When it comes to the NFL, there are always star players that blow you away. Everyone says it's a quarterback's game. Well, I'm going to give you my top 10 quarterbacks who REALLY own this game. There are some obvious names that will come up, but some may just shock you. I'll explain why.
No. 1 -- Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers obviously dominates. He's a one man army, and arguably the most balanced QB in the league. He's held the highest passer rating in the past two years, and hasn't gone under 100 since his first year starting in 2008. He also has only had one year (2010) where he didn't throw for more that 4,000 yards, and that was only because he got a concussion in week 14. You can count on him. His interception rate is 3.7:1, and he has never thrown less than 28 games since starting. Although, you should be cautious. He lost Greg Jennings in the offseason and "Dropmichael" Finley is still on the team. This could impact his stats, especially seeing as he doesn't have that quick pass where Jennings jukes his way down the field. Still, 2011 TD leader Jordy Nelson, 2012 TD leader James Jones, and the do-it-all Randall Cobb are still on the team, and are all very reliable. Plus, don't forget about Rodger's legendary back-shoulder pass, and ability to throw receivers open. You've been warned!
No. 2 -- Drew Brees
Coming off a year where the Saints were a mess due to offseason drama, suspension, drama, lawsuits, and a ton of drama, (did I forget to mention drama?) Drew Brees is getting his best friend, Sean Payton back. Brees is one of the best players around today, and with a fresh start this year, he's ready to stop playing five-interception games. Even in the mess of a season the Saints had, he still threw for the most touchdowns and the second most yards in the league. Marques Colston is still around and a valuable target, as well as Lance Moore, so he's got the weapons. There is no doubt in my mind that he wont be gun slinging again this year.
No. 3 -- Peyton Manning
The MUCH better of the Manning brothers is getting old. He's 37-years-old, in his 16th year, and had neck surgery two years back. But you know what they say, the older men get, the better they look. Peyton had the second best passer rating at 105.8 in 2012, after not playing for a year. Plus, with a good running back in Monte Ball out of Wisconsin, and two of the best receivers in the game in Demaryius Thomas and the recently added Wes Welker, he should shine bright. Manning is going to bring intensity too. He's only got a bit of gas left in the tank, and until it runs out, he's going to be burning rubber. He wants another Super Bowl ring.
No. 4 -- Russell Wilson
Whoa whoa whoa... What? Wilson at No. 4? Yep. Wilson is coming off a season where he tied the legendary Peyton Manning's rookie touchdown record. Yes, I may be a tiny bit of a band-wagoner, but you can't tell me that this kid wont be a star. Especially with Marshawn 'Beast Mode' Lynch in the back field, and TWO starting deep threats in Sydney Rice and Percy Harvin. The thing I love most about this 3rd rounder from Wisconsin, is his feet. Does everyone remember that game, I believe it was against the Giants, when he got flushed out of the pocket and avoided a bunch of sacks, yet still looked down field? THAT is why he's No. 3. His unprecedented awareness mixed with agility is amazing. Not only that, he's a great passer as well. He had the fourth best passer rating in the NFL in 2012, at a 100 even. That's fantastic. PLUS -- He didn't even know how to use the hard count. And of course, we can't forget that read option he runs. Oh, and this is all coming from a Packer fan. #Touchception
No. 5 -- Tom Brady
Why is Brady so low? Well, even though the numbers aren't showing it, the dynasty is dying out. The Patriots might as well change their name to the "New England Brady and other guys that don't make much of an impact." Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are pretty much all Brady throws to, and they might not even be playing well, or even at all possibly. With Gronk coming off of FIVE surgeries, including one on his back, who knows what that's going to do to him, but I'm going to guess it wont be all too wonderful. From reports earlier today (6/20/2013), Hernandez is going to be arrested because of the murder investigation. Yes, they picked up Danny Amendola, but he's a slot receiver at best. Their only other stars are a couple of people on defense who are pretty much just better than amature or are going to break a hip (cause they're old). So, unless Brady keeps playing like he is a couple years younger or his tight ends return at their best, I'm not seeing a blindingly bright future for the Patriots like it has been the past decade. But remember kids, HE'S STILL TOM BRADY.
No. 6 -- Matt Ryan
Perfect is a hard thing to do, but Matt Ryan led them as far as he could. Having the best tight end to ever play football and two of the best wide receivers around probably doesn't hurt either. He threw for 11 TDs with just 2 Ints in September, and 10 TDs with only 1 Int in December. He starts and finishes hard, obviously. His passer rating was a 99.1, which is pretty good, with an even better 4,719 yards passing. He's a killer in the red zone, only throwing three interceptions this season. I wanted to rate him lower though, because Matt Ryan only got 32 touchdowns, which isn't bad at all. But the thing is, he's got the best weapons in the league. Aaron Rodgers would break records with his receiving crew. He needs work, but he's been growing for the past few years, and he will continue to do so.
No. 7 -- Matthew Stafford
Before you say anything -- 4,967 yards. "But Mike, even Romo did a little better, but with like 50 less yards, and 8 more touchdowns." Well, my fellow readers, that was 2012. In 2013, he will have Reggie Bush. A lot of you just scoffed or laughed at me, but do this for me: Name a better running back to dump the ball off to. When Stafford has no one to go to, he forces the ball, which makes him throw interceptions. With Bush, that will eliminate a lot of those scenarios. As for the yards, yes, even though Calvin helped with 40% of that, there was never a time when he wasn't double-covered. The other 60% went to 10 DIFFERENT RECEIVERS that had more than 10 catches. Stafford worked for those yards. Expect more from this guy in 2013. I even predicted in my NFC North review that the Lions would beat the Packers for the division due to their high offensive level.
No. 8 -- Andrew Luck
I've been an Andrew Luck skeptic all year. I don't like him much, but you know what, I'm not going to be biased. He's a good player. On the field, he is a nice guy who LOVES the game. He even compliments the defensive players that hit him. He's a leader, so expect nothing less than him taking his team down the field and winning games. It's definitely him too. He doesn't get help from the run game, cause he got more than twice as many rushing touchdowns than his running back did. He will only get better from here. He's a pocket passer, who can use his legs (and most of the time has to, due to a terrible O-line). His only problem is he's WAY too aggressive for my liking. At times, it's good, but he forces too many passes, which leads to the second most interceptions (Tied with Sanchez, after Tie with Brees/Romo) in the NFL. Still, Luck makes plays, and that's what you want in a quarterback. Expect him to get better and better through his career.
No. 9 -- Robert Griffin III
If you disagree how low he fell (especially behind Luck and Wilson), lets have a chat. He only threw 20 TDs and tore his ACL and MCL. He's a running quarterback. An up-to-date and optimized Mike Vick. Yes, his read option is dangerous. Yes, his throwing is pretty dangerous too. But 20 touchdowns? If you add the running touchdowns as well, its 27. He isn't using his weapons as well as he should. Luck threw more than 200 more passes than him. RGIII uses the run more than he should. He doesn't stand in the pocket much. He's always moving, which isn't necessarily the best thing for the O-line. The five interceptions on almost 400 attempts is actually very impressive for a rookie though, and he will get better. Hopefully, he will throw more, especially since he knows what could happen if he pushes his leg too hard. Then we can see more of how very accurate this guy is. 65.6 percent completion as a rookie? Outstanding.
No. 10 -- Tony Romo
"Sloooowwwww down there! Romo!? You've got to be kidding me."
Tony Romo was 6th in touchdowns, 3rd in yards, and 5th in completion rating, along with a 90.5 passer rating in 2012.
Are you settled down now? Okay, good.
Romo isn't the best, but he's definitely not the worst. He's hated on and laughed at by everyone because he threw the most interceptions in the league. He shouldn't be though. Drew Brees threw just as many, granted he's a monster and a veteran Super Bowl MVP. Although, then again, he committed three five-interception games. At least Romo didn't 'butt fumble.' But enough with the bad. Romo got it in gear in Nov. and Dec, throwing only 6 ints (five of which came in one desperate season-ending game) to 19 TDs and a 65.6 completion rating. If he continues to play at a level where he's paying attention to coverage, he will be great. He passes well, it's just that when he messes up, he messes up HARD. Expect Romo to kick it into gear this year, cause otherwise, he'll get an earful after that contract he just signed.
Now, keep in mind, this is my opinion of who will be the top QBs next year. If you disagree, comment and let me know who deserves to be in the top! For now, I'll give you a list of people I reaaaaally wanted to add, but decided it would be for the best not to.
Top Runners Up:
Andy Dalton (Not aggressive enough)
Cam Newton (Too sloppy, going to run more in 2013) (Might be a good fantasy choice though)
Colin Kaepernick (Runs WAY too much. Going to get injured) (Maybe fantasy)
Alex Smith (Not aggressive enough. Reid will MAKE him throw deep. Might turn out bad)
Ben Roethlisberger (Getting banged up, not very wowing)
Matt Schaub (He's just above average. Won't get much better than that)
Joe Flacco (He's more average than Alex Smith, but he's a changed man in the playoffs)
Eli Manning (Too hot and cold. Only good in 4th quarter) #NotElite
Philip Rivers (Hot and cold. No receivers. Not very accurate)