What makes a Quarterback Elite?

There is blurred line that seperates the very good from the very best. Elite is not a title you can honor someone with from stats, or from the regular season. It’s something you have or you don’t. There are players who are steady, there are players who are spectacular, and there are players who are steadily spectacular: Those are the Elite. Those are the ones that make it look easy, the ones who don’t look like they are having and incredible game because those numbers are common. But as I said, there is more to the story of an elite quarterback. Take for example, the careers of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. Both were drafted in the first round in 2008, and they have often been compared. They had very good rookie seasons. In 2009, Ryan struggled while Flacco excelled. The next year, Ryan bounced back and ended up a Pro Bowler, and Flacco was coming up strong, just a whisper from one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Ravens fans were hopeful that behind Flacco, Ray Rice, and Anquan Boldin, the Ravens would finally have a great offense to complement and take pressure off their defensive dynasty. In 2011, they traveled down unexpected roads. Matt Ryan had a very good year and netted the Falcons a postseason berth, behind his 4,000 yards passing and 29 TD’s. But Flacco regressed. He went from playmaker to game manager. The Ravens were winning, but the offense no longer relied on him. He was ineffective and suffered terrible passing statistics for part of the year. Yet one could argue that he has it, he has what other QB‘s don’t, with his brilliant 4th quarter comeback against the Steelers. Ryan, on the other hand, puts up the numbers and continues to improve, yet he has yet to win a playoff game in 3 tries. Some players just don’t have it, no matter how high they are drafted, because College isn’t the NFL. Some have the physical gifts but have trouble dealing with the new game, and don’t work hard. JaMarcus Russel had a cannon. His accuracy struggled, but that’s something you can work on. However, he took his ridiculous contract and proceeded to slack off, get out of shape, and get himself released. Others, work hard, don’t give up, and just don’t have it. Jim Harbaugh has helped Alex Smith so much, but that long bomb accuracy isn’t there, and I don’t think it ever will be. However, he can definitely be an effectibe NFL quarterback. Eli Manning. Inconsistent for most of his career, except for when it mattered most, in the playoffs. This year, he said he was in Tom Brady‘s class. The media ate him up. They could have absolutely wrecked him. But no, he went out and put his money where his mouth was. That seems to make most people pipe down. Eli’s finally got some consistency to go with his great talent, and look what he turned in: A season, that in any other season than this one, where Tom Brady and Drew Brees smoked Dan Marino’s record for passing yards, might have won him an MVP. There are no questions about his playoff performance. He won the Superbowl with his arm, that play to David Tyree and the touchdown to Buress. So, what makes an elite quarterback?
The Ability to carry their team.
Playoff Performance.
The true test of and elite quarterback is what their team would be like without them. The Colts? It goes with out saying that Peyton’s in that class. He is maybe the greatest quarterback ever. Brady’s Patriots would sunk without him, the Saints would stink without Brees,a nd although the Packers might survive without Rodgers, he is an unquestioned member of that class and I predict he will be an even better Packers quarterback than Brett Favre.
Here’s my list:
Peyton Manning
Eli Manning
Drew Brees
Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Who do you think should be on that list?

2012 Predictions

Week 17 of 2011 ended a season of surprises and disappointments. The Colts and the Eagles flopped, and the Bengals and Broncos surprised. I have some predictions for 2012.
The surprise Team: Jacksonville Jaguars. Maurice Jones-Drew is the best combination of power and speed in the NFL, and I’m curious to see what Blaine Gabbert can do with a quality receiver. They should draft Justin Blackmon out of OSU. If they don’t, there’s no hope for this franchise in the near future.

The Flop: The Cowboys. Tony Romo has repeatedly fell short in the clutch, and he might not even be there next year. The team is short on talent. DeMarco Murray was a 3rd round steal, but aside from him, the inconsistent and mouthy Dez Bryant, and DeMarcus Ware, they have little else. The secondary is old. The O-line is unimpressive. America’s Team might not be that for much longer.

My Superbowl Pick: Houston Texans. The Texans got their first playoff berth in their short history this year-with a 3rd string, 5th- round pick, rookie quarterback. They lost their best player on defense, Mario Williams, in the middle of the season. Top wide receiver Andre Johnson, one of the best in the league, missed significant time with 2 hamstring pulls. The team is still young, and have a superb running back tandem of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Brian Cushing is becoming one of the NFL’s best middle linebackers, only a short way behind the likes of Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis. They are loaded with talent and depth on both sides of the ball. How can they go wrong? Of course, that’s what people said about the Eagles. Just make sure their backup quarterback keeps his mouth shut about some “Dream Team” and they’ll be fine.

The Rebounders: Colts and Eagles. Once they have Peyton Manning back, the Colts will become one of the NFL’s better teams again. I mean, c’mon, he’s Peyton Manning. If he never fully recovers, they have Andrew Luck. This season really exposed how thin on talent and one-dimensional the Colts are. Of course, you can afford to be one-dimensional when your quarterback is so good he can put the ball exactly here he wants and is a Hall of Famer. That doesn’t work with Kerry Collins or Curtis Painter. Anyway, the Colts are Peyton. They weren’t themselves without him. The Eagles were very disappointing, but still have Micheal Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Babin, and that terrific secondary Even without DeSean Jackson. If they change their system to better fit their player’s needs, maybe they finally will live up to all the hype.

2012 Breakout Player: 49ers QB Alex Smith. Under offensive-minded Jim Harbaugh, Smith finally passed for over 3,000 yards. He could have a lot more, but the Niners relied on the ground game more than the air attack. Also, Smith really struggled with his accuracy on long bombs deep downfield. If he can fix that, and with a little confidence,who knows what he could do?