The NFL is a quarterback driven league. If you do not have one of the more elite quarterbacks today, it is much more difficult to compete for a Super Bowl. The obvious players who come to mind who are most capable of leading their teams to a championship include Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Other up and coming younger quarterbacks who are making strides in 2012 include Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub, while many players in their first or second year are also impressive, including Robert Griffin III and Andy Dalton.
But it is not all good news for quarterbacks who were expected to help lead their team to the playoffs and a possible Super Bowl. Many players who appeared poised to become the next big thing, or at least a quarterback who could break through to that elite status, have taken a step back. These five quarterbacks in particular have regressed significantly from their performances in 2012, and now will struggle to even keep their jobs over the next few years with their respective teams if they do not quickly turn things around.
5. Mark Sanchez – New York Jets: Sanchez only comes in at No. 5 because of surrounding circumstances. He has played poor;y enough to be No. 1 on this list but, he has no offense and poor play calling, plus, he was never quite as good as the other players on this list in the first place. While his turnovers were always bad, as well as his poor decision making skills, Sanchez is not even getting the Jets into the red zone this season. He threw 26 touchdowns in 2011, but has just nine this season. His completion percentage also went from 56.7 in 2011 to 53.2 this season. That number not only demonstrates a regression, but should merit a benching. But that mean more of Tim Tebow, and even Rex Ryan knows that is not enough of an upgrade.
4. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers: This one is a bit more understandable. Rookies do well at times because the league has not had enough time to plan for them. Then they hit the rookie wall, and that is often followed by the sophomore slump the following season. That is the case when it comes to Newton. His passing and rushing numbers are down, but his turnovers and bad decisions are through the roof. His completion percentage has dipped, but his quarterback rating has plummeted. With a bad team going through some changes in personnel and the coaching staff, Newton is in a tough spot. But he also shows no sign of improvement. Or a man who has any clue how to get it going again. Suggestions? Really?
3. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions: This one is a bit more difficult to understand, but not as much as people think. We were all ready to anoint Stafford as the next big thing after just one full and healthy season. Yes, he was phenomenal in 2012, but it was the first time we saw anything like that from the injury prone signal caller. Stafford has taken a huge step back after his MVP like performance in 2011. His touchdowns are way down, as he tossed 41 in 2011, compared to just five still this season. His completion percentage is not much lower at all, but his rating has gone from 97.2 to 78.4. That is a drastic drop from last season to this year, and Stafford is another player who does not look like he is going to turn things around any time soon.
2. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers: It appears as if taking away all of his toys is finally catching up to Rivers. Vincent Jackson is gone, and Rivers is having his worst season in quite some time, even after many said that 2011 was a down year. But in 2011, Rivers still threw for 27 touchdowns and had a rating of 88.7 This year he has thrown just 10 touchdowns with a 85.3 rating. And that may be with receivers who use illegal stickum product on their gloves. With the Chargers possibly missing the playoffs for the second straight season, Rivers could be on thin ice. Then again, it could be everyone else who goes first.
1. Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys: have said it before and I will say it again. Romo is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in a long time. He has some talent, but he makes some of the worst decisions in key situations. His talent will never offset that fact. The fact that Dallas wants to sign him to a lucrative long term deal is unfathomable to me. After throwing 31 touchdowns in 2011, Romo has just eight this season. His quarterback rating went from 102.5 in 2011 to just 84.6 this season. He has failed to take that next step forward for the Cowboys and, at this point, it appears implausible that he ever will. It is time to finally declare Romo a bust in terms of reaching the elite quarterback level. This year’s regressions should cement that fact.