Welcome back, everyone. It's been about a week, or the approximate amount of time it takes for Rex Ryan to get his morning paper. Coming soon - more fat jokes. In the meantime, let's break down the QB position within the division. As far as who's no. 1, there's no discussion. The questions arise when asking "who's #2" and "which Bills QB most resembles the making of #2" (comp/att/yds/td/INT in parentheses).
Starter: (Uh...For the sake of making it through this article alive, we're gonna go with Trent Edwards)
1: Isn't Levi Brown the guy who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter?
2. What do you call 2 homosexual Bills QBs? Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzryan.
This isn't a QB controversy, it's a joke. Usually when there's a "QB controversy" it involves 2 quarterbacks who are good, fighting for that one starter spot. In this case, we have 4 mediocre quarterbacks fighting to be known as the answer to the upcoming trivia question, "which starting quarterback was sacked the most in one season?" (Like the '72 Dolphins, sometime during week 9 or 10, David Carr will pop open a bottle of champagne and wish his record a safe journey.) There is no QB controversy here, only a bunch of C+/B- QBs trying to win a job behind a D- offensive line in one of the toughest divisions in football.
Brown has good size, Fitzpatrick has done some nice things filling in (Fitz-Patrick fills in - yup, another sex pun) for Bulger and Edwards; Trent, when healthy, safely falls into the category of "acceptable" and Brian Brohm shows some promise. But he was also cut by Green Bay. And none of these guys will be ready for the 10th-grader-on-5th-grader style beatdown that's about to be inflicted on them. Overall a good group if they're fighting for a backup spot, but I'd be concerned if they're your choices to run your team fulltime. Throw in their one actual receiving target and non-existent O line, and this looks like the title of a porn flick: Hard to Swallow 4: Ryan Doesn't Fitzpatrick.
DISCLAIMER: As far as I know Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a homosexual, and I do not intend to imply that he is. I am only making a joke about his name sounding like 2 guys doing homosexual things. No ill will is intended toward anyone other than Bills fans who may have to endure him starting at quarterback. That is all.
Division rank: 4
Chad Henne (274/451/2878/12/14)
Scroll back up to that Buffalo section. Now come back down. Now back up again. Now down again. You see that? Chad Henne was basically twice as good as Trent Edwards last year. Considering Edwards missed more than half the season, can we assume Henne will be equal to Edwards in a full season?
No, no, no, no and no.
First, Henne was a rookie, and Edwards is technically a veteran. (I say technically because vets are supposed to know what they're doing.) Second, Henne put up those numbers while almost being prohibited from developing any sort of rhythm. When you consider how often Miami would switch to the Wildcat just as Henne completed a few passes and got comfortable reading the defense, then yank him out and drop him back in a few plays later, it's pretty damn impressive what he accomplished last year. This isn't bobbing for apples, where occasional breaks allow you to compete better in the long run. This is football, where rhythm isn't only a dancer, it's everything. If Henne can work like that without rhythm, imagine what he can do with more time under center and Brandon Marshall (who, like rhythm, is also a dancer).
(We will go ahead and assume Henne will be under center more, and that the Dolphins have found a better way to use the wildcat without interrupting the flow of the rest of the offense. Why? because unless they convert Pat White to a fulltime RB, he might be the odd man out on that roster. I think they need Pennington's experience, and Thigpen is a better all around QB who has theoretical wildcat potential, which is somewhat similar to Jay Bilas' Tremendous Upside Potential.)
Division rank: 2
Tom Brady: (371/565/4398/28/13)
The Pats finished 3rd in the NFL in passing offense, behind only Indy and Houston. Yeah - better than the Saints, the Chargers and the Packers. It's not that surprising when you consider not only how much they abandoned the run but how much they telegraphed it (anyone who watched them last year could see it: Shotgun=pass, under center=run. That rang true about 98% of the time.)
It's also understandable since they have a top 3 QB and two top 10 wide receivers. With the addition of a vet TE and 2 rookies TEs, Torry Holt and some young receivers, the Pats will once again be a top 5 passing team.
I could also have said:
With the lack of additional help in their running game and since 3 of their RBs are over 30, the Pats will once again be a top 5 passing team.
EIther Jeff Rowe or Zac Robinson will end up on the practice squad and the other will be cut. Brian Hoyer has apparently shown a lot of promise to the decision makers in Foxborough, enough so that he'll once again be Brady's only backup. There are no rosters spots available for a vet.
Brady, Moss. Brady, Moss. Brady, Moss. Get used to it until week 6 when Welker most likely returns. As long as Brady is running things, this will be one of the best passing units in football. And as long as he's married to a supermodel, he'll be the luckiest bastard in football who's wife hasn't made a sex tape from back in the day when she was a playmate (yeah I'm lookin' at you Hank Baskett. Can't even catch a simple onside kick....)
Division rank: 1
Mark Sanchez: (196/364/2444/12/20)
Only 2 teams threw for more yards than New England, and only two teams threw fewer yards than Buffalo. I'll give you a hint - they've both been coached by Eric Mangini. You could easily make the case that the Jets passing game was weak because they ran so much and didn't bring in Braylon Edwards until the middle of the season, and I can just as easily punch you in the face for being a moron.
We'll get to Braylon Edwards in more detail when we cover WRs, but let's just say for now "he's a #2 receiver, slightly better than Chanci Stuckey". You'll agree with me next week. In the meantime, let me explain how the running game/passing game dynamic is supposed to work:
When you run the ball, it opens up the passing attack. When you pass the ball, it opens up the running attack. As I explained with NE, when you telegraph what you're doing before the play starts, you negate the element of surprise. The Jets run just about everything from under center, so they ALWAYS have the element of surprise when it comes to their air attack. They ran so much teams could play entire games without putting a nickel corner in against them. Which means their passing game, while less frequent, should be more efficient. Maybe now isn't the time for me to bash on Mark Sanchez, but maybe it is. I won't call him the most overrated QB in the NFL (not while Matt Schaub is playing) but he's up there. I get that he was a rookie last year, but I also get that nearly 1-2 TD/INT ratio. Henne, another rookie in a system built to run, put up much more efficient numbers and turned the ball over significantly less (all while, you know, the whole yank in yank out wildcat thing). Will he improve this year with Holmes and a full season with Edwards? Most likely. Yes, I'll go with yes. Will he make The Leap to elite QB? Probably not (of course Jets fans already seem to think he's done that.) You can win with Sanchez, I'm just not sure he's ready to lead you to the win. His attempts will probably stay the same and for Jets fans hopefully he'll make better decisions.
Ainge or O'Connell will be cut, the other will end up with clipboard duties. Clemens will backup Sanchez and fill in admirably when needed, meaning everything basically rests on the Sanchise.
Uh, good luck with that one.
Division rank: 3
Some divisional notes:
The Jets completed the fewest passes in the NFL last season (210) Buffalo finished 29th (256), Miami 18th (331), while NE finished with the 4th highest total (390).
Only 3 QBs threw for 20 or more INTs: Sanchez and Matthew Stafford each had 20, while leading the pack with 26 - The Great Jay Cutler.
Henne and Sanchez were each sacked 26 times, while somehow Edwards (23) and Fitzpatrick (21) were each sacked more than Brady (16) even though Edwards only played in 5.5 games, and they were each sacked more than twice as often as Peyton Manning (10).
Other than Brady (96.2 - 9th) no AFC East QB finished in the top 20 in QB rating.
So there. Brady = awesome. Everyone else = less. Next week we'll cover WRs, or in Buffalo's case, "A biography of Lee Evans".