The best day of the year has finally arrived. The NFL Kickoff for the 2013-2014 season is here and Pegboard could not be any more excited. In anticipation of the upcoming NFL season we are counting down the best NFL quarterbacks going into the season. Our goal is to countdown the quarterbacks based on who we would want as our starter for this upcoming season. We spent many hours arguing over questions like ‘which backup quarterback we would rather have?’ and ‘which former 1st round pick is more disappointing?’ so that you didn’t have to. Some spots on the countdown proved to be very difficult (damn you Tony Romo) so we broke ties with things like upside, consistency and stats. Part 1 is the lower half of the league. It lists the quarterbacks that are serviceable at best. We hope you enjoy and look for Part 2 to come out soon.
43. Tim Tebow
Jesse: Where do we begin? The fact is, Tebow doesn’t really belong on this list anymore. He hasn’t started a game in almost two years, was passed over twice for a starting job by the Jets last year and didn’t even make the Pats’ final 53 this year. It seems that all of his critics have been proven absolutely right; Tim Tebow just doesn’t have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. I felt like a total dick typing that out, but it’s true. After reading that, you might ask why did we include him at all? Why lend more coverage to a guy who doesn’t even deserve a fraction of the millions of hours of coverage that ESPN has spent on him? Quite simply friends, I don’t have a good answer for you. All I can say is that we are diehard Broncos fans, and every true Broncos fan should be forever grateful to Tebow for that dramatic playoff win against Pittsburgh. I’m not talking about the regular season or the improbable comeback wins or the high-school style offense that we ran to death that year (literally). I’m talking about the day when Tebow beat the Steelers through the air, and the elation we all felt afterwards. If he never does anything else in the NFL, well, then at least he will always have that. And so will we.
42. Matt Cassel
Kevin: Back in the Josh McDaniels coaching the Denver Broncos days, we were this close (my thumb and pointer finger are very close together now) to seeing Matt Cassel as a Bronco. Alas the proposed three way trade that would have landed Cassel in blue and orange and Jay Cutler in either Detroit or Tampa Bay did not come to fruition. Instead the Broncos dealt Cutler for Kyle Orton and as fate would have it Orton and Cassel are now together as backups on the bottom of our list. Want to know something else strange? Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton are the SAME PLAYER! I swear Jesse and I did not intend this to happen. We are just freakishly good at this stuff. I did not notice this until after we did our rankings.
Kyle Orton Career:
- Record 35-34, Completion %: 58.4, Yards: 14,621, TD’s: 81, Ints: 57, Passer Rating: 79.7
Matt Cassel Career:
- Record 29-33, Completion %: 58.9, Yards: 13,495, TD’s: 82, Ints: 57, Passer Rating: 80.4
That is a joke right? 6 wins (Orton has played 7 more games), 0.5 completion %, 1126 yards, 1 touchdown and 0.7 passer rating separate these two.
Both peaked with 10-5 seasons. Both have six 4th quarter comebacks. Both are now backups on playoff hopeful teams.
So how did Jesse and I decide between the two players? I think we flipped a coin. Except we didn’t have a coin so we flipped an imaginary coin.
Back to Cassel. I wanted to point out that Cassel wasn’t a completely giant disappointment like his doppleganger. He did manage to lead his Chiefs to a division title in 2010 with a 10-5 record 3116 yards, 27 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. Unfortunately his next two seasons were filled with injuries and inconsistent play. That ultimately led to his exit out of Kansas City. The reason he makes the list is because there is a very good chance he could play this season for the Vikings. And with Adrian Peterson he would be asked to do very little. If the Vikings had Cassel last season instead of Joe Webb as their backup do you think they would have put up a better fight? They would have still lost but I think every Vikings fan should feel better about their backup today than they did last season. Okay I believe 389 words is plenty for Matt Cassel.
41. Kyle Orton
Jesse: It seems like it’s been ages since ol’ neckbeard was the starter around here. From time to time, I still pull up those old Kyle Orton Farewell videos on YouTube purely for the comic value. I actually think the guy in those videos looks more like Tom Green than Orton, but I digress. The truth is, I think going to Dallas and being Tony Romo’s backup is the best thing that ever happened to Orton. Not only is he completely removed from any and all expectations surrounding his performance, but when he actually does have to play it’s usually because Romo just completed one of his patented five interception games. At that point, Dallas fans would be thrilled to see Danny Kanell replace him. And yet, Romo is nearly 30 spots higher on this list than Orton. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
40. Jason Campbell
Kevin: Jason Campbell is like the NFL’s booty call. He is always getting some action but he can never get a team to fully commit to him. This poor guy already suffered through being an Oakland Raider and is now stuck being a Cleveland Brown. The league obviously sees him as a valuable backup and nothing more. Thank goodness for that because Campbell is 4-0 against the Broncos in his career.
39. Brock Osweiler
Jesse: People like to label Osweiler as the QB of the future, and with good reason. He was a second round pick in last year’s draft and has shown immense improvement in his sophomore season, so much so that even Big Al and D-Mac over at 104.3 “The Fan” have stopped giving him so much grief. The only problem I see is when exactly does the future arrive? Peyton will be the starter through at least the 2014 season, but as long as he’s still the Sheriff and as long as he’s physically able to play, you better believe he’s going to ride out the five-year contract he signed when he arrived here. If that comes to fruition, Osweiler’s contract will expire a year before Peyton calls it a career, and I highly doubt he’ll want to stay and be a backup for one more second. You could say I’m getting ahead of myself, but I guarantee you that the Broncos have already considered all of this, and I’d put my money on them letting Osweiler walk so they can squeeze every ounce of football out of Peyton.
38. Nick Foles
Kevin: Foles made the list because Michael Vick has only one season that he played all 16 games. That was in 2006. Ironically that was his best season as far as rushing yards go. It was probably all the practice he had from outrunning the law. Zing! Oh uh, Nick Foles? Yeah how about that guy…Like I said he made the list because Vick’s bones are made of milkbones (it is never too late to get in some dog jokes on Vick). He could have an actual impact on the Eagles 4-12 season.
37. Ryan Mallett
Jesse: I really didn’t think that Mallett deserved to be on this list. Kevin thought otherwise and I just didn’t care enough to fight him on it, so here we are. Mallett is more or less in the same position as Osweiler, meaning I doubt he’ll ever succeed Tom Brady as the starter in New England. I’m fairly surprised Bill Bellichick has yet to trade Mallett for a mid-round pick that he would then use on a serial killer or a mediocre corner (suck it Pats fans). Sooner or later some other team will get desperate and sell out for Mallett, and I would be even more surprised if it’s not Michael Lombardi. Man, this whole paragraph just reeks of bitterness. Time to move on.
36. Kirk Cousins
Kevin: Everybody is very high on Kirk Cousins right now. I think he is swell too but I am concerned that the Redskins decided to keep four QBs. Two of which didn’t even sniff this list. Look I understand keeping Pat White around. He is a mobile quarterback like RGIII and he can help prepare the team for the left handed mobile quarterback they are up against in week 1 (Michael Vick). But Rex Grossman? I have a theory that Grossman saved Mike Shanahan’s life (pushed him out of the way of a bus, introduced him to sunblock, etc) and Shanny is now in a life-debt-80’s-sitcom scenario. So yeah, I am concerned about Cousins because the Redskins seem concerned enough to keep around 33-year-old, life-saving, sunblock-wearing (T)-Rex Grossman.
35. Matt Flynn
Jesse: The only thing more brutal than pushing through the bottom of this list has been Matt Flynn’s career since he left Green Bay. Twice he has attempted to win a starting job with a different team, and twice he’s been beaten out for it by someone who was behind him on the depth chart when camp started. Now what happened in Seattle probably has a lot more to do with Russell Wilson than it does with Flynn, but you must really suck if you lose your spot to Terrelle Pryor. Not only is Flynn clearly not capable of being a starter in this league, but are we even sure that he’s a good backup? The Packers were so talented on offense when he was there that you probably could’ve subbed Adam Weber in and he would’ve done just as well. If you don’t know who Adam Weber is, then I rest my case.
34. Chad Henne:
Kevin: I will admit that I had to look up what team Chad Henne is on like four times (0-1). That is why they call Jacksonville the black hole. Wait, they call Oakland the black hole? That’s right, my bad (0-2). My initial reaction to learning that Henne was the backup in Jacksonville was, “Holy shit, Mark Brunell is still playing?” Nope, apparently he hasn’t played as a Jaguar since 2003 (0-3). And some guy named Blaine Gabbert is their QB. I was originally shocked that Henne couldn’t outplay (outwit, outlast, sorry I’m a Survivor nerd) Gabbert to become the starter. I always think of Henne as a scrappy guy who is a diamond in the rough quarterback. Then I looked at his stats. Not pretty. The guy just does not win. Sure he was being dragged down by a poor Miami Dolphins team but still. If he can’t become the number one guy in Miami and Jacksonville? Eek, he is the Matt Flynn of Florida (1-3!)
33. Mark Sanchez
Jesse: I’m not sure if there are any math nerds out there who enjoy our football articles, but here’s something for you guys just in case: 2 AFC Championship appearances – 1 Butt Fumble = 0 credibility. Confused yet? There’s probably only been a handful of plays in NFL history that ruined a guy’s career regardless of his previous accomplishments, and that one tops them all. Not that Sanchez had that many other accomplishments or anything, but reaching the conference championship in each of your first two seasons counts for something, right?
32. Terrelle Pryor
Kevin: As soon as the Oakland Raiders took Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft I think I said to myself, “Excellent, I will never have to write a few paragraphs about Terrelle Pryor and where he stands against other NFL QBs. He will just slowly go away.” Yes I think about weird things. But I was wrong. I still have my doubts about Pryor and if he wasn’t the starter for week 1, he would be far down this list. Pryor is the guy who got screwed by the NCAA (he deserved it only because he was a Buckeye. And Buckeyes deserve bad things to happen to them) for trading memorabilia for tattoos. Remember this was pre-Penn State scandal when we freaked out on such a minor controversy. Since then Pryor has struggled to gain respect. He finally climbs his way to the top (if you can call starting for the Raiders a top. More like a flat plain.) and is starting for the Raiders in week 1. Naturally after all those years of no respect he decides to celebrate this moment by changing his jersey number to JaMarcus Russel’s old number 2. I have nothing else to say. Except for a joke. Here it goes. “Jamarcus Russell wore number 2? The only time Jamarcus got close to being the second at anything was the second worst draft bust of all time.” Funny right? Because Ryan Leaf was the only worse draft pick and…ahh nevermind, I’m hilarious.
31. Geno Smith
Jesse: Ugh, how did I get stuck with both of the Jets’ shitty quarterbacks? I’m really not enjoying part 1 at all. Anyway, other than some highlights on Sports Center, I really haven’t seen Geno Smith play. I have no idea if he’s any good or if he can permanently exile Sanchez to the bench (it’s pretty amazing that Sanchez hasn’t already done that to himself). What I do know is that if he is their starter this year, he’s not going to have a lot of help. Every offense in this league is looking to move the ball as fast as possible, but the Jets aren’t even ready to take off the training wheels yet. Smith will need to limit his mistakes and make a lot of plays with his legs if he’s going to make it, and when was the last time that a Jets’ quarterback knew anything about limiting mistakes? That being said, avoiding a Butt Fumble of his own would certainly be an improvement over last year.
30. Blaine Gabbert
Kevin: Bleh, what to say about Blaine Gabbert. Oh! I heard he does magic tricks! Oh wait, that is David Blaine. Unless you count making the Jaguars’ fans hope disappear! Eh, that’s not that impressive either. What are there like, 3 Jacksonville fans? I am all about having patience with young QBs but look he is 5-19. It won’t get better. All we can do is petition the White House to save Maurice Jones-Drew from the evil Jacksonville black hole. Poor guy, he is a huge Madden fan (which creates even more disappointment in his life) and I bet the first thing he does when he puts in the new version is trade himself to the Patriots.
29. EJ Manuel
Jesse: 1996 was a pretty good year. I started first grade and got my very own Sega Genesis. The Ramones played their last show ever. America had enough sense not to elect Bob Dole as President. Yes, a pretty good year indeed. Oh, and it was also Jim Kelly’s final season, so even Buffalo fans look back fondly on 1996. Unfortunately for them, the Bills have been trying unsuccessfully to find Kelly’s replacement ever since, so Manuel has his work cut out for him. However, unlike his rookie counterpart in New York, Manuel has some pretty solid play-makers around him and he had a pretty good showing in the preseason. Maybe he won’t make anyone forget about Kelly, but he’s certainly capable of making them forget about J.P. Losman, Drew Bledsoe, Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Good lord, is that really the best the Bills have been able to come up with since then? No wonder everyone in Buffalo is constantly on suicide watch.
28. Jake Locker
Kevin: My only memory of Locker is that he was the sure fire number one pick for the NFL draft. And then he decided to go back to college for an extra season and his stock plummeted. Imagine if he had come out in 2010 and the Rams had taken him instead of Sam Bradford, how disappointed would…oh wait. They drafted Sam Bradford? So about equally disappointing then wouldn’t you say? Actually Locker is still learning and still has time. Sure the Titans took him too early in 2011 (Round 1, pick 8) but at least they didn’t have to pay him Sam Bradford money thanks to the new CBA. Meaning the Titans got the number one prospect in 2010 but in 2011 when it was cheaper and 7 lesser draft spots. Sorry Rams fans! But at least you cut your losses when you had the number two pick in 2012 and drafted the sure thing is RGIII! Damn you didn’t? Sorry to bring up bad memories St. Louis. Oh and sorry Jesse for writing more about Bradford than Locker and stealing your thunder.
27. Christian Ponder
Jesse: Christian Ponder has to be one of the luckiest guys in the world. He was allowed to date and then marry the gorgeous Samantha Steele since she only covers college football, and he has the best running back of this generation taking all the pressure off of him on offense. Yep, life is good for this Florida State alum. Well, other than the fact that he’s the only starting QB in his own division who’s this low on our list. Can you imagine if the Vikings had had the good sense to take Aaron Rodgers back in 2005 and then still somehow landed Adrian Peterson two years later? Now THAT’s a team I would be afraid of. Instead, if Ponder doesn’t improve on his subpar 2012 campaign, we are pretty sure that you will see Matt Cassel handing the ball off to AP sometime this year, and you can ask Jamal Charles how much fun that was.
26. Brandon Weeden
Kevin: Jesse had the honor of writing about two Jets QBs. I get the honor of two Browns Qbs! Whenever Weeden comes up for discussion I don’t really focus on stats and ability and all that junk. My focus is on my new favorite game called, “Who is Brandon Weeden Older Than?” (Patent pending, I’m creating a website, iPhone app, and a boardgame). So here is a quick glance:
- Aaron Rodgers
- Adrian Peterson
- LeBron James
That was fun!
25. Michael Vick
Jesse: Back when both Madden and Michael Vick were relevant, I used to do whatever it took to get him on the Broncos. It didn’t matter if I had to trade all my draft picks or my best player (Who was the Broncos’ best player back in 2002? Clinton Portis? Let me check.), I was willing to pay the price. Vick single-handedly carried me and many other gamers to Super Bowl after Super Bowl and became a digital gridiron legend, nearly surpassing the immortal Bo “Techmo Bowl” Jackson along the way. Man, those were the days. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about the real Michael Vick? There’s not much to say about him other than I think he’s a solid fit for Chip Kelly’s offense but I’ll be surprised if he makes it to mid-season. He certainly won’t be taking them to the Super Bowl or being traded for a slew of draft picks, that’s for sure. (Ugh, it was Clinton Portis. Good christ).
24. Carson Palmer
Kevin: Carson Palmer escaped the black hole of Oakland and went straight into the offensive line hole of Arizona. Poor Palmer is going to be hurting this season. His new rookie guard is out for the season. But all is not lost. Palmer gets to throw to Larry Fitzgerald. And Fitzgerald is probably thrilled about that. Poor Fitzgerald. He is the NFL equivalent of that amazing girl that dates all the wrong guys. He knows none of them are as good as his ex (Kurt Warner) so he bounces from bad QB to bad QB. Some of them with little experience and others that were really exciting as first but ended with disappointment. And now he is getting serious with someone who he knows has flaws but he thinks he can fix them. Silly Fitz. Some guys can’t be changed. When will you ever learn?
23. Sam Bradford
Jesse: See Jake Locker.
22. Ryan Tannehill
Kevin: Tannehill is entering his second season with a new toy in Mike Wallace. A very, very expensive toy. His rookie season was fine by normal standards. Unfortunately Tannehill will always be linked with the QB class of the 2012 draft. When anyone talks about him at the sports bar it will always go like this, “Tannehill is doing pretty good but he isn’t Luck, or RGIII, or Wilson. Plus I would rather watch his wife do anything else.” Despite that Tannehill has a good shot at being a solid QB in his career if the Dolphins build around him correctly. Spending so much money on a single wide receiver is not the best start financially but at least he has a good target to throw to.