There's absolutely no way to forecast the future with 100 percent accuracy. There's also no way to stop NFL fans and analysts from predicting every stat category imaginable before the teams' starters are even locked in.
The curiosity and anticipation for the upcoming season are simply too much to bear. Plus, does the fantasy football season ever really end?
In this piece I'll be projecting every team's starting quarterback and their 2012 stat lines. The format is as follows (with a few variations throughout):
2011 Stat Line: A look into what these players have done for us lately
Recent Career Average: Here I'll present a more in-depth analysis of the player's recent success, or lack thereof
2012 Projected Stat Line: And finally, what you're really looking for, the predictions
2012 Projected Output:
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills: 3,900, 23 TDs, 20 INTs, Rating 80.0
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: 3,000 yards, 20 TDs, 18 INTs, 80.0 Rating
Tom Brady, New England Patriots: 4,900 yards, 45 TDs, 9 INTs, 110.0 Rating
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets: 3,300 yards, 23 TDs, 17 INTs, 78.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,832 yards, 24 TDs, 23 INTs, Rating 79.1
Fitzpatrick has missed a lot of time over the last four years, though he has impressed at times when healthy. Since 2008 he has played in 52 of a possible 64 regular-season games. A three-year stretch would allow for a maximum of 48 regular-season games to be played, so we more or less have a three-year sample of work from Fitzpatrick.
Recent Career Average: 3,386 yards, 21 TDs, 19 INTs, Rating 75.15
It's clear there was progression in 2011 for Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense. With that said, Fitzpatrick still makes too many errors and misjudgments, and the stats suggest that won't end after just one offseason.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,900, 23 TDs, 20 INTs, Rating 80.0
2011 Collegiate Stats: 3,744 yards, 29 TDs, 15 INTs
Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins fifth or sixth choice at quarterback this offseason, will most likely be starting for Miami this season. The roster no longer contains a real No. 1 receiving threat following the trade of Brandon Marshall.
Collegiate Career Stats (2010-2011): 5,382 yards, 42 TDs, 21 INTs
That puts a lot of pressure on newcomers Legedu Naanee and Clyde Gates, not to mention Tannehill. This isn't a situation dripping in potential.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,000 yards, 20 TDs, 18 INTs, 80.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 5,235 yards, 39 TDs, 12 INTs, 105.6 Rating
Tom Brady set career highs in attempts and completions in 2011. He also set career marks in passing yards, average per attempt and average per completion. If ever there were a sign that the talent around him is as good as it's ever been, it's the stats.
Recent Career Average: 4,585 yards, 38 TDs, 9 INTs, 107.5 Rating
Brady's career yards-per-completion average prior to 2006 was 11.4. He bested that average in 2007 with a 12.1 average and has maintained that level of production ever since. Brady posted an 11.9 average in 2009 and a 12.0 mark in 2010. The development of and reliance on the Boston TE Party raised that number to 13.0 in 2011. The addition of Brandon Lloyd should allow this offense to return to dominant fashion in the vertical passing game.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,900 yards, 45 TDs, 9 INTs, 110.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,474 yards, 26 TDs, 18 INTs, 78.2 Rating
Give Mark Sanchez credit where it due. He improved his TD-INT ratio tremendously and set career highs in nearly every passing category. He has quarterbacked the Jets to two AFC Championships in the span of three years no matter how you chop it up. With all that said, there's some extremely concerning elements to the 25-year-old's game.
Career Stats (47 Starts): 9,209 yards, 55 TDs, 51 INTs, 73.2 Rating
Sanchez was sacked 39 times last year, fumbling 10 times. In fact, he has 29 career fumbles to go along with a 55.3-percent line for pass completions. Sanchez's attempts have increased steadily in all three of his seasons, yet his average has dropped steadily, finally coming in at 6.4 yards in 2011. He's clearly limited in his potential.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,300 yards, 23 TDs, 17 INTs, 78.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: 3,700 yards, 26 TDs, 11 INTs, 87.0 Rating
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: 3,750 yards, 26 TDs, 16 INTs, 89.0 Rating
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns: 3,400 yards, 22 TDs, 11 INTs, 78.0 Rating
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: 4,650 yards, 32 TDs, 17 INTs, 97.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,610 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 80.9 Rating
Joe Flacco set a career high in attempts in 2011 but otherwise took a couple steps backs statistically. He has proven capable of managing the Baltimore Ravens offense quite effectively, but questions still remain about his ultimate ceiling.
Recent Career Average (2009-2011): 3,615 yards, 22 TDs, 11 INTs, 87.8 Rating
The Ravens could have done more to help Flacco this offseason, but with their current financial state, big-name additions just weren't possible. Instead he'll be asked to develop what he has on the roster. If speedster Torrey Smith can take the next step up, that will help Flacco and Anquan Boldin tremendously.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,700 yards, 26 TDs, 11 INTs, 87.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,398 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 80.4 Rating
Andy Dalton's impressive rookie campaign ranked among the most surprising performances of 2011, and it inspires much confidence in the 24-year-old's potential. The instant success experienced between Dalton and his rookie counterpart A.J. Green should only blossom in 2012.
2010 Collegiate Stats: 2,857 yards, 27 TDs, 6 INTs, 435 rushing yards, 6 rushing scores
Rookie Mohamed Sanu will look to get involved as well as the Bengals shift their offensive attention towards the pass. I doubt BenJarvus Green-Ellis can be showcased in that offense, so the passing game will have to step up.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,750 yards, 26 TDs, 16 INTs, 89.0 Rating
2011 Collegiate Stats: 4,727 yards, 37 TDs, 13 INTs
Brandon Weeden may pull an Andy Dalton in 2012, surprising most by out-performing other quarterbacks taken ahead of him. Maturity certainly isn't an issue, and the Browns have tailor-made their offense for Weeden's strengths. He's set up for success, and now it's his shot to prove he's a better option than Colt McCoy.
Collegiate Career Stats (2008-2011): 9,260 yards, 75 TD, 27 INTs
Cleveland could have done more to address its receiving corps, but if Greg Little can continue his development, not all was lost in that department. The Browns also have some proficient pass-catching tight ends if Weeden needs safety blankets to fall back on.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,400 yards, 22 TDs, 11 INTs, 78.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 4,077 yards, 21 TDs, 14 INTs, 90.1 Rating
Ben Roethlisberger bested his previous career high in attempts last season but otherwise regressed a bit statistically. The 6'5", 240-pounder completed 66.6 percent of his passes in 2009, compiling a career best 4,328 yards. That season Roesthlisberger took the step up into elite passing categories, and 2012 may be the season his arm is finally released.
Last 42 Games (2009-2011): 11,605 yards, 64 TDs, 31 INTs, 95.9
With new offensive coordinator Todd Haley at the helm, Roethlisberger should take plenty of shots next year. The Steelers still need to appease their best deep threat receiver in Mike Wallace, but there's plenty of time for a resolution. Emanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller join Wallace in a talented receiving corps.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,650 yards, 32 TDs, 17 INTs, 97.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Matt Schaub, Houston,Texans: 3,800 yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs, 96.0 Rating
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: 3,200 yards, 22 TDs, 18 INTs, 88.0 Rating
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars: 3,000 yards, 20 TDs, 14 INTs, 78.0 Rating
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans: 3,550 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs, 81.0 Rating
2011 Stat line (10 Starts): 2,479 yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTs, 96.8 Rating
Last season left a lot to be desired from Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans. That franchise has gone from full-blown expansion team to legitimate playoff contender in less than a decade but missed a big opportunity in 2011. Both sides of the football are still primed to make a run, and with a healthy Schaub they just might do it.
Last 36 Games (2009-2011): 11,619 yards, 68 TDs, 33 INTs, 95.8 Rating
Houston cut ties with Jacoby Jones this offseason and welcomes two rookies into the fold at receiver. Owen Daniels, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson figure to play their normal prominent roles in the passing game, which should allow Schaub a chance at a nice rebound. The Texans' focus is shifting to the run, however, and Schaub's numbers may end up showing it.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,800 yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs, 96.0 Rating
2011 Collegiate Stats: 3,517 yards, 37 TDs, 10 INTs
The circumstances in which Andrew Luck is taking over the Colts' starting quarterback job are far from ideal, but considering where he could have gone as a No. 1 pick, he should be pretty happy. Pieces remain like Reggie Wayne, and the team has rebuilt all offseason, from the coaching staff all the way through the roster.
Collegiate Career Stats (2009-2011): 9,430 yards, 82 TDs, 22 INTs
Indianapolis' offense projects to feature a number of three-to-five receiver sets in 2012, a formation that will be beneficial to all of the Colts newcomers, Luck included. If they can get the ball rolling early, Indy can hope to avoid the dismal start they got off too last season.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,200 yards, 22 TDs, 18 INTs, 88.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 2,214 yards, 12 TDs, 11 INTs, 65.4 Rating
Jacksonville's brass is far from ready to admit defeat when it comes to Blaine Gabbert, and that's the right call. With that said, he didn't give them many reasons to be confident heading into next season. Averaging only 5.4 yards per attempt, Gabbert had one of the worst seasons in the league.
2010 Collegiate Stats: 3,186, 16 TDs, 9 INTs
There's talent in this prospect, and he's only 22 years old. A No. 1 receiver in Justin Blackmon and No. 2 in Laurent Robinson ought to really improve his chances for 2012.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,000 yards, 20 TDs, 14 INTs, 78.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,571 yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs, 82.4 Rating
Matt Hasselbeck is continuously counted out yet almost always finds a way to exceed expectations. Starting all 16 games last season was the most recent example of this. The Titans offense had trouble subsisting without Kenny Britt, and the running game was difficult to rely on at times as well, accounting for some of Hasselbeck's struggles.
Recent Career Average (2009-2011): 3,200 yards, 16 TDs, 16 INTs, 76.9 Rating
Britt is tentatively expected back for the start of the season, and rookie Kendall Wright will be involved from the get-go as well. Hasselbeck's offensive weaponry definitely received a boost.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,550 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs, 81.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: 4,000 yards, 28 TDs, 16 INTs, 95.0 Rating
Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs: 3,200 yards, 26 TDs, 13 INTs, 85.0 Rating
Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders: 4,500 yards, 31 TDs, 21 INTs, 90.0
Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: 4,550 yards, 29 TDs, 14 INTs, 96.0 Rating
2010 Stat line: 4,700 yards, 33 TDs, 17 INTs, 91.9 Rating
For Peyton Manning's sake, we'll just sweep the 2011 season under the rug for a brief second. He certainly has enough of a resume to work with minus last year. Assuming he can stay healthy, I expect one of the league's most consistently productive players to return to form.
Recent Career Average: 4,401 yards, 31 TDs, 15 INTs, 95.6 Rating
I'm torn between two lines of thought. In one scenario I can see Manning taking his anger and pent up emotions out on the league in 2012. A highly-motivated future Hall of Famer is someone who is capable of doing some serious damage. However, he's going to have to adjust to a completely different roster and coaching staff while working to regain full health. I'm projecting a small step backwards at this stage.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,000 yards, 28 TDs, 16 INTs, 95.0 Rating
2011 Stat line (9 Starts): 1,713 yards, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 76.6 Rating
Matt Cassel bought himself a lot of time, and not to mention a pretty big contract, with his performance in 2008 with the New England Patriots. Since then, though, he has largely failed to live up expectations.
Last 39 Games (2009-2011): 7,753 yards, 53 TDs, 32 INTs, 79.8 Rating
In 2012 he'll have a variety of weapons to employ as the Chiefs appear to be going all-in on a run with their current roster. Peyton Hillis is a talented pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Jonathan Baldwin may be ready to be featured next to Dwayne Bowe. If Cassel can't make something happen with this crop of talent, it'd be fair to ask if he can have success anywhere.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,200 yards, 26 TDs, 13 INTs, 85.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 2,753 yards, 13 TDs, 16 INTs, 80.5 Rating
This is going to sound weird, but Carson Palmer had one of his best seasons in 2011. He only played in 10 games, nine of which were starts, due to Mike Brown's shenanigans in Cincinnati. Palmer posted a career high with 8.4 yards per attempt, and with two blowouts against Green Bay and Kansas City taken out of the equation, he only had nine interceptions.
Last 16 Games (Starts): 4,212 yards, 26 TDs, 22 INTs, 88.3 Rating
This is Palmer's offense now, and it projects to have a lot of emphasis on getting vertical and down field. The Raiders finally have the personnel to support making such a priority. The strength of the offensive line and the zone running scheme Oakland employs only makes its passing attack more potent. Watch out for Palmer in 2012.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,500 yards, 31 TDs, 21 INTs, 90.0
2011 Stat line: 4,624 yards, 27 TDs, 20 INTs, 88.7 Rating
Phillip Rivers set a career high in interceptions last year. His average, completion rate and rating all nose dived below his career averages as well. Still, he nearly broke 5,000 yards and 30 scores, so it's hard to complain too much.
Recent Career Average (2010-2011): 4,667 yards, 29 TDs, 17 INTs, 95.3 Rating
The loss of Vincent Jackson and addition of Robert Meachum and Eddie Royal ought to be interesting to watch play out in the stats. Meachum should be set to contribute a good amount, and if Royal can return to form, he could be a real weapon for this offense as well.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,550 yards, 29 TDs, 14 INTs, 96.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: 4,450 yards, 34 TDs, 11 INTs, 98.0 Rating
Eli Manning, New York Giants: 4,750, 31 TDs, 14 INTs, 93.0 Rating
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: 3,500 yards, 22 TDs, 14 INTs, 90.0 Rating, 600 rushing yards, 5 TDs
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: 3,400 yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, 86.0 Rating, 600 rushing yards, 6 TDs
2011 Stat line: 4,184 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs, 102.5 Rating
Tony Romo threw for more than 30 touchdowns for the second time in his career and for the first time since 2007. He set career highs in attempts but was also taken down for a career-high 36 sacks.
Romo has made 67 starts over the last five seasons, missing a total of 13 games. His body of work is representative of about four full years (64 starts). So his recent career average is with his last 64 games in mind.
Recent Career Average: 4,344 yards, 32 TDs, 14 INTs, 96.7 Rating
The Cowboys retained the most important elements of their passing attack this offseason, but losing Laurent Robinson does create some opportunities. If the third receiver can develop a rapport with Romo, he'll have all the tools necessary to post one of his best seasons in 2012.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,450 yards, 34 TDs, 11 INTs, 98.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 4,933 yards, 29 TDs, 16 INTs, 92.9 Rating
Eli Manning quietly had his career best season, capping it off with his second championship in five years. He bested his previous career high mark in passing yards by 912 also setting personal bests in average, completions and attempts.
Recent Career Average: 4,389 yards, 29 TDs, 18 INTs, 90.4 Rating
2011 signified a big step up for the younger Manning and may have even propelled him past his once unanimously heralded brother, Peyton. Eli did lose Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham though, and the heath statuses of Jake Ballard and Hakeem Nicks became shaky very recently. Still, there should be enough weapons around Manning to allow him a productive 2012.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,750, 31 TDs, 14 INTs, 93.0 Rating
2011 Stat line (13 Starts): 3,303 yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs, 84.0 Rating, 589 rushing yards, 1 TD
Michael Vick has been impressively consistent since making his return to the league in 2009. He has missed time over the last two seasons but has also been a force to be reckoned with while on the field.
Last 25 Games (2010-2011): 6,321 yards, 39 TDs, 20 INTs, 92.5 Rating, 1,265 rushing yards, 10 TDs
Vick has yet to lose his legs—he's definitely not 25 anymore, but he can still move. If the Eagles can stay healthy, they'll compete for playoff contention, no doubt, but health and this squad are no sure bet. Keeping Vick upright is the safest bet, as he has been sacked 2.28 times per game over the last two years.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,500 yards, 22 TDs, 14 INTs, 90.0 Rating, 600 rushing yards, 5 TDs
2011 Collegiate Stats: 4,293 yards, 37 TDs, 6 INTs, 699 rushing yards, 10 TDs
Robert Griffin III, like Andrew Luck, enters a moderately stable environment considering his placement in the draft. He's got a strong coaching system behind him, and the Redskins have invested a ton of money this offseason to ensure he's got enough pieces around him to play well early.
Collegiate Career Stats (2008-2011): 10,366 yards, 78 TDs, 17 INTs, 2,254 rushing yards, 33 TDs
Griffin is a legit double threat; he can beat defenses with both his feet and his arm. I don't quite expect him to live up to Cam Newton standards in his rookie season, but he could come pretty close in a number of categories.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,400 yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, 86.0 Rating, 600 rushing yards, 6 TDs
2012 Projected Output:
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: 3,400 yards, 26 TDs, 17 INTs, 87.0 Rating
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: 5,100 yards, 43 TDs, 14 INTs, 98.0 Rating
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: 4,800 yards, 42 TDs, 8 INTs, 117.0 Rating
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings: 3,150 yards, 20 TDs, 15 INTs, 74.0 Rating
2011 Stat line (10 Starts): 2,319 yards, 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 85.7 Rating
Jay Cutler corrected his interception issues largely in 2011 and was also on pace to cut down on sacks. The season didn't end as he or the Bears intended, but last season's failure inspired a reunion in 2012.
Last 41 Games (2009-2011): 9,259 yards, 63 TDs, 49 INTs, 82.9
Cutler will be joined in Chicago by his former Broncos teammate Brandon Marshall. The two enjoyed their career-best seasons in 2008 and will hope to rekindle some of that on-field production. Alshon Jeffery also joins the mix at receiver this year, so Cutler has all the necessary tools to show what he's capable of in a Bears uniform.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,400 yards, 26 TDs, 17 INTs, 87.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 5,039 yards, 41 TDs, 16 INTs, 97.2 Rating
Matthew Stafford is a strong candidate for most surprising performer of 2011. Not that his talent was questioned, but Stafford absolutely lit it up last year after missing all but three games in 2010.
Career Stats (29 Starts): 7,840 yards, 60 TDs, 37 INTs, 84.7 Rating
The Detroit roster is flush with playmakers, and Stafford has already proved he knows how to utilize them. With another year under his belt and in the system, I'm projecting a slight bump in production.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 5,100 yards, 43 TDs, 14 INTs, 98.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 4,643 yards, 45 TDs, 6 INTs, 122.5 Rating
Aaron Rodgers had himself a pretty dandy 2011 season. He set personal bests in completion percentage, yards, average, touchdowns, interceptions and quarterback rating. He also did it in 15 games. Rodgers seems to get incrementally better every year, and I expect that trend to continue in 2012.
Recent Career Average: 4,259 yards, 33 TDs, 9 INTs, 105.0 Rating
One concerning number in Rodgers' stat book is the amount of sacks the 28-year-old is taking per season. He has averaged 36 sacks a year since 2008, getting taken down a career high 50 times in 2009. Keeping him upright, and most importantly out of the hands of the defense, will be key to preserving his health, which will in turn allow his statistical development to continue.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,800 yards, 42 TDs, 8 INTs, 117.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 1,853 yards, 13 TDs, 13 INTs, 70.1 Rating
Christian Ponder's rookie season didn't go as bad as it could have. It also didn't go all that well, either. He made 10 starts and showed some flashes but largely failed to impress with just a 54-percent completion rate.
2010 Collegiate Stats: 2,044 yards, 20 TDs, 8 INTs
Minnesota made it a priority to keep Ponder safer and calmer in the pocket and invested a first-round pick in tackle Matt Kalil. That will help, but it's just one piece to the puzzle. Ponder will still have to prove that he can make improvements across the board.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,150 yards, 20 TDs, 15 INTs, 74.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: 4,250 yards, 33 TDs, 14 INTs, 94.0 Rating
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: 3,700 passing yards, 25 TDs, 20 INTs, 83.0 Rating, 900 rushing yards, 13 rushing TDs
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: 5,200 yards, 42 TDs, 17 INTs, 105.0 Rating
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3,900 yards, 30 TDs, 16 INTs, 96.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 4,177 yards, 29 TDs, 12 INTs, 92.2 Rating
Matt Ryan has had himself an interesting career to this point. He was the recipient of the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2008 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2010. In 2011 he set the Atlanta Falcons' single-season franchise record for passing yards after setting the record for attempts and completions the year previous.
Recent Career Average: 3,941 yards, 29 TDs, 11 INTs, 92.0 Rating
With all that said, he has never won a playoff game despite leading his team to three appearances in the postseason. He has to take the next step forward to get Atlanta over the hump in a suddenly very competitive NFC South.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 4,250 yards, 33 TDs, 14 INTs, 94.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 4,051 passing yards, 21 TDs, 17 INTs, 84.5 Rating, 706 rushing yards, 14 rushing TDs
Cam Newton took the league by storm in his rookie season, far surpassing any and all initial expectations. Despite his individual success, the Carolina Panthers couldn't win many football games. The talent and ability to move the chains are absolutely there; if Newton can learn to minimize his mistakes and take care of the football, he'll be fine.
Recent Career Average: N/A (2010 Collegiate Stats: 4,327 total yards, 50 total TDs, 7 INTs,
In the eight games that Newton threw more touchdowns than interceptions, the Panthers went 5-3. The rookie had a 15-2 TD-INT ratio, and his controlled production produced victories. On the other hand, Newton's ratio dropped to 6-15 in games in which he threw more picks than scores. Carolina's record dropped to 1-7 in those contests.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,700 passing yards, 25 TDs, 20 INTs, 83.0 Rating, 900 rushing yards, 13 rushing TDs
2011 Stat line: 5,476 yards, 46 TDs, 14 INTs, 110.6 Rating
Drew Brees set a career high in 2011 when he completed 71.2 percent of his passes, an impressive mark considering he was one attempt short of his career high. Prior to 2009, Brees had a 64.0 percent career average, a very respectable number compared to other highly-esteemed quarterbacks. But it's been a whole other story since then.
Recent Career Average: 4,828 yards, 38 TDs, 16 INTs, 103.7 Rating
Brees carried a 70.0 percent average from 2009-2011, illustrating the means by which his statistics have skyrocketed. At age 33, he's still improving and has become lethally efficient since 2009, growing ultimately comfortable at the helm of Saints offense. Losing Robert Meachum certainly won't help, but it's also not going to slow Brees down much.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 5,200 yards, 42 TDs, 17 INTs, 105.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,592 yards, 16 TDs, 22 INTs, 74.6 Rating
Last season was a regression for both Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense. The 24-year-old signal-caller often locked onto receivers, causing a career-high 22 turnovers by way of interception. ESPN's Stats and Information blog calculated that Freeman threw 10 of those picks in the direction of Kellen Winslow.
Career Stats: 8,898 yards, 51 TDs, 46 INTs, 79.0 Rating
With Winslow now gone and Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Dallas Clark and Carl Nicks joining the fold, 2012 should hold good things for Freeman. The offense will retain LaGarrett Blount and Mike Williams as well, so Freeman has plenty of pieces around him to not have many excuses next season.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,900 yards, 30 TDs, 16 INTs, 96.0 Rating
2012 Projected Output:
Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals: 3,850 yards, 27 TDs, 20 INTs, 83.0 Rating
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: 3,500 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs, 80.0 Rating
Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers: 3,300 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 86.0 Rating
Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks: 3,400 yards, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, 87.0 Rating
2011 Stat line (9 Starts): 1,955 yards, 9 TDs, 8 INTs, 81.1 Rating
Assuming Kevin Kolb can even beat out and hold off John Skelton and stay healthy, he should be in line for a productive year. Kolb's potential has yet to be harnessed as he closes in on his 28th birthday. 2012 may finally be the year he starts for an extended period.
Career Stats (2007-2011): 4,037 yards, 20 TDs, 22 INTs, 76.7 Rating
Kolb has the ability to move the chains and has the offensive pieces in Arizona to do some real damage. He also has the salary of a starter and will have to earn said paycheck this year if he wants to keep that amount of zeros going forward.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,850 yards, 27 TDs, 20 INTs, 83.0 Rating
Last 16 Games (Missed six in 2011): 3,518 yards, 10 TDs, 12 INTs, 71.7 Rating
Sam Bradford only managed 2,164 yards in 2011, but he also missed a lot of time. Bradford can move the ball, but he hasn't had enough red zone targets to throw to. His 6.0 yards per attempt average in his 26 games thus far is really concerning as well. Consider too that he has been sacked 70 times in those 26 games, causing him to fumble 17 times, and you can begin to see how troubling his situation is in St. Louis.
Career Total: 5,676 yards, 24 TDs, 21 INTs, 74.2 Rating
The Rams responded this offseason by investing a lot of dollars and draft picks into players who can help get the organization going in the right direction. Whether it'll be enough to provide Bradford with the right environment for production is still up for debate. I think he's in for another developmental season.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,500 yards, 21 TDs, 15 INTs, 80.0 Rating
2011 Stat line: 3,144 yards, 17 TDs, 5 INTs, 90.7 Rating
Alex Smith does exactly what he needs to do to lead the 49ers to victories, but nothing more. His numbers aren't flashy, but they're efficient. His TD-INT ratio is steady, and his completion rate has stayed consistently around 60 percent.
Last 38 Games (2009-2011): 7,864 yards, 49 TDs, 27 TDs, 84.8 Rating
There's no reason to believe Smith will blow his career numbers out of the water in 2012, but I am projecting a small bump across the board. Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins join Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis on a surprisingly and suddenly deep depth chart.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,300 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs, 86.0 Rating
2011 Week 17: 480 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 136.4 Rating
Will Matt Flynn throw for nearly 500 yards and six scores a game? No, no he will not. But the new Seattle Seahawks starter will make that team relevant for the first time in quite awhile.
Career Stats (2008-2011): 1,015 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs, 92.8 Rating
Pete Carroll may not always seem like it, but he knows what he's doing this time around in Seattle. Now it's time to see if the Seahawks have collected enough quality talent on offense to support a breakout performance by Flynn.
2012 Projected Stat Line: 3,400 yards, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, 87.0 Rating