Mental vs. Physical Quarterbacks

Bill Simmons has a theory that something like 70% of being an NFL quarterback is all mental. Do you have your head on straight? Do you have the intangibles to be an NFL quarterback? Good. I don't care if you can't throw for more than 15 yards, put on this helmet and go win some games young man!

I jest but I do think there is a lot of truth in this theory. I think in order to be an elite quarterback you not only need to physical skills to, you know, complete passes but also that drive in you to want the ball with four minutes left, you're down by five, to drive the ball downfield and score a touchdown. I think there's a certain "it factor" like guys like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning has that other quarterbacks just don't have.

There are some quarterbacks that do have these intangibles. A certain je nais se qua if you will. But they can't throw the ball. Then there are others who have all the physical skills in the world but will never be elite because they mentally aren't there. Here's my list of some current NFL quarterbacks that fall into these categories.

Mentally Awesome, But Can't Hit The Broad Side Of The Barn

- Mark Sanchez (NYJ)

Mike Lombardi said that if Mark Sanchez, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Aaron Rodgers were all getting in a car, everyone would throw Sanchez the keys and have him drive. He's that type of leader.

That being said, he can't throw worth a damn. Recently, we here at GOI ranked all active quarterbacks we would rather have that Sanchez. Myself and The 'Bright' One named 32 quarterbacks we would rather start for our team than Sanchez. As Nate Ravitz said on Fantasy Focus, he's a quarterback with accuracy issues. Not a good combination.

- Timmy Tebow (DEN)

Sure he may have God on his side along with a college style offense, but what he doesn't have is the talent to throw to his receivers. Denver recently won a game when Tebow only completed two passes. TWO! Throughout Tebow's career he has a 44.8 completion percentage. Even Rex Grossman could complete one pass out of every two.

The other week an acquaintance came up to me and said, "Did you know Tebow does not have a lot of interceptions?" to which I replied, "Well it's hard for any defender to intercept Tebow when he under/over throws his intended receiver on every pass."

But hey, all he does is win.

- Vince Young (PHI)

Tim Tebow, this is your future. Late game comebacks can cause you coast and be the toast of the town for a year or two but soon you'll be a career back up.

That being said, at one point in time I liked and was a big fan of Young's "intangibles". But lack of talent and being prone to turnovers will came back and hunt you. Always.

- Matt Ryan (ATL)


Ryan is well respected in the league and absolutely deserves to be a starting quarterback (which is more than can be said about many names on this list) and he's known for coming up "clutch". He's known for being a great leader and helping his teams win games.

But I've got news for you- he is not a good quarterback. Let's go through Ryan's YPA the past three years.

2011: 13th
2010: 27th
2009: 21st

The vast majority of Ryan's career he has been mediocre at best. People criticize Flacco for not being able to win games and I think Ryan falls right in with in 2008 Draft-mate.

Can Hit The Barn and Hit It Hard, but They Just Don't Want To

- Matt Leinart (HOU)

Like Young, I once touted Matt Leinart (OK, what I really said is Leinart had the potential to be a great quarterback) but Leinart just wants to hold a clipboard.

During the summer, ESPN reported that then free agent Matt Leinart was going to sign with the Seattle Seahawks. Then the Seahawks signed Tarvaris Jackson and Leinart said to himself, nope, Jackson's too good. I need to stay here in Houston.

Leinart even stated that he wanted to be on a team in which he could be the starting quarterback. So he choose the Houston Texans over the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, Matt, that's the real reason. I guess now he gets his chance but he would have started all 10 games for the Seahawks had he chosen to go.

Also, when you're fucking a different chick each night and getting paid at least $400,000 to stand around for three hours once a week I guess it doesn't sound all that bad.

- Jay Cutler (CHI)

Jay Cutler was drafted one pick after Matt Leinart. (Also, I just realized, they both were in the same draft as Vince Young- who also happened to show up on this list. Just a coincidence.) Jay Cutler has amazing arm strength and throws one of the prettiest deep balls I have ever seen. He probably has the physical ability to make every throw. But that doesn't mean you need to attempt to make every throw and squeeze balls where they shouldn't be squeezed (haha Balls. Squeeze. Sorry, continue). Now I have seen a progression from Cutler during his tenure in Chicago and he was playing great during the Bears five game stretch here in 2011, but he's not even close to being mentally there. He has the physical talent to be an Aaron Rodgers but the reason he's in a class by himself underneath a lot of guys is because of his head.

- Tony Romo (DAL)

Tony Romo is known for coming up short in the clutch. I do believe that if he was playing in say Buffalo or Seattle that no one would notice but because he plays for the most popular team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, his mistakes are amplified. But with that being said, he had repeatedly messed up in the 4th quarter and on the very last play of the game over and over again. (Although, I would like like to point out for the record that at least Tony Romo has won more playoffs games than Matt Ryan).

I do not believe there is some inherent mental defect that Romo falter in the clutch and I think his situation is more like Alex Rodriguez in baseball. All Yankee fans complained about A-Rod because he couldn't play well during the playoffs. But then the Yankees won in 2009 and all was forgiven for A-Rod. Once Romo has one good playoff run all will be forgiven.

But for right now, Romo's career puts him on this list.