It’s that time of the year where training camp is near, and as a result, NFL media is eager to give their annual rankings of the 32 starting field generals going into the new season.
However, many of these just boil down to “Brady can do no wrong!”, “Derek Carr IS the Raiders’ franchise QB!” or “OMG MATTHEW STAFFORD’S ARM.” There’s rarely anything hugely mainstream that gives any thoughts that really push outside the box.
This is where I come in (not to blow my own horn, but whatever). My QB Power Ranking will rank players based on 5 different categories; Play: Which is how well the QB has been playing. Situation: Does the QB have a cast that helps his play? Health: This requires no explanation. Status: How much NFL Experience this QB has. Rookie: Entering their first season. Duh.
Rookie QBs will rank at the bottom of the list because they have yet to play a single snap. Fair? Sophomore QBs won’t rank really high in addition because, you know, we need more experience. Though this is based on heading into 2015, experience sort of weighs as a factor as well.
Finally, THE SITUATION A QB HAS BEEN PLACED IN WILL HEAVILY WEIGHT MY RANKINGS, SO IF YOU SEE A QB LOWER OR HIGHER THAN YOU THINK HE SHOULD BE, THIS LIKELY IS WHY.
So, without further delay, I present the 2015 Brick Wall Blitz QB Power Rankings.
32. Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans)
31. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
You can put either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota 32nd or 31st.. Mariota has the better scrambling abilities, while Winston has better arm strength. There’s really not much to say about both as NFL QBs for now, but I guess I’ll take Winston because of his arm strength. Mariota is a very read option heavy QB in addition, so we’ll see if he can still use it to great success.
- Ryan Mallett (Houston Texans)
The Houston Texans don’t have much to offer at the QB position, but as far as things are going, Ryan Mallett is projected to being the starter.
Mallett’s sample size being a backup for the New England Patriots was very small, as was the case in Houston (2 games as a starter). Even so, this is a guy that doesn’t inspire much confidence. He boasts extreme inaccuracy, which combined with hs experience, puts him low on this list.
Perhaps 2015 will be different. Or maybe not.
- EJ Manuel (Buffalo Bills)
The Buffalo Bills went 9-7 last season depsite some pretty lousy QB play. Coming into the 2015 season as the starter, EJ Manuel has been pretty bad, even for young QB standards.
Manuel as a whole is just extremely inaccurate and inefficient. He forces his receivers (Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods) to make highlight worthy plays everywhere, and this is even the case on short passes. Instead of leading his receivers, he makes them stop in their tracks and grab wide passes. No example of his inefficiency is more obvious than his pick six to J.J. Watt in week 4 against the Texans, ultimately leading to his benching.
At this point, with the way Matt Cassel’s chances to start are going, we might expect Tyrod Taylor to become the starter. Manuel’s been so bad, that even suggesting “we should give him one more year” is giving me a headache.
- Josh McCown (Cleveland Browns)
Somehow, some way, the Cleveland Browns were convinced that Josh McCown was capable of being a starting QB. So much so that they have him over Johnny Manziel going into training camp. Guess that speaks volumes about how they feel about JFF.
Being the starter for the Browns takes little effort, but here we are. Josh McCown had a fluketastic 2013 season (13 TD, 1 INT), leading to the Buccaneers being tricked into trading and starting him. As you can imagine, that didn’t go well at all.
We can blame Tampa Bay’s offensive line all we want for McCown’s struggles, but the fact remains that he’s simply a bad QB. His passes are rarely on target, and his mistake heavy style of play SHOULD BE a concern. However, the Browns boast one of the league’s best lines, and McCown is willing to take risks downfield.
So they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.
- Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Coming into the season, comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger were everywhere for Blake Bortles, and I can see some of that in him. Bortles is capable of extending the play, and has good arm strength.
He’s got a long way to go in order to reach the level of Big Ben, however. Bortles played behind a line that gave up the most sacks in 2014, though at times he took too long to get rid of the ball. He made too many mistakes as a rookie, often firing dangerous passes that were intercepted or nearly intercepted.
Bortles’ mobility and arm strength are pluses, but the Jaguars have given him good pieces at wide receiver and tight end, and he must put those to good use in 2015.
- Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)
I have a pet peeve. And that peeve is the public perception of Raiders QB Derek Carr. It seems like everyone is making him into something he’s not, such as declaring him Oakland’s franchise QB or ranking him ahead of guys like Teddy Bridgewater.
You’ll most likely see these people looking at the box score stats, where Carr had 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, Carr’s play was actually worse than what his TD-INT ratio would imply.
Carr defenders blame the receivers that he constantly overthrew on 50/50 balls despite mostly clean pass protection. Don’t confuse a shoddy run game with asking Carr to do a lot either, because he ran the short pass game in his rookie season. Despite “only” throwing 12 interceptions, he got away with numerous near interceptions, putting Oakland in danger everywhere he threw.
His flashes of potential have been revealed against San Francisco and San Diego, but not much else would suggest he is the Raiders’ savior, at least not yet. With a better cast of receivers heading into 2015, Carr has to improve his flawed mechanics for Oakland to get back to the promised land.
- Geno Smith (New York Jets)
Geno Smith is an interesting case. His numerous flashes of brillance indicate he’s been in a bad situation in New York, but his constant turnovers are something the Jets have little patience for going into 2015.
Smith is a similarly built athlete to Russell Wilson, as he runs a read option heavy offense, has a great arm, and has power legs to scramble with. The biggest difference is Wilson has used his talents to greater effect. As far as I’m concerned, Smith is still a raw prospect entering a make or break season, but can still be of use to QB needy teams.
We shall see if Smith can break out and show that his highlight worthy plays aren’t fluke worthy.
- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)
In 2012, Robert Griffin III won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award dazzling everyone with his scrambling abilities, as well as helping the Redskins win their last 7 games and sneaking into the playoffs with the NFC East Divisional crown.
A couple ACL/LCL ligament injuries later, RGIII hasn’t been the same since. His health issues have prevented him from developing as a pocket passer, and his once lethal style of play has been taken away from him. What we have left is a QB that’s a former shell of himself; indecisive, scared to run or pass, and takes very little risks.
It’s sad really. A healthy version should help Washington, but it’ll take a miracle for Robert Griffin III to turn his fortune around in 2015.
- Nick Foles (St. Louis Rams)
No one can bring up Nick Foles’ name anymore without mentioning his breakout 2013 season (27 TD, 2 INT). Playing for a top coach in Chip Kelly can help, and unfortunately for Foles, he heavily regressed in 2014.
The fact that St. Louis traded for Foles scares me, because this is a guy that constantly stares down receivers, has poor footwork, almost zero mobility, and makes mistakes like it’s his day job.
His experience is what barely gets him by the QBs ranked lower than him, but just barely. Otherwise Chip was wise in trading him for Sam “Trait Bait” Bradford. Speaking of…
- Sam Bradford (Philadelphia Eagles)
He’s not Marcus Mariota, which will disappoint Chip Kelly, but the Eagles have a very talented QB at their display. The one problem? Sam Bradford is rarely healthy.
I used to get sick of hearing people defend Bradford. I didn’t think it should take this long for a guy drafted in 2010 to break out. Then I watched a few of his games and realized he got screwed over more times than not by his cast. This is a QB with surprisingly accurate deep passing, and excellent arm strength.
The former 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year just has to stay healthy for the Eagles to win the NFC East and/or make it back to the playoffs again. The running game is solid (DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews), and the young WR core includes potential studs in Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews.
Health remains an issue, however, and it must be solved for Bradford to not be labeled a bust down the road.
- Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings)
Teddy Bridgewater is the best QB from the 2014 draft class by far, and this should be way more obvious than it is. But for reasons I’ll never get, the “box score truthers” point to Derek Carr’s 21-12 TD-INT ratio as a positive over Teddy’s 14-12 TD-INT ratio.
There’s much more to it than that. Teddy simply took care of the ball much better than Carr did, and by rookie standards, played well under pressure despite an awful offensive line. This was a guy surrounded by an incompetent offense. Adrian Peterson was suspended, rookie runningback Jerick McKinnon was out for the last half of the season, Cordarelle Patterson failed to continue developing into a potential playmaker under Norv Turner’s offense, and the kicking game suffered from windy conditions at TFC Bank Stadium (temporary home before the new U.S. Bank Stadium is being built).
Yet despite all these issues, Bridgewater finished the season strongly, posting very high YPA in his debut December.
4th on this list? That’s some great company to be in. That 87 yard TD pass off a screen against the Jets doesn’t even inflate things that much. Teddy had a solid YPA throughout December.
Teddy has shown more progression than the other 2014 QBs, and I can’t wait to see what he does with a better OL, and the running game intact.
- Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)
The Cincinnati Bengals are uniquely built in that they always manage to win games in spite of their quarterback. Andy Dalton is consistent enough not to mess things up (at least not until the playoffs that is), but even when handed an easier path, he’s still the same inefficient QB that wins because of his cast.
If you want a QB that can make mistakes from the get-go, Dalton is your QB. While he has to ability to create beautiful deep bucket passes, in general he’s a roller coaster ride, the one that makes you throw up after you get off it.
The Bengals have a strong OL, running game, defense, and receiving core, and yet can’t get anywhere in the playoffs. Dalton is holding them back, and he should be on thin ice if he continues to stay the same.