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Quarterback Power Rankings: The rise of Eli, RG3

We've rolled out weekly power rankings for divisions, offenses, coaches, fan bases and the most-watchable teams since the season started.

It's time to revisit the quarterbacks. We last checked in after Week 2, and things have changed quite a bit in the meantime. These are the quarterbacks we'd want moving forward for this year only.

The "E" word: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning

Rodgers has turned around his uneven early play for the Green Bay Packers. There's no quarterback I'd rather have.

The New England Patriots already have dropped as many passes as they did all of last season. Brady sometimes can see pressure when it's not there, but he still plays at an extremely high level.

No one is quite like Brees when he is on a roll for the New Orleans Saints. His accuracy over the last three weeks has been outrageous.

Eli is playing at an MVP-contender level for the New York Giants.

Roethlisberger's transition to coordinator Todd Haley's new offense has looked smooth on the field, although his teammates have let him down.

Peyton Manning might be a little different this year with the Denver Broncos, but he's not much worse than his Indianapolis Colts days.

I had Rodgers and Brady separated from the pack to start the season. It seemed unnecessary now. This six pack stands apart.

Tier Matt Ryan

Ryan has created a little separation with the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco for now, but we aren't ready to anoint him as one of the game's best. Ryan has yet to face a great defense, and his two worst games were his last two. Still, he controls the Atlanta Falcons' offense more than ever and mostly makes good decisions.

They can't be this good, right?: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III

I really struggled where to put these guys. Are Luck and RG3 already better than veterans like Tony Romo and Jay Cutler? This list is about this year, and experience matters so much at quarterback.

There's a chance I'm biased because I watch every snap for our weekly rookie quarterback review, but the Colts' Luck and the Washington Redskins' RG3 just aren't normal rookies. This post from Chase Stuart helps explain why I still give a slight edge to Luck. The numbers help to explain what I've seen on tape.

Next level: Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub and Cam Newton

Romo is playing so much better for the Dallas Cowboys than conventional wisdom suggests. Apart from the second half against the Chicago Bears, Romo has played at a high level.

Flacco has been better this year for the Ravens, but he's still too prone to stinkbombs, like the ones against the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. Cutler probably is playing at a lower level than a season ago for the Bears, but it hasn't shown up because of weak opponents. He should get better.

Schaub does everything he's asked to do, and he does it well for the Texans. I'm not sure how he'd do outside of Houston's system, but that's not really the point. Newton actually played a solid game against Dallas, but that got lost in the post-game noise. He has been uneven this season, just not nearly as bad as the stories around him suggest. The Carolina Panthers could help him by developing some sort of drop-back passing (or running) game. As the longtime San Diego Chargers quarterback, Rivers needs to show he can perform against quality competition.

I might feel silly putting the rookies ahead of this group by the end of the season. It's really tough call. Yes, these are first-world, football writer problems.

Tier disappointment: Michael Vick and Matthew Stafford

It's amazing how much punishment Vick has taken this year. He's a hard player to rely on week after week because you aren't sure what you are going to get with the Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller.

Stafford's struggles have been more complete than Vick or Cam Newton. He hasn't been accurate and has really struggled in the red zone for the Detroit Lions.

Middle of the pack: Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Weeden

In most years, we'd be talking about the Miami Dolphins' Tannehill as one of the most promising rookie quarterbacks to come out in a long time. He's ahead of where Ryan and Flacco were at this stage of their rookie seasons and shows all the attributes you'd want in a franchise quarterback. Alex Smith fits what the San Francisco 49ers do. His progress has been incremental this year, but it exists.

Josh Freeman is one of the hardest quarterbacks to evaluate. Even in a 400-yard game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he misses a lot of throws. At least he's better than last year.

The Oakland Raiders' Carson Palmer still makes a few "wow" throws every week, good and bad. Andy Dalton really is struggling to be consistent in his second year with the Cincinnati Bengals. St. Louis Rams QB Bradford has a great arm, but he needs to develop the mental side of his game. Cleveland Browns rookie Weeden has improved more than any quarterback in football since Week 1.

Tier mediocre: Mark Sanchez, Christian Ponder, Matt Hasselbeck and Russell Wilson

Sanchez shows you just enough each week to think he has a chance. Then you remember he has done that for four years with no noticeable progress for the New York Jets.

Teams beg the Minnesota Vikings to throw, and Ponder still runs the least explosive unit in the league. Hasselbeck is the perfect Tennessee Titans backup, and Wilson is showing improvement, but the Seattle Seahawks still are limited in the passing game. He's a large part of that.

End game: Blaine Gabbert, John Skelton and Brady Quinn

The rest of this season in Jacksonville is about Gabbert's development. He has been a disappointment this year so far.

Skelton might be the least-accurate quarterback in the NFL. When he misses, there isn't an Arizona Cardinals receiver who can bail him out. The Chiefs might be Brady Quinn's last chance to prove he can start in the NFL. Going back to his Cleveland days, he has shown a propensity for playing too safe.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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