Notes on the quarter-back position
There are 32 quarterback jobs in the NFL, and 28 men who have shown the ability to play the position at all over the past two years. Here is the list, with combined 2015 and 2016 statistics (sorted by harmonic mean of TD/INT, Rate, and IAYPA ranks). I include Dak Prescott, taking his 2016 season as down payment on a nice future career:
There are four teams that will have to play someone not on this list - a rookie, or Gino Smith or someone. Some of the teams at the bottom are already moving on to their next option:
- Brock has been traded by the Texans to the Browns, who will either trade him again, or cut him. David Carr: "Bill [O'Brien]'s system works, and I don't think he's coaching it poorly. But in the times we live, it's going to be difficult for him to have enough patience to stick with one guy. And it's not just the quarterback. It's the combination of quarterback and receiver. Julian Edelman practically lives with (Tom Brady) during the offseason. They go through game situations three times a week. How many times did Brock do that? Probably never."
- Ryan Fitzpatrick will not re-sign with the Jets.
- Flacco is not only one of the three least productive starters of the past two seasons, he will, if Tony Romo is cut or traded, become the player with the highest salary cap number in the NFL. No sign his job is in jeopardy...Ozzie Newsome is now reportedly looking to sign some receivers to see if that would help.
- Blake Bortles - New coach Coughlin is not a fan.
That gives us at least eight teams - a quarter of the League, where there is not clear incumbent, or the incumbent has been awful for two years.
In the middle, Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith, Marcus Mariota are the median NFL quarterback, and therefore extremely valuable.
Not far south you can see Colin Kaepernick, who had the fewest starts of anyone but Prescott, but has actually performed well. INT/Attempt of 1.6% is well below median of 2.1%. For all the criticism, he is better than what about 1/4 of the League has.
A bit further down we find Cutler. He is the median quarterback on IAYPA, but his TD/INT ratio shows why Bears fans became exasperated. Andrew Luck threw 46 touchdowns in 22 starts over the past two years, Cutler only 25 in 20. I still think he could play somewhere, but his numbers are fully consistent with the criticism - he moves the chains but not the scoreboard. But again, do the Bears really think Glennon is going to be better?
The view from the summit:
- The Legend of Tom continues. The best quarterback in football over the past two years, by a lot. The typical competent NFL quarterback throws about twice as many TDs as interceptions (2.3 median for this group). Brady's ratio the past two years has been 7.1...
- Dak Prescott had as great a rookie seasons as Dallas could have hoped for.
- Russell Wilson is not just good, but great, much better than people seem to realize. This article says the offensive line needs repairing, but, like Rodgers, Wilson has shown he can perform at the highest level even with a weak supporting cast.
- Rodgers' IAYPA has slipped, but he is, as Simmons says, the moral equivalent of Omar from the Wire: "Rodgers is Omar. He’s a one-man gang. You’re always afraid of him, you can’t ever count him out and you never know when he’s coming. And those three Hail Marys (THREE!!!!) were football’s equivalent of Omar escaping Marlo’s crew with the five-story balcony jump."
- Drew Brees - just two years younger than Brady, and has more yards than anyone the past two seasons, with elite-level efficiency. No sign of decay yet.
- Kirk Cousins, who is
demanding a tradeon a one-year contract, is now one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
I've never seen it all so wide open. One NFL GM commented on the Bears' signing of Glennon: "I’d take Glennon over Osweiler in a heartbeat. He won’t do it himself, but if he has people around him, he’s got a chance. And that’s three-quarters of the league at quarterback."