AFC East Wrap
The Real Ultimate QB Depth Chart
ESPN voted Tom Brady and the Patriots as having the top quarterbacking depth chart in the NFL. On-line voters disagreed.
I was playing Texas Hold Em with some friends about two weeks ago, when I was distracted by something on Sportscenter. A panel comprised of ESPN’s usual football analysts constructed a list, ranking the top quarterback depth charts in the NFL.
I accidentally folded a king-queen suited because the following three things happened: The panelists ranked Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ signal callers No. 9; neither the Buffalo Bills nor the Oakland Raiders weren’t seeded last; and in an on-line poll, voters placed Indianapolis atop the chart.
The agony of losing $10 forced me compile my own list…
Tough choice for Art Shell: Do you go with Aaron Brooks’ inconsistency, Andrew Walter’s inexperience or Marques Tuiasosopo’s lack of talent? That’s why no one wanted to be Oakland’s head coach – in addition to Al Davis’ thirst for blood, of course.
31. Buffalo Bills
In the eight games J.P. Losman started in 2005, the Bills averaged a whopping 12.1 points per game. In fact, they were restricted to 10 or less points on five occasions. By the time Buffalo makes the switch to 33-year-old journeyman Kelly Holcomb, it’ll be too late.
30. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco’s quarterback depth chart is comprised of a No. 1 overall pick and a Super Bowl winner. Yet, Alex Smith and Trent Dilfer combined for an atrocious 6-12 record in 2005. Smith can only get better – he threw 11 interceptions to only one touchdown last year – but the future looks bleak for him and the 49ers.
29. Tennessee Titans
There’s something to be said about a quarterback who scores a six (out of 50) on a test that asks questions like, “What is the 10th month of the year?” “How many sides does a cube have?” and “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” OK, maybe not that last one. Billy Volek, meanwhile, barely completed 50 percent of his passes in a 20-10 loss to Cardinals.
28. Cleveland Browns
I think Charlie Frye has a bright future, but the fact remains that he is unproven in this league. On the semi-maybe-not-so-bright side, Frye and No. 2 Ken Dorsey combined for a 3-5 record in 2005. Yeah, I know, there was no point in listing that stat.
27. New York Jets
The Jets’ depth chart is comprised of a guy who has had multiple shoulder surgeries (Chad Pennington); a signal caller who lost his job to fossilized Mark Brunell (Patrick Ramsey); a man named after a fine wine (Brooks Bollinger); and a player who has yet to take a single snap in the NFL (Kellen Clemens).
26. Green Bay Packers
Did anyone else notice that the jersey numbers that Brett Favre (4) and Aaron Rodgers (12) wear form the record Green Bay had in 2005?
25. Miami Dolphins
If Daunte Culpepper is unavailable, Nick Saban will have to choose between Joey Harrington and Cleo Lemon – and I don't think Saban wants to hear about his future. As for Culpepper, keep in mind that he threw 12 interceptions to just six touchdowns last season.
24. Detroit Lions
The battle between Jon Kitna and Josh McCown will undoubtedly be a heated one – only because both of them are mediocre. Detroit should have drafted Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler with its first-round pick. Then again, Matt Millen should have been fired a few years ago.
23. New Orleans Saints
I’m listing the Saints this low because of Drew Brees’ questionable shoulder. If the former Charger can’t go, Jay Payton will have to go with Todd Bouman, Adrian McPherson, Billy Joe Hobert or Billy Joe Toliver. Sorry, flashback.
22. San Diego Chargers
Sure, Philip Rivers looks promising, but so did Ryan Leaf. Not that I’m comparing the two. However, Rivers, like Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Charlie Frye and Kellen Clemens, needs to prove that he can be a legitimate signal caller in the NFL.
21. Arizona Cardinals
Once again, I think Matt Leinart will be a great quarterback for years to come, but he’s done nothing yet. Kurt Warner and all of his shattered bones is the reason why the Cardinals are ranked ahead of other squads with young signal callers. By the way, it’s amazing that Leinart’s draft stock plummeted after everyone found out that he and Paris Hilton were seeing each other. It’s also shocking that Leinart didn’t leave Hilton after her songs poisoned most hip-hop radio stations.
20. Dallas Cowboys
The statue of Drew Bledsoe will be well protected, now that the Cowboys constructed a decent offensive line around him. He’ll be fine, until the playoffs of course.
19. Houston Texans
How many times will David Carr be sacked in 2006? 82? 197? 1.65 million? You can probably bet on that number in Vegas. It’s a shame that no one really knows how good Carr is.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I pointed this out in my NFC South season preview: In six games that Chris Simms has played on the road or in the postseason, he totaled five interceptions, five fumbles and only two touchdowns. Is Simms the next Jake Plummer? All he has to do is grow a mountain-man beard and purchase a Honda Element.
17. Denver Broncos
As I’ve been saying for years, Jake Plummer is not a playoff quarterback. He’s more of a preseason quarterback. At least Broncos fans have Jay Cutler to look forward to.
16. Baltimore Ravens
If Steve McNair wasn’t such an injury risk, I’d place the Ravens in the top 10. However, McNair gets hurt so much that Brian Billick is probably considering lining his new quarterback’s entire house with Styrofoam.
15. Chicago Bears
Rex Grossman looked good in the playoffs and in two late-season appearances, but the fact remains that in his career, he only has eight starts and four touchdowns. Brian Griese and Kyle Orton are decent backups, but that’s all they are.
14. Minnesota Vikings
Brad Johnson, who has won a Super Bowl in his career, helped the Vikings recover from a horrendous 2-5 start. Minnesota finished its 2005 campaign on a 7-2 surge, which indicates that the team will make a postseason run in 2006.
13. Washington Redskins
Mark Brunell must have asked Roger Clemens for advice, because the 5,000-year-old signal caller came out of nowhere to have a stellar season in 2005. Can he do it again? If not, Jason Campbell is waiting in the wings.
12. New York Giants
I don’t think we need a DNA test to prove that Eli Manning is Peyton’s little brother. His three-interception performance against the Panthers in the playoffs was proof enough.
11. St. Louis Rams
Marc Bulger is completely underrated. Thanks to Mike Martz’s offensive schemes, Bulger took a beating every week. Now that the Rams have a more competent head coach, I expect him to stay healthy for a change.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Speaking of injuries, why does it seem like Byron Leftwich is always hurt? I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns out to be Steve McNair’s second cousin, or something. Luckily for Jaguars fans, the team has one of the top second-string signal callers in the NFL (David Garrard).
9. Atlanta Falcons
Michael Vick is one of the most exciting quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, while Matt Schaub is easily the best backup signal caller in the league. So, why isn’t Atlanta higher on the chart? Jim Mora Jr. has no idea how to use Vick, while Schaub is rotting on the bench.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
As great as Trent Green has been the past five years – he has thrown more than 4,000 yards on three occasions – his playoff record is just 0-1. I can’t blame him for the loss, however; he commanded the Chiefs’ offense to 31 points in a losing effort.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
I have to place some blame on Donovan McNabb for last year’s Terrell Owens situation. McNabb should have confronted Owens instead of acting like a sad-eyed orphan in front of the media.
6. Indianapolis Colts
I wonder why Peyton Manning and the Colts were ranked first on the internet poll. Could it be Manning’s gaudy 3-6 playoff record? Was it the fact that he threw his entire offensive line under the bus after the Steelers pulled off a huge upset in Indianapolis? Or maybe it’s because his mammoth contract prevented his team from re-signing Edgerrin James.
5. Carolina Panthers
Yes, I would take Jake Delhomme over Peyton Manning in a heartbeat. I would lose in my fantasy football league, but with less talent around him than Manning has, Delhomme has compiled a 5-2 postseason record. Beats Peyton’s 3-6.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Carson Palmer looks like a sure-fire future Hall of Famer, but the knee injury he incurred against the Steelers prevented him from garnering any sort of playoff experience. We’ll see what Palmer can do in 2006.
3. Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t put up great stats – he has yet to eclipse the 4,000-yard plateau in a single season – but he gets the job done. Besides, his sister-in-law is Elizabeth Hasselbeck. That has to count for something.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
Motorcycle escapades aside, Ben Roethlisberger is 27-4 as a starter and already has a Super Bowl ring. And he just turned 24. I’ll take a winner over a perennial loser who just happens to be a fantasy god.
1. New England Patriots
Nos. 2 through 32 can be disputed, but there is no debate as to who deserves to be at the top of this list. All I need to write are four words: three Super Bowl rings.
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