks against him aside from his poor passer rating and high number of interceptions. His lacking performance is doubly confusing when you realize he was the most physically imposing running back in the league in Adrian Peterson to hand it off to. Ponder just has not improved one iota since his rookie season. His arm has no zing and he has more interceptions than touchdowns so far this season. That is more atrocious than a hippo's halitosis. Also, Ponder suffered a cracked rib in last week's lost to the Browns and is listed as questionable for Sunday. If he can't go then it's Matt Cassel to the rescue.
31. Chad Henne
Chad Henne was thrust into starting after Jacksonville Jaguar QB Blaine Gabbert was forced out due to injury. Although he had a 92 passer rating in a loss against the Oakland Raiders, he followed that up with a game in which he threw two picks on his way to registering a passer rating of 45.4. against the Seattle Seahawks.
30. Josh Freeman
I don't know what 's going on with this guy. Last year Josh Freeman threw for a career high 4065 yards with 27 touchdowns. Though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to make the playoffs good things seemed to be on the horizon. But this year's small sampling seems indicative of a player who is taking a turn for the worse. Freeman is only completing 45 percent of his passes while throwing more INTs than TDs. There can be no sophomore slump for a five-year veteran. Head coach Greg Schiano may have been thinking the same thing. Freeman was officially benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. Freeman's current passer rating is 59.
29. Brian Hoyer
Has QB Brian Hoyer been chosen by fate to lead the hapless Cleveland Browns on an improbable playoff run? Probably not, but he has already started off with a win and that's more than what the Browns had before he was inserted into the starting line up to spell injured and struggling starter Branden Weedon. Hoyer threw for 321 yards and three scores to go along with his three picks. That was just good enough to beat the Minnesota Vikings. A victory that even Vikings' RB Adrian Peterson's daughter found incomprehensible.
28. Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor has been handed the keys to the Oakland Raiders' offense and has been getting rave reviews from NFL analysts throughout the cable news universe. despite not winning much. Pryor has a 65 percent completion rate, and is sporting an OK-ish passer rating of 87. Pryor, to the surprise of no one, has also been hot-footing it out of the pocket when it collapses and has run for 198 total yards thus far.
27. EJ Manuel
The Buffalo Bills rookie QB out of Florida State University had been something of an enigma right up until the first game of the season versus the New England Patriots where he threw for a rather pedestrian-looking 150 yards but showed true grit in defeat. However, the true wizardry lies in his relatively high completion rate (59 percent) and having only thrown one interception in 108 passing attempts thrown thus far. Throw in his running ability and you realize the Bills, at long last, just might have drafted a keeper.
26. Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer has all the tools needed to be a Pro Bowl quarterback. Strong arm? Check. Feathery touch? Check. Accuracy? Check! So what gives? Palmer has been known to steal defeat from the jaws of victory throughtout his 11-year career and has already thrown four interceptions thus far for the 1-2 Arizona Cardinals
25. Jake Locker
Tennessee Titans' quarterback Jake Locker has led his team to a somewhat surprising 2-1 record. He has done so with his arm, his legs and his brain. Unlike in the years past, Locker is throwing with accuracy and has played to near his potential in each of his three starts this season. He had 10 TDs to 11 INTs last season. Jake has three TDs and no INTs as of Week 3.
24. Geno Smith
Geno Smith has been dealing with the maelstrom of attention that comes with being a professional athlete in the New York media blast radius and has shown some poise in helping the New York Jets get off to a 2-1 start. He has also shown he has a cannon of an arm and is actually more accurate than I would have given him credit for site unseen. Though he's off to a winning start, the specter of an untimely interception looms. He has thrown six interceptions so far this year. That's just too many, whether veteran or rookie. It's a trend that will likely continue the more Smith is asked to be a play maker.
23. Eli Manning
My, how the mighty have fallen. Eli Manning was in the top-five of every quarterback ranking slideshow on the Internet a month ago. Can it be that it was all so simple then? This season has seen Manning sling the ball around more often than perhaps coach Tom Coughlin would have liked thanks in part to an unreliable running game. The results have left a lot to be desired. Things like victories and having more touchdowns than interceptions are things Manning should be focusing on right now. But Eli is a former Super Bowl champion and I am certain he will snap out of his season-long slump soon.
22. Robert Griffin III
Say what you will about Robert Griffin III, the woes of the Washington Redskins cannot wholly be hung on his quarterback play. Griffin has passed for at least 320 yards each game this season and is completing 63 percent of his passes. But people are expecting him to be the very same RG3 who burst upon the scene last season. However, lingering mental and physical effects of his surgically repaired knee no doubt have something to do with it him not being quite the same. But it's not like inserting Kirk Cousins into the line up is going to suddenly change the fortune of the Skins. It looks like Griffin is becoming more confident in his running ability as the season progresses. It may also be time for him get more confident about his winning ability as well after a surprising 0-3 start.
21. Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger is playing really bad. There is just no other way to slice it. There was a time when fans expected Big Ben to pull victories out from his helmet like a magician draws a rabbit from a top hat, but the Pittsburgh Steelers simply do not have the offensive personnel to help him out. It seems like Roethlisberger is forcing more passes than ever before to compensate for a tepid offense, which is reflected in his touchdown to interception ratio. The only reason I have him ranked as high as I do is out of respect.
20. Michael Vick
Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles has shown the ability to excel at all aspects of quarterback play at different points in this young season and appears to be more willing use his legs than last season as well. He has had a 425 yard passing game and a game in which he ran for 99 yards as well. Overall accuracy of 56 percent was greatly affected by the Kansas City Chiefs' vaunted secondary. He completed 60 percent of his passes during outings against the Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers. His current passer rating of 96 percent is the result of the KC connection as well. Vick has also turned the ball over four times this season, three of which were versus the Chiefs.
19. Matt Schaub
Houston Texans' QB Matt Schaub has been turning in his usual work so far this season. His number aren't amazingly good or ridiculously bad. He constantly hovers in that Goldilocks zone of production. Hopefully he can resolve the somewhat uncharacteristic INT problem he has had this season. Despite all that, Schaub has been good enough for wins over the Tennessee Titans and the San Diego Chargers, but not good enough to stave off a rampaging Baltimore Ravens' squad last week.
18. Colin Kaepernick
What a difference three weeks makes! There were San Francisco 49ers fans who were convinced Colin Kaepernick was a shoe-in for NFL MVP after their week one victory over the Green Bay Packers. But blowout losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts have helped bring the aspirations of league-wide dominance back down to Earth for the Bay Area. While Kaepernick must shoulder the bulk of the blame, I'd be remiss if I did not mention virtually all of his top targets are hobbled or out with an injury.
17. Philip Rivers
Despite the San Diego Chargers having only won one of three games this season QB Philip Rivers' numbers have been above average as he currently ranks second in the NFL in TDs with eight and third in the league in completion percentage. Also, Rivers has only thrown one interception.
16. Cam Newton
Cam Newton has finally gotten his Carolina Panthers' a victory and hopefully fans will see more of the Super Newton they witnessed last week instead of the Bizzaro version we saw in the first two games of the season. Killer Cam's play will likely get a positive jolt after he and his Panther brethren dismantled the New York Giants last week. He threw for 223 yards, three touchdowns and one INT during a game that was pivotal for both teams.
15. Sam Bradford
At times, it might be difficult to fathom St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford is currently playing in his fourth NFL season. The road has been rocky but, despite his team's 1-2 record, Bradford has shown signs of being a more consistent quarterback. Although he didn't perform well against the Dallas Cowboys, due to being sacked six times, Bradford might have something of a coming out party versus the short-handed Niners this week.
14. Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco has his Super Bowl ring and a fat contract to help grease the gears of motivation, but he hasn't exactly been setting the world ablaze with his play thus far. However, his team is 2-1 going into Week 4. Joe's current QBR of 48.6 is crap-tacular, but his passer rating isn't quite as crap-tacular. A bad showing against the Buffalo Bills will not bode well for B-more or Flacco.
13. Alex Smith
Lets give it for Alex Smith, shall we? Some might say he is merely a game manager, but can he at least get some love for execution? Those who believe he is simply a bus driver in attempting to diminish his role would be all over him if he were tossing interceptions like salads. A 60 percent completion rate, a passer rating of 92 and zero interceptions on an undefeated team is props worthy. So what he isn't putting up 400 yards per game. He's winning and that is something the Kansas City Chiefs haven't done in a very long time.
12. Andy Dalton
The modest success that Andy Dalton has enjoyed thus far in his NFL career is a bit of a surprise to me. Dalton was pegged as being everything you don't want from your quarterback: weak arm, not athletic, injury-prone and blitz-illiterate. But Dalton has proved everyone wrong with his high completion rate and passer rating. Last week he threw for 235 yards and completed 71 percent of his passes in defeating the Green Bay Packers. The synergy he once shared with WR AJ Green during week one's loss to the Chicago Bears should be revisited ASAP, though.
11. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck's confidence has to be sky-high right about now. The Indianapolis Colts have a winning record and Luck has a slightly used but almost good as new running back in Trent Richardson to hand the ball to Given the success of Luck last season and the recent acquisition of Richardson the Colts might be on a lucky streak that could find them in the midst of divisional dominance.
10. Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill has finally arrived as a legitimate NFL starter. I know he has started in this league in the past, but most people outside of Florida didn't think he deserved to be starting. But all that stinkin' thinkin' has been put to rest with Tannehill having lead the Miami Dolphins to a surprising 3-0 start, with wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns. Tannehill is completing over 66 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdown with two interceptions.
9. Matthew Stafford
Matt Stafford has been the rifleman for the Detroit Lions so far this season as he has been slinging the rock over the field. His 2013 passer rating of 100 is levels better than his career mark of 83. Matt currently ranks fourth in the NFL in TDs (six) and passing yards (1,020). The Lions are 2-1 after defeating the Washington Redskins last week. The upcoming game versus Chicago will be a test of Stafford's metal. The Bears are a tremendous step up over the competition Detroit has faced thus far.
8. Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers has thrown for over 1000 yards in only three games of action and is among the NFL leaders with eight touchdowns. All this while managing to muster a passer rating of 105. Not bad for the starting QB of an under-achieving 1-2 Green Bay Packers team.
7. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan is averaging over 300 yards per game, is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes and is sporting a passer rating of 100. So, why are the Atlanta Falcons having trouble winning games? Some say it's their defense, others say its the run game, but I can tell you one thing it's not and that's Matt Ryan.
6. Tony Romo
Dallas Cowboys' QB Tony Romo has been ballin' on the low. I really don't have to go too deep into the numbers but here's a taste: a stellar passer rating of 104, a 72 percent completion rate and the usually interception prone signal caller has only thrown one pick versus six touchdowns so far this season. He has played well enough for the Cowboys to actually be the best team in the NFL, they are not. But it's not for lack of effort on Tony's part.
5. Jay Cutler
The Chicago Bears are undefeated and QB Jay Cutler has not had a televised sideline meltdown all season and the camaraderie between he and WR Brandon Marshall couldn't be better. If this short three-game sampling is indicative of what Bears' fans can expect out of Cutler for the remaining 13 games then they can start buying their Bears' playoff tickets now. 67 percent completion rate, a 94 passer rating and more touchdowns than interceptions equals positive production for Cutler and company.
4. Tom Brady
The undefeated New England Patriots have been something of a surprise because of their dearth of weapons, and the fact that Tom Brady has been playing less than terrific. A passer rating of 79 and a completion rate of 57 isn't exactly indicative of an undefeated QB but the proof is in the win column. Brady just keeps finding a way to get it done.
3. Russell Wilson
Never mind the fact that Russell Wilson has been the driving force behind an undefeated Seattle Seahawks team. Never mind his stellar 109 passer rating or his 65 percent completion rate. He is out-playing all of his contemporaries and is fast becoming, dare I say it, elite.
2. Drew Brees
Drew Brees has the New Orleans Saints back where they were two years ago except this time he's the beneficiary of a much improved defensive unit. In other words, it's not all on Brees' shoulders. That has to be a relaxing notion because Drew is averaging a little over 340 passing yards a game and is sporting a passer rating of 91.4. The Saints are off to a 3-0 start and everything appears to be right in NOLA.
1. Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is once again the creme-de-la-creme of NFL quarterbacks. The Denver Broncos' signal caller has passed for over 1100 yards, is completing 73 percent of his passes, has thrown for 12 touchdowns and has a passer rating of 134. In-freaking-credible!