This season there has been even stranger Quarterback tales then normal and it seems many are hard to comprehend. In hopes of helping us understand I have taken a dive into the tape and crunched the number to bring some logic to the curious cases of five QBs this season.
Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks)
Going into the season I'm pretty confident to say that a vast majority of us myself included but Gina was mostly here to serve as a bridge QB for Seahawks, A guy who's not typically going to throw the game away for you but the guy who's very rarely if ever going to win one for you. That has been gravely inaccurate. Gino has consistently played like a top 10 QB this season. Just look where he stands in these key metrics,
1st in passing completion (72.7%), 2nd in passer rating (108), 4th in passing tds (22) amd 5th in QBR (64.8). On top of this Gino has set new career highs in passing yards in both a game (367) and in a season (3,169) His previous highs were 358 yards in Week 17, 2014, and 3,046 yards during his 2013 rookie season with the Jets. I think These two starts with everything about Gino the season into perspective, he has had six consecutive games with 2 passing touchdowns in 100 plus passer rating Russell Wilson to the most in Seahawks history. Lastly heading into this week Smith has thrown 7 TDs with a completion probability under 25% this season; no other QB has more than 3 according to next gen stats. Everybody outside the Seahawks front office vastly underestimated the type of QB Gino can be but we are all seeing it now.
Russel Wilson (Denver Broncos)
Meanwhile the man Gino replaced ended up on the Broncos for a huge haul no less has been worse than the quarterback we thought Gino was. Wilson has literally been one of his not the worst starting QBs in the league this season. Wilson has the 5th worst passer rating (83.5), 4th worst QBR (35) among starters this year and barely sits above a 60% completion rate (60.1). Easily the most worrying stat though is his atrocious number of 8 touchdowns in 11 starts, Wilson is the only QB this year who's played at least 10 games and hasn't thrown at least 11 touchdowns. To put this into perspective the Redskins have had two QBS start at least six games this year. Carson Wentz and Taylor Henicke, neither of whom are typically (if ever) called game breakers, have passed for 10 and nine Td’s in six and seven games respectively. Those jokes about his house having 12 bathrooms are going to get really brutal if Wilson can't even pass for 12 touchdowns. All jokes aside though Wilson is far from the QB he once was and the Broncos are tied to him for at least two more seasons, they are going to have to figure out what happened and fast. The Wilson we are seeing right now is holding his team back and apparently his teammates are starting to let it be known they have noticed.
- Side note: Can you think of a more lopsided QB trade in history? For Russell Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round pick, the Seahawks received Broncos players Drew Lock, Shelby Harris and Noah Fant. They also received five draft picks, including first and second rounders in 2022 and 2023.
Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
Tua may have some limitations but they are few and far between this year as we are seeing a complete difference in the guy whose previous issues seems to have been mostly tied to coaching and mental struggles (quite possibly due to the coaching). Even after a rough outing against likely the best defence in the NFL in the San Francisco 49ers Tua has some very impressive metrics. Tua leads the NFL in passer rating (112), yards per attempt (9.0), sits second in QBR (77.4) and third in TD to INT ratio (4.2). While he might not have the biggest arm in town, Tagovailoa has been easily one of the best deep ball passers this year. Tua is top ten in completions of 20, 30 and 40 plus yards despite missing multiple games unlike all those above him. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to tell you that Tua has the highest passer rating on attempts at least 20 yards this year QBs, with at least 20 attempts. For those of you that are still wondering, Tua is a great starting quarterback, quite possibly an elite one.
Matt Ryan (Indianapolis Colts)
The destruction of Matt Ryan has been overstated but perhaps not vastly. Many long time fans of the NFL are aware there's a certain condition that seems to afflict some quarterbacks in particular when they're coaching in line and does not meet the requirements; it goes by many names such as David Carr disease or seeing ghosts sickness. Matt Ryan is third in sacks right now despite missing two games and battling a shoulder injury, the guys above him are also scrambling QBs, which tends to increase the number of sacks taken significantly due to their propensity for trying to run out of them. Ryan is not the MVP winner he once was; he can not be asked to do most of the work and win games with his arm regularly any more. He was brought to the Colts to be a smart QB supported by a stout line and one of the best backs in the league in Jonathan Taylor. Instead Taylor has missed significant time and he has the lowest average time to throw in the league behind a porous Colts line. Ryan is in the middle of the pack for multiple important metrics, yet is top five in all metrics regarding in court pressure, he rarely if ever sees a clean pocket and a good 3 seconds to throw. In a perfect world the Colts would cut Ryan and the 49ers would sign him. Then Ryan and Shanahan would lead them to a Super Bowl and exercise their 2:32 demons, but despite some evidence to the contrary the NFL is not a movie and we will be unlikely to see a happy ending here.
Daniel Jones (New York Giants)
We've all heard the phrase system quarterback what does that really mean. I have always thought it meant that some QBs are fairly transcendent think Patrick Mahomes, it doesn't matter at least as much what system and plays they are running. Others have clear limitations and are best served by specific systems, in those systems they can excel to a high degree. Jones seems a great example of one of those, more than anyone else on this list even Tua coaching seems to have completely changed his game. Brain Daboll deserves serious credit for this as he has unlocked Jones potential in particular as a runner, where Jones actually is very strong. Jones struggles with touch at times but he has a big arm and a surprisingly good ability to escape the pocket and scramble for positive yards. As long as Jones is not asked to carry a team on his back he is a more than serviceable starter, but also someone you would prefer not to have to make magic in key moments.