NFL Rankings: 5 Most Disappointing Quarterbacks of 2011
It has certainly been the year of the quarterback in the NFL.
With Aaron Rodgers having one of the best seasons of all-time, Tom Brady once again racking up big numbers, and Drew Brees chasing high marks of his own, it's clear to see why this has been a special season for the most important position on the field.
What can't be set aside is the fact that some quarterbacks with high aspirations for this season have come up far short of expectations. As they've struggled, so too have their teams.
While a few quarterbacks are putting up historically good numbers, here's a look at those who are racking up the wrong kind of statistics.
Honorable Mention: Mark Sanchez
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Ever since being drafted fifth overall out of USC Mark Sanchez has had the extreme pressure of being on the center stage in the biggest market. Sure, he probably gets too much heat from the media and fans when he doesn't perform. But that's New York.
Sanchez has come on strong as of late, which takes him just out of the top five most disappointing quarterbacks of 2011. But he's earned a fair amount of criticism, and he receives plenty from the New York newspapers and sports talk shows.
I still think Sanchez has a chance (albeit a small one) to be the long-term guy the New York Jets hoped he would be. In the meantime, however, he's not doing nearly enough to silence his critics.
He has gradually improved over the past three seasons, but he's made plenty of bone-headed mistakes this year. Sanchez's QBR, which measures a quarterback's overall value to his team, is a dismal 38.3, ranking him 29th in the league.
5. Michael Vick
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Michael Vick's dynamic performance last season earned him the Comeback Player of the Year award. He has been nowhere near the same player in 2011.
Injuries to his head, hand, and ribs have been a large part of why Vick isn't performing at the caliber he did last season. But that excuse only goes so far.
When Vick has played his numbers have been a far cry from excellent—12 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 78.9 quarterback rating. With Vince Young filling in it's been even worse for the Philadelphia Eagles.
We have long come to the conclusion that Vick is a dangerous player—for good and bad. He's electric when healthy, but an injury waiting to happen. This season has only highlighted the bad.
Vick and the Eagles, 2011's "Dream Team," have truly been a disappointment.
4. Kevin Kolb
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Maybe it's just me, but I don't see why people were so hyped on this guy to begin with. He plays a couple of good games as a fill-in starter and everybody goes berserk on how he's a franchise quarterback.
This could be why I don't consider Kevin Kolb a bigger bust then the three guys above him on this list. My expectations have been much higher of those players.
Kolb has fallen flat in his first season as the Arizona Cardinals' new starting quarterback. He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (eight) as touchdowns (nine), and completed a less-than-impressive 57.7 percent of his passes.
The Eagles may not be getting a whole lot out of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but trading Kolb seems to look like a pretty good move right about now with an extra second-round draft pick for 2012 on the way.
Kolb has had his share of injury problems this season, but that can't be given all the credit for everything that's gone wrong for him and the Cardinals this season.
3. Phillip Rivers
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Phillip Rivers has been the league's most disappointing QB for much of this season. Only his recent hot-streak has saved him from topping this list.
The San Diego Chargers were many experts' Super Bowl pick out of the AFC West, and they were considered a sure-fire playoff team by most. Instead, the Chargers find themselves trying to dig out of what looks to be far too deep of a hole in the shadow of the Denver Broncos' Cinderella season.
With top pass-catchers Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, and Malcolm Floyd all missing time to injury, Rivers had suffered tremendously.
Now that all three receivers are healthy Rivers is on fire, making his once unbearable stats look fairly decent. That doesn't mean they're all redeemed–see his AFC-leading 17 interceptions.
Blame what you want on not having good receivers for a good portion of this season, but Rivers has made plenty of poor decisions. That's largely why the Chargers are 6-7 and third place in a weak division, and that's why Rivers is No. 3 on this list.
2. Sam Bradford
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After a promising rookie season Sam Bradford has taken the ultimate "sophomore slump" in 2011.
The injury-bug hasn't helped him, but St. Louis Rams fans have to be at least a little worried that Bradford may not develop into the star he was once thought to become.
His stats have been one step above atrocious in 2011, with six interceptions matching six touchdowns and a horrifying 29.5 QBR, ranking him 32nd in the NFL.
I am nowhere close to considering Bradford a bust, but the fear of that possibility can't be denied. He sure doesn't look like a player that is getting payed $78 million over six seasons.
Despite acquiring WR Brandon Lloyd early this season, Bradford has yet to get back on track. It doesn't look like he will find his form for the rest of the season.
1. Josh Freeman
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Last season Josh Freeman led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to one comeback victory after another. He played Pro Bowl-caliber football for much of the season en route to a 10-6 record. This prompted many, including me, to proclaim (or in my case exclaim) that Freeman was the QB the Bucs had been looking for since the days of Doug Williams two decades earlier.
This season has been a different story.
Josh Freeman's production, hype, and future have sunk tremendously, right along with the Buccaneers' sinking ship in a perfectly abysmal 4-9 season.
Freeman's 18 interceptions lead the league, and his amount of poor reads probably do as well.
His decision making in the red zone is either overconfident or just plain weak. Either way, Freeman has squandered many opportunities.
I don't buy his lack of a big receiving corps or his shoulder and thumb issues (the latter coming from a shooting accident) as the main reason he's fallen so far from last year.
Freeman needs more pieces around him, but he also needs to correct himself in multiple ways. Otherwise, he will become a huge disappointment for Tampa Bay.
As for this season? That's long been determined a disappointment.