There are a handful of NFL quarterbacks that seem to have all the physical tools to get the job done, but for some reason have never put it all together. They look like a duck, walk like a duck, even quack like a duck – but they just can’t swim. More often than not they sink straight to the bottom, and in most cases they’ve cost their coach and his coaching staff their jobs while they get to keep their’s.
QBs that quickly come to mind are Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, and Jay Cutler. They’re in a league of their own. There is a second tier of QBs that includes Andy Dalton, Tony Romo, and Sam Bradford. RGIII may eventually get in to this second tier, but then again he is attempting to jump start his career at the Factory of Sadness known as the Cleveland Browns. I don’t know if any QB could be successful in that awful organization.
Let’s take a little closer look at all of the aforementioned QBs. Matthew Stafford has been through numerous head coaches. He’s been handed several #1 overall draft pick wide receivers, decent offensive lines, and a plethora of other offensive weapons. Heck, even Megatron – Calvin Johnson – had enough and decided to walk away from the game during this past off-season. Blessed with a gun for an arm, there are times that he can’t hit water falling out of a boat. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but there’s definitely something wrong with this guy.
Matt Ryan is another one. Fortunately for Joe Flacco, the comparisons between the two stopped right after Big Joe won a Super Bowl. Just look at the weapons he’s had – Tony Gonzales, Julio Jones, Roddy White – just to name a few. If not for an ill-advised time out by the Seahawk’s Pete Carroll, Matty Melting Ice would still be looking for his first playoff win. The clock is ticking on Ryan’s career, and he is running out of time to prove his growing critics wrong.
Jay Cutler has a habit of throwing the ball to defensive backs and oftentimes in bunches. Jumping Jay has also been surrounded with weapons, who all – to a man – have lots of uncomplimentary things to say about him once they’ve escaped Chicago. If I was coaching Da Bears, I’d put this cat on a pitch count, and never have him throw more than 20 times a game. In fact, I’d bring back Ted Marchibroda’s offense from the 80’s – run, run, pass, punt. You laugh, but it’s superior to pass, pass, pick, play defense.
Ryan Tannehill is a coach killer in training. He is still young on the job curve, but I’ve seen nothing from him to indicate that he’ll ever develop into a an NFL QB worthy of his draft position and his huge new contract. Selfishly I really like him, because as long as he is under center, we’ll all be able to easily obtain discounted tickets to Dolphins home games. It’s always a great trip to Miami in the winter, and Ravens fans do a great job of taking over the stadium (cue the Ravens Seven Nation Army chant).
Which brings us to Dalton, Bradford and Romo. The first two have won exactly the same number of NFL playoff games as you and I, and the last one has a knack for throwing an interception at the absolute worst possible time. There are throwers and there are field generals, and all 3 of these gentlemen most definitely fit in the former category.
By the virtue of his dismal playoff record, Dalton used to have a monkey on his back. Now that monkey has grown into an 800-pound gorilla, one that he cannot shake off until he gets that elusive first playoff win. It is inexplicable – and at the same time defies logic – that he has a future Hall of Fame receiver like AJ Green and can’t hit him when it counts. Coach Marvin Lewis is extremely lucky he gets to work for one of the cheapest owners in the NFL, or he would have been gone a long time ago.
Bradford’s career has been marred by injuries, but even when healthy he has not shown that he is anywhere in the elite category. Somehow Jeff Fisher (6 playoff wins in 22 years – but that’s going to require an entire separate article dedicated to his record) survived Bradford’s tenure with the Rams, and hopefully his Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson can do the same. Pederson was smart enough to draft an insurance policy in the form of Carson Wentz.
Tony Romo “led” the Cowboys to a 12-4 record two years ago. The Pokes saved Romo from himself by running DeMarco Murray into the ground, 400 plus times. By drafting Ezekiel Elliott and signing free agent running back Alfred Morris, they’re hoping the same formula works as well as it did in the past. Of course that will cause Dez Bryant to squawk, but then again if he didn’t then they would be the Dallas Cowboys. ‘Merica’s Team.