They say that offense wins games but defense wins championships. Um, I call BS. The last ten Super Bowl winning quarterbacks were Tom Brady, Manning (both of them), Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger. There are at least six HOFer on that list! While the defenses on these teams were great, in the NFL, it is the quarterback position that makes or breaks a team.
On the flip side of these championship winning quarterbacks, each team has their fair share of QB flops. Whether it is JaMarcus Russell doing pretty much nothing after being selected first overall, or a one-time starter that couldn't figure out the offense. Omaha! Omaha! Spider 2 Y Banana, ready, break! It's time for every team's worst NFL quarterback of the last decade. Some teams have been blessed with amazing QB play, while others made it hard for us to decide: looking at you, Cleveland.
We should point out that we're not just going to grab any old third stringer that barely made if off the practice roster. That'd be too easy. To qualify for this list, each quarterback bust had to have started one game... That way we could see how bad they really were!
32 Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Lindley
Before grabbing Carson Palmer, the Cardinals went through a slough of low-grade quarterbacks. In 2012, after starter John Skelton played horribly, Ryan Lindley replaced him. For the rest of the 2012 season, Lindley had a whopping 46.7% completion percentage and threw zero touchdowns and seven interceptions! Lindley was released for the first time from Arizona in 2014.
He re-signed with Arizona in November of 2014 and replaced Carson Palmer when both Palmer and Stanton went down with injury. Finally, after 228 pass attempts, Lindley threw his first NFL touchdown on December 28, 2014. He finished the season with a 44.3 passer rating and the Cardinals lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Carolina Panthers. Lindley had every opportunity to succeed, but really dropped the ball (and threw it to the other team).
31 Atlanta Falcons - Chris Redman
Okay, so Redman actually did a pretty good job as a backup in his tenure with Atlanta. But, if you eliminate the crazy 2007 season (Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Redman all made starts), Redman is the only other quarterback besides Matt Ryan to start a game for the Falcons in the last decade.
Redman played for the first time since 2007, in Week 12 of 2009, when Ryan went down with an injury. He went for a respectable 23-41 for 243 yards and 2 TDs, leading Atlanta to a comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even though Redman looked decent in his next two starts, the Falcons lost both games, and were subsequently eliminated from playoff contention. Again, he wasn't horrible, but just wasn't good enough to keep the Falcons going deep into January. Sorry, Chris!
30 Baltimore Ravens - Jimmy Clausen
Clausen was supposed to be the next big thing when he was coming out for the NFL draft in 2010. But boy, the "experts", AKA Mel Kiper, were wrong. After bouncing around to a bunch of teams, Clausen landed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2015.
After the starter, Joe Flacco, and the backup, Matt Schaub, went down, Clausen got to start on December 13, 2015, against the Seattle Seahawks. He ended up going 23-40 for 243 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT, in a 35-6 loss. The following week, the Ravens got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs, in a game where Clausen threw 2 TDs and 2 Int. Due to his poor play, Clausen was replaced by fourth-stringer Ryan Mallett, who went on to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers the following week. Poor Jimmy.
29 Buffalo Bills - E.J. Manuel
He was supposed to be the next star in Western New York, but E.J. Manuel fell far from grace fast. The ex-Florida State Seminole quarterback was selected sixteenth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. After being named the starter in 2013, Manuel had an up and down season, but suffered a knee injury against the Browns, setting his progress back.
Then coach, Doug Marrone, gave his vote of confidence to Manuel to remain the starter for the 2014 season. After going 2-2 in his first four games, the Bills opted to start veteran QB, Kyle Orton, over Manuel, who went on to bring Buffalo to their first winning season in a decade. In 2015 and 2016, E.J. only got a total of three starts, falling to the second-string, behind Tyrod Taylor. A once promising career which never took off, Manuel is currently vying for a roster spot in Oakland.
28 Carolina Panthers - Jimmy Clausen
Wait, didn't we already talk about this guy? Yes, but he was the worst QB on multiple teams and his less than mediocre career started out in Carolina. After being hyped up, the Notre Dame quarterback fell flat in Charlotte. In 2010, the Panthers drafted Clausen in the second round (48th pick) of the NFL draft. After the starter, Matt Moore, had a concussion in week 1, Clausen got his first taste of the NFL regular season. After poor play by Moore in week 2, Clausen finally made his first NFL start in week 3 against the Bengals. In week 5, Clausen was benched for poor performance, finishing with a 47% completion percentage, 1 TD, 3 INTs and 7 fumbles. Clausen never really got a chance to shine anymore with the Panthers since they drafted Cam Newton first overall in 2011.
27 Chicago Bears - Jimmy Clausen
Yes! Why do I hate Jimmy Clausen? I really have no clue but he fits this list perfectly! Sure, we could have went with Caleb Hanie (who had 3 TDs and 10 INTS with the Bears), but that wouldn't have been fun. Clausen signed with Chicago in 2014. After replacing Jay Cutler in December of 2014, Clausen put up his typical mediocre numbers: 26-48 for 181 yars, 2 TDs, and 1 INT in a 20-14 loss to the Detroit Lions. Lions DE "Ziggy" Ansah had a nasty helmet-to-helmet collision with Clausen, in which he was penalized and later fined. The Bears' quarterback was diagnosed with a concussion. Clausen got one start in the following 2015 NFL season, but was released by Chicago in November of 2015.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Ryan Fitzpatrick
In the last decade, the Cincinnati Bengals have only had four starting quarterbacks: Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron, Carson Palmer, and the worst of them all, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even though he scored ridiculously high on the Wonderlic, his intelligence couldn't help him in Southwest Ohio. During his tenure with the Bengals, the ex-Harvard quarterback started 12 games in the 2008 season. While he did have some decent performances, and was the third leading rusher among quarterbacks, the Bengals finished with a 4-11-1 record and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. Now, we really cannot blame Fitzpatrick for the Bengals woes, he came in and did the best he could. But damn, I feel bad for Cincy fans, they have been dealing with mediocrity for the past decade.
25 Cleveland Browns - Brady Quinn
Okay, so picking a bad Cleveland Browns quarterback is like trying to... pick a bad Cleveland Browns quarterback. There is no other analogy that really makes that point. So let me clear my throat and get to all the Cleveland quarterbacks in the last decade: Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Bruce Gradkowski, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Thad Lewis, Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Austin Davis, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, and Robert Griffin III. Geez, that took forever!
But our pick is Brady Quinn. Why? Eh, because it' Brady Quinn. Most people would say Johnny Manziel but he had some potential outside his party-boy ways. Go ahead, just throw a dart at your laptop screen, and you'll get a bad Cleveland Browns quarterback.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Brandon Weeden
I would love to say Tony Romo in this category, but I will give him some credit. But come on, the Cowboys only had two playoffs wins under Romo. Everyone was trying to crown him the king of Dallas, but he really didn't do that much in the postseason. Despite Romo's lack of success in January, Brandon Weeden makes our list as the Cowboy's worst quarterback of the last decade.
He had a total of four starts over two seasons (2014-15) and had a total of four losses. In his 2015 season, Weeden put up decent numbers, totaling 666 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT, with a completion percentage of 71%. Dallas decided to then bench him for Matt Cassell, and then they dropped Weeden in November to make room for a healthy Romo.
23 Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow
Despite a few mediocre quarterbacks over the past decade, Tebow definitely tops our list of worst Denver quarterback in the last decade. In 2011, after then starter Kyle Orton got off to a 1-3 start, Tebow took over the Broncos. Despite his lackluster statistics, Tebow was a winner, and he actually led the Broncos to the playoffs. In the first round, the Bronocos beat the Steelers, in probably what is remembered as Tebow's most famous pass of his career. Tebow got absolutely smacked in the next round of the playoffs by Brady and the Patriots, losing 45-10.
After the season, Denver signed free gent Peyton Manning, and Tebow was no more. He finished the season with the lowest completion percentage of any quarterback in the NFL, and Elway just said enough was enough.
22 Detroit Lions - Dan Orlovsky
The defeated season! In 2008, the Detroit Lions went 0-16 under three separate quarterbacks: Dan Orlovsky, Daunte Culpepper, and John Kitna. But who will we choose for the worst on the Lions in the last decade? The QB who started the most games (7), Dan Orlovsky.
In his first career start on October 12, 2008, Orlovsky led the Lions to one of their sixteen losses of the season against the Vikings with a final score of 12-10. The problem was that the margin of defeat was a safety that Orlovsky caused, running out of his endzone. In the post-game press conference, he said "When they started blowing the whistle, I was like, 'Did we false start, or were they offsides or something?'"And I looked, and I was just like, 'You're an idiot.'" What a sad time to be Detroit fan!
21 Green Bay Packers - Seneca Wallace
I'm sure as hell not putting Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers on here, so we have three more choices: Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien, and Seneca Wallace. Even though Flynn's career never took off, he got a nice contract with Seattle. Tolzien is currently a backup in Indianapolis. So, we have no other choice but to choose Seneca Wallace as the Packer's worst starting quarterback of the last decade.
For those who really know their Packers, it's a little unfair to Wallace to place him on this list. After replacing Rodgers, who had a shoulder injury in one game, Wallace started the next game and tore his groin to end his season on the opening drive! The guy never really had a shot, but the Packers have been so solid at quarterback for the last 25 years, let alone 10, so we had to choose one.
20 Houston Texans - Brock Osweiler
Brock "Ostrich"weiler. This guy had all the measurables down and signed a big free agent contract with the Texans in 2016. He played decent in Denver, but the supposed "quarterback whisperer," Bill O'Brien, saw some potential in him. Boy, was he wrong! Osweiler was a complete dud! A fluke! It was like he couldn't hit the broad sign of a barn from 10 feet away.
Osweiler did lead the Texans to the playoffs, but that was honestly mostly the defense and the run game. He finished the year with a 72.2 passer rating, unacceptable for someone who was signed for franchise quarterback money. In the off-eason, the Browns traded for Osweiler, mostly as a salary dump to fill cap space, and the "Ostrich" no longer plagued Houston.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Curtis Painter
While we could rag on Dan Orlovsky again, this is not another Jimmy Clausen situation. In between Manning and Luck, we have our Colts quarterback dud, Curtis Painter. In his first relief debut after Kerry Collins got hurt, Painter went 5 for 10 for 60 yards and a fumble. For some reason (probably to get a higher draft pick), the Colts started Painter for eight more games.
Despite posting several 200-yard games, and throwing five touchdowns, Painter never won a single game. That's right he went 0-8. Finally, in December of 2011, Painter was replaced by third-string quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Indianapolis finished with a 2-14 record, and released Painter in 2012. Luckily, they got Luck in the 2012 draft and their quarterback situation is on the rise.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Blaine Gabbert
Gabbert, along with his luscious flow of hair, was supposed to be Jacksonville's savior. The quarterback out of Missouri was drafted 10th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Gabbert ended up starting 14 games, leading the Jaguars to a 5-11 season. But his numbers absolutely sucked. He was sacked 40 times, fumbled 14 times, had only a 65.4 passer rating, and completed only 5.4 yards per pass attempt. Sadly, experts believed Gabbert to be the victim of circumstance, and still rated his potential high for the following year.
In his sophomore campaign, Gabbert had his ups an downs, starting ten games, but tore his labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, and never shined again. In 2013, he started only three games, and was traded in March of 2014 to the San Francisco 49ers. He recently signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals, but is clearly the Jags' worst quarterback of the last decade.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Brodie Croyle
Croyle's story is a mixture of misfortune and injury. In 2007, after then starting QB, Trent Green, demanded a trade, Croyle was giving the opportunity to succeed as the Chiefs starter. But due to poor play in the preseason, the QB competition went to Damon Huard. After injuries to both quarterbacks, the starting job flipped and flopped throughout the season, where Croyle got six starts, and registered six losses. Scouts were still unsure of Croyle's potential because there was a lack of pass protection and run game on the Chief's offense.
So, in 2008, Croyle got the starting job back, only to blow it again. Well actually, he had a hand, neck, and head injury throughout the 2008 season. Then Kansas City signed Brady's backup, Matt Cassell, and Croyle was out of a job. Just as his career started, Croyle's career pretty much ended, and he played the role as a backup until 2012.
16 Los Angeles Chargers - Philip Rivers
Before you grab your torches and pitchforks, Philip Rivers is the best, the worst, and the only quarterback to start for the Chargers in the last decade. Personally, I think Phillip Rivers does not get the respect he deserves. Every year, he has a horrible defense, and his receivers get hurt more often than not. But in 2017, despite a tough AFC West, the Chargers have great outlook.
Melvin Gordon came into his sophomore campaign in 2016 like a bat outta hell, and LA's running game is poised to be within the top 10 in the league this year. Even though Rivers is getting older, their receivers, Allen, Williams, Benjamin, and Inman, are some of the best in the league. Plus they have a duel threat at tight end with Gates an Henry! Their offense will be high powered and fun to watch in the coming season.
15 Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff
I couldn't help but put Goff on this list. His trend seems to be the same as Blaine Gabbert. Not great numbers, not a great record, but people blaming other factors, such as the offensive line, on his low production. I'm going to tell you right now. Goff stinks! The Rams messed up big time taking him with the first overall pick.
During his rookie season, Goff made seven starts, and recorded seven losses. He completed 112 passes on 205 attempts for 1,089 yards and five touchdowns with seven interceptions. I think the "experts" need to be real with themselves and condemn Goff. Head coach Sean McVay needs to take all his chips OFF Goff this season, or else he will be looking for a new job in a few years.
14 Miami Dolphins - Tyler Thigpen
It seems like the Dolphins can never get their quarterback situation just quite right. Ever since Marino, mediocrity has been the level in South Florida. So to choose just one is tough, but we will go with a scapegoat, the guy who only started one game in 2010, Tyler Thigpen. Week 11 against the Chicago Bears to be exact. While he had opportunities in garbage time of games previously to show his worth, he really never did much. In the game vs. the Bears, Thigpen did not score. Not even a single point. The Dolphins were shut out by a staunch Bears defensive, and a mediocre quarterback at the helm didn't help. Thigpen was replaced again by Chad Henne the next week. He never got a chance to start with Miami again!
13 Minnesota Vikings - Christian Ponder
Just like every other "promising" quarterback who is supposed to have a breakout sophomore year, it never happens! We hear the same story every year; he didn't have the support, or it's just a learning curve. I know Peyton has a bad rookie year but come on, we need to stop making that excuse! Anyway, Ponder was drafted 12th overall in 2011, and had a decent rookie year, starting 10 games, throwing 13 TDs, 13 INTs and earning a 2-8 record.
2012 came along, and Ponder was now the full-time starter. He actually did a great job, leading the Vikings to a wildcard berth, albeit behind a bionic Adrian Peterson. But, his 2012 season fell short when he wasn't able to play in the playoffs due to bruised triceps. The Vikings lost with inexperienced QB Joe Webb at the helm. onder didn't do much after that, and the Vikings replaced him Teddy Bridgewater.
12 New England Patriots - Jacoby Brissett
It has to be Brissett. It was either him or Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jimmy was technically 2-0 as a starter for the Patriots, while Brissett was 1-1. Since the Deflategate controversy suspended Brady for four games, and Garoppolo went out in Week 2, Brissett made his first start in Week 3 against the Houston Texans. He led the Patriots to an amazing victory, 27-0, but in hindsight, the Texans QB Brock Osweiler was pretty bad (see the Texans entry). He hurt his thumb in the victory, but proceeded to start the next game, and was shutout by the Bills, 16-0. It has to be the only time in NFL history that a quarterback's only two starts were a win and loss, both a shutout. Either way, it's unfair to judge Brissett, but we didn't really have another choice.
11 New Orlean Saints - Luke McCown
Who dat?! Drew Brees! Brees has been starting for the Saints since 2006, and there were only two other quarterbacks to make one start for New Orleans: Mark Brunell and Luke McCown. Brunell is pretty much a legend, so career backup McCown makes our list. After Brees went down in September of 2015 with a bruised rotator cuff, McCown beat out rookie Garrett Grayson. McCown went for 310 yards but threw an interception to Josh Norman while trying to hit receiver Brandin Cooks in the final minutes, and the Saints lost 27-22. Brees started the next week and continues his hall of fame career. The high flying Saints will light up the Super Dome in New Orleans in 2017, hoping to grab another Super Bowl championship.
10 New York Giants - Eli Manning
Nope, I'm not trying to fool you. Eli Manning has started every game for the Giants in the last decade. Even if there was another backup, I would still put Eli on this list! You know why? Sheer jealousy. How does a guy with a beach body like this and the face of someone with an extra chromosome, win two Super Bowls? I don't know what it is. Manning plays slightly above average all season, and then all of the sudden, Dr. Frankenstein turns on a switch and he goes into MVP mode in the postseason. Every damn time. He has always had a good offensive line and receiving corps, but something about Manning just drives him to win. Maybe he has that younger brother mentality where he always has to be better than his older brother. Either way, Manning is a HOFer, and his brother Eli might make it their too!
9 New York Jets - Geno Smith
You have to be really annoying, and so-so on the gridiron, to get sucker punched in the locker room. But again, it's Geno Smith. Geno never was going to do well in the NFL anyway, he got drafted by the Jets! Despite having errant accuracy, Smith actually DID have a promising rookie season, throwing for 3,046 yards, 12 TDs, but 21 interceptions. The following year, Smith decreased his interception total to 13, but only threw 13 touchdowns. In 2015, Smith got to watch his backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, while he was recovering from a fractured jaw (just look up the sucker punch above). In the 2016 season, after Fitzpatrick gave up, Smith started in Week 7, but left with an ACL injury. A sad end, but Smith never really got a chance to thrive.
8 Oakland Raiders - JaMarcus Russell
Russell has to be one the biggest Draft busts in recent NFL History. Oakland thought they had it made and drafted the ex-LSU Tiger with the first overall pick in 2007. The first sign that Russell was going to be issue was his contract hold out before he even took a snap in training camp. The contract holdout even lasted into the first week of the season. Eventually, he signed for $61 million, $32 million of that guaranteed.
Overall, in 25 starts for the Oakland Raiders, Russell only had a 7-18 record with the Raiders and left a bad taste in the Bay Area. He was benched in 2009 and released by Oakland in 2010. Russell attempted comebacks in 2013 and 2016, even writing a letter to every NFL team saying he would play for free. ESPN's Bill Williamson summed it up best, calling Russell "talented but extremely disappointing."
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Vince Young
Young started a promising career with the Titans, but fell under financial and emotional problems. After his four years with the Titans, Young signed with the Eagles in 2011. He even declared that year's Eagles the "Dream Team," which became criticized among most experts. Young finally got his first start in November of the 2011 season, leading the Eagles to a win against the Giants. But after two weeks of disappointing performances, Young was benched, and that would have been his final regular season game. During his time with the Eagles, "InVINCEable" threw for 866 yards, 4 TDs and 9 INT. Disappointing numbers for someone who once had such high promise. Young filed for bankruptcy in 2014, putting the icing on the cake for an NFL bust.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - Dennis Dixon
We all know Roethlisberger has been the Steelers main quarterback for the past decade. So, the real question is, who has been Roethlisberger's worst backup when he was injured. Our choices are Landry Jones, Michael Vick, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, and Dennis Dixon. While I was originally leaning toward the newcomer, Landry Jones, we have to choose Dennis Dixon. Why? I don't know, just because he deserves to be mentioned. Dixon went 1-0, starting the season opener for the Steelers in 2009 when Byron Leftwich went down in the preseason finale. He tore his meniscus the following week against the Tennessee Titans and didn't start for the Steelers again. Okay, so this segment was a cop out. The Steelers have had some decent quarterbacks the last decade. But we have to cover all the teams, so Dennis Dixon, we apologize.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Troy Smith
I always forget that the ex-Buckeye won the Heisman Trophy in 2006. Now, Troy Smith did go 3-2 with San Francisco in 2011. He passed for 1,176 yards, 5 TDs, and 4 INTS. Decent numbers for a quarterback who never did too much in the NFL outside of the Bay Area. So why is he on our list. Let's take a look at the other options. Last year, even though Gabbert did not play well, we already ragged on him. Kaepernick led them to a Super Bowl, Alex Smith had glimpses of greatness with the 49ers, and the only other two options are Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan. And honestly, I'd rather focus on Troy Smith. It just goes to show that being an amazing college quarterback does not translate to NFL success.
4 Seattle Seahawks - Tarvaris Jackson
After the incumbent QB, Matt Hasselbeck, left to go to the Tennessee Titans, Tarvaris Jackson was put in control in Seattle. The Seahawks ended up with a 7-9 record, but that was mainly because their running back, Marshawn Lynch, was an absolute beast, and they had one of the best defenses in the league. Even though this was Jackson's best year of his career, it was below average compared with the rest of the league. He threw for 3,091 yards, 14 TDs, and 13 INTs. In the offseason, the Seahawks went after the Packers backup, Matt Flynn, who was subsequently beat out by recently acquired draft pick, Russell Wilson. Jackson was out of a job, but came back to Seattle as a backup in 2013 to finish off his career. Again, not a horrible quarterback, but compared with Hasselbeck and Wilson, he wasn't the best.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Glennon
It was a toss up between between Glennon and Josh Freeman, but Glennon edged him out, I guess not in a good way. During his time with the Buccaneers, Glennon's stats held up, but he lacked poise in the fourth quarter and couldn't help the team win.
In 2013, after starting 0-3, Tampa Bay sat Josh Freeman for then rookie, Mike Glennon. Glennon proceeded to put up good numbers his rookie year (19 TDs - 9 INTs) but only came out with a 4-9 record. The following year, the Bucs brought in Josh McCown to start, who was replaced by Glennon late in the season. In 2014, Glennon was only 1-4 in the games he started and Tampa Bay ended up with a 2-14 record. As we have all seen, Glennon is now with Chicago, hoping to make a splash under John Fox, but it seems like he already has some competition behind him in rookie Mitchell Trubisky.
2 Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker
Locker had a bunch of potential but it always seemed like his head was never in it. He was selected 9th overall in the 2011 draft, but didn't see a full-time starting position until the 2012 season. But, his time was cut short when he tore a muscle in his non-throwing shoulder, putting Hasselbeck back in the starting spot. In 2013, Locker started a few games, played average, but suffered a Lisfranc Injury to his foot, which ended his season. After that, the Titans went through a few quarterbacks, and Locker, seeing that he wasn't getting the playing time he deserved, retired from the NFL in 2014, citing his lack of desire for the game. He showed glimpses of greatness in his short career, but ultimately fell short and is the Titans' worst quarterback of the last decade.
1 Washington Redskins - Rex Grossman
How the hell did this guy make it to the Super Bowl with the Bears in 2006? Seriously? He directly came out and stated that he wasn't prepared to play and called the game of football "meaningless." Come on, man! Ok, so it is meaningless, but it's still fun to watch.
In 2011, Grossman started 11 games for the Redskins. Even though he started off leading Washington to a 3-1 record in the beginning of the season, he was benched in Week 5 after throwing four interceptions, in favor of backup, John Beck. Grossman regained the starter position in Week 10, but the Redskins season was already a failure at that point. They finished 5-11, and Grossman never started again, yet he remained with the Redskins to advise rookie quarterbacks, RGIII and Cousins.