Jul 7, 2008
If anyone recalls, last year at this time I wrote that I’d like to take my two oldest sons (15 and 10) on a road trip to California (from NJ).
It sounds crazy, but I’m doing it. Today.
Our two year old twins are simply too out of control to take on a family vacation this year, and with my oldest closing in on college, this is the time to do something my oldest kids will never forget. This is also about the deadest 2 weeks on the NFL calendar, so this is likely my last post until next week.
Leaving NJ today, we’re stopping off in St. Louis, KC and a Royals game, Denver/Colorado Springs, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and finally, LA for a couple of days. I’m not that crazy, though, since we’ll be flying back from LA next week, not driving.
Vegas will be cool, but the highlight for me most likely will be the Dodger game this Sunday. As a Dodger fan and someone who loves Southern California, that’s as good as it gets. BTW, if anyone reading is going to be at that Dodger game, drop me a line and maybe we can have a beer and a Dodger dog.
I’ve been meaning to rank the best QBs in the league for a while, so I figured this was a good time, since I won’t be posting much NFL content the next 8-9 days. Anyways, here’s my list:
- Tom Brady – There are times when Peyton Manning makes a very compelling argument that he should be atop any list like this, but he’s not as clutch and most importantly he’s not as hard to beat as Brady is. Many have beaten Manning in big games; it’s a major accomplishment when you bring Brady down.
- Peyton Manning – Manning is as close to perfection at the position that we’ll likely ever see. The only thing he’s lacking compared to Brady is that intangible ability to consistently play well and win big games. He’s won them, of course, but he’s not as hard to beat as Brady.
- Carson Palmer – Don’t give me the argument that Ben Roethlisberger should be ranked ahead of Palmer because he’s won a Super Bowl. Palmer’s one of the most talented players to ever play the position, period. I guarantee if you asked 32 NFL GMs who they’d rather have to start their franchise 32 would say Palmer.
- Drew Brees – Brees has some issues, but he deserves to be listed this high. That just goes to show how good Brady and Manning are because there’s a big drop-off just going down to #4 on the list. Brees needs everything to go well around him, but when they are he’s an incredibly poised and efficient field general.
- Ben Roethlisberger – I really wanted to put Tony Romo here, but Roethlisberger has won a super bowl – and Romo hasn’t done enough to get his team even a playoff win. But if the playmaking Roethlisberger plays as well this year as he did last year, he’ll have proven for sure that his career and his legacy as one of the better QBs to ever play the game is secure.
- Tony Romo – Playoff bed-soiling aside, Romo’s a big-time talent and a major playmaker. It is absolutely amazing that he didn’t see the field earlier in his career, but he might be the type of player whose assets aren’t fully on display unless he’s in a real game. His intuitive nature and playground mentality are usually major pluses, and he can make all the throws.
- Matt Hasselbeck – I saw the talent in Hasselbeck very early on – I still have some of the hate mail from 2001, when many subscribers (unfortunately) drafted him based on our recommendation – and it eventually came fully to the surface. Hasselbeck plays too fast at times, but he’s settled into the nice groove the last couple of seasons and has become the ultimate system QB.
- Marc Bulger – Although I’m a little concerned about the residual affects of last year’s ugliness, Bulger’s still a “professional quarterback” who throws the ball with great timing, anticipation, and accuracy.
- Donovan McNabb – He’ll throw balls to his receiver’s ankles until he retires, but McNabb has a cannon and still throws a terrific deep ball, he can still beat you with his legs, and he works well in their system. Had he faced off against anyone other than Brady in the Super Bowl, people would view him much differently because he’d have a ring.
- Eli Manning – I’ve been a fan since the early days, and the Super Bowl win was obviously one for the ages. I was very impressed with Manning early in the season, when he was consistently stepping into his throws, staring down the gun barrel, and avoiding the dreaded drift-back. But he started to regress later in the season, and then they put him in game-manager mode. I need to see a little more to move him up higher, but he certainly deserves to crack the top-10.
- Kurt Warner – That’s right, Kurt Warner at #11. Warner still throws the ball with excellent timing and accuracy, and he can still get the ball on time to his receivers and effectively lead an offense. Heck, he might deserve to be a few spots higher.
- Jay Cutler – He’s bursting with talent, and he’s tough as nails. All he has to do is slow the game down a little more and rein himself in a little more (but not too much) and he’ll be elite.
- Matt Schaub – Another “professional quarterback,” Schaub does everything well. He might not be good enough to carry a team on his back, but if everything is going very well around him, and if he has the weapons, he can definitely be lights-out. If he was in such an ideal situation, 35 TD passes are attainable, which makes him intriguing to say the least this year.
- Jake Delhomme – You’ll always have to battle between the playmaker and the bonehead, but you have to respect his gunslinger mentality and willingness to throw the ball in dicey situations.
- David Garrard – It will be interesting to see if they expand their offense a little more for him this year because he’s really not asked to do too much. But he was incredibly efficient last year. And if the reason he’s been brought along slowly was their poor receiving corps, we could see another large step forward this year.
- Philip Rivers – The potential is there because he’s a big quarterback with a nice arm who can make all the throws. If he has protection and if he’s settled down and playing with poise, he can pick you apart. But he has to slow the game down still, and he has to stop sensing pressure when it’s not there.
- Derek Anderson – He has flaws, for sure, or else he’d be much higher on the list. Let’s see more touch on his passes, and if he can be less erratic and keep his mechanics in check, you’re left with a playmaking gunslinger with a big arm who can look very poised and be very accurate.
- Vince Young – While I’ve mocked the notion that he’s a “winner,” there is some truth to that. He does offer an intangible quality that makes him hard to beat. But until he can show he can throw the ball consistently from the pocket, he cannot be considered anything close to elite.
- Jeff Garcia – Sorry, I know he’s a winner, but I can’t give too much credit to a QB who frenetically runs around and then completes a 4-yard pass. It moves the chains often, yes, but it’s too ugly.
- Jon Kitna – Kitna likely falls off this list very soon, once we see some things from Aaron Rodgers, but he deserves to make the top-20. He’s somewhat similar to Garcia in that he gets a lot out of his ability, and he’s even tougher than the Buc QB. He’s more of a playmaker, but he’s also much more mistake and turnover-prone