Just how good is Joe Flacco? Photo Credit: Getty Images
By: Joe Quinn - 1460 KXNO - @joequinnshow
Interesting discussion yesterday on the show got me thinking a little deeper into postseason QB's (in case yesterday's post wasn't deep enough!). The question was posed, rank the postseason QB's, from 1-12, who you'd like to have if you were "drafting" a postseason team this year.
Well, I sat down last night, and did just that. I tried to keep the game results so far out of the equation, and base this entirely on a fresh slate coming in, based on regular season and past post season performances.
Here's what I came up with:
12. Christian Ponder - Vikings
Its really a no brainier at #12. The Vikes are a team that lives and dies by the run, and Ponder does just enough to win them games. Most of the time, its considered a success if he simply doesn't turn the ball over.
While the Vikes certainly would have been better off with Ponder under center than Joe Webb, the team was always one twisted knee away from being out of the running anyway.
11. Robert Griffin III - Redskins
I'll probably start catching some flack right here, but hear me out. Rookie QB's generally don't fare well in the postseason (Brady won the Superbowl in his first full year as a starter in 2001, as did Kurt Warner, but past that its pretty thin).
Add in the fact that Griffin is a run-first QB at the time of the year when defenses really ramp it up, and the fact he was playing quasi-injured to start the post season, and I feel pretty safe in my choice with Griffin at #11.
10. Andrew Luck - Colts
Gets the slight nod over Griffin because of the style of play (more of a pocket passer - see above), and the fact he was playing on a "team of destiny" coming into the playoffs.
Watching Luck complete the deep post route pass to T.Y. Hilton in stride late in the season was a thing of beauty. Any man that can make that throw in his rookie season and turn a team from league worst into playoff contender in one year has my confidence.
Luck will be in this league a looooong time. I doubt he stays at the bottom of this particular list for very long.
9. Matt Schaub - Texans
The weakest of the true "contenders" in my mind. Schaub looked great early in the season, but fell off - he threw for just 1 TD and 3 INT in the last four weeks of the regular season.
The Texans are a team that was going the wrong way entering the postseason, and Schaub was a part of the problem. Add in the fact its his first post season appearance, and he goes no higher on my list.
8. Andy Dalton - Bengals
I like Dalton a lot better than most, probably because I think AJ Green is one of the top receivers in the game. All Dalton has to do is put it in the general vicinity, and theres a pretty good chance Green comes down with it. The kinds of weapons a QB has at his disposal certainly count in where they rank on this list.
Dalton has gotten better in his sophomore season, and I could make an argument he's been the best QB out of the 2011 draft, even though he was the 5th QB taken (behind Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, and Blaine Gabbert). He's been leaps and bounds better than Gabbert, Newton had a down year, and he falls ahead of Ponder on my list.
Dalton will only getter better with more experience - like Luck, I expect to see him in the postseason often.
7. Russel Wilson - Seahawks
There's always an exception to the rule, and here it is. Wilson is just a winner. Despite a build that says he shouldn't be a typical NFL starting QB, and a third round draft number by his name, the kid can just plain win.
The Seahawks came into the postseason as my NFC Superbowl pick (guess that's out the window), and Wilson was a big part of their success. Give the kid one more season, and Seattle will be one tough out.
6. Colin Kaepernick - 49ers
Despite the fact I thought Harbaugh should have kept Alex Smith under center after the injury for "team chemistry" reasons, there's no denying Kaepernick's skills.
He can run, thrown, and executes the read option play better than anyone I've seen in the NFL this year.
5. Matt Ryan - Falcons
Coming into the post season, the biggest question was whether or not Matty Ice could finally get his first postseason win in his fourth chance. Ryan was successful, but coming in, the fact he didn't have win #1 made me hesitant to rank him any higher.
Ryan's stat line wasn't really impressive in his previous post season game either - 0-3 record, with 3 TD, and 4 INT in three blowout losses. He was much better this time around 3 TD for 250 yds, and, most importantly, a win.
4. Peyton Manning - Broncos
Here's where the stat line becomes much more important. There's no denying that Manning will go down as one of the greatest (if not the greatest in many people's minds) QB of all time, but take a closer look at his postseason numbers:
9-10 record - 32 TD/21 INT - 88.4 rating - 5679 yds
I'd contend the INT's are a tad bit high, compared to the rest of his career. Plus, four of his postseason wins came in 2007 when the Colts won the Superbowl. He's also been the architect of eight one and dones in the post season.
Even in 2007, when Manning collected his only ring, he really only had one outstanding game - the AFC Champ against Tom Brady and the Patriots, where he threw for 350 yds, 1 TD, and ran for another. The rest of that post season, Manning went for 685 total yards, 2 TD, and 6 INT. Not exactly stellar.
There's no denying Manning's place in the history of the game...I just don't think his legacy will be written in the post season.
3. Joe Flacco - Ravens
Time for the biggest shocker on the list. Say what you want about Flacco, when the calendar turns to January, the guy is at his best. In 11 career postseason games to date, Flacco is 7-4, throwing for 2145 yds, 13 TD and 8 INT, with a rating of right at 80.0. Plus he's 5 for 5 in getting into the postseason his first five years in the league.
Flacco's overall numbers aren't as eye popping, but consider where he plays, and the weapons he has around him. Baltimore is a team that likes to run the football and grind it out, and up until recently, the WR corps in Baltimore hasn't been much to write home about (Anquan Boldin is helping to change that notion).
While he may not be Montana, the numbers don't lie. This Joe is a pretty good postseason QB too.
2. Aaron Rogers - Packers
Maybe its the discount double checks, or the WWE championship belt from a few years ago, but Aaron Rogers has already cemented himself in Superbowl history in my mind.
A 6-3 overall record (5-2 coming in to this year), 18 career post season TD's to just 5 INT's, and a playoff rating of 103.6 lead me to feel pretty confident with Rogers under center.
This season, much like in years past, Rogers fell victim to a sketchy supporting cast. There's just no way your defense can give up 40+ points to a rookie QB, and expect to win. Rogers did his part vs. the 49ers, but the defensive unit just didn't cut it.
1. Tom Brady - Patriots
If anyone disagrees with Brady at #1, you're a total fool.
17 postseason wins, the best offensive supporting cast he's ever had in New England (even without Gronkowski...), and unfinished business from a year ago make Mr. Brady all the more dangerous.
If anyone is going to deny the Pats the Lombardi Trophy this year, they'll have to find a way to neutralize #12. Because even if his defense doesn't get off the bus, he'll find a way to score 100 points a game if he has to.