Another Quarterback Ranking

Another Quarterback Ranking

Where the Qaurterbacks stand, and what it means for their teams
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I’m sorry. Trust me, I know. The internet is flooded with quarterback ranking after quarterback ranking. But the flood of offseason nonsense coming from the NFL Top 100 list, so-called experts regarding contract situations, and Michael Bennett gave me no choice. Besides, it’s June and there is literally nothing new to talk about.

The 2015 season caused an interesting shakeup in the quarterback hierarchy of the NFL. We saw guys like Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Carson Palmer make the leap into the upper echelon of the position. Peyton Manning fell off of a cliff. Tyrod Taylor and Kirk Cousins came out of nowhere to provide potential solutions for two quarterback desperate franchises. Even Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck had their share of struggles to varying degrees last year. So, with a years’ worth of new evidence and a few months away to gain perspective, it’s time to re-evaluate where each of the league's quarterbacks stands heading into next season.

Class of His Own

1. Aaron Rodgers

We tend to be a victim of recency bias in sports and we know it, but something that goes without much mention in anti-recency bias that also occurs. In this case, we are experiencing a quarterback who is playing at a higher level than anyone else has ever played the position. Rodgers combines elite physical talents with the same mental mastery that made Brady and Manning so good. He can extend plays better than any other quarterback in the league and make throws that no one else can. He is the poster child of efficiency, holding the all-time record for career passer rating. The 2015 season was mostly an aberration due to a lack of difference makers in his supporting cast.

Game Changers

2. Andrew Luck

3. Tom Brady

4. Ben Roethlisberger

5. Russell Wilson

6. Cam Newton

7. Drew Brees

8. Carson Palmer

The success of most quarterbacks is a result of a good coach building a system around their strengths and surrounding them with playmakers. These quarterbacks transcend that standard and can produce at a high level on most any team. Andrew Luck had his worst season as a pro last year due to a shoulder injury taking away some of his arm strength and causing him to revert to bad habits in a vertical offense with no running game, an abysmal offensive line, and receivers who couldn’t beat press coverage. The fact remains that he is a generational talent and should pick up where he left off in 2014. He has the chance to be in the same conversation with Rodgers a year from now. At some point, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have to fall off. Brady had his best season since 2007 last year and hasn’t shown any signs that such a drop off is near. His pinpoint accuracy and mental sharpness still remain the class of the NFL after all of these years and his arm strength and mobility are as good as ever.

Russell Wilson and Cam Newton silenced doubters last season with the type of seasons that believers always knew they had in them. After a Marshawn Lynch injury forced him to carry the offense in the second half of the season, Wilson carried the Seahawks offense right into the playoffs in a more pass-oriented attack. We all know about the kind of season Newton had last year. The crazy thing is that he still has room to grow in terms of accuracy and throwing with anticipation.

Difference Makers

9. Philip Rivers

10. Derek Carr

11. Tony Romo

12. Marcus Mariota

13. Jameis Winston

14. Matt Ryan

15. Blake Bortles

This group represents quarterbacks going in opposite directions; three aging quarterbacks who have been questioned for their lack of playoff production and four ascending stars from the last two draft classes. Rivers has quietly revived his career with three Pro-Bowl caliber seasons in three years. He led the league in passing through the first half of the season before the team lost Kenan Allen to injury. Romo is a huge question mark heading into the 2016 season after missing almost all of last year due to injury. He can still play at a high level if he is healthy, but that is one big if.

The young quarterbacks in this group have given hope to the perennial laughingstocks of the league over the last ten years. Bortles and Carr were the tales of two seasons last year. Both elevated their respective teams into the playoff conversation in the first half of the year before struggling to move their offenses consistently down the stretch. They both have all the upside in the world with the kind of raw skill set that teams would die for. Bortles has to cut down on his turnovers if the Jaguars want to become the kind of sneaky playoff team that the Vikings were last season. Winston and Mariota were able to overcome lackluster rosters to post strong rookie campaigns. Their teams have to continue to amass talent around them in order for them to take the next step.

Franchise Quarterbacks

16. Eli Manning

17. Joe Flacco

18. Alex Smith

19. Matthew Stafford

20. Andy Dalton

These set of teams can rest assured that they have the answer at the quarterback position and can build around their respective skill-sets with a chance to build a championship team. All of these quarterbacks are flawed and their own right and can go through their share of hot and cold streaks. After leading the league in interceptions two years ago, Manning has turned into a conservative, yet consistent B-level quarterback. The presence of a phoneme in Odell Beckham has breathed new life into his career. Flacco was sneaky awful before he got injured midway through the season. He has to play better if the Ravens want to jump back into playoff conversation after a Murphy’s Law type of season in 2015.

Smith showed that he is more willing to take chances with the presence of Jeremy Maclin on the outside. His most valuable assets come in his ability to make plays with his legs and not turn the ball over often. Dalton is the streakiest quarterback in the league. Last year, he took a massive step forward while being surrounded by an excellent group of receivers, a strong offensive line, and great coaching staff. He has to show that he can produce without Hue Jackson and that he can win when it matters.

Question Marks

21. Sam Bradford

22. Kirk Cousins

23. Jared Goff*

24. Teddy Bridgewater

25. Jay Cutler

26. Ryan Tannehill

27. Tyrod Taylor

28. Brock Osweiler

Jared Goff is listed here as a sort of TBD. He can’t be accurately assessed until we’ve actually seen him play in the league.

These players haven’t shown enough to assure their teams that they have a long-term solution at the most important position in sports. While the jury is out on Sam Bradford, he showed lots of positive signs in the back half of last season. He isn’t the quarterback of the future in Philadelphia, but he could be somewhere else. The fact that Washington didn’t give Kirk Cousins a long-term deal speaks volumes about him. Despite his lack of raw talent, like Bradford he excelled down the stretch last year when Desean Jackson and Jordan Reed returned to the lineup. He has to show that he can produce next year now that coaches have a full offseason to watch his game tape and scheme around it.

Teddy Bridgewater may be the most conservative quarterback in the NFL. Last year, their offense ran through the dynamic Adrian Peterson. The team added a potential number one receiver in Laquan Treadwell this offseason. He has to take more chances down the field as Peterson enters the later stages of his career. Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill will illustrate the Adam Gasse effect this season. Cutler limited the killer turnovers that he has become famous for last season and had one of his better seasons in Chicago. After being rewarded a long-term extension, Tannehill was downright awful last season. We’ll see how the coaching change affects both of them. Tyrod Taylor remains one of the biggest enigmas in the NFL.

Liabilities

29. Ryan Fitzpatrick

30. Mark Sanchez

31. Blaine Gabbert/Colin Kaepernick

32. Robert Griffin III/Josh McCown

If your team has trotted out one of these guys to start Week One, expect them to be in the quarterback market next offseason. Although Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year last year in Chann Gailey’s offense, his career body of work and lack of arm talent provide little assurance that he will come anywhere near that level of performance next year. Mark Sanchez’s reputation is far worse than his actual ability. He’s no worse than Brock Osweiler or late period Peyton Manning were last season. In the case of the Browns and 49ers, if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. The good news for those teams is they will most likely have a chance to take a swing at a new signal caller at the top of next years draft.

Cover Image Credit: espn.com

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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