Overrated: Quaterbacks, Top Tens, and 40 Times

Michael MillerCorrespondent IJune 13, 2009

LAKE FOREST, IL - APRIL 3:  Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith looks on as new quarterback Jay Cutler talks to the media  during a press conference on April 3, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jim Prisching/Getty Images)

Who is better, Brady or Manning? It doesn’t matter.

Which teams have a top-ten defense? You're kidding I hope.

Does he run a 4.3 or a 4.6? The difference is negligible.


The quarterback is only one man. Only 9.1 percent of the offense.

And yet, the blocking by the offensive line, the route running by the receivers, getting off a clean snap, calling the play, analyzing any weaknesses in a defense, and all the other aspects of a successful play are credited to one man: The quarterback.

It’s just lazy to say the quarterback should get more credit than the offensive line. They block on every play, but the quarterback only throws about half the time. Blocking schemes can be ridiculously complicated, and the scheme needs to be executed perfectly, or it results in a busted play.

It’s just lazy to say the receivers don’t do as much as the quarterback. Even when he throws the ball, he’s only half of the equation, and some teams run more than they throw. But even when he does throw, the receiver needs to make a catch, or it’s worthless. Sure, the quarterback reads the defense, but the receivers need to run routes into open spots.

It’s just lazy to say the Quarterback can throw all day without a productive running back. The run sets up the pass, not vice versa. If the defense wasn’t afraid of getting carved up by a running back, there would be no pass. If safeties stay home for fear of the run, you can forget about half of your deep threats.

All this laziness has caused everyone to take the most important position, the quarterback, and make it the end-all of the game. Yes, I said the quarterback is the most important position; that is clear. But his contribution should not be overstated.

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Put in a Quarterback who is half the ideal passer and your offense can still operate at nearly 95 percent.

Top-Ten Rankings

The standard for excellence in the NFL is top-four. Top-10 is laughable.

Top-ten is only better than roughly two-thirds of the league. Try getting into law school with a 69th percentile GPA.

Top-eight is still only better than three-fourths of the league. This is not excellence. Winning the Super Bowl is excellence. That’s first place, not eighth. Eighth place in the NFL is mediocre.

Even second place can be lost in the sauce, unless you go 18-1 all year, then you will never live down the shame of coming in second. Yet, people still cite a top-ten offense or defense as the reason their team is a contender to win the Super Bowl.

Last year, the Super Bowl champion Steelers had the No. 1 defense. The contenders from Arizona had the No. 4 offense.

If the strength of your team is merely top-ten, it would be best to keep that to yourself.

40 Times

Break it down. If player A runs a 4.3 sec. 40 yard dash, and player B runs a 4.6 sec. 40 yard dash, it makes little or no difference. If player B makes sharper cuts, the .3 sec. he lost in a straight line test are re-gained.

Even when player A is running a fly pattern, the safeties over the top have a 12-15 yard head start. If the safeties run a full second slower in the 40, an unlikely 5.3, it would take player A about 140 yards to catch up.

Now take into consideration that Brett Favre, in his prime, couldn’t throw more than 80 yards, and your 4.3 burner who can’t catch belongs on the track, not the field.

Darrius Heyward-Bey was picked seventh overall by the Oakland Raiders this year. While the rest of the world laughed at the organization, the Raider faithful on Bleacher Report were busy praising DHB as the next Randy Moss.

There’s only one problem: A receiver’s best tool is his ability to catch the football. You can run all over God’s creation until you’re blue in the face—if you can’t catch, it means nothing.

The greatest receiver in history, Jerry Rice, was never the fastest receiver on the field, never. His 40 time was a disappointing 4.7 seconds.

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