Read this article by Jamison Hensley at the AFC North blog today. In it, he discusses who the top five QBs in the AFC North are, and lists Roethlisberger as #1. No beef with that; I’d have Andy Dalton over Joe Flacco, but that’s my list. What really bugged me, though, was his comment:
The two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback is in the argument for being a top-five quarterback in the NFL right now, so he’s obviously the top quarterback in the division.
Really? He’s in the top five? Here are the QBs I’d list over Roethlisberger, in no particular order.
Peyton Manning (if healthy, and I think he will be)
Matt Schaub (if healthy)
Michael Vick (ditto)
Jay Cutler (if upright)
Matt Stafford (if breathing)
Matt Ryan (some years)
That, if you’re scoring at home, is twelve. Before you get on my case about including people with sketchy injury histories, Roethlisberger has been even worse than most of these guys. The numbers Hensley uses — 3,868 yards and 21 touchdowns over three seasons — seems to me to be pretty excessive cherry picking. Last year, Roethlisberger was “in the argument” for top ten, but not top five. Here are the passing numbers for 2011. Here’s 2010 and 2009. In only one of these three seasons is he top five in anything; passer rating in 2009. (Unless you count being sacked a lot.)
Let’s try another approach: let’s see what the average QB does in those three seasons. Ready? Here.
So, according to these metrics, Roethlisberger is slightly above average in yards and slightly below average in TDs. He’s an injury risk, too. What about his Super Bowl wins? In the first he was pretty decent; in the second he was terrible. In his loss, he was okay, except for his 40 pass attempts, most of which came from behind.
I did all of this research in less than ten minutes. It has nothing to do with Roethlisberger being a Steeler, or even a knock on him for being an average QB the last few years. Average QBs are hard to find, as I can attest as a Browns fan. But he’s certainly not top 5. Only a lazy idiot would argue that.