NFL Quarterbacks Performing Below Expectations
by Trevor Whenham - 09/23/2008
Quarterbacks cost the public money. Thanks to media hype and overexposure, the public is quick to come to the conclusion that a quarterback is good, but much, much slower to realize that he isn't playing up to form. It takes just one big game to fuel a media frenzy, but when that quarterback fails to excite later on, the media most often ignores him instead of commenting on the poor play, and the public keeps right on playing to their perceptions. That means that the bettors will accept bigger spreads than they should, and that means that they are throwing away money. It's early in the season, but already we are seeing a surprising number of quarterbacks who just aren't as good as their reputation. Here's a look at three pivots who have been disappointing despite public support this year. This doesn't even include Brett Favre, perhaps the biggest offender of all.
David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars - It's only somewhat fair that Garrard finds himself on this list. He hasn't been great, but it's hard to perform when you have one of the more injury-riddled and challenged offensive lines in recent football history. They were finally able to run against the Colts, but up to that point they had been stifled, and Garrard had looked like a QB without protection or a running game to rely on. Unlike a couple guys on this list Garrard hasn't been a disaster - he's still completing more than 65 percent of his passes. He just isn't nearly the quarterback he was last year. He has one more interception already through three games this year than he had through 12 last year. He had 18 touchdowns in those dozen games last year, but he has just one this year - that's a pace of four, and an unacceptable drop in production. After four straight years of improvement, both his yards per attempt and his QB rating have fallen significantly so far. Garrard has excuses, but to live up to their high preseason expectations, he needs to rise above those excuses. His 1-2 record straight up and ATS say clearly that he isn't doing so.
Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns - Anderson and the Browns came into the season with ridiculously high hopes. Saying that they have failed to meet them would be a gross understatement. Anderson has been brutal. His QB rating is south of 45, and he's completing less than half of his passes. He has just two touchdowns, and five costly picks. He's been progressively worse in each of his games, and he has looked as confused and out of place as most of the team around him. His performance in Week 3 against Baltimore is right in the discussion for the worst single performance of the season. The team hasn't won yet, and they have only covered once. The biggest problem with Anderson isn't his play, though; it's the public perception. He came into the season with the feeling that he was a good quarterback ready to lead his team to high places. The fact is that he was fine last year, but there were reasons to be concerned - his completion percentage was too low, and he had too many interceptions. Anderson has potential, but he's still fairly raw, and he would need everything to go his way in order to keep advancing. Nothing is going right in Cleveland. At this rate, the role Anderson is going to have to grow into is carrying a clipboard and watching Brady Quinn play.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts - Manning is the golden boy in the eyes of the public, and the only time the Colts can do any wrong is when they are playing the Patriots. This year, though, he just isn't getting the job done. His completion percentage has fallen between 65 and 66.7 percent in each of the last six seasons, and hasn't been blow 62 percent since he was a rookie. This year it is 59.2. He's on pace for 16 touchdowns. His career low is 26. He's heading towards 20 interceptions. His yards per attempt and QB rating are all at rookie year levels. Manning missed the preseason, and he doesn't look like he has found his rhythm and worked out the kinks yet. He also has some real problems around him - offensive line injuries, defensive woes, an aging Marvin Harrison. The team is 1-2 ATS, and Manning has only looked sharp in one quarter out of 12. Provided he's healthy he'll get better, but the public won't wait to see that clean bill of health before continuing to throw their money at him. There is always the possibility, too, that this team could just be poised for an off year - injuries and a coach who seems ready to retire can cause that to happen.