Posted by Danny Goldin on April 30, 2010
If you missed Part 1 of this column, check it out right here.
I already concluded that Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are the consensus top-3 quarterbacks in the league, but who is No. 4? Again, I’ll be basing my decision on who I’d like under center for my team in 2010.
I’ll throw a few names out of contention right off the bat. Jay Cutler might have the necessary skill set but is just too inconsistent, sorry Bears fans. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both have bright futures, but simply aren’t there yet. Carson Palmer was excellent in 2005 and 2006 but hasn’t been nearly the same quarterback since. While all of those guys have fine potential, you’re honestly taking crazy pills if you think that any of them are No. 4.
Matt Schaub was excellent last year, but he did have more than twice as many interceptions as Rodgers. It also took him until 28 years of age to get through his first season at full health, needless to say that durability remains a concern.
Donovan McNabb has had a fine career but is undeniably past his prime. He’s never once passed for 4,000 yards and isn’t very mobile anymore (Rodgers is certainly a better runner at this point). If you look at the numbers, he’s actually only had one season (2004) that was better than either of Rodgers’ past two seasons, and you could even argue that 09 Rodgers was better than 04 McNabb, or at least just as good.
Kurt Warner would be in the argument if he was back, but alas, he’ll be spending all his time at Home Depot with his annoying wife Brenda.
I’m going to bunch Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger together. Yes, I’m aware they’ve each won a Super Bowl (and in Big Ben’s case, two of them) but the fact of the matter is that they just aren’t that good. They’re good, just not that good. Manning really never had an above average statistical season until this past year, and even then, he wasn’t anything special after the first five weeks of the season. His team went 3-8, largely because he threw over one interception per game.
Onto Ben. First off, I’d like to kill the notion that he should be considered better than every other quarterback outside the top-3 due to the fact that he’s won multiple Super Bowls. Why am I going to kill that notion? Ben went 9-of-21 for 123 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in his first Super Bowl win. Needless to say, they didn’t win that game because of him. If they didn’t win because of him, I’m not going to increase his rank because of it. Other than that, everything about his numbers shows a good, but simply not great, quarterback. Oh yeah, and I also hear that he’s kind of shady.
With all those names out the door, there are really just four candidates in my mind: Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, our boy Aaron Rodgers, and — funny how his name always finds a way to come up — Brent Favre. First, let’s look Romo. Sure, the man always tends to put up gaudy regular season stats, but would you trust him to hold your kick — let alone quarterback your team — in the playoffs? I know he won his first playoff game this past season, but I still think he’s pretty darn soft. There’s that, and then there’s the fact that he’s not even with Jessica Simpson anymore. Based on TMZ’s latest findings, Rodgers probably has Romo beat in the lady department, as well as the playing field. Rivers is legit, but his playoff resume has also seen mixed results. He’s now had four full seasons as a starter, most of them surrounded by excellent talent, and you kind of get the feeling that he’s topped out. Don’t get me wrong, most teams would happily take the level of play he’s displayed the last few years, but I just don’t see reason to believe he’ll ever be any better. Also, he’s kind of a d-bag.
That brings us down to two. Let’s be real here, and much as we love to hate, hate, hate on Brent… the man can toss a pigskin. Doing what he did at 40 years of age last year was pretty remarkable, but the reason why I’m extremely hesitant to announce him as the fourth best quarterback in the NFL is just that: he really is too old. According to a recent report, the reason Brent remains undecided on whether or not he’ll be back next season has to do with the fact that his ankle is still bothering him from the beating he took in the NFC Championship game. That’s what old people do, they die… and take really long to heal from injuries. We all know the real reason Brent remains undecided is because he doesn’t want to go through training camp, but his age is a major concern why I wouldn’t rank him over…
Aaron Rodgers! That’s right, I’ll say it with confidence. Rodgers is the fourth best quarterback in the league. His numbers have been as good, if not better, than anyone else’s the past two seasons, which just so happen to be his only two as a starter (take it for what it’s worth, but he actually had the most fantasy points, using a standard scoring system, of any player in the entire NFL this past season). He’s excelled under immense pressure, and while he may be 0-1 in the playoffs, don’t blame that on him. Seriously, don’t do it; he threw for four touchdowns and over 400 yards with a rushing touchdown to boot, in case you forgot. At 26, Rodgers is the youngest of all the legitimate candidates, which gives us plenty of reason to believe we haven’t yet since his peak. As long as the Packers’ line plays better next season and allows Rodgers to not be running for his life half the time, I see even bigger things for him in 2010. A possible jump into the top-3? We’ll have to wait and see. But for now, fourth best quarterback in the universe isn’t half bad.
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