June 18, 2013 in NFL Personnel
New England Patriots - Tom Brady A+
I have to go with this grade just because Brady is and will end up going down as one of the top five quarterbacks of all time. His play is no diminishing at all and the only thing you can have against him is that he hasn't won the big one recently just coming up short the last two seasons. But if it wasn't for Brady, even with Belichick, the Pats wouldn't be perennial contenders like they are.
Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill B-
Tannehill was decent in his rookie season as he got way overshadowed by the other rookies. Probably deserved the C+ more but will upgrade him slightly because I think there is solid hope in Miami he can be the long term solution. His second season will be a huge indication though as he adds Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller as weapons.
Buffalo Bills - E.J. Manuel D
I should go no grade here since we have never seen take a NFL snap but will start real low since many feel he won't be ready day one. One person who does though is Doug Marrone and he could look like a genius quick if Manuel plays like a Newton, Luck, etc. But I would expect more like a Tannehill of last season if I was a Bills fan and that is truly not a bad thing.
NY Jets - Mark Sanchez C-
Going to go with Sanchez for the fun comedy factor here even though it is very up in the air. I really can't see a scenario where he turns it around in New York and gets anywhere there above a C type quarterback. He had his moments early but ever since that GQ spread it's been downhill. If its Geno come week one, I wouldn't change my grade much because he should struggle early also. Brady could struggle with the Jets other 10 around the QB, well maybe not.
Houston Texans - Matt Schaub B
I think this may be the toughest one of all 32 to judge. Schaub has always seemed to be a solid NFL starter but not spectacular to match up with the Bradys and Mannings of the AFC. But last season after getting a big deal questions arose if he can take a very good Texans team to the Super Bowl. This grade could easier move as the season goes on. Which way? Not really sure.
Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck B+
Luck's season overall may have been closer to a B and his playoff outing was more like a D but Luck has shown he is on his way to easy A status. I think right now the B+ is more for what we all think he will end up being for the Colts the next 15 years. Colts fans should never complain again knowing that they are going to go through a span of 30 years of Manning/Luck and 1 of Painter.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Blaine Gabbert C-
Maybe they go with Chad Henne and look to 2014 for their future but for now they can't yet give up on Gabbert. The Jags should be better after having a solid draft but not playoff ready so you have to see if a new staff can get anything out of Gabbert. If they can't, it goes down as a disaster of a pick and you have to move on.
Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker C
Just like Jacksonville the Titans are heading into that "can he be the guy?" with Jake Locker. If you’re unsure then you have to decide how long the leash is before you look at other options. Nothing has really stood out about Locker in two seasons so this one he needs to show something or questions will loom. And then draft day in May or June 2014 (whenever it is now) will be interesting for Tennessee.
Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco A-
Flacco would have been all over the place if I did this week to week last season until the last month. Then he played the last two like a top NFL quarterback. His receiving core really stepped up for him in the playoffs but he was clearly making the right decisions to beat Brady and Manning. Losing Boldin could have an effect on this grade come December.
I figured Big Ben had kinda of down year in 2012 because the Steelers missed the playoffs but he didn't. He stayed at the same level he has for a decade. It seems that he leaves himself always one hit away from a four week injury but when he is out there he obviously produces. Wallace left but I don't think that will hurt that much as the Steelers should be more consistent running the ball again.
Cincinnati Bengals - Andy Dalton B
Dalton has been pretty good in his two season in Cincy and maybe he deserves a B+. But I went with B because I think he is the is one of those quarterbacks like Schaub who is a legit starter and will get paid and win games but maybe not reach that so-called "elite" status. I thought the same about Eli though before and was wrong.
Cleveland Browns - Brandon Weeden C
I do think the new Browns regime seems to be already giving up on Weeden too soon. Yes he is old, and yes he wasn't spectacular, but I think it’s worth giving him more of an opportunity especially when your other options in 2014 are Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer. Browns should see if Weeden can work with Norv Turner first before printing Manziel or Bridgewater jerseys,
Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning A
Manning's career is a A+ and for the most part he didn't disappoint in his first year in Denver. The only reason I don't have him at A+ status is the concern that is still there over the neck. Did it affect his arm strength in December and January? 2013 will be huge for the legacy of Peyton as it is Super Bowl or bust for the Broncos. A second title would be A+ for sure.
San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers B+
Rivers has dropped slightly the past two seasons because of two things. He isn't winning and he turns the football over. Can he make it back to his old level with Norv gone and Mike McCoy in? He should be able to, but it will be interesting to watch what happens.
Oakland Raiders - Matt Flynn C+
We just don't know on Flynn. He played well against the Pats and lit up the Lions in 2011 but last season was supposed to his chance to show everyone. And it didn't happen, Russell Wilson brought out his stepladder and stole Flynn's show. Now he should get his chance with the Raiders. He is only 27 and shouldn't under huge pressure because no one expects much from Oakland.
Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Smith B
Smith was good with a very good 49ers team around him the past couple seasons but was bounced for Colin Kaepernick. He should be a starter in this league but is he a better than average starter who protects the ball well or the guy who beat the Saints two seasons ago in the playoffs. Working with Andy Reid and some already in place weapons in KC could be huge for Smith that is Reid is not washed up, Bowe comes to play and Charles continues to be a huge threat.