NFC Starting QB Grades
Wavered between the A and A- but went A because Manning has two rings and always is out there. You count on him to go all 16 games every year. Before winning the first Super Bowl I would have called him a B to B+ guy but he proved me wrong.
Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III – A-
Voted to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and has already started his climb to superstar status. What is amazing about his rookie campaign is how he protected the football. 20 TD’s passes to 5 interceptions is amazing for a rookie QB. There is an obvious injury concern but I have to go on what I saw last season on the field for 15 games.
Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo B
Add Romo to the Schaub and Dalton talk of the AFC grades. He is a legit starter in the NFL but you cannot overlook the way Romo seems to implode in his situations. Week 17 versus Washington is a huge example of why this one factor drops him a whole grade down. It does help him with the uncertainty of the owner, coach and offensive coordinator also.
Philadelphia Eagles – Mike Vick B-
Going with Vick here over other challengers. Hard to grade really since we have not seen him or have really clue what Chip Kelly’s offense holds. Maybe an incomplete would be better? But based on the past couple seasons turnovers kill Vick and keeps him down. I have no real clue how this Philly quarterback situation plays out.
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers A+
I give Rodgers the highest grade even higher than Brady. He is the best in the league right now, although I understand if that is debatable. The last two seasons had ended shorter than the Packers have envisioned but it’s not because of Rodgers. Maybe with the two rookie backs his crazy numbers come down but his play shouldn’t.
Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler B
Cutler is all over the place. One week who looks like he is a MVP candidate and the next he turns average NFL defensive backs into MVP candidates. Two seasons ago he was playing great and the Bears looked like Super Bowl contenders but then he got hurt and I don’t think he has played the same. Interesting to see what happens with Cutler and Trestman, grade could change quickly.
Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford B+
I think Stafford is legit and should get a big extension when the time comes. Megatron adds a full grade to any contract but I don’t think Stafford is the issue in Detroit. Two years ago he shined. Last year he took a big dip but the Lions were just bad. This season will be a huge one to determine if Stafford is B or A type QB.
Minnesota Vikings – Christian Ponder B-
Ponder took a lot of heat in Minnesota but they did make the playoffs and it wasn’t all on AP. Most of it, but not all. His numbers were not horrible as many would make you think to believe. The pressure is clearly on him in year three now that the Vikings have added Matt Cassel to the mix. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ponder improves him gave and locks down that starter spot early.
Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan A-
Ryan was really good last season and even won a playoff game. But once again he lost a bigger game at home versus the Niners. Is Matt Ryan worth this grade on what he does alone or is he fortunate one to have three big time players to get the ball to? Ryan like many quarterbacks at his stage of his career will be judged on what he does after week 17. Winning there would get him to A status.
New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees A+
Much like Rodgers and Brady it is hard to find any faults with Brees. Sometimes he will give it away but all-in-all he is as good as anyone in the league. Won a Super Bowl, has the stats to back this and is a true leader. He gets his boy Sean back on the sidelines so expect the usual huge season from Brees.
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton B+
I think Cam takes it to another level this season. He has shown signs in the previous two seasons but this could be his breakout campaign. I know he may still have trouble shaking maturity issues but the talent is there. Carolina seems ready to make a move up and a lot will depend on Newton. Problem is the NFC is just way too tough.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman B
I think most may think of Freeman as a lower grade but I feel he is legit. I would take him over a lot of starters in the league. The problem is I don’t think anyone really knows what Greg Schiano thinks of Freeman and could he do something crazy like pull the cord early? They drafted Mike Glennon pretty high and I wonder of Schiano makes a quick change in Tampa.
San Francisco 49ers – Colin Kaepernick B+
Since we really have only seen Kaepernick for 11 games I went B+ over A- but he can quickly rise to A or A+ status in the next few seasons. It is all there for him to be as good as anyone in this league. It helps to have a great coach and great team around him but I think he should do some major damage in 2013 and beyond.
Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson B++
Wilson is awesome. He played great last preseason but everyone thought he would fold once the season started. He didn’t and as the season went on he became already one of the top quarterbacks in the league. There are probably some to still think his play will come back towards average but he sold me and sold me quick last season.
Arizona Cardinals – Carson Palmer C+
I have lost a lot of confidence in Palmer since he quit on the Bengals. The Oakland trade was laughable and the Bengals got their revenge. I don’t see Palmer coming in and being a huge improvement over Kolb or Skelton or whoever was under center last season. I see this as another Donovan McNabb situation in DC but at least the Cardinals gave up less.
St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford B
Another quarterback in limbo which way his career is going to go. Will he take the Rams out of the gutter and into contention or will he just be a regular quarterback? I think the Rams recent additions and also the stability of Jeff Fisher has to help Bradford. The Rams had RG3 in their pocket and let him go and even though they got a boat load for him, Bradford’s play will decide if it was worth it.