By Brad VanFossan
Another year has come, and another crop of not so great quarterbacks has joined us since the passing of the 2013 season and 2014 draft. When composing this list, I kept thinking, this list seems way worse than last years, and last year's list wasn't exactly a who's who in the quarterbacking world and aside from a few names, you'll never see these guys and Canton, Ohio in the same sentence, unless for some ungodly reason, they are spotted at the Belden Village Mall. And even then, would you even recognize Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Chad Henne?
This is only my second annual list, but it has quickly become my favorite thing to write about. Well, normally I'm writing about the Cleveland teams, so I guess doing ANYTHING else would quickly become my favorite thing. Speaking of Cleveland, the new hotbed of professional sports, they are the only franchise who's starting QB didn't crack my top 32 list. And that's because 1) Brian Hoyer shouldn't be starting in the NFL, and 2) Johnny Manziel will be starting before November. There are seven new QB's that make the list this year and several that have dramatically dropped and risen (the 2013 rankings are in parentheses after each name). The up and comer of the year award goes to Philadelphia's Nick Foles, previously unranked last year and debuting at 15 in 2014. The biggest fall of the year belongs to the Giants' Eli Manning, going from number six last year to 17th this year. Ok, enough idle chit chat, here are the 2014 NFL Quarterback Rankings:
32. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Texans (NR) - If this guy is your starting quarterback, your team is going nowhere. Especially if your team only won two games to begin with the previous year. Decent backup, period. That's why this guy has played for the Bengals, Titans, Bills and now the Texans. See the pattern there.
31. Geno Smith, Jets (NR) - The Jets panicked last year and took Geno because Mark Sanchez turned into possibly the fastest free falling quarterback in the history of the NFL. If Michael Vick was giving you a run, there's a problem. And sadly, Vick will end up starting this year. But even with Peyton Manning, the Jets probably go 8-8, that's just what they do. And bringing Rex back made me lol.
30. E.J. Manuel, Bills (29) - Injury shortened rookie season so it's hard to fairly evaluate Manuel, the addition of Sammy Watkins could give the Bills an instant deep threat. Like Geno Smith, I think the Bills took Manuel higher than he should have probably gone. The jury is still out, but if I had to guess on a Bills QB, I would say he's going to be mediocre, just like Bon Jovi's music.
29. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings (NR) - Matt Cassell was named the starter but that won't last. Bridgewater has a strong arm and will give Minnesota fans something Christian Ponder never did...hope.
28. Sam Bradford, Rams (18) - I did this list before he was injured and announced out for the year. Arguably one of the worst number one overall picks of all time. Has the durability of a goldfish. Will get a quality QB in the draft next year with their top three pick.
27. Matt Schaub, Raiders (16) - Schaub stinks. This will be Derek Carr's job soon. Only the Raiders would bring in a deteriorating, aging quarterback, who throws interceptions at the rate of ice bucket challenges on my facebook timeline.
26. Jake Locker, Titans (30) - Locker has some moments but hasn't been the guy that was hyped coming out of Washington. He's not the worst out there though and this could be the year he takes a decent step into becoming a more reliable starter. I don't have too much bad or good to say about Locker.
25. Chad Henne, Jaguars (NR) - This will soon be Blake Bortles job, but surprisingly, Henne has played decent after departing Miami. I'm guessing because there's little to zero pressure in Jacksonville. One thing I can guarantee you...he won't be on this list next year.
24. Josh McCown, Buccaneers (NR) - McCown turned a half of a good season with Chicago into a new contract with Tampa Bay. Much like most of the guys mentioned above, the leash is short for McCown. Most smart teams would go with the younger guy that showed some flashes of promise last year. That guy is Mike Glennon and he was already on your roster. He will eventually be starting.
23. Carson Palmer, Cardinals (27) - The NFL's version of herpes. He just doesn't go away. Entering his 12th season, the regressing Palmer actually had a decent 2013 and led the Cardinals to 10 wins. I might put him on this list next year regardless.
22. Johnny Manziel, Browns (22) - Should be starting to begin the season, but Brian Hoyer, the NFL's version of a hologram quarterback will get the job until the Browns start off 0-4 while averaging eight points a game. Manziel brings athleticism and playmaking ability. Sure, I wrote that he'd be a bust but it's all about getting page views people lol. If Josh Gordon plays eight games, the Browns might win four and if he misses the entire year, they might win four. They aren't going anywhere, so play this guy and see what you have.
21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (22) - Like the late Casey Kasem would say, up one spot, but in all seriousness, Tannehill hasn't done much since last year to move up much or fall any lower. He's just kinda there. The Dolphins are like the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, you hardly know they're there. See what I did there with the their's.
20. RG3, Redskins (11) - Free fallin' yeah I'm free fallin'. RG3 and out as I like to call them might be this year's version of the 2012 Mark Sanchez and later this year could be the 2014 version of Sam Bradford. Pan meet flash.
19. Matthew Stafford, Lions (15) - The Lions took a turn for the worst last year. Now they have a new coach...again. Stafford shows promise but lacks consistency. Maybe being engaged will help bring him clarity or it could make things worse. Having Calvin Johnson always helps though.
18. Jay Cutler, Bears (19) - Cutler is perplexing. I think he tries to get people to hate him, and it works. He has the arm to make those tight throws in the Chicago winter but health and consistency and getting sacked a lot (possibly because his linemen hate him) are always issues. Maybe one day he'll grow up, but that might not come til after retirement.
17. Eli Manning, Giants (6) - Possibly the worst quarterback to win two Super Bowls in the history of the universe. I've done a 180 on Eli the last couple of years. And I have every right too, it's a what have you done for me lately world.
16. Alex Smith, Chiefs (17) - Better than I thought. Brought the Chiefs back to the playoffs. Not a star, but just a solid QB. It was just time to go in San Fran, but the Chiefs now have consistency at the most important position.
15. Nick Foles, Eagles (NR) - Going from not rated last year to 15th is pretty impressive. Foles stepped in last year for first year head coach Chip Kelly and ran his college style offense well, if not great. Foles also didn't turn the ball over. He could be a one hit wonder, and he could also end up being the steal of the 2012 draft.
14. Matt Ryan, Falcons (12) - I personally don't think there will be much if any moving up the charts in the future for Matt Ryan. He and the Falcons are what they are, good but not ready to win the ultimate prize, nor the game to get them there really. The NFC is just too good. But at least he makes Atlanta a consistent playoff contender, kinda like the Braves.
13. Andy Dalton, Bengals (10) - Dalton drops a few slots this year despite making the playoffs again. The Chargers came into Cincinnati and crushed the Bengals in the first round, and Andy Dalton had yet another not so great playoff performance. I could basically copy and paste Matt Ryan's description here minus a few words, maybe switch the Braves with the Reds.
12. Joe Flacco, Ravens (4) - One of the biggest drops from last year. I guess it's hard to blame a Super Bowl winning QB for having not as good a year when a lot of his weapons left, but part of that reason is because he took a big chunk of their money. Flacco is solid but that 2012 run could be the only one like it he'll experience.
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (11) - Ben moves up a couple slots because he got better as the season went on, and put the Steelers in a position to almost win the last wild card spot at 8-8. Still one of the best at making something out of nothing, his arm strength and size will set him above most until father time catches up, and he has one arm around Ben's ankle as he tries to break away.
10. Tony Romo, Cowboys (20) - One of the biggest risers since last year. I think I realized I was just hating on him last year. He's one of the best regular season performers of all time. That counts for something but it won't get you out of the top ten. Make a playoff run or win a championship and this guy is easily a top 5 QB. Most fans would love to have them on their team, at least secretly.
9. Philip Rivers, Chargers (22) - I must have been drinking last year when I did some of these. Rivers at 22 was just plain nuts. This is what winning a playoff game and being a thorn in the mighty Bronco's side will get you. That and having a talented receiving corps and a solid team overall will propel you up the charts. I know it's said almost every year, but I expect a big year from San Diego, and a big part of it is because of this guy.
8. Cam Newton, Panthers (14) - Cam is a good quarterback, I finally have to admit that. Cue the Panthers winning five games this year now. No but really, when you are in a Play 60 commercial, you're legit.
7. Andrew Luck, Colts (3) - If I didn't know anything about Luck or sports or where he went to college, I would say there was no way this guy went to Stanford with how he talks. He's one of the most mush mouthed people I've ever heard but as mushy as his mouth is, his arm is just as strong. And for the love, please shave that Amish looking beard if you haven't already, you're a millionaire.
6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (5) - If the discount double check commercials are back this year, I might just switch to watching Investigation Discovery full time on Sundays. Rodgers is really good, but I won't call him elite just yet. And Green Bay is good, but I don't expect him hoisting another Lombardi anytime soon, if again. But building a solid career, just not a Hall of Fame one as of today.
5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (7) - Has the potential to bust harder than RG3, but his team is too good around him for that to happen. As much as I hate the discount double check commercials, I hate the term game manager even more, but that's what Wilson is. But he's also athletic and can make plays, so he's not like an Alex Smith like game manager, uggghhhhh, I despise that term. Winning a Super Bowl in your second year puts you in pretty lofty company as well.
4. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (9) - If he doesn't fall prey to thinking he's the NFL's Michael Jordan and just keeps working and playing like he's shown he can, the 49ers have a great shot at winning a title. The kid has a once in a lifetime arm and running ability, will he embrace it or take it for granted? I personally don't like him but I'm trying to not let my bias kick in, for example see #3 coming up.
3. Peyton Manning, Broncos (8) - Yes he is one of the greatest of all time, but I don't have to like him lol. If I need to win a game, I'm still calling Tom Brady or Brees, but Manning will win you a lot of games, just not usually the big one. I'm not even sure what happened in the Super Bowl now six months later. Yikes. Almost makes me forget about the butt fumble.
2. Tom Brady, Patriots (1) - I'm bumping Brady slightly because it's been awhile since the Patriots have won anything. They have spoiled fans so badly that making the playoffs every year and usually winning a game or two in them isn't enough. As I've said, no one has won more with less and turned mediocre players into semi stars than Tom Brady has. But his luster is wearing a tad bit thinner nowadays, you know that aforementioned father time thing, no one can escape it.
1. Drew Brees, Saints (2) - Yes, Brees is kinda old too, but he's kinda good. The Saints wouldn't sniff the playoffs without him, and I tried to think of another good Nyquil line for this year but I can't. They guy is slightly challenged physically, but can make all the throws and he has a warrior mentality and gets him teammates amped up and makes them believe they are gonna go out and win, and that Brees is going to be the one to lead them to that win. Like most 30+ year old QB's, injuries are a concern, but with a healthy Brees and some sense of normalcy a couple years removed from bounty gate, the Saints could be right there.