To start, this list will most likely be comprised of more than one Cleveland Browns quarterback. Let’s be real, Cleveland has been a quarterback graveyard for a while now. Quarterback is inarguably the most important position on a football field. Every good team has a good QB to run the show. Without a good quarterback, teams struggle. The Browns are a perfect representation of that.
To be a good quarterback, more than one skill is needed. Yes, the obvious is being able to throw the ball. To a non-football fan, that may seem like the only thing the QB does, but that is far from the case. A good quarterback is also quite intelligent, can read defenses and maybe most importantly, can make split second decisions as he is scanning the field. The quarterback may just be the hardest position in all of sports so it’s hard to blame these guys on this list for being on it. It takes a multi-talented man to be a good quarterback, the bad ones are missing at least one skill of the position. Did I mention that QBs are chased by 300-pound men every play of every game? That is pretty hard to deal with in itself. Next time don’t give the quarterback as tough of a time.
15. Mark Sanchez
Despite quarterbacking the Jets to two straight AFC championship games, Sanchez may be better known for his now infamous butt fumble. A big reason for the butt fumble being so iconic, is that it really symbolizes Mark Sanchez in one play. He was drafted 5th overall by the Jets and boy did that prove to be a mistake. He started off his career with an awful rookie year. He came back as a sophomore and pieced together a bad, but improved season. 2011 was without a doubt his best season as a starter, but he reverted back to his old ways in 2012. In 2012, he threw only 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. That just isn’t a winning formula.
Then he started the next chapter of his career in Philadelphia. He was a backup and played solid when the starters were injured. Now, he is off to Denver where he has seemingly lost the starting job for the defending Super Bowl Champions. If he can’t succeed there, then he can’t succeed anywhere. He will never be given a better shot at winning a Super Bowl.
14. Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his career. If I could describe his career it would be best to just say it has been a rollercoaster. For a few seasons he was good, and then for most others, well he wasn’t. At his best he threw 25 TDs and only 6 INTs but at his worst he threw 16 TDs and 22 interceptions. It seems like his biggest problem was inconsistency. It’s hard to sign a guy like him to a long-term deal when you never know what you’re going to get.
It’s too bad because Freeman had the size and skill to play in the NFL. His days as a starter are long gone and now he just has to prove that he can still provide value as a backup to a franchise. Hopefully his head is now in the right place.
13. Nick Foles
Nick Foles had some incredible moments while he was on the Eagles. He had one of the greatest games any quarterback has ever had. He threw for 7 touchdowns in a single game. In the 2013 season, Foles threw 27 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Unfortunately for him, the 2014 season, and the transition to the Rams didn’t go as smoothly as 2013. The Rams were so unhappy with his performance that they decided to bench him in the middle of the season and proceeded to release him in the offseason.
Foles is now signed with the Chiefs as a backup. If Alex Smith goes down he will have to prove that he has improved if he ever wants to get a shot at a starting job. The good news for Foles is he’s in familiar territory, as Andy Reid is now his head coach, the same coach that Foles first had back in Philly.
12. Blaine Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert’s rookie season was as rough as they come. It’s surprising that he actually got to play 15 games that season and wasn’t benched. He only connected on 50.8% of his passes which is pitiful, threw 12 TDs and 11 INTs, and a whopping 20.22 QBR. Blaine is currently in the QB competition against Colin Kaepernick who has nosedived over the past few years after his Super Bowl appearance. Chip Kelly and the rest of the 49ers staff will have to make a decision on the starter soon, but it’s looking like Gabbert will get the job. He wasn’t bad last season when Kaepernick got benched, but Kelly brings a new scheme and offense, and who knows who Kelly thinks will better fit the system? Will he choose Kaep for his running ability, or Gabbert who is better in the pocket?
In any event, things don’t look too promising under center for the 49ers. It’s very unlikely you’ll see either Gabbert or Kaepernick start all 16 games this season.
11. Brandon Weeden
Brandon Weeden’s rookie campaign didn’t go quite as planned. Playing for the Browns, the team’s record was 5-10. On top of the team’s lack of success, Weeden found the opposing team’s hands more than the endzone. Finishing the season with 14 TDs and 17 INTs, the Browns clearly didn’t find the man they were looking for. Weeden seemed to be NFL ready with all of the skills needed to be a starting quarterback coming out of Oklahoma State, but he wasn’t ready and the pick backfired. Using the 22nd overall pick in the draft on Weeden proved to be a big mistake. The Browns still can’t find their man. Their next go around will be with RG3. But he probably won’t be much help.
Weeden’s days as a starter are pretty much over, and now he just has to focus on hanging on to the backup job in Houston behind Brock Osweiler.
10. Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell has been out of the league for over a season now and rightfully so. Campbell was never anything more than a subpar starter in the NFL. His last season as a starter was 2010, but he stayed around in the league until the 2014 season. He suffered a season ending injury early in 2010, when he was arguably on his way to a career season in Oakland.
In 2010 he was only able to throw an underwhelming 13 TDs. Campbell made his way around the league in his day, playing for five NFL teams in his nine-year career, but he never could find the place he could call home. Maybe if he could have completed closer to 65% of his passes instead of 60% he would have stayed as a starter for longer. Campbell proved to not be worthy of a first-round pick by Washington. I’m sure they wish they could have that one back.
9. Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin had an amazing rookie year. He was dynamic as a passer and runner, and the defenses just had no answers for him. His second year however, he came back down to earth and started playing like rookie even though he was in his second season. Then, he injured his knee. That was really the turning point in his career. The injuries started to mount and he became less and less effective on the field. RGIII turned into such a disaster that he lost his starting job to Kirk Cousins. Griffin went from phenom to bust in just one season. You’d think if anything he would have a rough rookie season but then adjust to the speed of the NFL in his second season, but it was the opposite. You never want to see your QB going backwards in his progression, especially if they aren’t declining because of age.
8. Josh McCown
Though Mccown has had a long career, it’s hard to understand why. He has a career stat line of 73 touchdowns and 63 interceptions which is subpar, and his career record is 18-39. It’s hard to understand why McCown has been given countless opportunities when most players of his caliber are out of the league in a heartbeat. But 2014 was most likely McCown’s worst season. He started 11 of the games that season and managed to throw 14 interceptions. McCown isn’t anything special at all, but he is still making his way throughout the league. He is a journeyman, playing for seven different teams, sometimes as a starter and sometimes as a backup. I guess teams just like his experience at this point in his career, even if most of that experience is throwing picks.
7. E.J. Manuel
For the purpose of this list, 2013 is the year I would like to focus on because it was the only year where Manuel started. In his failed attempt at being a starting QB he threw only 11 TD’s in 10 games which is bad but even worse when coupled with 9 interceptions. A 58% completion percentage is nothing to praise either. The Bills and the rest of the NFL realized that he wouldn’t be the guy. The Bills reached by taking Manuel with the 16th pick and they have not been rewarded. Now however, they have found Tyrod Taylor who seems to have the arm, intangibles, and athleticism to be great. Last season he was very impressive and put the league on notice. Manuel took the back seat and played a limited role.
This year he will likely stay as the 2nd stringer for the Bills and I’d bet that Buffalo is praying that Tyrod stays healthy.
6. Brian Hoyer
Hoyer actually had a solid 2015 campaign, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the league’s worst in 2014. In 2014 he threw 12 TDs and 13 INTs which is unacceptable. Any ratio less than 1.00 is craziness. a solid TD to INT ratio is around 2:1. Somehow the Texans decided to give him a chance and it actually paid off. He started only nine games, but he played well. Maybe it was just the Browns organization that made him so bad 2014 or maybe the added talent he had in DeAndre Hopkins made him better in 2015.
Either way, the Texans seemed to be a much better fit for him. Unfortunately for Hoyer, the Texans went out and signed another QB this offseason, Brock Osweiler, who was Peyton’s backup in Denver. Perhaps part of that reasoning was due to the horrid playoff game Hoyer had this January when he went 15-of-34 for 136 yards and four interceptions. As a result, the Texans were embarrassed 30-0 by the Chiefs.
5. Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor was always a great athlete but just didn’t have the skills necessary to be a QB in the NFL. Once it was clear that he couldn’t play QB at this high of a level, he decided if he wanted to stay in the league he was going to have to make a huge transition. A position change from quarterback to wide receiver was the only thing that would tempt teams to sign him. With his 6’6″ frame, he certainly was tantalizing. The Browns decided to give him a shot last season. He didn’t play much, but this year will be his second season with the team and with a new QB, he will get another shot.
He has all of the tools necessary to be a good WR in the league he is just a bit too raw. He needs to get comfortable as a WR before he can become successful.
4. Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy started eight games in his rookie season and started 13 in his second season. That was the extent of his time as a starter in the NFL. McCoy starter his career in Cleveland which may have ended his career before it even started, but either way, he was great in college, but just couldn’t translate his play into the NFL. In 2011, he had his best season of his career so far. Something tells me he won’t be having a better season any time soon. In 2011, he threw 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, which isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, but it is very good by his standards.
After Cleveland, he spent a season in San Francisco, and then was on the move again next offseason and went to Washington. He has been a backup since 2011, and that won’t be changing this season that’s for sure. Washington seems locked in on Kirk Cousins.
3. Christian Ponder
Christian Ponder spent four years playing in the league and was a starter for three of them. Of all his seasons, 2012 was a banner season for Ponder. He threw 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. It was an improvement from his rookie season when he only threw 13 TDs all season, but he was still throwing too many INTs.
The time Ponder spent in the league is a true testament to his lack of skill. It’s hard to last in the NFL but 4 seasons for a QB drafted 12th overall is embarrassing. All four of his seasons were with the Vikings, but they decided to move on from him and drafted Teddy Bridgewater who has already proven to be better than Ponder. I really like Bridgewater’s potential. The Vikings made a smart move in 2014. Ponder is still bouncing around the league but hasn’t played since 2014. He is currently trying to make the 49ers roster.
2. Chad Henne
Chad Henne never had success to any extent at the NFL level. He had to play with the Dolphins and the Jaguars, neither team an easy place for a QB to thrive. In Jacksonville, the Jaguars were the joke of the league at the time and he had a lot to do with it. Albeit, he had a limited number of weapons, but he still didn’t make due with what he was given. Henne has a career record of 18-35 and that alone shows the success, or lack thereof, that he had in the NFL. Not one time in his career did he throw more touchdowns than interceptions when he played at least 4 games.
Once the league noticed he had nothing to give to an NFL team, he was forced to hang it up. His last season as a starter was 2014, as the Jags have since moved on to Blake Bortles as their starter.
1. Geno Smith
Jets fans had high expectations for Geno after being selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. At West Virginia he put his skills on display and seemed like he would be able to translate to the NFL. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. In Geno’s rookie season, where the Jets somehow found a way to finish the season at 8-8 despite terrible QB play, he threw 12 TDs and 21 INTs. To top it off, he completed only 55% of his passes. It’s easy to chalk it up as an adjustment year but Smith followed up his rookie year with a 3-10 season. At least he only threw 13 interceptions. Currently, Geno is either 2nd or 3rd string for the Jets and they have drafted a QB in rounds 1 or 2 in both of the past two drafts, namely Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Geno may not have a job much longer.
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