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!

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!