19 Oct Week 6 Wrap – Palmer In Pole Position
Quarterbacking in the NFL took a step back this week. Normally, I run out of nice things to say about players around number 15 for the week. After the top 10, there weren’t any good performances. With the bye weeks coming up, and so many backups in the huddle, this could be a trend that continues for a month or two.
*Backup or replacement quarterbacks will be graded at season’s end.
** Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brett Hundley, CJ Beathard, Brian Hoyer, Jacoby Brissett not graded
- Carson Palmer –
Game Grade: .792 (19 points, 24 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .413
Game 3rd Down: .625 (5 points, 8 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .319
With 19 positive plays and just one negative, Carson Palmer was near perfect. When he’s clean in the pocket, with a solid running game, that’s the kind of quarterback he is. He anticipates well, throwing balls right before the receiver’s break. He’s accurate, poise, and can push the ball down the field. He’s fun to watch when this offense is functioning properly.
- Matt Ryan –
Game Grade: .697 (23 points, 33 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .609
Game 3rd Down: 1.000 (6 points, 6 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .630
Ryan played like his usual-self in this game, the Dolphins defense is just a juggernaut that no one really knows about yet. He was on time, accurate, threw around near-perfect coverage a few times and hit the deep ball. His interception to close out the game is not a negative play on the QB, but rather an outstanding defensive play.
- Phillip Rivers –
Game Grade: .657 (23 points, 35 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .495
Game 3rd Down: .538 (7 points, 13 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .362
Rivers sparkled on the last series of the game. Starting inside his own five-yard-line, Rivers led the Chargers into field goal range. Two dimes to Hunter Henry (one on a smash concept against cover-2, another on a wheel in man-coverage), got the LA offense rolling. Rivers had some misfires early, but his ability to step out of pressure was the difference.
- Drew Brees –
Game Grade: .655 (19 points, 29 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .695
Game 3rd Down: .125 (1 point, 8 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .425
When the Saints run the ball effectively, there is no stopping this offense. Brees doesn’t make mistakes, and his attention to detail makes the play-action game as deadly as any in football. With all the defensive scores, Brees was able to play close to the vest and be a distributor more than a game-breaker. Brees has been extremely consistent this year. His game scores are: .700, .621, .793, .706, .655.
- Josh McCown –
Game Grade: .600 (30 points, 50 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .481
Game 3rd Down: .867 (13 points, 15 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .523
If the Jets wanted to tank the season, they would’ve rolled with Bryce Petty Christian Hackenberg. Josh McCown is playing very well and had his best day against the Patriots. Something of a third down magician, being behind the chains hasn’t been a problem for the Jets this year. In the GIF below, McCown channels his inner-Russell Wilson and makes the play of the day.
- Marcus Mariota –
Game Grade: .567 (17 points, 30 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .577
Game 3rd Down: .111 (1 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .229
Marcus Mariota is that starting pitcher that gives up a couple of runs in the first inning, then shuts the opposition down for eight consecutive innings. He has flaws in his game that lead to stretches of bad play but, when he’s on, he’s as deadly as anyone. The touchdown throw to Tywan Taylor, and the third quarter corner-route to Eric Decker were both things of beauty. The GIF below is a clear mis-read by Mariota.
- Tom Brady –
Game Grade: .526 (20 points, 38 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .573
Game 3rd Down: .727 (8 points, 1 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .734
After the first 25 minutes of this game tape (game time, not real time) I was ready to eviscerate Brady. He missed a wide-open post route to Brandin Cooks, was behind on a third down throw to Chris Hogan and made a terrible decision that should’ve resulted in a pick. Then the real Tom Brady showed up, and he was dominant. His corner route to Cooks that set-up the Pats first touchdown was a thing of beauty.
- Cam Newton –
Game Grade: .508 (31 points, 61 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .452
Game 3rd Down: .071 (1 points, 14 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .230
If you judge Cam Newton solely off his ability to win from the pocket, you’re being disingenuous to his skill set. All things considered, he played a good game on Thursday until the final two series. Two of the three interceptions were tipped passes (one was in the bread basket of Jonathan Stewart and dropped) and he made big plays throughout the course of the game. His accuracy issues arose at the end, but he still had the Panthers moving the ball all night.
- Kirk Cousins –
Game Grade: .459 (17 points, 37 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .515
Game 3rd Down: .500 (5 points, 10 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .403
Cousins’ accuracy and post-snap manipulation are his strong suits. The former wasn’t his best in this game, but the ladder led to a perfect touchdown strike for Washington’s first touchdown of the game. A couple of big scramble plays helped resurrect Cousins score, which suffered from a couple of high or wide throws.
- Carson Wentz –
Game Grade: .471 (16 points, 34 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .556
Game 3rd Down: .583 (7 points, 12 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .803
Wentz gets a lot of credit in this game because the Eagles won a pivotal road game, and are now 5-1, but this game was a struggle for Wentz and the offense. The Eagles only drove the length of the field once and benefitted from some defensive takeaways. Once again, Wentz was absolutely brilliant on third down with some incredible escapes, but his down-to-down accuracy remains an issue. He missed a couple of simple throws in this game.
- Derek Carr –
Game Grade: .464 (13 points, 28 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .481
Game 3rd Down: .111 (1 point, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .278
The only success in the Oakland passing game were vertical route, clear-out dump offs to the backs, and two leaping catches by Seth Roberts in the middle of the field. Last year, I wrote that Oakland’s excellent offensive line, and the ability of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to high-point 50/50 balls was the primary success of the offense. With each of those elements lacking, the offense has suddenly bogged down. Carr’s two picks were equal blame on the receivers, but he only made one plus play in this game (two points on a throw to Roberts across his body).
- Alex Smith –
Game Grade: .417 (15 points, 36 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .636
Game 3rd Down: .222 (2 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .540
Smith was under siege for most of this game. He’s going to get roasted for failing to beat the Steelers again, but he made due with what was afforded to him. He missed a couple of passes, including a crucial 20-yard dig that he sailed on the final drive, but he hit some big ones as well (GIF below). This game, in no way, makes me think any less of his MVP campaign.
- Joe Flacco –
Game Grade: .415 (17 points, 41 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .355
Game 3rd Down: .133 (2 points, 15 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .000
At least the Bears excuse for Trubisky is his limited experience. Joe Flacco has been in the league for 10 years and the Ravens have to protect him like a rookie. To be fair, the two interceptions he threw were fluke bounces, and while I have trashed Flacco before, his skill players let him down in this game. The GIF below, however, is a microcosm for Flacco’s general lack of interest since his Super Bowl season. He is two yards clear of the line of scrimmage and decides to throw the ball any way.
- Jared Goff –
Game Grade: .400 (10 points, 25 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .455
Game 3rd Down: .556 (5 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .391
Few successful quarterbacks throw a fluttering pass like the one that consistently leaves Jared Goff’s hand. That, and his unwillingness to stand tall in the pocket remain concerns, but he is so far advanced from where he was a year ago. His accuracy and pre-snap command have come a long way. He struggled against a good defense to make big plays – but he didn’t make big mistakes, and that’s a great sign.
- Jay Cutler –
Game Grade: .382 (13 points, 34 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .315
Game 3rd Down: .571 (8 points, 14 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .354
Jay Cutler made enough good plays (fourth down conversion on the game-tying FG drive and touchdown to Stills) to keep his score from the gutter. The bad Cutler still appeared too frequently (GIF below is a walk in TD, he throws a pick). Adam Gase doesn’t trust Cutler, 14 of his 34 drop backs were on third or fourth down. The Dolphins only throw out of necessity, and it’s clear why by the number of missed-reads Cutler had in this game.
- Ben Roethlisberger –
Game Grade: .360 (9 points, 25 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .356
Game 3rd Down: -.555 (-5 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .019
Roethlisberger’s lone touchdown pass was graded at -3 points. With a two-point lead, he severely underthrew Antonio Brown, the defender drops the pick, bats it into the air and Brown does the rest. The GIF below is another atrocious throw that actually does get intercepted. The theme remains the same, the Steelers are scheming this offense to try to cover the weakness at the quarterback position. That old cowboy definitely doesn’t have it any more.
- Deshaun Watson –
Game Grade: .324 (11 points, 34 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .416
Game 3rd Down: .444 (4 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .347
The play making ability is something everyone points to when evaluating Deshaun Watson. It’s terrific, make no mistake about it, but he’s playing in a vanilla scheme that protects him from his biggest flaws. Even still, they show up from time-to-time. High throws to the edge, poor field vision and the dreaded turnover bug. In the GIF below, the pick is dropped, but that doesn’t make the decision or throw any better.
- Mitch Trubisky –
Game Grade: .294 (5 points, 17 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .238
Game 3rd Down: .556 (5 points, 9 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .556
Operating what essentially equates to a high school offense, Mitch Trubisky made three plays of note in this game – he took 80 snaps. Multiple drives with zero pass plays, even more with one or two, the Bears are bringing the rookie along very slowly. With almost strictly naked boots and rolling pockets, the only thing Trubisky has shown thus far is athleticism. He is nowhere near ready to play.
- Eli Manning –
Game Grade: .227 (5 points, 22 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .381
Game 3rd Down: .000 (0 points, 10 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .161
If New York can limit Eli to 22 drop backs every week, they will stay in games. His tired arm and utter inability to move hampers the offense immensely. The GIF below is a perfect example of the type of quarterback that will not consistently win in today’s NFL. Eli is entirely washed up.
- Matt Stafford –
Game Grade: .220 (11 points, 50 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .433
Game 3rd Down: .313 (5 points, 16 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .411
One of Matt Stafford’s greatest traits is his ability to throw with accuracy and velocity from any arm angle. In this game, his favorite sidearm motion, killed him and his team. 10 passes were deflected at the line of scrimmage and the that tenth pass was picked off in the end zone to thwart any comeback effort. Pass protection is hampering Stafford’s game and he isn’t doing a whole lot to overcome it. The GIF below is just a beautiful play that deserves to be seen.
- Trevor Siemian –
Game Grade: .200 (9 points, 45 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .358
Game 3rd Down: .000 (0 points, 11 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .212
Trevor Siemian is a decent player that might start for a lot of years in the league. Still, he’s a limited player that has a penchant for some mind-boggling mistakes. His strong suit is his studious nature, but the pick six he threw to Eli Apple was an indication that he had no idea what defense the Giants were in. Mix in some questionable accuracy and limited arm-talent, and you get a bottom tier NFL starter.
- Blake Bortles –
Game Grade: .188 (6 points, 32 drop backs)
2017 Grade: .405
Game 3rd Down: .000 (0 points, 13 drop backs)
2017 3rd Down: .218
The recipe for success in Jacksonville is limiting the number of plays Blake Borltes is asked to do something above basic quarterbacking. Hidden somewhere in the abyss is a good player (see GIF below), but that development never happened. He is the most handcuffed quarterback in the NFL and, when the game is on the line, you can see why. He just doesn’t have it.
Week 7 grades, next Thursday.