2023 NFL Quarterback Rankings
1. Jared Goff (Detroit Lions)
How's this, Elon Musk? Goff hasn't looked this great since the Rams' Super Bowl trek. After the loss, a bad feeling was left behind and rumors swirled that Goff's limitations were stifling Sean McVay's playcalling schemes. "The Rams ended up trading away Matthew Stafford and got what they wanted. Goff was expected to be a temporary option for the Lions. But the pass-rusher decided to take Rorschach's words from the Guardians to heart.
The Rams didn't trade for Stafford. Detroit traded away Jared Goff.
Now the Lions are going 5-1 and Goff has over 1,600 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. Goff now has speedy receiver Jameson Williams at his disposal, and Goff is dealing with opponents even when the defense is able to cut off the Lions' takeaways.
The Bills used to get a week of rest after returning from London, but now the NFL has decided to abandon that practice. I thought the Bills looked sleepy in the game against the Giants. New York's defense had a hand in that too, plus their head coach Brian Daboll is actually responsible for Allen's progress as a point guard. Who better than him to know exactly how to slow down the Buffalo quarterback. Allen's pairing with Stefon Diggs remains one of the top in the league.
Truth be told, Allen never fails to play with fire. He wouldn't be himself without that quality, but when he throws a pass into a tiny window on a run across his body... Since the pass was successful, all that remains to be said is that winners are not judged.
3. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
There aren't many players in the NFL who can outshine their own team's starting quarterback with their outstanding talent. Let's say Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase are partners. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are as well. Tyreek Hill's brand, on the other hand, feels like a bigger deal than Tua Tagovailoa's.
Just kidding - Hill is gaining 5.02 yards per route run. That is, he brings in half of a first down per play. No, not per reception attempt, but per route executed. Cooper Kupp had 3.12 yards per route in his 2021 mega-season.
Since coming into the league in 2020, Justin Herbert leads the NFL in fourth quarter interceptions (16). That's a deceptive statistic, as Herbert simply passes in those situations more often than anyone else due to the worthlessness of the Chargers defense. But such statistical nuance also draws attention to how lousy the situation is around Herbert.
Herbert won 27 games in his career and lost 27 games. And in more than half of the games under him as the starting quarterback, the Chargers allowed more than 27 points. Remember when the statistic swirled last season that the offense of Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson only needed to score 18 points a game to contend for the playoffs - that's how good the Broncos defense was? So here's Herbert needing to give up thirty to give his team a chance at success.
Just as long as little Herbert doesn't turn into the next Chargers wideout whose career was jeopardized by factors outside his purview.
7. Brock Purdy (San Francisco 49ers)
I started having Vietnam flashbacks when I saw the ball pop out of Purdy's hand on the pass.
Apparently rain is kryptonite for the Niners quarterback. "The Browns play in this weather more often than not, they're not used to it. The passers in general periodically find themselves in hothouse conditions, when in their favor works, for example, playing under a roof in their home stadium. And every exit from the comfort zone turns out to be painful.
I always have my doubts about whether such plays can be blamed on the quarterback. On the other hand (a) the quarterback of a potentially championship team would preferably be immune to such mishaps and (b) we're entering the part of the season when weather conditions will be a serious factor. Yes, the Super Bowls are played in comfortable conditions, but you have to get to the finals first.
8. C.J. Stroud (Houston Texans)
Stroud's September turned out to be a blowout, but in early October, his pass completion percentage dropped, though his attempts became fewer, and wins came to Houston. It was nice that after his long-awaited debut interception, Stroud continued to hold steady as if nothing had happened.
13. Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)
18. Sam Howell (Washington Commanders)
19. Anthony Richardson (Indianapolis Colts)
For the Colts quarterback, the season appears to be over. That's a shame, as he was fun to watch. Plus, he's one of those point guards who desperately needs game experience moving forward. And Indianapolis was ready to give it to him. Now the draft is on pause.
In the case of Richardson's injury, the old quarterback-runner debate resurfaces. It's like "he's had enough." It's really full of polarized opinions. Some say that the most serious injuries to quarterbacks occur in the back of the envelope when they get shafted by heavy linemen. Others say that in the open field, leggy quarterbacks also take unnecessary hits from tough defenders. In response, proponents of athletic pass rushers say running quarterbacks are better at absorbing tackles because they are generally more physical athletes.
What was noticeable about Richardson was his overconfidence on the physical contact part. Shouting "I told you so!" doesn't feel like it. In the case of injuries, you don't want to be right at all.
Old age is no fun, as Wilson still has the skills to slip out of defenders' hands, but he can't run away from them even at short range anymore.
First drive, Wilson gets out of a tough situation and throws a checkdown that doesn't make it to first down. Punt? No, the Broncos are playing 4-and-3. Wilson gets away from defenders again, but can't get to the right spot in time. Fumble.
"The Seahawks seem to have recognized Wilson's regression before Russ did. All those calls to let him off the leash, to let him "cook" on his own... Seattle knew it would do no good. That organization had built success on different principles under Pete Carroll. Russ never got to the point where he was seriously considered an MVP contender. He picked his own offensive coordinator to stay the same.
And I still think this storyline is underrated, especially when viewed in a broader context. I mean, he was on his way to the Hall of Fame! And to do that, he would have benefited greatly from not falling into a horrible stink pit, as happened to him after his move to Denver. Remember - the Broncos gave up three first-round picks for him, three second-round picks, third- and fourth-round picks. He was given a colossal contract that they now have to jettison with hellish consequences for the entire team's economy.
Wilson didn't look that disgraceful in the 2023 season until the game against the Chiefs. But man, 13 completions for 85 yards with two interceptions? And the fact that Denver's only win came in a game against Chicago, where there was an improbable comeback?
"The Broncos are screwed. And I don't even know when or how they're going to get out of it. That path will likely start with Wilson coming off the bench. If Denver finds a crazy swap partner, any club would be within their rights to demand some sort of draft asset from the Broncos for that favor. Plus, Wilson would have to renegotiate his contract.
22. Daniel Jones (New York Giants)
23. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
24. Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans)
25. Derek Carr (New Orleans Saints)
26. Josh Dobbs (Arizona Cardinals)
Dobbs has two straight games with 46% and 51% pass completion, and next up for him are games against Baltimore and Cleveland. Even his mediocre play doesn't look much sadder than Carr's, who is turning into a worse version of the late Drew Brees with his long-range shot falling off. Drew at least had crisp quick decisions and accurate passes. Oh, and there was the prospect of an impending breakup. In Carr's case, the Saints hung a $150 million chain on themselves and so far, they're getting that kind of dividend.
Amidst the uninspiring play of Mac Jones, I was wondering who the Patriots have in reserve. And if they waver for the season, I'd be curious to see Malik Cunningham in action.
First, he's not Malik, but Malik and played under that name from 2019-2020 before switching back to a middle name (I wonder how that's even done). Second, he played for Louisville from 2017 all the way through 2022, meaning he served one season as a rookie and then played five more seasons thanks to the expansion rules due to the coronavirus pandemic. Third, the Birmingham Stallions selected him in the 2023 USFL draft, even though he chose not to play for the team. A 25-year-old rookie who jumped from the practice squad straight to a reserve spot on a three-year contract and is having a 1,000+ yard season on carries? That's curious, to say the least.
28. Tyrod Taylor (New York Giants)
29. Gardner Minshew (Indianapolis Colts)
30. Zach Wilson (New York Jets)
31. Desmond Ridder (Atlanta Falcons)
32. Justin Fields (Chicago Bears)
33. Malik Willis (Tennessee Titans)
There's a belief that with Taylor, the Jets and Atlanta would be on a tear for the playoffs. It's hard to say about Tennessee, they're on their own.
34. Bryce Young (Carolina Panthers)
35. Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers)
36. Aidan O'Connell/Brian Hoyer (Las Vegas Raiders)
37. Tyson Bagent (Chicago Bears)
Jimmy Garoppolo was expectedly injured, and Brian Hoyer took his place somewhat unexpectedly. I even shook my old man!
Justin Fields failed to emerge unharmed after his hype plane made a hard landing, even though it had just started to take off. The injury to his throwing arm will allow Chicago to take a closer look at another quarterback in the lineup. It hardly bodes well for the Bears, but it's a plus for them.