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I mean it's still football and it's still 11-11?....Even scrubs like Trent Dilfer exercises his pregitous thoughts: MASSA, WE SHOW CAN RUN OUT THE POCKET.....GEESH, AND ESPN SUPPORTS THIS CRAP :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

By Trent Dilfer

ESPN

Archive

AP Photo/ Charles Krupa

Tom Brady, left, is on par with Peyton Manning in recognizing and accounting for last-second defensive adjustments, Trent Dilfer writes.Forget fantasy football for a minute and let's deal with a little reality.

Never in the history of the NFL has the league asked more from its quarterbacks. The demands have grown exponentially even in the past 10 years. The responsibilities quarterbacks must handle today -- protection adjustments, run-game decisions, audible packages and solving defenses that evolve each week -- deserve another level of analysis.

This project has been in the works for a while, fueled by frustration over pundits' repeated failures to acknowledge and appreciate the most difficult position in sports. After studying quarterbacks throughout my career and spending the past year evaluating the position daily, I believe a strong argument can be made that quarterback play today is as good as ever -- and possibly even better.

It's frankly impossible to rank quarterbacks definitively. It's not how good they are so much as how well they are playing and the situation they are in. Their talent, game-day abilities, the offensive systems they run, the personnel around them, the experiences they've had to this point in their careers -- they all come into play.

Rather than labeling quarterbacks, I've created categories to reflect where each of them stands at this point in his career, subject to change. Anyone can criticize. I've set out to appreciate the position through a level of analysis that simply isn't available without a full understanding for what these players experience and how the game has changed.

I brought up fantasy football in the beginning because the fantasy mindset has skewed perceptions, encouraging us to view quarterbacks through a statistical lens. We have lost perspective as a result. I purposely did not consult a single statistic in formulating the analysis that follows. My playoff notes, end-of-season notes and firsthand knowledge were my guide.

No one asked me to put together a list ranking these 49 quarterbacks. The subject is my passion, the motivation simple. If you can take a five-step drop, keep your eyes downfield and deliver the ball while a 300-pound beast is bearing down on you in a big game, you deserve commendation and appreciation for what you do. There isn't a bad player on my list, regardless of category!

THE ELITE

Quarterbacks demonstrating total mastery of the position with no holes in their game and a Super Bowl victory to back it up. Future Hall of Famers.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis

Analysis: Ultimate coach on the field … processes and executes more information at a high level than anybody who has ever played the game … never has an offense functioned around one individual more than it has Manning … unbelievable durability, second only to Brett Favre … unrivaled combination of durability and dependability.

2. Tom Brady, New England

Analysis: Best pocket instincts in the league … unwaveringly disciplined in his approach and execution (film study, weight room, how he plays, etc.) … uses tricks of trade very well to manipulate defenses (through snap counts, eye placement, pump fakes) … on par with Manning in recognizing and accounting for last-second defensive adjustments.

US Presswire

Left, New Orleans' Drew Brees threw for 5,069 yards and 34 TDs last season. San Diego's Philip Rivers is remarkably efficient considering the number of high-risk throws he must make, according to Dilfer.

SUPERSTARS

Quarterbacks with no holes in their games who have demonstrated an ability to carry their teams. They are a championship ring away from joining Manning and Brady among the elite. There's no game plan these guys can't beat.

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans

Analysis: Master dissector of defenses … as good off rhythm as on rhythm … inspirational, fiery leader who demands excellence from those around him.

2. Philip Rivers, San Diego

Analysis: Demonstrative, animated, tough, outspoken, fiery and hypercompetitive … consistently makes the most difficult throws in the NFL and it's not even close … one of very few quarterbacks who could flourish in Chargers-style system favoring throws 15-25 yards downfield (as opposed to slants, checkdowns and soft-spot zone plays) … remarkable efficiency considering how many high-risk throws he must make in game.

STARS

Quarterbacks who have overcome small holes in their games to produce in a big way and enjoy big-game success. These are consistent prime-time performers, with very little separating them from Superstar status.

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Analysis: Best improvisational quarterback in the league … has vastly improved as rhythm and timing passer … growing in his understanding of defenses and use of hot throws … growing in the discipline of the position (handling pressure, mastering how defenses are trying to attack).

2. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia

Analysis: Huge production for an extended period of time … offense built around him … ability to extend the play makes him very hard to defend … no such thing as a dead play with McNabb … can beat the perfect defensive call because of his experience combined with strength and athleticism … sometimes inconsistent with his accuracy.

3. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Analysis: Proven winner who has become a great big-game quarterback … cerebral player … has huge responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, allowing the Giants to be very multiple on offense, paying huge dividends in the run game (almost every run they have is some sort of box-count run or is conditional on safety alignment or defensive spacing, with Manning getting the Giants into better running plays) … still shows inconsistency as a passer.

4. Kurt Warner, Arizona

Analysis: Unbelievable production across multiple systems … anticipates his throws in the passing game better than anybody … has resurrected two teams … has struggled with ball security in the pocket, though not so much last season, and can be too aggressive at times.

5. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle

Analysis: One of the best at manipulating the pocket … as good as anybody at controlling the middle of field in the passing game, showing very good accuracy and timing between the numbers … shows creativity … has shown he can handle as much as anyone at the line of scrimmage … durability issues could be a concern.

Getty Images

From left, Dallas' Tony Romo has had limited big-game success; Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers is known for his strong arm; Cincinnati's Carson Palmer must stay healthy after missing 12 games in 2008.

KNOCKING AT THE DOOR

Quarterbacks with immense talent and potential who haven't won anything of significance yet. Playoff success will launch them into a higher category.

1. Tony Romo, Dallas

Analysis: Quickest release in the NFL … unparalleled ability to throw from multiple foot platforms, both intermediately and down the field … as artistic as any quarterback in the league, instinctively using all available resources (eye placement, shoulder nods, pump fakes, arm angles, you name it) … can make something out of nothing on a consistent basis … sometimes careless with the football, both in the pocket and through the air … limited big-game success.

2. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati

Analysis: As good a pure passer as there is in the league … immense arm talent … great mastery of his offensive system … needs to stay healthy … can be a little too aggressive in pumping the ball down the field.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Analysis: Great arm talent … spins the tightest spiral in the league … makes every throw look easy … on his way to having complete mastery of his offense … inconsistent to this point in his career in two-minute and end-of-game situations

4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta

Analysis: Most dynamic passer as a rookie since Dan Marino … phenomenal instincts for the position … strong leader … the only negative is that he hasn't played enough.

5. Jay Cutler, Chicago

Analysis: Great physical attributes … phenomenal playmaker … has shown lack of discipline in critical situations and must show more maturity on and off the field.

6. Joe Flacco, Baltimore

Analysis: Enjoyed playoff success as a rookie and is therefore an exception to the rule in this category, but defies categorization elsewhere … phenomenal poise under fire … shows the ability to make every throw … has not had to carry his team with his arm like the other players in this category.

GTOs (Glad They're Ours)

Quarterbacks who are solid, proven winners, but not flashy. Some have limited abilities, are long in the tooth or look awkward at times, but they can flat-out play the position.

1. Brett Favre, Minnesota

Analysis: Has mastered every trick of the trade … still has upper-echelon arm talent though he is pushing 40 … aura brings great energy and enthusiasm to any team … lack of offseason training will test aging legs, putting additional pressure on arm over course of full season.

2. Jake Delhomme, Carolina

Analysis: Enjoyed significant big-game success before that aberration against the Cardinals last postseason … dynamic leader who gets the most from his own abilities and from those around him … can be streaky as a passer.

3. Kerry Collins, Tennessee

Analysis: Hungry for a championship … great perimeter thrower … struggles when the rhythm and timing of the play is taken away from him.

4. Chad Pennington, Miami

Analysis: Proven winner who makes every team he's on better immediately … expert at dissecting and exposing weaknesses in the defense … limited physical skills.

5. David Garrard, Jacksonville

Analysis: Very talented quarterback with very good throwing and running skills … great strength in the pocket … victimized by poor personnel around him … has tried to do too much at times, including last season, when he tried to do things a quarterback cannot do with an average supporting cast

Getty Images

Left, Houston's Matt Schaub missed four games because of injury last season. Kansas City's Matt Cassel struggles with pocket presence because of limited experience, according to Dilfer.

GPIs (Gotta Prove It)

Quarterbacks with very good potential who are more dependent than others on their offensive systems and surrounding personnel. They need to capitalize on the opportunities in front of them. This group is still figuring out what high-performance quarterbacking in the NFL is all about.

1. Matt Schaub, Houston

Analysis: Looks the part … throws a beautiful ball … growing in his understanding of offensive football and defensive recognition … needs to stay in the lineup.

2. Trent Edwards, Buffalo

Analysis: Smart, athletic and a nice thrower of the football … still growing into his role … must show more consistent downfield velocity and accuracy.

3. Jason Campbell, Washington

Analysis: Very good arm talent … hard worker who has embraced the cerebral part of game … still must demonstrate consistency in production.

4. Kyle Orton, Denver

Analysis: Won as a young player (21-12 starting record) … strong arm … personality and work ethic endear him to teammates … has not shown a consistent ability to change trajectory and ball speed on various throws

5. Matt Cassel, Kansas City

Analysis: Amazing story and accelerated growth with limited playing time … very good arm … struggles with pocket presence and getting through his progressions because of limited experience.

6. Derek Anderson, Cleveland

Analysis: Tremendous size and arm skills … plays at a high level when he is free and loose … outstanding production in 2007 … can perform when given a vote of confidence, but not when tentative.

IN THE ON-DECK CIRCLE

Five guys with great upside who have not yet had the opportunity to showcase their abilities. These are potential stars and superstars of tomorrow. Withholding further analysis until we see more of these guys.

1. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit

3. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay

4. Chad Henne, Miami

5. Brady Quinn, Cleveland

JUST WIN, BABY

Quarterbacks who must win consistently to keep their jobs. They have been labeled negatively, told of their limitations, disrespected and underappreciated. Nobody is going to make excuses for them. Winning games is their only chance -- and even that might not be enough. Most can remain an asset to their teams even if not starting.

1. Marc Bulger, St. Louis

Analysis: When everything is right around him, can still spin it as well as most … very good anticipation … was productive with a strong supporting cast … has taken a pounding, and at what price?

2. Shaun Hill, San Francisco

Analysis: Strong leader … makes up for average arm with quick release … better athlete than given credit for … hard to appreciate because he doesn't look the part.

3. Daunte Culpepper, Detroit

Analysis: Hugely productive in early years … motivated to regain past form … has become a wiser quarterback … has sometimes held the ball too long in an effort to make things happen … needs to more consistently get to his third and fourth options.

4. Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay

Analysis: Can still pump the ball down the field … solid production … needs to play quicker with his feet and arm.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE

Quarterbacks who need more experience before we can form an opinion. Let's see where they stand after about 30 starts. It just takes time!

1. Alex Smith, San Francisco

Analysis: Very good physical traits … growing through early career adversity … needs to grow more comfortable in the pocket.

2. Matt Leinart, Arizona

Analysis: Accurate passer with good football sense and a feel for the game … work ethic no longer seems to be a concern … off-field persona has affected on-field perception.

3. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota

Analysis: Good combination of physical skills … showed significant improvement following last year's benching, an indication he has the competitiveness to succeed … balance and other mechanical flaws have caused him to be inconsistent with his accuracy.

4. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland

Analysis: Big arm, big body and big expectations, but does he have the big work ethic to go with them?

US Presswire, Getty Images

Left, Philadelphia's Michael Vick hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game since 2006. David Carr, the No. 1 overall choice by the Texans in 2002, is now a backup for the Giants.

REHAB PROJECTS

Quarterbacks who have been broken by the position and a variety of circumstances, some of their own creation and others beyond their control. Each has borne little fruit despite immense physical talents. Success remains a possibility, but the hills ahead of them are steep. Enough said.

1. Michael Vick, Philadelphia

2. David Carr, New York Giants

3. Kyle Boller, St. Louis

4. Chris Simms, Denver

5. Vince Young, Tennessee

6. Patrick Ramsey, Tennessee

7. Joey Harrington, New Orleans

DO NOT WRITE THEM OFF YET

Say whatever you want about these guys, but if it gets to December and your starter goes down, they can help you make a run. These are the best of the rest. End of story.

1. Jeff Garcia, Oakland

2. Jon Kitna, Dallas

3. Billy Volek, San Diego

Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer is a football analyst for ESPN.

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I said this to my home boy. The NFL is not a league for black QB's. Simply b/c of what they bring to the table talent wise. Now-a-days, coach's in high school and college are using these black QB's for their feet but aren't teaching them how to truly play the position. And that just doesn;t fly in the NFL. These days, "good" black QB's are either converted to RB or WR coming out of college b/c of this. Or they never see the field as a starter until its an emergency situation. Donovan McNabb is the type of QB young black players should look up to. I hear these guys saying they idolized Vick but Vick has never accomplished half the things McNabb has accomplished. Garrard and Campbell are decent QB's but they aren't great QB's. Campbell really makes me sad b/c he has so much talent around him and just cant get over the hump and the coach's are giving him every chance in the world.

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I said this to my home boy. The NFL is not a league for black QB's. Simply b/c of what they bring to the table talent wise. Now-a-days, coach's in high school and college are using these black QB's for their feet but aren't teaching them how to truly play the position. And that just doesn;t fly in the NFL. These days, "good" black QB's are either converted to RB or WR coming out of college b/c of this. Or they never see the field as a starter until its an emergency situation. Donovan McNabb is the type of QB young black players should look up to. I hear these guys saying they idolized Vick but Vick has never accomplished half the things McNabb has accomplished. Garrard and Campbell are decent QB's but they aren't great QB's. Campbell really makes me sad b/c he has so much talent around him and just cant get over the hump and the coach's are giving him every chance in the world.

Conspiracy????

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I'm all for any race being successful but black QB's like Garrard, McNabb and Campbell are hard to find b/c they just aren't being taught how to properly play the position. When healthy, McNabb and Garrard play at a pro bowl level. Campbell is in a different situation. He has to learn a new offense da*n near every season, but he's nt out there running around every other snap. He's slowly developing and is actually putting forth the effort to develop. I think it will be another 10-15 years b4 we see another McNabb type.

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I'm all for any race being successful but black QB's like Garrard, McNabb and Campbell are hard to find b/c they just aren't being taught how to properly play the position. When healthy, McNabb and Garrard play at a pro bowl level. Campbell is in a different situation. He has to learn a new offense da*n near every season, but he's nt out there running around every other snap. He's slowly developing and is actually putting forth the effort to develop. I think it will be another 10-15 years b4 we see another McNabb type.

I think you make very good points. You're right, in college the star highchool black QB are converted to other positions, for several reasons but one may be predetermined ideas of an 'ideal' QB by the college coach. Not saying it is, but not saying it isnt. And like you said, the QBs with the tallent to run and throw (generally black QBs) are groomed to run college style offenses that dont translate to the pros (see Tim Tebow).

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I mean it's still football and it's still 11-11?....Even scrubs like Trent Dilfer exercises his pregitous thoughts: MASSA, WE SHOW CAN RUN OUT THE POCKET.....GEESH, AND ESPN SUPPORTS THIS CRAP :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

By Trent Dilfer

ESPN

Archive

AP Photo/ Charles Krupa

Tom Brady, left, is on par with Peyton Manning in recognizing and accounting for last-second defensive adjustments, Trent Dilfer writes.Forget fantasy football for a minute and let's deal with a little reality.

Never in the history of the NFL has the league asked more from its quarterbacks. The demands have grown exponentially even in the past 10 years. The responsibilities quarterbacks must handle today -- protection adjustments, run-game decisions, audible packages and solving defenses that evolve each week -- deserve another level of analysis.

This project has been in the works for a while, fueled by frustration over pundits' repeated failures to acknowledge and appreciate the most difficult position in sports. After studying quarterbacks throughout my career and spending the past year evaluating the position daily, I believe a strong argument can be made that quarterback play today is as good as ever -- and possibly even better.

It's frankly impossible to rank quarterbacks definitively. It's not how good they are so much as how well they are playing and the situation they are in. Their talent, game-day abilities, the offensive systems they run, the personnel around them, the experiences they've had to this point in their careers -- they all come into play.

Rather than labeling quarterbacks, I've created categories to reflect where each of them stands at this point in his career, subject to change. Anyone can criticize. I've set out to appreciate the position through a level of analysis that simply isn't available without a full understanding for what these players experience and how the game has changed.

I brought up fantasy football in the beginning because the fantasy mindset has skewed perceptions, encouraging us to view quarterbacks through a statistical lens. We have lost perspective as a result. I purposely did not consult a single statistic in formulating the analysis that follows. My playoff notes, end-of-season notes and firsthand knowledge were my guide.

No one asked me to put together a list ranking these 49 quarterbacks. The subject is my passion, the motivation simple. If you can take a five-step drop, keep your eyes downfield and deliver the ball while a 300-pound beast is bearing down on you in a big game, you deserve commendation and appreciation for what you do. There isn't a bad player on my list, regardless of category!

THE ELITE

Quarterbacks demonstrating total mastery of the position with no holes in their game and a Super Bowl victory to back it up. Future Hall of Famers.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis

Analysis: Ultimate coach on the field … processes and executes more information at a high level than anybody who has ever played the game … never has an offense functioned around one individual more than it has Manning … unbelievable durability, second only to Brett Favre … unrivaled combination of durability and dependability.

2. Tom Brady, New England

Analysis: Best pocket instincts in the league … unwaveringly disciplined in his approach and execution (film study, weight room, how he plays, etc.) … uses tricks of trade very well to manipulate defenses (through snap counts, eye placement, pump fakes) … on par with Manning in recognizing and accounting for last-second defensive adjustments.

US Presswire

Left, New Orleans' Drew Brees threw for 5,069 yards and 34 TDs last season. San Diego's Philip Rivers is remarkably efficient considering the number of high-risk throws he must make, according to Dilfer.

SUPERSTARS

Quarterbacks with no holes in their games who have demonstrated an ability to carry their teams. They are a championship ring away from joining Manning and Brady among the elite. There's no game plan these guys can't beat.

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans

Analysis: Master dissector of defenses … as good off rhythm as on rhythm … inspirational, fiery leader who demands excellence from those around him.

2. Philip Rivers, San Diego

Analysis: Demonstrative, animated, tough, outspoken, fiery and hypercompetitive … consistently makes the most difficult throws in the NFL and it's not even close … one of very few quarterbacks who could flourish in Chargers-style system favoring throws 15-25 yards downfield (as opposed to slants, checkdowns and soft-spot zone plays) … remarkable efficiency considering how many high-risk throws he must make in game.

STARS

Quarterbacks who have overcome small holes in their games to produce in a big way and enjoy big-game success. These are consistent prime-time performers, with very little separating them from Superstar status.

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Analysis: Best improvisational quarterback in the league … has vastly improved as rhythm and timing passer … growing in his understanding of defenses and use of hot throws … growing in the discipline of the position (handling pressure, mastering how defenses are trying to attack).

2. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia

Analysis: Huge production for an extended period of time … offense built around him … ability to extend the play makes him very hard to defend … no such thing as a dead play with McNabb … can beat the perfect defensive call because of his experience combined with strength and athleticism … sometimes inconsistent with his accuracy.

3. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Analysis: Proven winner who has become a great big-game quarterback … cerebral player … has huge responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, allowing the Giants to be very multiple on offense, paying huge dividends in the run game (almost every run they have is some sort of box-count run or is conditional on safety alignment or defensive spacing, with Manning getting the Giants into better running plays) … still shows inconsistency as a passer.

4. Kurt Warner, Arizona

Analysis: Unbelievable production across multiple systems … anticipates his throws in the passing game better than anybody … has resurrected two teams … has struggled with ball security in the pocket, though not so much last season, and can be too aggressive at times.

5. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle

Analysis: One of the best at manipulating the pocket … as good as anybody at controlling the middle of field in the passing game, showing very good accuracy and timing between the numbers … shows creativity … has shown he can handle as much as anyone at the line of scrimmage … durability issues could be a concern.

Getty Images

From left, Dallas' Tony Romo has had limited big-game success; Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers is known for his strong arm; Cincinnati's Carson Palmer must stay healthy after missing 12 games in 2008.

KNOCKING AT THE DOOR

Quarterbacks with immense talent and potential who haven't won anything of significance yet. Playoff success will launch them into a higher category.

1. Tony Romo, Dallas

Analysis: Quickest release in the NFL … unparalleled ability to throw from multiple foot platforms, both intermediately and down the field … as artistic as any quarterback in the league, instinctively using all available resources (eye placement, shoulder nods, pump fakes, arm angles, you name it) … can make something out of nothing on a consistent basis … sometimes careless with the football, both in the pocket and through the air … limited big-game success.

2. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati

Analysis: As good a pure passer as there is in the league … immense arm talent … great mastery of his offensive system … needs to stay healthy … can be a little too aggressive in pumping the ball down the field.

3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Analysis: Great arm talent … spins the tightest spiral in the league … makes every throw look easy … on his way to having complete mastery of his offense … inconsistent to this point in his career in two-minute and end-of-game situations

4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta

Analysis: Most dynamic passer as a rookie since Dan Marino … phenomenal instincts for the position … strong leader … the only negative is that he hasn't played enough.

5. Jay Cutler, Chicago

Analysis: Great physical attributes … phenomenal playmaker … has shown lack of discipline in critical situations and must show more maturity on and off the field.

6. Joe Flacco, Baltimore

Analysis: Enjoyed playoff success as a rookie and is therefore an exception to the rule in this category, but defies categorization elsewhere … phenomenal poise under fire … shows the ability to make every throw … has not had to carry his team with his arm like the other players in this category.

GTOs (Glad They're Ours)

Quarterbacks who are solid, proven winners, but not flashy. Some have limited abilities, are long in the tooth or look awkward at times, but they can flat-out play the position.

1. Brett Favre, Minnesota

Analysis: Has mastered every trick of the trade … still has upper-echelon arm talent though he is pushing 40 … aura brings great energy and enthusiasm to any team … lack of offseason training will test aging legs, putting additional pressure on arm over course of full season.

2. Jake Delhomme, Carolina

Analysis: Enjoyed significant big-game success before that aberration against the Cardinals last postseason … dynamic leader who gets the most from his own abilities and from those around him … can be streaky as a passer.

3. Kerry Collins, Tennessee

Analysis: Hungry for a championship … great perimeter thrower … struggles when the rhythm and timing of the play is taken away from him.

4. Chad Pennington, Miami

Analysis: Proven winner who makes every team he's on better immediately … expert at dissecting and exposing weaknesses in the defense … limited physical skills.

5. David Garrard, Jacksonville

Analysis: Very talented quarterback with very good throwing and running skills … great strength in the pocket … victimized by poor personnel around him … has tried to do too much at times, including last season, when he tried to do things a quarterback cannot do with an average supporting cast

Getty Images

Left, Houston's Matt Schaub missed four games because of injury last season. Kansas City's Matt Cassel struggles with pocket presence because of limited experience, according to Dilfer.

GPIs (Gotta Prove It)

Quarterbacks with very good potential who are more dependent than others on their offensive systems and surrounding personnel. They need to capitalize on the opportunities in front of them. This group is still figuring out what high-performance quarterbacking in the NFL is all about.

1. Matt Schaub, Houston

Analysis: Looks the part … throws a beautiful ball … growing in his understanding of offensive football and defensive recognition … needs to stay in the lineup.

2. Trent Edwards, Buffalo

Analysis: Smart, athletic and a nice thrower of the football … still growing into his role … must show more consistent downfield velocity and accuracy.

3. Jason Campbell, Washington

Analysis: Very good arm talent … hard worker who has embraced the cerebral part of game … still must demonstrate consistency in production.

4. Kyle Orton, Denver

Analysis: Won as a young player (21-12 starting record) … strong arm … personality and work ethic endear him to teammates … has not shown a consistent ability to change trajectory and ball speed on various throws

5. Matt Cassel, Kansas City

Analysis: Amazing story and accelerated growth with limited playing time … very good arm … struggles with pocket presence and getting through his progressions because of limited experience.

6. Derek Anderson, Cleveland

Analysis: Tremendous size and arm skills … plays at a high level when he is free and loose … outstanding production in 2007 … can perform when given a vote of confidence, but not when tentative.

IN THE ON-DECK CIRCLE

Five guys with great upside who have not yet had the opportunity to showcase their abilities. These are potential stars and superstars of tomorrow. Withholding further analysis until we see more of these guys.

1. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit

3. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay

4. Chad Henne, Miami

5. Brady Quinn, Cleveland

JUST WIN, BABY

Quarterbacks who must win consistently to keep their jobs. They have been labeled negatively, told of their limitations, disrespected and underappreciated. Nobody is going to make excuses for them. Winning games is their only chance -- and even that might not be enough. Most can remain an asset to their teams even if not starting.

1. Marc Bulger, St. Louis

Analysis: When everything is right around him, can still spin it as well as most … very good anticipation … was productive with a strong supporting cast … has taken a pounding, and at what price?

2. Shaun Hill, San Francisco

Analysis: Strong leader … makes up for average arm with quick release … better athlete than given credit for … hard to appreciate because he doesn't look the part.

3. Daunte Culpepper, Detroit

Analysis: Hugely productive in early years … motivated to regain past form … has become a wiser quarterback … has sometimes held the ball too long in an effort to make things happen … needs to more consistently get to his third and fourth options.

4. Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay

Analysis: Can still pump the ball down the field … solid production … needs to play quicker with his feet and arm.

NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE

Quarterbacks who need more experience before we can form an opinion. Let's see where they stand after about 30 starts. It just takes time!

1. Alex Smith, San Francisco

Analysis: Very good physical traits … growing through early career adversity … needs to grow more comfortable in the pocket.

2. Matt Leinart, Arizona

Analysis: Accurate passer with good football sense and a feel for the game … work ethic no longer seems to be a concern … off-field persona has affected on-field perception.

3. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota

Analysis: Good combination of physical skills … showed significant improvement following last year's benching, an indication he has the competitiveness to succeed … balance and other mechanical flaws have caused him to be inconsistent with his accuracy.

4. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland

Analysis: Big arm, big body and big expectations, but does he have the big work ethic to go with them?

US Presswire, Getty Images

Left, Philadelphia's Michael Vick hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game since 2006. David Carr, the No. 1 overall choice by the Texans in 2002, is now a backup for the Giants.

REHAB PROJECTS

Quarterbacks who have been broken by the position and a variety of circumstances, some of their own creation and others beyond their control. Each has borne little fruit despite immense physical talents. Success remains a possibility, but the hills ahead of them are steep. Enough said.

1. Michael Vick, Philadelphia

2. David Carr, New York Giants

3. Kyle Boller, St. Louis

4. Chris Simms, Denver

5. Vince Young, Tennessee

6. Patrick Ramsey, Tennessee

7. Joey Harrington, New Orleans

DO NOT WRITE THEM OFF YET

Say whatever you want about these guys, but if it gets to December and your starter goes down, they can help you make a run. These are the best of the rest. End of story.

1. Jeff Garcia, Oakland

2. Jon Kitna, Dallas

3. Billy Volek, San Diego

Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer is a football analyst for ESPN.

The NFL had a couple.

Warren Moon, Steve McNair.

But they weren't exciting so the black community didn't support them whe they played like the scamblers.

Warren Moon is one of the best QB's I ever watched play the game, and most people only know about Vick.

Totally pissed me off. but meh.

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The NFL had a couple.

Warren Moon, Steve McNair.

But they weren't exciting so the black community didn't support them whe they played like the scamblers.

Warren Moon is one of the best QB's I ever watched play the game, and most people only know about Vick.

Totally pissed me off. but meh.

I loved me some Warren Moon and McNair, but Moon is my favorite QB of all-time and my second favorite player behind Earl Campbell.....I totally agree with your statement.....but let's face it, Vick's biggest fans judge greatness by how many people are in the stands not by the standings

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I never understood how Vick got the phrase "Most Electrifying" by his name. People paid money just to watch him run?????? That doesn't win championships. I LMAO a few weeks ago when someone on here said Vick made people watch football. No he didnt LMAO. Guys like McNabb, Brady, Warner, Big Ben, Jason Witten, Jared Allen, John Abraham, both Mannings, Ryan, LT, Portis, T.O., etc are the ones that make me turn my tv on every Sunday. Can't speak for everyone else though.

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I love when people start these type threads and they fail to mention Matt Jones, Jason Crouch and soon to be Tim Tebow...the NFL does not work well for people that don't play the QB position from a traditional standpoint

You can't comprehen because the point of this thread is exactly why those you refer to above is dissed because they didn't get the 'cerebral' part of the game.

AAF QB throws an INT, he can't read defenses, his counterpart does the same thing - He was trying to make a play, the WR gave up on it, or he's a gunslinger(Favre).....

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I never understood how Vick got the phrase "Most Electrifying" by his name. People paid money just to watch him run?????? That doesn't win championships. I LMAO a few weeks ago when someone on here said Vick made people watch football. No he didnt LMAO. Guys like McNabb, Brady, Warner, Big Ben, Jason Witten, Jared Allen, John Abraham, both Mannings, Ryan, LT, Portis, T.O., etc are the ones that make me turn my tv on every Sunday. Can't speak for everyone else though.

Please don't....

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You can't comprehen because the point of this thread is exactly why those you refer to above is dissed because they didn't get the 'cerebral' part of the game.

AAF QB throws an INT, he can't read defenses, his counterpart does the same thing - He was trying to make a play, the WR gave up on it, or he's a gunslinger(Favre).....

yeah that worked so well for Tim Couch, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Dan McGuire, Todd Marinovich, Heath Shuler, Cade McNown, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, David Klingler, Jeff George, Patrick Ramsey, Todd Blackledge, Alex Smith, J.P. Lossman

That's just some of the first rounders I can think of off the top of my head, this list can go for days

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yeah that worked so well for Tim Couch, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Dan McGuire, Todd Marinovich, Heath Shuler, Cade McNown, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, David Klingler, Jeff George, Patrick Ramsey, Todd Blackledge, Alex Smith, J.P. Lossman

That's just some of the first rounders I can think of off the top of my head, this list can go for days

Never heard 1 of them being criticized for lack of reading defenses......not even Jeff George or Ryan Leaf. They just didn't embrace the position or they were overwhelmed.

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