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Friday, November 07, 2008
Rating the Quarterbacks, 2008

We're about halfway through the season, so we can look at the passing stats year to date and break the passers into three groups:

The Studs:

1. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals. Warner has a passer rating of 104.2, second only to Philip Rivers. My choice for MVP thus far.

2. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers. A fine player having his best season so far despite the struggles of his team.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints. Ditto.

4. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys. His team's miserable performance without him shows what an excellent find he has been for big D.

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. Quietly having a super season after being the forgotten man in the Brett Favre circus, Rodgers has 13 TD passes and only 5 interceptions.

6. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins. Shunted out of New York in favor of Favre, Pennington has already led the fish to three more wins than they had in all of 2007.

7. Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins. Campbell has shown progress every year he's been in the league and appears poised to move into the elite category. Has thrown just two interceptions in 273 attempts.

8. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles. Consistently excellent player.

Second Tier:

9. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos. Another player who looks ready to make the leap into the elite class.

10. Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears. Doesn't do anything great, but avoids mistakes and has upped his game enough to look like a potential future star.

11. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans. Quietly performing well but getting no recognition due to his team. Needs to cut down on his interceptions.

12. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills. The surprise team of the league appears to have found a player who can lead them to the promised land. Young, and making huge progress over 2007. Only negative is that he doesn't throw enough TD passes.

13. Eli Manning, New York Giants. Surprised he rates this low, but he only averages 6.9 yards per attempt (everybody rated above Manning here has over 7 yards a toss). Still, his team is 7-1 and looks like the class of the NFC.

14. Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay Bucs. Solid player, but not having as good a season as in 2007, and not likely to return to his past form at age 38.

15. Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers. Always one of my favorites for his playoff performances, but doing nothing special this year in the regular season.

16. Brett Favre, New York Jets. Leading the league in interceptions, but considered a success in New York.

17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons. Doing very well for a rookie QB.

Below Average:

18. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars. Has slipped quite a bit from his excellent 2007 campaign. Not hurting his team, but not helping them, either.

19. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots. Yes, it was Tom Brady and not the system in New England.

20. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts. Having his worst season since his rookie year.

21. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers. An off year despite the success of his team.

22. Dan Orlovsky, Detroit Lions. Actually not playing bad compared to the rest of his team, which stinks.

23. Gus Frerotte, Minnesota Vikings. I'm surprised to see he's still in the league and will be even more surprised if he makes it to 2009. Not playing terribly like the guys below him, but at 37 you can't be mediocre.

24. Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams. A reminder that good young QBs don't always take that next step forward.

The Bad:

25. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals. Currently injured but was performing very poorly when he went out. Another guy whose career took a sharp u-turn away from stardom in the last few years.

26. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens. Not doing badly for a rookie, but not at Matt Ryan's level either. Has played well the last few weeks and could be moving up.

27. JT O'Sullivan, San Francisco 49ers. Hard to believe that Alex Smith could be worse than this.

28. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans. No, this is not a mistake. Averaging only 6.0 yards per pass attempt; among those rated higher only Carson Palmer is throwing shorter. Has not made the costly mistake, but is clearly not the reason the Titans are undefeated.

29. Tyler Thigpen, Kansas City Chiefs. Still only 24 and could move up, but a 51% completion rate and 5.5 yards per attempt are not encouraging signs.

30. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks. Has been injured lately but doing very poorly before he went down.

31. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders. Sub-50% completions. Young and very talented but needs to show progress.

32. Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns. Huge step back from his solid 2008 campaign.

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