We’ve finally reached that point readers. I know it’s bitter sweet for you as it is for me, due to my personal interest in quarterbacks, but we’ve finally come to the end of the Great Quarterback List of 2012. In this article we’ll be touching on the best of the best. The quarterbacks who make their team better with just their presence. These players not being on the field are detrimental to their teams as they would probably not even be contenders without them.
5. Robert Griffin III – RGIII is the best young prospect at quarterback the NFL has seen in a while. He was part of the 2012 quarterback class that a lot like to compare to the 2004 class, when numerous talented players at the position were selected. Robert has an arm that needs little development. He can throw off his back foot, side arm, or traditionally and get the ball out quick with power and accuracy. With an impressive rookie season only throwing 5 interceptions, he visibly turned his team, the Washington Redskins, around in a blink of an eye. He had 27 total touchdowns with 20 through the air and 7 on the ground. Numerous people believe that he was injured running the zone read scheme that Washington likes to use. However, if you actually saw the games, he got hurt in traditional drop back passing formations, when his line broke down and he was forced to extend the play. Griffin needs to work on a few things. He did a better job the last 8 games going through all his options before bringing the football down and taking off, which is something he has to keep up in the future. A lot of people mention Robert’s need to slide, but as it’s not a normal thing for him, I believe it’s a good way to get a cleat caught in the ground and tear a knee. He doesn’t like to throw the ball away or give in to defenders trying to force him out of bounds due to his competitiveness, which is something his coaches have been working on with him. RGIII also fumbled 12 times, and though he only lost 2, he’ll have to do better not putting the ball on the ground. The sky is the limit for this young talent, and it’s scary to think what he’ll be like with more NFL experience under his belt.
4. Drew Brees – I was a fan of this quarterback when he came out of Purdue and was drafted by the San Diego Chargers. Unfortunately, they decided to go in a different direction; right about the time Brees’s career took off. Many thought he was too small to play the position professionally, but Brees plays bigger than many imagined. Drew has started every game but one for the Saints. The missed game was due to resting him week 17 of their 2009 Super Bowl run. Efficiency is the name of the game with this quarterback, as he is extremely accurate to all parts of the field. Since he’s been with New Orleans in 2006, Brees has accounted for 33,571 yards and 249 touchdowns. Brees has a very strong arm which he needs due to the fact that he drops back about 10-yards from the line of scrimmage to look down field. His mobility is better than you’d expect and he’s a little slippery inside the pocket. Brees gets a lot of 7 to 9 man drop looks from the defense, as they try to disguise what they’re doing and give him looks he’s not used to seeing. The best way to play Brees is to put pressure on him so he can’t just sit back and tear you apart. Drew will be looking to bounce back from a difficult 2012 performance where he threw 19 interceptions and had his lowest completion percentage since 2003, at 63%. He turned 34 this year and so some wonder how much longer he can keep playing at the top of his game. One thing is for sure, until Drew does fall off a notch, he will instantly make the Saints a contender to win the division each and every season.
3. Tom Brady – This 3x Super Bowl Champion, 2x Super Bowl MVP, has been the heart and soul of his team since he took over in 2001. As the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft, Tom Brady might be the biggest draft steal in NFL history. He’s led his team to 5 Super Bowl appearances, but has come up short in their last 2 visits. Over his career in New England, he’s accumulated 334 touchdowns and has thrown for 44,806 yards. This future Hall of Fame quarterback knows how to break you down, before and after the snap, as well as get the ball out very quickly. He might be slower than molasses, but those traits make up for this shortcoming. Taking out the 2008 season because he was injured, Tom has only missed the playoffs 1 time in his 12 years being the starter. One thing Brady needs to work on is not waiting for the big play to open up and checking the ball down a lot quicker. He seemed to have forced the ball deep a lot in 2012, which got him in a little more trouble that normal. Brady will be 36 when the NFL season kicks off this year, leaving many to wonder how much more he has left in the tank. I personally wonder if he’ll end his career in New England, or if it will turn into a Brett Favre type of situation where he doesn’t think he’s done, but the team thinks differently. If that did become the case, I know more than half the teams in the NFL would love to have him, no matter what age he is.
2. Peyton Manning – In my opinion only, Peyton Manning might be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. His work and preparation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen out of a quarterback in my lifetime. He seems to know what you’re doing as a defense a majority of a game, and will call his own plays to adjust. Like Brady, he’s slower than a tortoise, but his mental game makes up for it as he gets the ball out extremely quick. One thing that impresses me about him that you might never hear about, is how he always keeps his feet moving at all times so that he doesn’t throw the football flat footed. After his neck surgery in 2011, he showed diminished arm strength early in the 2012 campaign, but as the weeks went by, started to look more and more “Peyton” like. For many years, you never saw even 1 pass of his wobble. He makes life very easy on his receivers. Over his career he’s racked up 59, 487 passing yards, and should move past Dan Marino for 2nd All-Time this up coming year, if he stays healthy. Manning’s 436 touchdowns are 2 All-Time and only 72 away from tying the leader, Brett Favre. This coming season should be business as usual for Peyton; his Denver Broncos are a Super Bowl favorite. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer, is 37 this season, and might not have too many more chances to get another ring. I think Peyton Manning has a good 2 or 3 years left in him. So enjoy every opportunity you get to see him snap on the helmet, because you might never see a talent such as this again.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Aaron Rodgers could be at the top of this list for many years to come. Rodgers is extremely efficient with the football, as he’s only thrown double-digit interceptions twice in his 5 seasons (13 – 2008, 11 – 2010). Rodgers might just have the best arm in the NFL as he throws to all parts of the field with pinpoint accuracy and exceptional arm strength. Though he’s been in the NFL for 8 years now, we all remember why he wasn’t able to get on the field much sooner, and has only been starting for the last 5 years. Aaron has put stellar numbers since becoming the man under center, as he’s gotten 21,332 yards passing with 170 touchdown passes. What makes him even more dangerous is the fact that he can pull the ball down and run with it. He has amassed 1,442 rushing yards in his career with 18 rushing touchdowns. Rodgers sets the bar for the other quarterbacks in the NFL. He rarely has a bad day and hasn’t thrown more than 1 interception over the past 2 seasons. The Super Bowl XLV MVP doesn’t really have much he needs to improve on at all. I envision Rodgers winning at least 1 or 2 more Super Bowls before his time in the game is up. One thing is certain though, if he keeps up numbers like he’s had steadily over the last 5 years, he’s for sure going to be in the NFL Hall of Fame when his time is done.
Well, there it is folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this list as much as I did writing it. I do have an explanation for those who might wonder why Mike Vick wasn’t on the list. The reason I didn’t incorporate him on here is because I didn’t want to have 2 starters from the same team. If you would like to know where I would have him, take out Foles, move 24-21 down a spot, and insert Vick right before Cam Newton. It’ll be interesting to see how these quarterbacks will perform in 2013, and which move up or down the list.