With one week of the NFL preseason in the books, now is the time to start talking about—and debating between now and February—as to who the best quarterback in the NFL is.
In a recent column ESPN football analyst Mike Sando released his QB Tier Rankings*. This was based on conversations with a confidential cabal of NFL front office personnel, coaches, owners, recently ranked Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers as the top three QB’s (Tier 1), with Big Ben being ranked the third-best signal-caller after co-1’s Brady and Rodgers.
Between the top Tier 1 QB’s are seven Super Bowls (four for Brady, two for Roethlisberger and one for Rodgers), four NFL MVP’s (two for Brady and two for Rodgers) and 365 regular-season wins with Brady winning 172, Roethlisberger winning 113 and Rodgers with 80.
That being said, 2016 could shape up to be the year that Big Ben solidifies his case for being No.1
In what may be a fortuitous break from Roethlisberger, there is no Brady for the first four games, thanks to his decision to drop his ‘Deflategate” appeal. With Rodgers looking to regain his former Super Bowl-winning, NFL MVP form, a case could be made for Big Ben to stake his claim as the NFL’s top dog.
Below are my five best QB’s going into the 2016-17 season
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers): As stated above, No Brady for the first four games, and Rodgers looking to regain his Super Bowl winning ways gives Big Ben a chance to elevate himself into the conversation as the NFL’s top QB. He will have his chances thanks to having no Le’Veon Bell for the first four games and Martavis Bryant suspended for the whole season.
He still has a formidable offense at his fingertips in possible NFL MVP in wide receiver Antonio Brown, sleeper wideout Markeus Wheaton, pass-catching tight end in Ladarius Green acquired in free agency from the San Diego Chargers and Sammie Coates, make Big Ben and the Steelers the team to beat in the entire NFL.
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers): As a fan of Rodgers, it was tough for me to put him as my No.2 quarterback, but due to the bevy of weapons mentioned above, I can validate my stance. In my opinion, Rodgers is THE best quarterback in the NFL today due to his uncanny combination of mobility, accuracy, and arm strength.
Rodgers also gets back his No.1 guy in Jordy Nelson to pair back up with Randall Cobb (no relation, but possible), a slimmed-down Eddie Lacy and emerging target at tight end in Richard Rodgers and A-Rod has a formidable slew of weapons to stake his claim as well.
After suffering a humbling loss in Super Bowl 50 and being humiliated and “dragged” all across social media for his actions in a post-game Super Bowl press conference, the dab-loving, showboating reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton comes into the 2016-17 season with a BIG chip on his shoulder.
With racial-charged off-the-field criticism from fans and people questioning his ability to be an elite QB, Newton will look to shut all the critics up in looking to take his game to the next level. He will also regain an invaluable weapon; he didn’t have last year.
In having the 6’5 245-pound former Seminole back on the field across from second-year wideout Devin Funchess and Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, in addition to wanting to silence all the haters and critics, do not be surprised to see Newton’s game take the next step in 2016-17.
DISCLAIMER: I’m NOT saying that the fore-mentioned Newton is better than Tom Brady. What I am saying is that due to him missing the first four games, that he will be behind the proverbial eight-ball to start the season.
Make no mistake, the four-time Super Bowl winner and two-time NFL MVP will be a force to be reckoned with once he returns, thanks to a quality offense that features Rob Gronkowski, Martelius Bennett, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.
No disrespect to second-year quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo, but the Pats would be lucky to go 2-2 in Brady’s absence. But in the event of things, here are the four likely reactions from New England-area fan reactions based on record;
(4-0) “Brady who?! Pats are going to win the Super Bowl again!”
(3-1) “Jimmy-boy is a nice young QB, Brady can sit and hold the clipboard!”
(2-2) “Garrapolo is okay and all, but when does Tom come back?”
(1-3) “Bench this clown, cut him and send him back to Eastern Illinois, or wherever the f&$k this bum is from!”
(0-4) “Cut this idiot yesterday, Bill! Is Brady back yet!”
Depending on how the Pats are doing record-wise with Garapolo, will determine how the Pats will do in the first quarter of their season but anytime Brady is on the field, the Super Bowl contender Patriots are always a danger.
In what may be the most controversial choice on this list is the former Super Bowl winner from two years ago sans Marshawn Lynch.
Some argue that Wilson is merely the beneficiary of a strong defense and running game. With the loss of “Beast Mode” running back Christine Michael and rookie Alex Collins have a chance to step up and be Seattle’s new feature tailback. Couple that with the recent contract extension of Doug Baldwin, the abrupt retirement of wideout/special teams ace Richardo Lockette and Wilson could either feast of falter against NFL defenses this year.
Wilson is the new modern-day template of today’s NFL QB in being accurate, mobile and a smart decision-maker. That will surely be put to the test this coming season.
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