Ranking Joe Flacco and the Least Important QBs in the NFL

Andrew McCluskeyCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2011

Ranking Joe Flacco and the Least Important QBs in the NFL

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    Joe Flacco had a very underwhelming performance on Monday Night Football against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    He went 21-of-38 for only 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

    Despite this pitiful performance, the Ravens only lost by five points. Flacco is fortunate enough to have one of the best defenses in the NFL backing him up on the other side of the ball.

    Baltimore has proven time and time again that it doesn't need huge performances out of Flacco to win games. Unfortunately for him, this makes him one of the least important quarterbacks in football, which may impact him when it comes time for a new contract.

    Flacco isn't alone in this category. Here are four other quarterbacks who rank among the least important in the NFL.

Mark Sanchez

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    Mark Sanchez has certainly adapted well to the life of a starting NFL quarterback. He has become the face of the Rex Ryan-led Jets offense and has managed to squeeze in a little modeling on the side.

    However, his performance on the field and impact on his team haven't quite measured up to expectations.

    The Jets are currently sitting third in the AFC East with a 4-3 record.

    Coming into the season Ryan was spouting about how the Jets planned to open up the passing game. After a few poor performances by Sanchez, the outspoken Jets coach immediately turned back to the ground-and-pound style.

    Sanchez has had a couple solid passing performances, most notably when he threw for three touchdowns against San Diego this past weekend.

    However, in that same game he only threw for 173 yards and a 54.5 percent completion percentage.

    The Jets defense's ability to shut teams down and force turnovers is the key to Sanchez's success. He has yet to show a consistent ability to move the ball down the field on his arm alone.

    Until he does, Sanchez will continue to be overshadowed by Rex Ryan and the Jets defense.

Matt Cassel

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    Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel came to Kansas City with high expectations after filling in for Tom Brady during the 2008 season.

    Cassel has never quite recaptured the magic he had with the Patriots, but he continues to hold the job as the Chiefs' lead signal-caller.

    Kansas City got off to a horrible start this season. It was outscored 109-37 the first three weeks of the season. Things got worse when star running back Jamaal Charles tore his ACL in Week 2.

    However, Kansas City has since turned things around, winning three straight games to put it at .500 for the season.

    Despite one huge performance against the pathetic Colts, Cassel has been a non-factor. It is becoming clearer and clearer each week that Cassel is not the franchise quarterback the Chiefs thought he was.

    When your team can win games relying on your backup running backs, you know your passing game is less than effective.

Alex Smith

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    The San Francisco 49ers have been incredibly impressive this season, jumping out to a 5-1 start.

    However, it is no thanks to their passing game—the 49ers' passing game currently ranks 31st in the NFL.

    With new coach Jim Harbaugh taking the reins in San Francisco, there were expectations that the offense would be improved. The running game has been excellent, as it is currently ranked sixth in the league.

    But Harbaugh's passing game has been as conservative as Rush Limbaugh.

    It is built around short passes and dump-offs that limit chances for Alex Smith to turn the ball over. The pressure on the former first overall pick has been removed, as most of his work comes from turning around to hand the ball off.

    Smith has still done a great job of filling his role on this team, but make no mistake about it—his role is not a crucial one to the 49ers' success.

Tony Romo

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    As the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, you are bound to have unimaginable amounts of pressure on your shoulders.

    Tony Romo has not always responded well to this pressure and more often than not has been labeled a "choker." Romo's playmaking, gunslinging style can make for some great highlight-reel plays, but it can also lead to some terrible performances.

    This year the Cowboys have managed to fight their way to a 3-3 record.

    However, if you analyze Romo's splits for wins and losses, you can see that the Cowboys' success relies simply on him not messing up rather than playing well.

    In wins, Romo has thrown for 766 yards with a 60.2 percent completion percentage. He also has four touchdowns and only one interception.

    In losses, Romo has thrown for 990 yards with a 67.7 percent completion percentage. He has thrown for six touchdowns but also five interceptions.

    The stats point to Romo's turnovers being the main fault in the Cowboys offense. With DeMarco Murray's huge breakout performance this past weekend, it is likely coach Jason Garrett will continue to turn to the run game for production.

    If keeping the ball out of Romo's hands means success for the Cowboys, then Romo's importance to this team takes a huge hit.