In what came as no surprise, ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski concluded his countdown of the top 30 quarterbacks in the NFL on Tuesday by unveiling Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as his No. 1 choice.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees, New England’s Tom Brady, Denver’s Peyton Manning and the N.Y. Giants’ Eli Manning rounded out Jaworski’s top five. In the NFC North, the next highest-rated QB was Chicago’s Jay Cutler at No. 8. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford came in at No. 14, and Minnesota’s Christian Ponder was No. 28.
“Aaron Rodgers is my No. 1 quarterback,” Jaworski said. “He has all the attributes that I love: accuracy, velocity, movement, toughness. Those attributes lead to elite play and wins. He’s won two out of every three starts and a Super Bowl championship.”
Jaworski noted Rodgers’ third-and-10 throw to Greg Jennings in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV as the perfect example of Rodgers’ “exceptional combination of velocity and accuracy, elite arm strength and pin-point ball location.”
“You know what I love most about that throw? Rodgers’ instinctive willingness to pull the trigger. He made it because he knew he could make it. One critical measure of high-level play is the ability to execute versus the blitz. Rodgers’ rating in 2011 was 136, easily the best in the NFL. He was outstanding beating the man coverage that you primarily see with blitz. Again, a function of his accuracy, or as I’ve said many times, ball location.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, no. 1, quarterbacks, ron jaworski, super bowl
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INDIANAPOLIS–Former Ravens coach Brian Billick entertained the media at the scouting combine on Saturday with a high-energy “sermon” that focused on NFL quarterbacks, Peyton Manning being the most prominent of those discussed.
Billick is a TV commentator and game-day broadcaster these days, and he was offered to the media to help promote NFL Network’s coverage of the weekend’s events. Long considered to be an offensive guru, Billick was asked to give his thoughts on Manning’s future in his comeback from neck-fusion surgery.
“When you bring him in, if it doesn’t work, it’s not Peyton’s fault,” said Billick, who offered Miami as a possible destination for Manning. Billick then discussed the inherit problems associated with bringing Manning into a program.
“Who makes more? At the end of the day, that’s who’s in charge,” Billick said, drawing a laugh. “Joe Montana took his coordinator. He ran what he ran in San Francisco in Kansas City. What happened when Joe Montana left? It set back the progress. I can’t help but believe that wasn’t a detour.”
Billick said teams interested in signing Manning, whose contract with the Colts is expected to be allowed to expire in March, will have to know before the draft whether Manning is physically recovered from his surgery. The quarterback crop in this year’s draft class is headed by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and Billick gushed at the mention of both.
“This is the best throwing athlete I’ve seen in quite a while,” Billick said of Griffin. Billick’s comment includes Michael Vick and Cam Newton. “I’m not going to say the T word,” he joked in a reference to Tim Tebow.
“I think Anderew Luck is the most dynamic quarterback talent to come out since John Elway,” Billick said. The Colts are expected to make Luck the first overall pick of the draft.
“There were questions about Peyton Manning. Has he topped out? What about the arm strength? I think there are fewer questions about Andrew Luck,” Billick said.
Packers quarterback Matt Flynn was also deserving of mention by Billick, who put Flynn in the category of “players with a limited data base. It’s a roll of the dice because you have limited data. Compared to an Andrew Luck or RG III? They have a lot of growth. It’s a risk. Pay your money and take your chances,” Billick said.
Billick answered a wide range of questions. On the Bears: “The best thing that ever happened to the Chicago Bears is Jay Cutler getting hurt. Now the fans know what it’s like without him.”
On one of his memories of the scouting combine from when he was a coach: “It’s late and we’re both tired, so let’s cut to the chase,” he told of what he said during an interview session to a prospect who had a history of brushes with the law. “Are you a thug or are you stupid? He said, ‘Are those my only options?’ He played 10 years in the league and never had a problem.”
On a player producing a positive drug test at the combine: “You’re too stupid to play for me if you test positive at the combine.”
Billick is mentioned prominently for nearly every coaching job that comes open, but he would seem to have moved fully into the entertainment industry.
Tags: andrew luck, brian billick, peyton manning, quarterbacks, robert griffin III
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