Trent Dilfer made some interesting comments earlier this week on Colin Cowherd’s The Herd, claiming that Mark Sanchez is, based on the tape, in the top 1/3 of NFL quarterbacks. My first reaction to his words was some combination of utter astonishment and surprise.
Of all ESPN NFL analysts, Dilfer seems to have the most realistic approach. Unlike, say, John Gruden, he evaluates players as he sees them and does not subscribe to the “since this is ESPN, let’s praise everyone!” mantra. My first reaction was to name every QB I could that was better than Sanchez.
But I could only come up with the following 12. Maybe he was right.
1. Peyton Manning
2. Tom Brady
3. Philip Rivers
4. Drew Brees
5. Aaron Rodgers
6. Ben Roethlisberger
7. Eli Manning
8. Tony Romo
9. Michael Vick
10. Joe Flacco
11. Matt Schuab
12. Matt Ryan
So what does it say about the NFL that only 12 QBs are better than Sanchez? Has his improvement really been that staggering? Not really. The only other explanation, then, is the lack of quality QBs around the NFL. Outside of these 12 QBs, it is hard to find anyone to trust in the playoffs or with the game on the line.
Despite the surge of passing that has dominated the NFL of late, QB play has, in general, declined. Maybe this is why we have such great parody. The diluting of talent leads to less dynastic teams and ultimately lower quality competition.
I just had to get that off of my chest.
If you missed my picks from last week here they are.
(Home team in caps, picks in bold)
Last Week: 6-6-1
ATLANTA FALCONS (-1) over Baltimore Ravens
The Falcons are 4-0 at home and the Ravens, despite their 6-2 record, have yet to demonstrate their Super Bowl capabilities.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-7) over Cincinnati Bengals
The Begnals hate the road like Channing Crowder hates spitting and the Colts love their home field as much as Roger Goodell loves fining defensive players.
Houston Texans (+1.5) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The battle of “which coach will be fired first?” A.K.A. The battle of “coaches who are inexplicably employed.”
Tennessee Titans (-2) over MIAMI DOLPHINS
When has the statement “let’s bench our young, emerging QB for an aging veteran who cannot throw the ball beyond 20 yards” ever led to a positive?
Minnesota Vikings (-1) over CHICAGO BEARS
Brad Childress accidentally united his entire team by pitting himself against them. This is either an ingenious move or simply his terrible coaching skills working to his advantage. I’ll take the first option.
BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5) over Detroit Lions
You have to love it when your backup QB is an improvement over your starter. Also, Buffalo is not an 0-16 team. They have to win one eventually (I think).
CLEVELAND BROWNS (+3) over New York Jets
The NFL’s most run heavy team quietly has no running game. It’s really too bad LT hit his peak in Week 3. But it’s not too bad for the Browns that coaches/GMs always go back on their word. So much for the whole “Colt McCoy will not play a down in 2010.”
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-7) over Carolina Panthers
They already beat Carolina on the road by 13 before Josh Freeman discovered that he could play QB.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1) over DENVER BRONCOS
I refuse to pick a Josh McDaniels team ever again.
St. Louis Rams (+6) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
Am I the only one praying for the Rams to win the NFC West title? Every other team is just extremely unlikable. Give it two years the Rams will start a run of 10 straight division titles. Do we really see any of the other teams emerging any time soon?
Seattle Seahawks (+3) over Arizona Cardinals
The Giants and Raiders were legitimate opponents. The Cardinals are not. Any time you choose a QB who has a sub 50% completion percentage and a rookie, undrafted Mormon to replace your HOF caliber QB, you know you are in for a long season.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-14) over Dallas Cowboys
9-7 is a potential wild card in the NFC. The Giants want to put the nail in the coffin against the 1-7 Cowboys.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (+4.5) over New England Patriots
When is it safe to put Mike Tomlin in the Bill Belichick category of coaches? Maybe he has two less Super Bowl titles, but this team wins regardless of whom they put on the field.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over Washington Redskins
Hopefully the Rex Grossman experiment is over. I love it when coaches unnecessarily assert their authority to the detriment of their teams.► Read more articles written by Pardon The Opinion.