OK, this is a small complaint. ESPN’s NFL statistical leaderboard for quarterbacks has a default ranking of yards passing per game. Now *everyone* knows that total yards passing (as opposed to passer rating or yards per attempt) is not a good measure of quarterback effectiveness. So why would they present the leaders this way? Now it happens that four of the five top quarterbacks in terms of passing yards are having great seasons – Peyton Manning, Brees, Romo and Rivers (and Matt Stafford, at No. 4 in passing yards, is having a fine season so far). But this is often not true (and two other quarterbacks in the top ten in yardage – Matt Schaub and Joe Flacco – are playing very poorly this year). So, it’s a dumb basis for a list of passing leaders.
I am probably just in a pissy mood because No. 6 on the yardage list is Peyton’s younger brother. And Eli is having a *horrible* season. Yes, his line stinks. But Eli has thrown 12 interceptions in five games, easily the most in the league (he leads the league in interceptions over the last three seasons). And many of those interceptions have just been terrible throws. Overall, Eli ranks 32nd out of 34 ranked quarterbacks by passer rating, besting only Blaine Gabbert and Josh Freeman. That’s brutal company.
While we’re on the subject of improper ways to evaluate quarterbacks…Maybe now that the Patriots lost a game and Peyton Manning had another ridiculous day throwing the football yesterday, we can stop hearing folks assert that they are more impressed with Brady so far this year than Manning. Please. Brady is a great, great quarterback. And his receiving corps is depleted. But can we stop giving quarterbacks undue credit for the way their defense plays? Other than the Chiefs and the Panthers (who’ve only played four games), the Pats have given up the fewest points in the NFL. That’s the reason they’re 4-1. Brady is now 22nd in the league in passer rating. He’s only thrown three picks, so he’s doing one very, very important thing very well. But it’s just silly to argue as if he’s more impressive than the guy who’s team is out scoring every other squad in the league by two touchdowns per game. I know Manning has a lot of weapons (though not especially noteworthy running backs). But he’s completely lost his mind.
Quarterbacks should get credit for the things for which they are responsible. Peyton is substantially responsible for Denver’s record-pace offense so far. By contrast, the Patriots are 4-1 because of a really good defense. Tom Brady isn’t playing defense. So, let’s stop citing QB won-loss record as if that is a fair representation of what QBs can and can’t control.