With the Super Bowl just around the corner here is my list of the top 10 QB’s of 2012
- Peyton Manning: The guy is 35 years old he had four neck surgeries in 16 months and led his team to the best record in the AFC. Oh yeah and he had his best statistical season to date with a completely different team! Need I say more?
- Drew Brees: Even with the whole team and coaching staff crumbling around him, he still finished at the top in the NFL in passing yards with 5,177, yards per game 323.6 and 43 touchdowns. Brees was the only reason the Sean Peyton-less Saints were in the playoff discussion late in the year. The scary thing is, that he would have had an even better year had his receivers actually caught the ball when it was thrown to them.
- Aaron Rodgers: He is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He’s pretty mobile and has a great arm. His decision-making is questionable at times though.
- Tom Brady: Okay I know what you are thinking, Tom Brady at number four? Yes he’s still at the top of the NFL statistically, and is in the conversation for the best quarterback ever to play the game, but he is not the same Tom Brady that won three championships. Throughout his career he has been able to mask the fact that he can’t run with his arm strength. Now that he’s 35 and his arm isn’t as amazing as it once was, he is more of a liability behind center, particularly against physical defenses.
- Russell Wilson: He along with Marshawn Lynch and the defense helped guide the Seahawks pretty deep into the playoffs. His poise, mobility and decision-making were amazing, for a rookie! Look for him to only get better in 2013.
- Andrew Luck: No QB was asked to do more in 2012 than Andrew Luck. The first pick of the draft stepped into the giant sized foot steps left by first QB on the list and proved that he was the right man for the job. Not only did he lead his team to an 11-5 record and a spot in a wildcard game, but he did it all while not having the luxury of the talent that RGII had in Washington. Oh yeah, Luck (and rest of the Colts) also had a different head coach than the one they started with, for much of the year.
- Robert Griffin III: RGIII is the best combination of a running and passing threat to come to the NFL in a long time. He set the football world on fire with his back-to-back four TD games. He also gave offensive coordinators headaches all season long, with his superb and some would say uncanny ability to carry out play action fakes. RGIII put the Redskins on his back, he carried them a division title and a home playoff game against the Seahawks, but the read-option offense that enabled him to have so much success, has also left him vulnerable to injury. He needs to learn how to play the game smarter and avoid taking unnecessary hits so he can stay on the field for his team in 2013.
- Colin Kaepernick: What more can I say about Colin Kaepernick. The second year signal caller filled in more than admirably for injured starter Alex Smith. He did so well in fact, that even after Smith was healthy coach Jim Harbaugh stuck with him. His decision making, poise, running ability and rocket arm only seem to get better week after week. Kaepernick has led the 49ers to the precipice of Super Bowl immortality and he can only get better in 2013.
- Matt Ryan: Matt Ryan has all of the tools you want in a starting quarterback, he’s smart, mobile, and has a great arm. For whatever reason though, playoff success has eluded him and by association the Falcons. Yes the Falcons beat the Seahawks in the Divisional round to get their first playoff win, but barley. After racing out to a 20-7 lead to end the first half, the Falcons let the Seahawks come back. They almost lost the game, if not for an ill-advised Pete Carroll timeout that gave kicker, Matt Byant another chance at the game winning field goal. Also let’s not forget that the Falcons had a 17-0 lead over the Forty Niners in the NFC Championship game before San Francisco came back to win 28-24. Now how much of this is Matt Ryan’s fault… well that’s up for debate but even excluding the playoffs the Falcons looked like a team that should easily be a Super Bowl contender for much of the first half of 2012 but then seemed to go on cruise control for the second half, limping into the playoffs. Whether or not it’s fair, he’s the quarterback and shoulders the blame.
10. Alex Smith: Okay I know what you’re thinking two Forty-Niner quarterbacks in the top 10 this guy must be a niner fan! Well… guilty as charged, but remember before suffering a concussion and being replaced in the starting lineup by Colin Kaepernick, Smith was leading the league in passer rating and had a 70 percent completion rate on the season. He was so good in fact that if he had completed just nine more passes on the season, he would have won the NFL passing title. Not to mention that he put up with coaches, fans and the media all questioning his ability during his eight year career in San Francisco. He handled it all with class and grace. When Harbaugh and Co. arrived in town, Smith was able to turn it around, to become a pretty good option at the position and he’ll be a good option for whatever team he plays for in 2013.
There you have it, my top 10 quarterbacks of 2012. Feel free to disagree with me all you want because there is certainly room for debate. One thing I’m sure of though is that I can’t wait to see how all of these guys perform in 2013.