We rank the 32 starting NFL QB’s heading into the 2014 season. What did they do last season? What improvements or decline has their team seen over the offseason? Do they have an easier or harder schedule this season? What’s the outlook for the 2014 season that lies ahead of them? Here are our rankings.
32. Matt Schaub – Houston Texans
Matt Schaub must prove he can bounce back form being “Mr. Pick Six”
31. Chad Henne – Jacksonville Jaguars
Chad Henne proved to be more efficient than Blaine Gabbert, but unfortunately that’s not saying much.
30. Brian Hoyer – Cleveland Browns
When Brian came in for the Browns in 2013 he played well in 3 games before being injured for the season. 3 games isn’t enough to warrant any higher position on our list.
29. Matt Cassel – Minnesota Vikings
A lot like Chad Henne, Matt came in and played better than the QB who started the season, Christian Ponder, which again isn’t saying much.
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Houston Texans
Ryan Fitzpatrick always gives his team a chance to win with his grit, but sometimes grit just isn’t enough and this is one of those times.
27. E.J. Manuel – Buffalo Bills
E.J. was playing fairly well for the Bills before he was injured and with the addition of Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, he should be primed for a much better 2014.
26. Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans
This is Jake’s last year to make an impression and show NFL teams he’s capable of being a starting QB. Much like E.J. Manuel, Jake’s strong start to the 2013 season was halted by injury. Jake will need to come out strong once again and stay healthy as the Titans drafted LSU QB Zach Mettenberger who will be nipping at Jake’s heels for that starting job.
25. Josh McCown – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh has had a few nice little stints with the Arizona Cardinals and last season with the Chicago Bears, but at age 35 can he really be an effective and healthy starting QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? He will definitely have the weapons with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Doug Martin, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins so he can stay upright maybe this could work out nicely for the Bucs.
24. Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford needs to stay healthy and that’s really all there is to say. The addition of Auburn T Greg Robinson should go a long way into making sure that happens.
23. Geno Smith – New York Jets
Geno has a great arm and the toughness to stand in the pocket and get drilled while still getting off an accurate throw. Obviously he needs to read defenses better, but he’ll also have improved talent with WR Eric Decker and RB Chris Johnson to help take the pressure of his shoulders.
22. Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer is a solid QB, but needs to cut down on the interceptions which will be hard for him as he puts too much trust in his arms and WR talent around him.
21. Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
Ryan has some talent around him on offense with WR Mike Wallace and TE Charles Clay so he really needs to take that next step and prove he’s better than just another average QB.
20. Eli Manning – New York Giants
Eli had one of his worst seasons ever last year, but a lot of that can be attributed to a bad offensive line, no running game, and Hakeem Nicks not showing up all season. However, if Eli wants to be “elite” then there are no excuses for last seasons performance.
19. Andy Dalton -Cincinnati Bengals
Andy has all the talent on offense a QB could ask for, but is still making some bonehead throws at crucial times down the stretch. Andy wants a big contract, but if he’s going to get it from the Bengals or any other team for that matter he’ll have to show he can take advantage of the weapons around him. It also wouldn’t hurt if he could finally get over the hump and win a playoff game. #ContractYear
18. Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs
The defense carried a struggling Chiefs offense to a 9-0 start, but after the bye week the roles reversed to where the offense was clicking and the defense fell apart at the seams. However, even though the offense was clicking during the last 7 weeks of the regular season they only managed to go 2-5 in those games. Then came the Wild Card playoff game at the Indianapolis Colts where Alex started off white hot throwing for 231 yards and 4 TD’s in the first 31:16. Unfortunately, the last 28:44 of the game Alex threw for 147 yards, 0 TD’s, and also had a lost fumble. The Chiefs have become a worse football team over the span of this off-season and play a much more difficult schedule having to face the NFC West. Alex wants that big contract, but he’ll have to perform great against the toughest competition to even start the conversation of him being worthy of Jay Cutler money ($18M/year).
17. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons saw too many injuries last season especially to their start WR duo Julio Jones and Roddy White. It didn’t help things that RB Steven Jackson could barely gain a yard. Matt Ryan is a very good QB and with his WR duo coming back with something to prove in 2014 don’t be shocked to see them back in form.
16. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler has a cannon for an arm and amazing talent all over that offense in Chicago. He needs to concentrate on his footwork more and stop thinking that he can fit balls into nonexistent windows because of how strong his arm is. Jay and this Bears team will be in the 2014 playoffs barring any devastating injuries dealt to them in the upcoming season.
15. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens added former Panthers WR Steve Smith and have TE Dennis Pitta coming back healthy for the 2014 season. Joe needs Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce to give him a strong running game and if that happens the Ravens will be back in the playoffs this season.
14. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Tony is coming off back surgery, but he’s giving up his golf game right now to focus on football which is always a good thing. The Cowboys will still struggle mightily on defense especially with star LB Sean Lee being out for the year so once again it will all fall on the offense. The Cowboys need to learn to run the ball more, but we can all agree they’ve proven that they refuse to do that. Tony is a very good quarterback, but until big changes come in big D he will keep falling short.
13. Robert Griffin III – Washington
RGIII finally is rid of Mike Shanahan and seems to be enjoying his time with new Head Coach Jay Gruden. This will be his second year after that devastating knee injury and it usually takes players two years to fully recover. Washington added WR DeSean Jackson which will really open things up for an already potent offense.
12. Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles
7 TD’s in one game! Chiefs QB Alex Smith had 7 TD’s through the first 7 weeks of the season,.
11. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Big, strong, physical, fast, cannon for an arm… What more could you ask for? How about some WR’s for the man!
10. Matt Stafford – Detroit Lions
Matt is another QB that believes in arm too much and the team asks him to throw the ball way too much each game. He is unbelievably talented and they just added a versatile catch passing machine in TE Eric Ebron from North Carolina in the 2014 NFL draft. We haven’t even mentioned Golden Tate yet whom they picked up out of free agency from the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
9. Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick took the 49ers to the 2012 Super Bowl where they fell just short of the Baltimore Ravens and he’s been to back to back NFC Championship games. He has a cannon arm, he’s physical, he’s blazing fast, and with the addition of WR Stevie Johnson from Buffalo this offense looks set to be even better in 2014.
8. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Super Bowl Champion QB in only his second season in the league! He may not have the most amazing stat line, but he makes the great play when a great play is needed. He extends plays that are seemingly dead in the water and creates magic. Russell Wilson is crafty, smart, hardworking, fleet of foot, and clutch.
7. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
Love him or hate him, the guy’s an absolute intense competitor and can make all the throws. A few years back everyone thought he was becoming washed up, but he’s come back stronger than ever with the emergence of WR Keenan Allen.
6. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
2013 Wild Card playoff game vs. Kansas City – Chiefs 44-Colts 45 #Clutch. Andrew still has some work to do to understand what defenses are doing against him and how he can cut down on his turnovers, but I don’t think anyone is worried that Andrew won’t be able to do just that. The Colts were down 28 points early in the 3rd quarter of that Wild Card playoff game to the Chiefs and then Andrew decided he wanted to win that game. It was an amazing performance and just the start of his highlight reel career tape.
5. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben might be the most fun quarterback in the NFL to watch on any particular game-day. As a Chiefs fan, I’m used to my quarterbacks going down as soon as they are touched or even when they aren’t touched. It’s amazing to see a quarterback take a linebacker for a ride on his back, shrug him off, escape the pocket, and still be able to make a big play for his team.
4. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
How does Drew Brees have all this success and throw such beautiful deep down field passes when he struggles to see over the line of scrimmage. It really is a thing of beauty to watch this quarterback play football. He navigates the pocket masterfully, finds open passing lanes, and fires the ball on target when you can’t imagine how he even saw where his WR was down field.
3. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers probably has the best ball placement and touch on throws of any quarterback in the NFL. He places back shoulder throws as if he was tossing the ball to his son in an empty park. He throws balls that have to be centimeters behind the defenders helmet and can make any throw necessary to win a football game. Aaron can run the ball effectively when required, but his passing prowess is second to none.
2. Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos
Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to introduce you to the best regular season quarterback in NFL history! He controls everything on the offensive side of the ball whether it be protection calls, checking into a different play that should be more effective based on the alignment of the defense, getting everyone lined up properly, and making the proper play based on what the defense does post snap. Peyton hasn’t had the best time in the playoffs, but he does have one Super Bowl championship and the Broncos will make a strong run to rectify what went wrong last season.
1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
Tom “Terrific” was just that last year even though his stat line might indicate otherwise. No quarterback in the 2013 NFL season did more with less than Tom Brady. Aaron Hernandez is in prison on multiple murder charges, Rob Gronkowski barely played due to injury, his rookie WR corps never came along like they had hoped, Steven Ridley couldn’t hold onto the ball, and their number 1 WR was Julian Edelman! Well surely they were carried by their defense then, right? Wrong! Injuries mounted all season for the Patriots defense as they lost Vince Wilfork, Jarrod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Tommy Kelly, and Aqib Talib. Tom Brady willed this group of misfits to the AFC Championship game and will be looking to carry them even further come 2014.
Now that you’ve seen where we have ranked the 2014 NFL QB’s; what changes would you make to our list?