Last week, former NFL quarterback and current Bleacher Report and CBS analyst Chris Simms caused quite a stir when he stated that Tom Brady is no longer a top-five quarterback. Since then, Brady's Patriots won big yet again, so Felger & Massarotti welcomed Simms on Thursday's program to give him a chance to see if he's changed his mind.
The short answer: Nope.
"Aaron Rodgers is one, Andrew Luck would be two, number three would be Ben Roethlisberger, four I'd probably go Russell Wilson right now, even though that's being challenged by a few guys for sure, and then five I'd give it to Peyton Manning," said Simms when asked to name his current top five quarterbacks in the NFL.
The ranking begs the question: Why is Tom Brady left on the outside of the top five?
"Just for the plain and simple fact that they're more talented than he is at this point of his career," said Simms, who actually served as a quality control coach for the Patriots for about 16 months and got to see firsthand how Brady works. "Don't get me wrong: Tom Brady's one of the three greatest quarterbacks all time, hands down, so I think a whole lot of him. He's still really good, he certainly can take the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl. But for me to say this in year 15 or 16 for Tom, I think that's unrealistic for people to think that he's still a top-five quarterback. He does a lot of good things, there's no doubt about it. He still has a strong arm, but if you really study Tom Brady, the last few years he's been one of the worst down-the-field throwers of the football the league has to offer."
Simms said that the idea that Brady in 2014 is still one of the very best quarterbacks in the league is essentially a fairytale.
"My kids know that Shrek is not real. What are we going to say, that Tom Brady's the best quarterback in year 25 of his career when he's 50 years old? I mean, the dream has to end at some point," Simms said. "I have the ultimate respect for him, but at this point in his career, for me to say he's in Aaron Rodgers' or Andrew Luck's class? I'm sorry, I just cannot say that."
Stat-wise you could make the case that Brady is in the top five, and you could just as easily argue that he's outside of the top five. Such is the nature of statistical arguments.
Brady currently ranks:
- Fourth in touchdowns (24)
- Second in touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.8)
- Fifth in passer rating (102.0)
- Ninth in passing yards(2,649)
- 12th in completion percentage (64 percent)
- 13th in the NFL in yards per attempt (7.28)
And in what stands out the most, Brady leads the league in wins (the Cardinals have more wins than the Patriots, but both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton have started games for Arizona). Of course, pinning a win entirely on a quarterback is not a fair judgment, but for as long as Brady and the Patriots continue their success and keep winning games, critics of the quarterback will always draw attention for going against conventional wisdom.
Simms admitted that Peyton Manning is without a doubt not the same physically as he once was, but he earns bonus points so to speak because he is "a slash offensive coordinator as well."
"He's got the greatest collection of weapons around him the NFL has ever seen," Simms said of Manning, perhaps arguing against his own point. "I just give him a slight edge over Tom right now, really more just because more is on his shoulders week to week, and his passing game has to carry that organization."
As for why Andrew Luck sits higher on the NFL quarterback totem pole? It's because Luck doesn't have a Jonas Gray on his roster. No, really, Simms said this:
"Andrew Luck is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL. Physically, he runs a 4.5, so he can beat you with his legs. He's a great down-the-field thrower, and the pressure of the organization is on Andrew Luck's shoulders week in and week out. If Andrew Luck doesn't throw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, they can't win a game. He doesn't have Jonas Gray and the offensive line the New England Patriots do where they can run for 250 yards in a game. ... I don't think anybody bears the weight of the organization on their shoulders week in and week out more than Andrew Luck."
And what about Roethlisberger ranking above Brady? It gets a little ... interesting.
"Well, look, Roethlisberger, his stats are phenomenal, he's a great down-the-field thrower," Simms said. "Ben Roethlisberger really until this year has never had a running game, since maybe his rookie year with Jerome Bettis, he's never had an offensive line, and I think this is the first year he has weapons at receiver in a long time. ... Are you guys going to sit there and tell me that Santonio Holmes is some superstar going for him? So, now he's got a little talent around him, he's still a baller, he doesn't always do it the way that maybe a prototypical quarterback does, but he's very hard to defend, he stands in the pocket all day, he has tremendous size, which is a talent, and he's one of the better throwers of the football that the game has to offer."
Simms' final word on Brady: "When Tom Brady was back in the mid-2000's there, 2005, 2004, when you guys were winning Super Bowls, he was awesome. He had one of the best arms in football. He was one of the best throwers of the football down the field. He was elite, there's no doubt about it. He's still really freaking good, don't get me wrong. ... Sorry, yeah, it's just at this point in his career, I can't put [Brady and Manning] in those top two or three quarterback [spots] when guys like Aaron Rodgers, who are maybe the most talented guys the league has ever seen at the quarterback position, are still here and are in their prime."
You can listen to the entire discussion below:
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