BM and I share more than just our love of horse racing...
Now I know many of you out there believe that the summer sports scene is ruled by the Tour de France, the World Cup of Softball, and professional domino-playing, but true football fans like BM and myself have our eyes on the true prize of July: NFL training camps. As if reading my mind, BM recently started this NFL preseason off right by ranking each team's quarterback situation from 1st to 32nd. I think most people outside of Indianapolis would agree with BM that New England's Tom Brady provides the Patriots with the league's top QB situation. Kudos to BM for valuing wins over gaudy stats. Now, let's see if BM can stay consistent with this value throughout the course of this list (because, as we all know, the consistency of your BMs is very important). Here are my critiques:
Ranked Too High:
4. Carolina - No huge criticisim here, I just think it's a stretch to put Delhomme above people like McNabb and Roethlisberger. We'll agree to disagree.
6. Cincinnati - Now, I'm no doctor (wait a second...), but when your star quarterback is coming off a major injury, particularly one suffered so late in the season, you're coming into July with a whole lotta questions. If not for Carson Palmer getting KvO'ed (Kimo von Oelhoffen'ed) in the knee last January, I'd say this ranking were just right. But, given the uncertainty, they simply can't get a #6 ranking.
8. Miami - Yeah that's right, I said it. Look, I haven't been this excited about the Dolphins' QB situation since I bought my very own Jay Fiedler jersey back in 2001. But there are plenty of uncertainties about Culpepper coming into July (see also my rationale about Carson Palmer). The good thing for Culpepper is that his injury happened much earlier in the season than Palmer's. The bad thing is that he was having a very shaky season even before the injury last year. I agree with BM that Culpepper will be an absolute steal for the Fins (traded straight-up for a 2nd round pick -- used on Texas CB Cedric Griffin) if he regains his 2004 form and is healthy, but that's an awfully big "if".
13. Baltimore - Isn't Steve McNair missing an elbow, a spleen, four toes, three of his parathyroid glands, and a knee cap by now? How much longer can this guy live, let alone play football?? And Kyle Boller as your back-up? Let's move on...
19. Arizona - I think it's reasonable to assume that the Cardinals' QBs will collectively put up some huge numbers this year given their WR corps and huge RB upgrade (last season: three lepers and my grandmother; this season: a moderately-over-the-hill Edgerrin James), but that doesn't mean that Kurt Warner is any good. Matt Leinert may very well develop into a very good QB soon (maybe even this season), but he needs to prove it first. I think BM is still pouting that Buffalo preferred Donte Whitner to Matt Leinert; he was really hoping to get a chance to offer Leinert his first-born in person.
21. Chicago - I assumed my awesome 2006 Lindy's Pro Football Season Preview magazine had failed me when I lookd up the Bears' QBs and saw only Brian Griese, Kyle Orton, and Rex Grossman... I saw three back-ups and was wondering where their starting QB was.
28. Buffalo - It's hard to be overrated at #28, but the Bills are. I'd rather have an uber-gimpy Chad Pennington, a half-retarded Aaron Brooks, or even a deer-in-the-headlights Alex Smith than the three-headed Loscombnall monster. When your big offseason pick-up is Craig Nall, you'd better check and make sure you don't have a senile octogenarian running your team.
Ranked Too Low:
7. Pittsburgh - Hmmm, the consistency of my BM seems a bit irregular. We're lauding Tom Brady for his winning record and clutch wins, and yet Roethlisberger -- whose winning percentage is off-the-charts and who is now sporting a brand spanking new Super Bowl ring to match the shiny, untouched motorcycle helmet sitting on his garage shelf -- gets pushed down to #7?
9. Kansas City - I'm nit-picking... I woulda put Green at #7 or so... that's all.
15. St. Louis - True Mark Bulger's injury history is growing more McNair-like every week... but Gus Frerotte gives St. Louis a very capable back-up and gives them a big edge over #13 Baltimore and other teams with papier mache signal callers.
17. Jacksonville - I think this is the grossest mistake on the list. Leftwich has had some fabulous performances in his first two years as a pro and has helped get this franchise moving quickly in the right direction. Sure, he's far from a perfect QB, but unlike other overtly flawed guys (see: Plummer, Jake; Brooks, Aaron; Manning, Eli; et al.), he's become exceptionally good at adapting his game to his strengths and minimizing situations that expose his weaknesses. And as far as his durabilitty goes, David Garrard is a much passer than 90% of the league's #2's and 10% of the league's starters.
22. Green Bay - Farve's ablities have taken a slight free-fall over the past three years, but he's always going to be leagues better than Kurt Warner, David Carr, and "The Chicago Three".
23. Washington - Also somewhat of a nitpick... Brunell had a surprisingly good 2005 season and Jason Campbell supposedly has some pretty good promise. Deserves better than #23 is all I'm saying...
27. San Diego - Philip Rivers is the former #4 pick in the draft, last I checked. And even moreso, he inspired enough confidence in GM AJ Smith that they let the gimpy but suddenly stellar Drew Brees walk without a wink of compensation. I'm not saying he's top-ten material, but Rivers certainly deserves more than to be lumped in the same breath with Loscombnall, Billy Volek, and anything that Matt Millen has put together.
30. Oakland - Aaron Brooks is a dumbass. But he's reasonably talented and will do better than third-to-worst in the league.
Are you ready for some football, mofos?