Growing Pains, NFL Edition

The NFL is going to have five rookie starting rookie quarterbacks and could have 15 starters under the age of 25 if John Skelton starts for Arizona. That’s almost half of all starters in the NFL.

Welcome to the NFL, young guns!

There’s no doubt that these fifteen may endure some growing pains! Here are the 15 young guns that will get to start under center for the 2012 season:

Rookies: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis. Robert Griffin III, Washington. Russell Wilson, Seattle. Ryan Tannehill, Miami. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland.

 

 

2nd year and beyond: Cam Newton, Carolina. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville. Christian Ponder, Minnesota. Jake Locker, Tennessee.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati. Sam Bradford, St. Louis. Matthew Stafford, Detroit. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets.

John Skelton, Arizona, if he starts.

Whose the best out of the bunch?

The four year pro, Matthew Stafford of Detroit. Stafford threw for 5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, a 97.3 passer rating, completed 63.5% of his passes, and led his team to a playoff berth in 2011.

Next best?

Cam Newton of Carolina. Newton, the 2011 rookie of the year, set rookie passing records and has Carolina talking playoffs in 2012. In 2011, Newton threw for 4,051 yards and ran for 706 yards. He had 21 passing touchdowns, 17 interceptions, completed 60% of his passes and had an 84.5 passer rating. He also ran for 14 touchdowns.

Newton broke Peyton Manning’s rookie passing record of 3,379 yards.

Most surprising?

Russell Wilson of Seattle. Everyone thought it was Matt Flynn’s job and turns out Wilson just out shined the “vet.” Flynn had only played in two regular season games, and flourished, but Pete Carroll liked what he saw in the young Wilson. This preseason, Wilson has completed 67.3% of his passes for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He has also rushed for 150 yards, and a touchdown. Not to shabby.

It will be fun to watch the youth movement and if these guys can create quick success for their respective teams!

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Ranking the Best NFL Quarterbacks: 6-10

A few days ago, I ranked the best NFL quarterbacks nos. one through five, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning. Here is a look at the quarterbacks six through 10:

6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford played all 16 games last season and threw for over 5,000 yards. He also found a go to receiver, Calvin Johnson and made them one of the best 1-2 duos in the NFL.

Stafford led Detroit into the playoffs and now will seek to get them back after they fell in the first round to New Orleans.

In Stafford’s first full NFL season, he threw for 5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and completed 63.5% of his passes.

Detroit has a bright future.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Roethhlisberger is a two time Super Bowl champion, (been to three), and is tough guy who plays through injuries (most notably leg and ankle). Is he a modern day Brett Favre, tough as nails player?

Remember last year against Cleveland in December when he laid on the turf at Heinz Field, thought he had a broken leg, yet rallied and led Pittsburgh to the win. He is the type of player a team wants. He throws passes and gets it done with his legs.

 

In 2011, he threw for 4,011 yards, 21 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and completed 63.2% of his passes.

8. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Last season, Phillip Rivers had a rocky season. He still threw for 4,624 yards, and 27 touchdowns, but also threw 20 interceptions, and fumbled seven times. Rivers also completed 62.9% of his passes.

The year before he had 4,710 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and completed 66.0% of his passes.

He also didn’t have a healthy Antonio Gates last season, which he is now along with new target in Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. Malcom Floyd is also back.

In Rivers’ second preseason game vs. the Cowboys, he went 15 for 17 on a touchdown and interception. Not to shabby.

9. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick recently said back in July that he can see a Eagles dynasty and only time will tell.(http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8180116/michael-vick-believes-philadelphia-eagles-develop-dynasty).

The key for Vick is staying healthy; Vick has yet to play a full 16 games in Philadelphia.

He is a threat to not only pass it, but run. In 2012, in 13 games, he threw for 3,303 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also rushed for 589 yards and had seven touchdowns.

10. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan has two versatile, dynamic weapons on both sides now with Roddy White and Julio Jones. Not to mention Tony Gonzalez, even as he is aging.

Ryan went over the 4,000 yard mark for the first time last year throwing for 4,177 yards. He threw 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and completed 61.3% of his passes.

The key for Ryan in 2012 will be getting over the hump and winning playoff games.

Second tier quarterbacks, on the outside looking in…

Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler

Third tier…

Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith, Sam Bradford,  Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer

Fourth Tier…

Matt Flynn, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Brandon Weeden, John Skelton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Kevin Kolb

Feel free to comment and thanks for reading!

Ranking the Best NFL Quarterbacks: 1-5

Nearly two weeks of the NFL season have wrapped up and there are just eighteen days until the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants on September 5 for the first regular season game. Fans are getting anxious and cannot wait to cheer on their favorite team, player, or fantasy football team.

To help you get prepared for the 2012 season, here are my top five quarterbacks to start the season:

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers has won a Super Bowl and fell a little short last year. Rodgers was the 2011 MVP after putting up a stellar season.

Yes, he didn’t break Dan Marino’s passing yards record (Drew Brees did,) but he did throw for 45 touchdowns to only six interceptions as well as throwing for 4,643 yards. Not to mention Rodgers did break Peyton Manning’s quarterback rating with a 122.5 rating.

Rodgers had to put a lot of points up last year as his defense was ranked dead last in the NFL and he has an elite wide receiving corp with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley.

Oh and I forgot to mention Rodgers’ mobility. He has ran for 200+ yards the last 4 seasons.

It is throws like this below that make Rodgers so good. Watch as he goes over the top of Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns to connect with Nelson for the touchdown. Right on the money.

Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson touchdown pass

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Tom Brady is 35 years old, but can still play. He had 39 touchdowns to 12 interceptions last year along with 5, 235 passing yards. He had a passer rating of 105.6 and completed nearly 66% of his passes.

Brady, like Rodgers has some really big targets. He has turned tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in starts and has Mr. Reliable, Wes Welker running in the slot. The Patriots also added Brandon Lloyd in 2012, so they should be loaded for another Super Bowl run.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Wait, you’re telling me Brees is third on my list and he just broke Dan Marino’s single season passing record with 5,476 yards?

You have to be confused right?

Brees has a better completion percentage too. He threw for 46 touchdowns but threw 14 interceptions (more than Rodgers and Brady,) and had a 110.6 passer rating.

Brees has a emerging superstar at tight end too in Jimmy Graham along with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, and Lance Moore.

So, why isn’t he number one? Well, I think not because of Brady’s Super Bowl appearance last year and Rodgers’ Super Bowl win a year ago. Otherwise, it can be a toss-up.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls now to his brother’s one. He is now an elite quarterback. What most jumps out at me his ability to succeed in the fourth quarter. In 2011, he had eight fourth quarter comebacks. Whoa.

I guess every year we should write the Giants off early and say Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat and Eli Manning might just lead his team to another Super Bowl, rightNe?

5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning didn’t play a year ago, and hasn’t take a “big” hit yet after having neck surgery. However, the past speaks for itself. John Elway says Manning is the same passer he used to be.

Cindy Boren of the Washington Post writes, 

“I went back and looked at film from 2010 and 2009 to get a comparison of Peyton, and he looks to me to be the same guy throwing now that he was then. The ball is coming out quicker all the time the more and more time he gets with the offense and getting to know all his receivers and tight ends. . . . That’s always been his style.

“He’s never been the Nolan Ryan of quarterbacks anyway. He’s always thrown the ball with great anticipation and touch.”

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/peyton-manning-is-the-same-passer-he-used-to-be-john-elway-says/2012/08/17/e813c2a2-e882-11e1-936a-b801f1abab19_blog.html)

I guess we will see come Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Feel free to comment and leave your opinion as well!