QB’s who need to RISE UP!
We are all well aware that an NFL Team is made up of 53 players, 11 on each side and a handful of specialists like Kickers, Return Men, Longsnappers and the like. Out of all these 53 men, only one is held accountable for Wins and Losses, especially in the Post Season and that position is the Quarterback.
Held at a different standard, fair or not, the QB in the NFL needs to elevate his team and the rest of 52 around him are considered to “go as he goes”. This season is no different than any other season and some Quarterbacks will feel the pressure to raise their game or raise their team’s game to a higher level. That level is Playoff wins!
Muddling through the regular season, playing well and posting numbers is one great but in order to win the big prize, to hoist the Tiffany Trophy, you need a QB who get’s it done it crunch time and here is a few that really need to prove to their team that they are that guy.
TONY ROMO: Tony has been notorious for late game and late season collapses. From the fumbled snap to the two costly mistakes vs the Jets last season with a 14 point lead in the 4th Quarter, Romo is known for being able to “lose games”. The Dallas Cowboys, as a team, are as talented as any in the NFL across the board. Granted they’ve had some secondary issues but have recently shored that up through Free Agency and the Draft. They have a good Running Game, good Wide Receivers and Tight Ends and a very good Pass Rush. The problem is not a lot of Post Season wins and that is where Romo comes in. He must avoid the big mistake and finally take Dallas deep into the Playoffs. There has been a lot of talk about “the window closing” for the Cowboys and while wholesale changes might not be on the horizon, if Romo can’t get it done soon he might be on his way out.
CRAZY STAT: Romo has committed a turnover in 72.5% of his starts and in the 19 mistake free games he’s played he won 12 of them.
MATT RYAN: When you have the nick name “Matty Ice” one would think you have at least one Playoff win, the reality is that Matt Ryan has no Playoff wins. Coming off a very tough loss last season where the only points the Falcons posted vs the Giants were on Defense, Ryan is looking to bounce back and march the Dirty Birds into Post Season lore. The fans love Matt Ryan and he definitely has time on his side but there is a sense of urgency within the organization for the Falcons to get over the hump. They’ve put together an exceptional core of Offensive weapons, from Running Back to multi-talented Wide Outs the Falcons should have no problem scoring points. It’s difficult to judge a team after just one pre-season game but it appeared as though Matt Ryan and Julio Jones had a dynamic chemistry and could be a dynamic duo for things to come.
CRAZY STAT: Where’s the protection?? Matt Ryan was hit 110 times last season while suffering 26 sacks and took 84 quarterback hits. His 197 yards Per Game in 2011 was the lowest amount for QB’s with a Rating of 90.0 or higher. Ryan is 0-3 in Post-Season and need to find a way to get at least a Wild Card win!
JAY CUTLER: The Chicago Bears had exceptionally high hopes when they traded away two 1st Round Picks with the Denver Broncos to land Jay Cutler. The strong armed QB brought a bravado and swagger with him the windy city and really did change the culture of the Bears and the way they operate. Initially, Captain Linebacker Brian Urlacher was vocal about the change in philosophy on Offense. Once a team that was centered on ball control through the running game, the Bears have now changed into a team that looks to compete with the high powered Offenses in the NFC. The change has been a slow one and with a failed experiment with the Mike Martz Offense it’s now Mike Tice’s turn to run the show. The Bears have brought in some talent on Offense to help it put up points, notably former Pro Bowl WR Brandon Marshall, Cutler’s old teammate in Denver. The long time “excuse” if you will is that Cutler never had a true legitimate Wide Out but now that excuse is gone. The run game will be solid as ever and the Wide Outs are there to help Jay produce. The biggest question mark is along the Offensive Line. It all starts in the trenches and the biggest issue with the Bears during Cutler’s time there has been injuries and the amount of hits he has taken. They really need to shore that up and keep the gunslinger upright. Cutler is not on the clock as far as “now or never” but the fans and ownership have invested a lot in him and with an aging Defense, that window might be closing.
CRAZY STAT: Jay Cutler was once sacked 9 times in one half vs the New York Giants in Mike Martz’s Offense. In limited games last season, Cutler was sacked 23 times (he missed the final few games due to a thumb injury) down from the 52 sacks a year prior. In 2011 he threw only 13 Touchdowns, that number needs to improve in the high powered NFC North.
Other notable QB’s Who need to get over the hump:
Phillip Rivers – Rivers gets a brief pass here due to the fact that he’s had to deal with some injuries to key positions in his offense. Once he get’s his core pass catchers healthy and on the same page then we will see what he can do.
Marc Sanchez - Going to the AFC Championship game in your 1st two seasons as an NFL QB gives you a little time on this list. Sanchez had some lockerroom issues with his Wide Outs to deal with and a Running Game that was contingent on the recently retired LaDainian Tomlinson. Tebow might be a distraction now but we will surely see what “Sanchize” is made of.
Mike Vick – The Eagles expectations where very high last season and will be equally high again in 2012. The Offense and Defense have all the pieces to be special and we will give Vick a year or so to allow his Defense to jell. They started off dismal in 2011 but if they can continue to success they had late in the season they should be OK.