Our Best in the NFC North series continues with a look at quarterbacks. Who tops the list? No surprise…
1. Aaron Rodgers – Packers
Drew Brees may be the highest paid QB in all of football but he’s not the best. Whether we like it or not, that distinction belongs to the man currently running the show in Green Bay. Go ahead, try and find a negative on Rodgers. He wins. He puts up the numbers. He shows in the clutch. He already has the ring and might have made a run at a second ring last year had he not been let down by his hapless defense and droppy receivers. Okay, there’s one thing against him: He makes stupid commercials. But other than that, this guy’s resume is as air-tight as it gets. He deserves every accolade. And that frankly makes me sick.
2. Matthew Stafford – Lions
A couple years ago people were worried that Matthew Stafford would be a bust. Well look at him now, look at him now. Last year was the blossoming year for Stafford. Not only did his stats explode, but he led the Lions back to the playoffs after years in football purgatory. Of course he’s helped by the presence of Calvin Johnson, the Human Mismatch, but that doesn’t diminish Stafford’s achievements. The question now is, can Stafford and the Lions take the next step and earn the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl berth? They should be in the mix. Unless everyone on the roster gets thrown in jail.
3. Jay Cutler – Bears
There’s a good argument to be made for Jay Cutler over Matthew Stafford, on pure talent if nothing else. I choose Stafford for one reason: character. Stafford to me feels like a solid leader-type, but Cutler? I’m not convinced. I think he pouts too much and I haven’t been impressed by the way he’s handled this offseason. He’s mostly said the right things about Mike Tice but I think he’s been a punk when discussing his offensive line. This seems like somewhat ungrateful behavior considering how much the Bears have bent over for this guy, firing Mike Martz, installing his pal Tice as the OC and bringing in his other pals Brandon Marshall and Jeremy Bates. The time has come for Cutler to grow up and lead by example. And by the way, I’m not one of those people who bashes Cutler for being a wimp. The heat he took after the NFC title game two years ago was ridiculous. I think Cutler’s tough enough. But is he smart enough and selfless enough? These are legit questions.
4. Shaun Hill – Lions
Look up “Professional Back-Up QB” in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Shaun Hill. Just a solid player who stays within himself, understands how to play the position and will never hurt you with dumb mistakes. He is the Steve DeBerg of our generation.
5. Jason Campbell – Bears
Campbell’s trying to put his career back together after a disastrous tenure in Oakland, and the Bears seem like the perfect spot for him. He’s on a team that has a chance to win and though the #1 QB is firmly established, the #1 QB is also playing behind a really horrid offensive line and is probably going to get hurt at some point. So Campbell knows he’s probably going to get a chance. The Bears were smart to bring in an established QB as a back-up after the mess with Caleb Hanie last year. It’s a good marriage.
How are Shaun Hill or Jason Campbell better than Ponder? Simple. They’ve both proven themselves to some degree in the NFL, while Ponder has not. So objectively, I can’t say Ponder is better than either of those guys. Now, if you’re talking about who would be a better QB for the Vikings – for their specific situation which happens to be a rebuilding situation – I would take Ponder because he’s young and has a chance to be better than either of those guys. But as an overall objective proposition regardless of the specific circumstances of the team, sorry, I can’t rate Ponder above those guys at this point. He’s proven absolutely nothing.
Other guys to watch: Joe Webb. I’m circling week 10. By then Ponder will either be too banged-up to play or will get benched for being flat-out bad. And Webb will come in and the Vikings will still be lousy but at least they’ll be entertainingly lousy.