A Look Back at 2008: Top 10 QB's

Jason BravermanContributor IDecember 31, 2008

This is the second article is a "best of" series, in which various people will be ranking the top 10 of each position in the NFL for this year.  The first article was the DB's, and this, as I'm sure one could figure out, is the QB's. 

These are just personal rankings, and are not done by any particular stat.  So, here is my list, with a few surprises, starting from 10 down.

10. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers lost a lot of ground because his Green Bay Packers went 6-10, not an attractive record.  However, he still gets this spot for putting up very solid numbers, especially for a first-time starter.

Rodgers had the fourth-most yards in the league, with 4,038.  He threw 28 touchdowns, also fourth-best in the league, and only 13 interceptions.  He ended the year with a QB rating of just under 94, with a 93.8. 

Yes, the 6-10 weighs him down, but you have to remember, this guy is starting his first year, having backed up none other than Brett Favre.

9. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots


Another first-year starter, and another QB who failed to lead his team to the playoffs.  But Cassel’s situation is much different.  He led the Pats to an 11-5 record, and he wasn’t even the starter Week One.  He had to fill in for the injured Tom Brady, and had to start for the first time since high school.

Cassel finished the year eighth in yards, with 3,693, and 10th in touchdowns with 21.  Cassel only threw 11 picks, but was sacked an NFL-leading 47 times.


8. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos

This may be surprising to most, seeing Cutler this far down on the list, but to me, one of the most important stats is if your team is playoff-bound, which Denver, 8-8, failed to do, losing their last three.

Cutler finished third in the league in yards, having 4,526, but threw just seven more TD’s than INT’s. Cutler did have seventh-best 25 touchdowns, but had the second-most interceptions, only behind Brett Favre, with 18.


7. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles

Remember how recently everyone was saying McNabb was done, be a backup, and would never play in Philly again?  Well now that they are in the playoffs, all but that last statement are very wrong.

He had the seventh-most yards, 3,916, and eighth-most TD’s, 23.  He only had 11 picks, and had the third-most passes for 20+ yards with 52, and the fifth-most of 40+ with 11.


6. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins

Pennington had the second-highest QB rating in the league, with a 97.4 rating.  He took the Dolphins from rags to riches, going 11-5, winning the AFC East, and hosting a playoff game this week.

Pennington had the lowest picks of all QB’s who started the entire season, with seven, and had just one lost fumble.  That is astonishing, considering the team he had to work with went 1-15 last year.

Chad also had 19 touchdowns, and ninth-most yards, with 3,653.  Pennington had the highest completion percentage in the league, at 67.4 percent.

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

His numbers aren't so flashy, but this rookie QB took his team from the lowest of lows, following the Vick incident, to the highest of highs, 11-5, and a very winnable playoff game at Arizona.

He was 13th in the league in yards, and only 16th in TD's, but only had 11 INT's.  But what he did alone gives him this spot, and, one must also factor in that he is a rookie.

4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Throw away the record, this team is dangerous, and it's not because of LT's worst year, but because of Rivers. 

He was fifth in yards, with 4,009, and tied for first in touchdowns with 34.  His 11 interceptions gives him the best TD-to-INT ratio at 34:11.  He's third in the league with 12 40+ yard throws, and essentially led this team to the playoffs single-handedly.  He also had a 105.5 QB rating, the most by 8.1.

And what did Rivers have to work with?  Chambers and Gates were both injured for parts of the year.  Rivers definitely deserves this spot, if not higher.

3. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals

Warner was second in the league in yards, with 4,583, and had the third-most touchdowns with 30.  His 14 picks helped him to a 96.9 QB rating.

Why, then, you ask, he is only number three?  Well, he had two of the best receivers in the league to work with in Fitzgerald and Boldin, and, he played for the Cardinals.  The Cards, who are worse than their 9-7 record suggests, are not a great team, and that moves Warner behind Peyton.

2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

Peyton had the third-highest completion percentage in the league, at 66.8 percent, and was sixth in yards with 4,002.  He recovered from a really slow start to lead the Colts to a nine-game winning streak, and had 27 touchdowns, fifth-best in the league.  He had a good TD-to-INT ratio, at 27:12.  He had a rating of 95.0.

Another main reason he is ahead of Warner; Manning has some MVP buzz around him, Warner, not so much.  Manning led this offense, on a down year to say the least for Joseph Addai, and helped them to a 12-4 record.  They are, in my opinion, the second-best team in the AFC, behind only the Steelers.

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

You probably could've guessed this by the picture, and I know I'm contradicting myself, as the Saints missed the playoffs, but this guy was just great.

Brees had the second-most yards in a season of all time, leading this year, with 5,069.  His 34 touchdowns also led the league.   Brees had a ridiculous 66 passes for more than 20 yards, and also led in 40+ yard passes with 16. 

Consider who he had to work with; Colston, Shockey, and Bush all missed significant parts of the year, and Henderson had a down year.  This guy is just ridiculous.

All these stats make Brees by far and away the best QB of 2008.