The 10 Most Disappointing NFL Quarterbacks

Alessandro Miglio@@AlexMiglioFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2013

The 10 Most Disappointing NFL Quarterbacks

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    The 2012 season is in the books, and with its end comes Matt Miller's NFL 1,000, ranking the top 1,000 players in the league.

    Like last year, Miller ranks the quarterbacks in the NFL as part of the project. This year he ranks the top 65 QBs in the league, over twice as many as the number of starters.

    Based primarily on differences from Miller's list in 2011 and his list in 2012, who were the most disappointing quarterbacks this past season? Click through to find out.

10. Tony Romo

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    Tony Romo had a nice second half to his 2012 season, but the Cowboys were left on the outside looking in once again in a relatively weak NFC East.

    Known for being a late-game choker, Romo actually had a pretty good season in that regard.

    Matt Miller had Romo ranked in a tie for ninth last year, but he dropped to 16th this season. That number is lower than the 19 interceptions he threw in 2012—tied for the most in the NFL during the regular season.

    Has Romo peaked? If he has, at least he's good at golf.

9. Jay Cutler

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    A poor supporting cast has been the thorn in Jay Cutler's paw throughout his career, but the Bears did what they could to rectify that last offseason. It bought the team a marginal offensive improvement.

    Brandon Marshall had a great season, but that was expected.

    Cutler has excellent arm talent, but he relies on it too much. Here is what Matt Miller has to say about him:

    A love-or-hate quarterbacks for most, Cutler is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of pure talent. His body language and decision making can be terrible at times, but his arm strength, velocity, mobility and accuracy are all near the best in the league.

    It's a bit unfair that Cutler has played behind that woeful offensive line for years now. After tying for ninth in last year's rankings, he is 13th this year.

8. Matt Flynn

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    Matt Flynn parlayed an offensive explosion in a meaningless Week 17 victory in 2011 into a decent contract and likely starting gig from the Seattle Seahawks. 

    He didn't count on a 5'11" rookie taking the rug right out from under him. 

    In fairness, nobody expected that from Russell Wilson.

    What was a promising evolution for Flynn's career has turned out to be another dead end.

    The Seahawks certainly made the right decision in handing the keys to Wilson, but that doesn't mean Flynn wasn't a modest disappointment, dropping from 21st in last year's NFL 1,000 to 26th this year.

7. Cam Newton

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    Cam Newton got hot in the second half of the season, but it was too late. The Panthers did wind up with one more victory than the 2011 season thanks to a weak schedule.

    The disappointment comes in Newton's inability to build on his historic rookie season. The sophomore was inconsistent as a passer, particularly in the short and intermediate game.

    As Matt Miller highlights in his rankings, Newton has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

    He slid from a tie for ninth to 15th in Miller's rankings, but he should turn things around if he works on his short game.

6. Matt Schaub

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    Houston is a very good team, and Matt Schaub is a part of that success. But he is also a part of the problem.

    The 31-year-old starter is simply not cut from the same jersey as the elite tier of quarterbacks. While Schaub is accurate and reliable, he does not elevate the offense like Aaron Rodgers or even Matt Ryan.

    As Matt Miller puts it, Schaub is a "high-level game manager type of quarterback."

    Miller has him ranked No. 14, a significant drop from his rank of sixth last year. It is a step in the wrong direction, and the Texans might have a glass ceiling as long as he is at the helm.

5. Sam Bradford

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    It's difficult to say that a healthy 7-8-1 season from Sam Bradford was disappointing, but little has been achieved by Bradford after being the top overall pick in 2010.

    The third-year quarterback did not have a lot of help with Danny Amendola's name consistently on the injury report. He doesn't have accuracy issues, but he is reluctant to throw downfield. 

    Bradford dropped from 19th to 21st in Matt Miller's rankings from 2011 to 2012. He might be a top overall pick, but Bradford needs to turn that trend around if he's going to keep his gig over the next couple of years.

4. Carson Palmer

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    It's difficult to call Carson Palmer disappointing given his near retirement, but it is apropos considering how much the Raiders gave up to acquire him, as Matt Miller noted:

    There were times this year that it appeared Palmer was back to his old form, but he had some issues with turnovers, which keeps Raider fans asking if he was worth all of those draft picks.

    Palmer dropped from 18th all the way to 29th in Miller's quarterback rankings.

3. Michael Vick

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    The Dream Team got one more shot with Michael Vick at the helm last season, and it wasn't pretty.

    Expectations were far lower in 2012 than they were a year prior, when the Eagles "won" free agency and were anointed Super Bowl champions before minicamp started.

    Here is what Matt Miller had to say about Vick, who was ranked 34th:

    Vick struggled with injury and poor play in 2012, highlighted by poor decision making and missed opportunities. While Vick may be a starter again in the NFL, his skills continue to regress.

    It's clear the 32-year-old is on the downside of an overrated career (last year, he was ranked 23rd in the B/R NFL 1,000). At this stage it looks like the Eagles will keep him as a bridge to their quarterback of the future, but prepare yourselves for more disappointment.

2. Christian Ponder

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    Minnesota somehow made the playoffs, no thanks to Christian Ponder.

    The former first-round pick looked lost at times this season despite opposing defenses loading up to try to stop Adrian Peterson much of the time.

    Matt Miller had Ponder ranked in a tie for 25th among quarterbacks as a rookie last season, but he plummeted all the way to 48th this season.That is not even starter-worthy, a bad sign for a second-year quarterback who was taken 12th overall in the 2011 draft.

1. Matthew Stafford

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    Where have the mechanics gone?

    Matthew Stafford possesses perhaps the best arm in the NFL. If only he didn't throw off his back foot every third time he dropped back to pass.

    Last year Matt Miller had Stafford ranked in a tie at No. 7, and he was poised to crack the top five this year. Instead he dropped to 19th despite nearing the 5,000-yard mark for a second consecutive season.

    Here's what Miller had to say about the 25-year-old Stafford:

    Still one of the more talented quarterbacks in the NFL, Stafford saw a major regression in terms of mechanics in 2012, which in turn caused his overall skill and production to dip. Fixing his mechanics will fix most of Stafford’s problems, moving him back into the top 10.

    The Lions had bigger issues, but Stafford's inconsistency may have cost them a game or two.