Pro Bowl Selections
The NFL has announced the Pro Bowl participants for 2007. The AFC quarterbacks will be Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Carson Palmer. The NFC will be represented by Drew Brees, Tony Romo, and Marc Bulger. Each of these players currently ranks in the top ten in the NFL’s quarterback rating rankings. And each ranks in the top ten in QB Score per play. So it’s hard to quibble with these choices.
The top ten quarterbacks not going to Hawaii include Donovan McNabb, Damon Huard, Mark Brunell, and Steve McNair. McNabb is hurt. Huard and Brunell have lost their starting job on their respective teams. And McNair is ranked below the other players chosen.
In 2005 it was a slightly different story. Jake Plummer was the fourth best quarterback in the NFL last year but he did not make the trip to Hawaii. Michael Vick only had a QB Score per play of 0.66 last season and was named to the team. Interestingly, Vick has improved dramatically this year (but is still ranked slightly below the other NFC signal callers chosen). Plummer has played much worse this year and is now pondering his future in the NFL. Maybe the choice made in 2005 was based on what people thought each quarterback would do in 2006.
In week fifteen we saw three different teams give significant playing time to two different quarterbacks. The Vikings went from Brad Johnson to Tarvaris Jackson and were rewarded with an increase in production from the quarterback position. The Dolphins went from Joey Harrington to Cleo Lemon and were similarly rewarded. The Raiders, though, switched from Aaron Brooks to Andrew Walter and got nothing for their troubles. For the season Brooks has posted a QB Score per play of -0.79. Of quarterbacks who have attempted at least 100 passes, only Chris Simms and Walter have posted a lower mark.
Simms is a teammate of Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski has a QB Score play in the negative range as well. The two pirate teams – the Buccaneers and Raiders – have each given significant playing time to two signal callers. Regardless of who lines up behind center, though, each team has basically received little production from the quarterback position.
This could mean that all of these quarterbacks lack talent. Or the supporting cast for each team is quite bad. Or the coaching is not very good. Or none of these players – in the words of Jerry Seinfeld — want to be a pirate.
Okay, not sure what it means. Chances are, though, that both the Buccaneers and Raiders will make some changes to their respective offenses before the 2007 season commences.
Each team should note that the Lions did make substantial changes to their offense last summer. The team switched quarterbacks and offensive philosophies. The results, though, have been basically the same. Maybe, after all, it is the clothes that make the men. After more than forty years of futility in Detroit, the Lions are running out of things to change (unless the issue is just the ownership of the team).