Each week I will produce a power ranking of the NFL starting quarterbacks and determine whether their stock is pointing up or down.
To clear up any confusion going forward: The quarterbacks will not be ranked just by their performance in a particular week, as how they've fared this season and over their career will factor.
I won't kill any more space with an introduction, let's get right to it.
Jackson isn't an accurate passer, he makes poor decisions more often than not and lacks a presence in the pocket. When Seattle inked Jackson to a two-year, $8 million deal, it was lauded as a dumb move. Well, if it gives them Andrew Luck is it really that bad of a move?
The Seahawks aren't going anywhere this season, so I understand the move by the front office. Sign a guy that has a little bit of potential and if he works out they look like geniuses; if he doesn't, they can either cut him after this season or keep him as a backup next year.
Bottom line is that Jackson isn't the long-term answer in Seattle and will prove to be a stop-gap quarterback, an awful one at that.
There was nothing Smith did Sunday that made me think he has turned it around. Smith is what he is, and that's a sub-par quarterback. Jim Harbaugh won't be able to turn him around like many hoped, because Smith doesn't have the mental edge or physical tools to be great—or even good.
Smith completed 15 of 20 passes Sunday for just 124 yards against a bad Seattle team. San Francisco can take solace in the fact that they got a win, but not in Smith's performance. The yardage numbers were poor from Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. can't be relied on every week to break open the game with punt returns.
This looks like Arizona's division to lose.
The release of David Garrard vaulted McCown to starting status, and surprisingly, he handled it well. McCown didn't light Tennesse's defense on fire by any means, but he was efficient throwing the ball, completing 17 of 24 passes.
A troubling sign was two fumbles from McCown, including one that he lost. Eventually, Blaine Gabbert will be taking the snaps for Jacksonville, although it's clear that he needs to sit for awhile, and he will, as long as McCown can remain respectable.
There isn't much potential there for McCown as a starter in the NFL long-term, so despite his solid performance, he is likely to find himself routinely low in the rankings.
This one may surprise some people, but it's time to look past the name on the back of the jersey and instead focus on the performance on the field. McNabb was awful with Washington last season and he didn't look any different on Sunday.
It's sad to see McNabb's career come to this: the point where it's so obvious that his talents have deteriorated that it's hard to watch. It's not even the 39 passing yards that scare me, because San Diego has a terrific defense.
What concerns me are the continuous check down passes and McNabb's unwillingness to go downfield. Mike Shanahan received a ton of flak for benching McNabb last season in favor of Rex Grossman.
It's funny and slightly sad how that move looks like the right one at the moment. There's plenty of time in the season left for McNabb to move back up in the rankings, but more performances like Sunday will have Minnesota fans hollering for Christian Ponder.
Or dare I even say Joe Webb?
Poor Kerry Collins. Instead of coming in and playing a few games until Peyton Manning gets back, it looks like he may have to tough out an entire season. I don't think anybody envies Collins's job right now—or wants it.
I'm guessing when Collins signed to become an Indianapolis Colt that he thought Manning would be back sooner rather than later. With Manning out for what looks like the remainder of the season, Collins will be wishing he stayed retired and never picked up the phone when Bill Polian came calling.
Since Dalton's status is up in the air for next week's game because of an injury to his forearm, I had the tough choice of ranking Bruce Gradkowski or Dalton. I went with Dalton because he will start if he's healthy enough to go.
In the limited time that Dalton was out there, he looked solid. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 81 yards and added a touchdown. Dalton wasn't exactly on pace for a Cam Newton-esque performance, but he looked sharp and efficient.
The jury is still out on whether or not Dalton can make it in the league. The early signs, though, look good for him and his future prospects. It'll be easier to gauge where Dalton is once he plays a full game, so let's hope he's back out on the field against Denver.
Campbell didn't have to win the game with his arm against Denver due to Darren McFadden's legs. McFadden ran for 150 yards on 22 carries, which was more yards than Campbell threw for.
It's pretty clear that Campbell will never develop into a very good quarterback. He will do some nice things on the field, but there are moments from him that cause you to shake your head.
Oakland will rely on McFadden and Michael Bush throughout the season to carry the team and ask Campbell to manage the game. There's nothing wrong with being a game manager as a quarterback.
McCoy's in year two now, and he needed to build off a nice preseason in Week 1. That didn't happen. Instead, Cleveland fell to Cincinnati in an ugly offensive showing from the Browns.
This will be an important season for McCoy for showing the front office that he can be the guy over the long haul. McCoy simply needs to play better than he did against the Bengals. He completed less than half of his passing attempts and finished with a 70.1 passer rating.
Peyton Hillis and the offensive line didn't help him out very much, but the Bengals don't exactly possess one of the league's best secondaries. It was a disappointing showing from the second-year pro out of Texas.
Buffalo destroyed Kansas City in all phases of the game. It was an embarrassing showing for the Chiefs, especially from Cassel. He's failed to raise his game to another level and his last season stats are deceiving.
Yes, he threw 27 touchdowns to only seven interceptions, but you have to remember, Cassel likes to dump the ball off and make safe throws. It definitely showed in Sunday's stat line as he completed 22 passes for a measly 119 yards. That equates to a 3.3 average per completion.
This may be a little low for Cassel based on past performance, but I expect a step back from the Chiefs this season, and their quarterback, too.
Could this be the year Henne puts it together and shows improvement? I think so. Against New England, Henne topped 400 passing yards and also ran for 59.
The rushing yards were surprising, but for those that saw Henne in the preseason, he looked much better throwing the football, so it wasn't a revelation that he tossed for 416 yards. Although some of those yards came when the game was out of hand, it's still a positive sign for Miami fans.
We'll see if Henne can lead the Dolphins to some wins, something that will be crucial in order for him to rise up the ranks.
Buffalo man-handled Kansas City and Fitzpatrick led the way. He threw for a modest 208 yards but had four passing touchdowns to go with it. For some reason, Fitzpatrick doesn't get enough credit and many experts don't feel he's the long-term answer for the franchise.
But all he does is go out and continue to turn doubters into believers. I'm starting to become a skeptical believer. By no means am I ready to deem him the second coming of Jim Kelly, I just think the man deserves some credit for turning the Bills into a competitive team.
The wins may not always be there, but Buffalo competes week in and week out. And Fitzpatrick should be recognized for that.
You have to respect what Grossman did against the New York Giants. This guy's been criticized all his career, and here he is once again, starting for another team.
Grossman helped lead a Chicago team that surprised many and made the Super Bowl. Now he is in a situation where he could do the same with a Washington team that nobody is looking at to be a factor come playoff time.
Against the Giants, Grossman was absolutely terrific, throwing for 305 yards and two scores. More performances like that and he'll continue to climb the ranks.
What a performance the rookie quarterback put up in his debut against Arizona. It was one for the ages, and in my opinion, the greatest performance by a rookie in an NFL debut. Because of the strong performance, I have Newton hopping quite a few of quarterbacks who have been in the league longer than him.
But that doesn't mean he isn't better. If this was based on physical tools and overall talent, Newton would be in the top 10 without a doubt. Now that we've seen him in a real game and how well he performed, the rookie from Auburn deserves to be bumped up over some more established quarterbacks.
It was only one performance though, which means that in order for Newton to remain this high, he's going to have to follow up a great performance with a respectable one. Regardless of ranking, the rookie appears to have a bright future ahead of him.
Last season Bradford made a name for himself by being efficient and making St. Louis respectable. In my opinion, the former Oklahoma quarterback is a tad overrated.
Bradford didn't exactly light the world on fire with the Rams in his rookie season, and St. Louis played in the worst division in football. Take away the seven wins Bradford helped get for the Rams and move it to 4-12 and are we still talking about him the way we are now? That would have been the case if the Rams played in any other division than the NFC West last season.
It doesn't help Bradford that he already is banged up with a finger injury. Health was a red flag coming into the NFL for Bradford, but the injury against Philadelphia was a fluke more than anything.
I can't wait to see what Bradford does this season with higher expectations.
One of the more underrated quarterbacks in NFL history will try and lead Tennessee to a division title in the wide open AFC South. Hasselbeck played pretty well against Jacksonville, as he threw for 263 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
What hindered the Titans was their inability to run the ball to help out the passing attack. Chris Johnson was ineffective, which was to be expected after a lengthy holdout.
I expect Hasselbeck and the Titans to give Houston and Jacksonville a run for its money.
It's hard to defend Orton after he went out Monday night and turned in a lackluster performance. The numbers won't show it, but most of his passing yardage came late in the game with the Raiders up by over a touchdown.
Bronco fans were chanting for Tim Tebow, and can you blame them? Orton has become a tease. He ends up with solid passing numbers, a good quarterback rating, yet it doesn't transfer to wins for the team.
Consistency throughout an entire game is Orton's biggest problem. There's no questioning his ability to physically be the quarterback for the Broncos, he has the tools to make the throws. It just isn't consistently happening for Orton and it's something that he has to fix.
If he doesn't, it could be Tebow time in Denver.
By no means was Kolb great against Carolina. But he took advantage of a couple of defensive mistakes by the Panthers and found wide open receivers. The numbers for Kolb were impressive, 18 of 27 for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
The negatives would be two fumbles with one being lost in the red zone, although Beanie Wells deserves fault on that one too. Arizona earned the win over the Panthers and appear to be the favorites in the NFC West.
With Larry Fitzgerald running routes for the Cardinals, Kolb could post a very impressive statistical performance. Fitzgerald garners so much attention that it leaves other receivers wide open, like on Sunday.
It was a good start for Kolb and all that matters is that he got his team the W.
This just in: the Detroit Lions are good.
Stafford was terrific against Tampa Bay, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdown passes. It was a great way to open the season. A make or break season for Stafford. If he can't stay healthy this year, will he ever be able to?
That's a question that the Lions don't want to have to answer, especially considering how good Stafford looked on Sunday. A playoff run and more performances like Sunday's and Stafford could find himself as a top 10 quarterback by season's end.
Schaub has to lead Houston to the playoffs this year.
Otherwise, he'll be facing plenty of criticism. The Colts are out of the race without Manning, the Jaguars are starting Josh McCown and the Titans lost to the Jaguars already.
Everything is going right for the Texans, and they must capitalize on it. Schaub didn't play that great against the Colts, but he didn't have to because the running game took over. There is a belief out there that Schaub is a better fantasy quarterback than a real one.
It's hard to argue with that assertion. Since he came to Houston, Schaub has put up good passing numbers but has been unable to lead the Texans to the playoffs. Well, this is his year to do so; if not, it could get ugly in Houston.
Yes, Romo choked down the stretch of the fourth quarter, but did you see the other three? There's this myth in the sports world that if you've choked in the past it means that you will continue to come up small in the future.
I'm not saying Romo doesn't deserve the blame for Dallas' loss, he does. There's no excuse for the interception he threw and the goal line fumble. But let's not forget that Romo just carved up one of the best defenses in the game.
A bad loss doesn't mean this will be a bad season for Romo or the Cowboys. I was encouraged by what I saw and I see a bright season ahead of them.
Heck of a performance from Sanchez after a disastrous start. He finished with 335 yards through the air, two touchdowns and an interception. This is a big year for Sanchez, who will be asked to do much more this season than he did in his first two years in the league.
Week 1 proved that he is up to the task, and that Jets fans have a lot to look forward to this season. There still are some concerns with Sanchez and his decision making, but that will improve as the season goes along. It's important to remember that he is only in his third year.
Flacco has taken unnecessary criticism ever since he's come into the league. Look at his play on the field and you see a quarterback that has got better each and every year. This is his fourth year in the league, which means this should be the beginning of Flacco's prime years.
The poise and confidence Flacco has in the pocket is impressive. He threw for three touchdowns against Pittsburgh and was more than efficient. If the game hadn't got out of reach, Flacco easily would have been able to pile up the passing yards. Instead he will have to settle with a season-opening 224.
Look for a big year from No. 5.
Freeman's Week 1 performance didn't do enough to sway me one way or the other. In my mind, the kid is a top 10 quarterback at the moment, but that could change. One good year isn't enough to make a guy's career or break it.
Last season, Freeman was fantastic, leading Tampa Bay to a 10-win season. Now, a harder schedule and higher expectations could knock the budding star back a bit.
Against the Lions, the Bucs didn't run the ball nearly enough. Freeman threw 43 passes compared to 11 rushing attempts for Tampa Bay's running backs. That's unacceptable, and it needs to change going forward in order for Freeman to be successful.
The man has broad shoulders, but he can't carry the entire team.
Big game for Cutler and the Chicago Bears against the Atlanta Falcons. He outperformed Matt Ryan, who will be appearing on this list soon.
Cutler finished with a quarterback rating of over 100 and only threw 10 completions in 32 attempts, which is the type of numbers the Bears hope to receive from the veteran quarterback throughout the season.
The season couldn't have started any better for Cutler after the way that last one ended.
Questioning Cutler's toughness became routine for national columnists—until it was revealed that he had a legitimate injury. We live in a world where we react as soon as something happens. With social media around now, it leads to people voicing their opinions publicly via the internet instantly.
In the case of Cutler, there were a lot of people who looked foolish after it came back that he did indeed have an MCL tear. Cutler performed well in Week 1. Let's see if he can do it again this weekend.
Manning needs to figure it out sooner rather than later, because the critics in New York are lining up at his door ready to knock him down. It would be interesting to see how Manning would be viewed if we took away his Super Bowl victory. Would he even be a New York Giant right now?
Another 20-plus interception season from Manning will have people calling for a new quarterback in New York. The weapons are there at Manning's disposal, with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in the back field, and Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham split out wide.
Eli got off to a poor start to the season and Peyton may not even touch the field this year. To say it's a bad time to be a Manning right now would be an understatement.
Matt Ryan aka Matty Ice melted in the postseason against Green Bay last season, and Atlanta picked up right where they left off against the Packers. Praise is largely thrown upon Ryan, but I've never seen what's so special about him.
What makes him so much better than, let's say, Joe Flacco?
Their numbers are very similar over their first three years. All that's different is that Flacco has made the postseason more times, yet is widely considered the lesser of the two quarterbacks. I'm going to start Ryan high, but another bad week from him and he could find himself out of the top 10.
Roethlisberger is coming off a poor Super Bowl performance and an atrocious Week 1 performance against the Ravens. Pittsburgh was bad as a whole, but Roethlisberger deserves most of the blame for his five turnovers.
You never one want to be compared to Jake Delhomme, yet Roethlisberger was Delhomme-esque in the way he was turning the ball over—Delhomme actually had a nice career, although he gave up the ball more than a point guard in basketball the past few years.
Over the past two games Roethlisberger has played, he's thrown five interceptions and lost two fumbles. It's likely a blip on the radar for Big Ben, but it still needs to be noted.
The Chargers struggled to run the football against the Vikings, which meant that Rivers had to throw the ball more than he should have to. Rivers threw 48 passes, completing 33 for 335 yards. He had two touchdowns and two picks to go with it.
No quarterback should be asked to throw the football close to 50 times. A decade ago, if you threw the ball 48 times in the game it's almost certain that you got blown out. Now, you can win a game while throwing the football an absurd amount of times.
The times have changed, and we are in a passing league more than ever. Rivers put up terrific numbers last season ( 30 TDS, 13 INTS) and should find himself in the MVP race once again.
With Michael Vick, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers ahead of him, it will be difficult for Brees to make a big rise this season. Brees was great against the Packers, but it wasn't enough ,as the New Orleans defense was unable to stop Rodgers.
After throwing 22 interceptions last season, Brees is off to a good start in that department by not turning the ball over once against Green Bay. He looked as sharp as ever, and, if the Saints' defense was as bad as it was against the Packers, Brees is going to need to put up monster numbers in order for New Orleans to win games.
There's tough competition ahead of him, but an MVP-type season and he could put himself in the running as the best quarterback in the NFL.
So much for taking time to gel, right? The Eagles came out flying behind Vick and his arm. As the game went on, Vick took over with his legs, showing why he deserves this spot. There isn't a more dangerous quarterback in the NFL when Vick is throwing the football well.
The threat of him taking off and running is what separates him from other quarterbacks. The biggest question with Vick is whether or not he can play a full slate of games without getting injured.
I can't predict the future, but if Vick does stay healthy, he has a great shot at winning the MVP award.
I can see the comments flooding in right now. Yes, Brady had one of the best performances in NFL history Monday night, but he isn't the best quarterback in the league.
The 517-yard, four touchdown performance was absolutely amazing to watch. Brady was surgeon-like with the way that he dissected the Dolphins' defense.
The reason I don't have Brady as No. 1 is simple: New England hasn't won a playoff game since 2007 and winning in the playoffs is what it's all about. Let the debate between Rodgers and Brady officially begin. One is the reigning Super Bowl champion, the other has won multiple Super Bowls with the last being in 2004.
What makes Rodgers land this spot is his ability to escape out of the pocket. Brady is a pocket-passer, who is great at moving around in a limited area but needs time to be at his best.
Rodgers, on the other hand, is able to get out on bootlegs and move the chains with his legs. By no means is he as fast or as dangerous a runner as Michael Vick, but he is a threat to take off on the run if his receivers aren't able to break free, just ask the Steelers.
Rodgers was great against the Saints, and he picked up where he left off last season. The Packers look even better than they did months ago. Don't expect Rodgers to give up this slot with a date against the Panthers next week.