The Word: G’s Quarterback Rankings: Tier Two
There's been a lot of conversation regarding a ranking system on every quarterback in the NFL on Tuesday via Mike Sando of ESPN (subscription required).
I haven't polled any NFL coaches, executives, or personnel. I'll be going off of numbers and the personal eye test. I'll be using a similar tier type system and ranking each quarterback within each tier with the same description for each.
Today we move to Tier Two.
A Tier 2 quarterback can carry his team sometimes, but not as consistently. He can handle pure passing situations in doses and/or possesses other dimensions that are special enough to elevate him above Tier 3. He has a hole or two in his game.
- Ben Roethlisberger:
I made a fuss about Big Ben being a Tier One quarterback yesterday on the show but there's no way I'm leaving him out of Tier Two. For me he's on the fringe of that elite level talent, he's had some really good years and others that were a bit underwhelming. He's had only two seasons in which he threw more than 30 touchdown passes. I understand that he hasn't had to throw the ball as much as the other elite level quarterbacks because he's usually had a good running game but for me I'm not sure he can consistently win a game for a team based soley on his quarterback play. We've seen Ben have really terrific moments and also moments that are pretty bad when he tries to put it all on himself. Don't get me wrong he's a big physical guy who's hard to take down but also can move in and out of the pocket. He's got tremendous weapons, two of the best in the game with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers are a dangerous offensive team with Big Ben under center, he does have two super Bowl rings but those were from a while ago.
- Russell Wilson:
He's one of my favorite quarterbacks to watch play the game of football, the way he plays the quarterback position is so creative. That also might be because he's had no offensive line and has been running for his life the last couple of years but he's been able to make water out of wine. Wilson's a true triple threat quarterback, a guy who can beat you with his arm, his legs, and his determination. I've never seen someone so beaten and battered in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, throwing five interceptions against the Green Bay Packers but he kept himself in the game, and ended up throwing the game-winning touchdown in overtime. He's a pure winner, winning a Super Bowl, getting to another, and leading his team to the playoffs in every season he's started expect for last year. In addition, he's never had elite level wide receivers at his disposal to throw to, he had Marshawn Lynch for a while in the backfield which didn't hurt, but when Doug Baldwin in your number one wide-out and you're still successful, you're doing something right. I think where Russell misses the boat as a Tier One QB is that his accuracy can be a little bit spuratic at times and takes a lot of sacks (mostly due to his spotty o-line).
- Matt Ryan:
"Matty Ice" as they call him has won himself an MVP, has gotten his team to the playoffs seven of ten years, and has been to a Super Bowl (probably should have won that one). Ryan is a pure passer of the football racking up yards, on yards, on yards over the years. Did you know, that he's thrown for 4,000+ yards in each of his last seven seasons? Well, now you do. Great passer of the football but he's not very mobile, he's not able to extend plays like some of the quarterbacks ranked higher than him by moving his feet. Perception also has a lot to do with him not being a Tier One quarterback, the collapse in the Super Bowl and the missed opportunity to win the game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs last season, those hurt. In addition, he threw for the fewest touchdowns in 2017 (20) since his rookie season back in 2008 (16).
- Philip Rivers:
I had mentioned Russell Wilson as one of my favorite quarterbacks to watch play the position and I'd have to put Rivers right up there with him. He's so much fun to watch play, his unorthodox style of throwing the football, the intensity he plays with, the gunslinger mentality, and the way he's not afraid talk smack to anyone at anytime. He's put up a lot of good numbers in his long tenure with the Chargers but the problem is, he hasn't had a lot of playoff appearances lately. The last time his team made the playoffs was 2013 and he owns a 4-5 record in the postseason.
- Matthew Stafford:
The problem with the Detroit Lions has not been the play of their QB for the last seven years which has been a nice change of pace for them. The problem has come in other areas like, the defense, the offensive line, the running backs, the wide receivers (outside of Calvin Johnson), and their head coaches. I'll tell ya though, Stafford has been damn impressive when you look his numbers, for the previous seven years he's recorded 4,000+ yards and in 2011 he threw for over 5,000. Despite the great numbers during the regular season he hasn't been able to elevate the average talent around him enough to be considered in Tier One, simply put, he hasn't won enough. There were countless opportunities for him to take advantage of a down NFC North when Rodgers was injured in 2013 and 2017 but was not able to. He's gotten to the playoffs just three times and is 0-3. However, being able to bring the Lions to the playoffs in itself has been an accomplishment.
- Carson Wentz:
The Philadelphia Eagles have found a gem in Carson Wentz, it seem inevitable that he'll eventually work his way up to Tier One sooner rather than later in his career. He enjoyed an MVP caliber 13 games last season before tearing his ACL on a play that didn't even count against the Rams. The potential plays here, even in Wentz's first year where the numbers were good but not great you could just tell that this kid was going to be a gamer. The injury was unfortunate but hopefully he'll be able to rebound and return to form this season in 2018. One question when it comes to Wentz is, was he the reason they were winning games or was it more about the dominance of the team? Nick Foles leading them to a Super Bowl Title made those question marks relevant.
- Cam Newton
If it weren't for the dual threat ability of Cam Newton he would not have made my Tier Two of quarterbacks. If you just look at his pure passing stats they're not that great, he's thrown over 4,000 yards only once, and has thrown over 30 touchdown passes once throughout his seven years in the league. In addition, he's thrown double-digit interceptions in every season since he entered the league in 2011. The pure athletic and physical ability as a runner is what catapults Newton into my second tier of QBs. He's compiled over 4,000 yards and 54 touchdowns on the ground and last season he had a touchdown percentage of 60 when running the ball inside the five yard line. The one big negative I'll always harp on regarding Cam Newton is how much of a poor sport he is, when things aren't going his way he sits at the end of the bench with a towel over his head, the exact opposite of Russell Wilson.
Tier Three is up next.