Have at it: QBs vs. environment

May, 4, 2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

You've already starting filling the mailbag with responses to Sunday's request, but I wanted to re-boot the topic to make sure the masses see it.

To review, Breana of Chicago wrote:

Kevin, who do you think will have the better passing game this year: The Vikings with their question marks at quarterback and Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Bobby Wade, and Sidney Rice -- OR the Bears with Jay Cutler and their question marks at receiver?

I thought the question was a good jumping-off point for discussing the value of a quarterback relative to the tools that surround him. I suspect this debate will carry on for much of the summer in Chicago, where new quarterback Jay Cutler will be working with an unproven group of receivers. And it will also be a topic in Minnesota, where the Vikings have surrounded Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels with high-priced free agents and blue-chip draft choices.

If you had to choose one situation -- a proven quarterback with below-average weapons or a shaky passer surrounded by superior talent -- which would you choose? I know the obvious answer suggests the proven quarterback, but already some early responders are noting instances in which quality receivers have carried a quarterback who might not have succeeded elsewhere.

I've given you a statistical frame of reference below. I've also included receiving tight ends, who deserve to be mentioned in this mix.

Hit the mailbag and let me know what you think. We'll expand later this week. Have at it.

Minnesota, Chicago Top Quarterbacks
Player Team Age Comp. Pct. Yds TDs INTs Rating Record
Jay Cutler Chicago 26 62.5 9,024 54 37 87.1 17-21
Sage Rosenfels Minnesota 31 62.5 4,156 30 29 81.2 6-6
Tarvaris Jackson Minnesota 26 58.4 3,442 20 18 76.5 10-9
Minnesota, Chicago Top Receivers
Player Team Age Rec. Yds TDs
Bobby Wade Minnesota 28 208 2,491 7
Bernard Berrian Minnesota 28 198 3,161 20
Rashied Davis Chicago 29 74 913 4
Devin Hester Chicago 26 71 964 5
Sidney Rice Minnesota 22 46 537 8
Earl Bennett Chicago 22 0 0 0
Juaquin Iglesias Chicago 21 202 2,861 19*
Percy Harvin Minnesota 20 133 1,929 13*
* Collegiate statistics
Minnesota, Chicago Top Tight Ends
Player Team Age Rec. Yds TDs
Desmond Clark Chicago 32 303 3,434 25
Visanthe Shiancoe Minnesota 28 104 1,172 11
Greg Olsen Chicago 24 93 965 7



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