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Have at it: QBs vs. environment

5/4/2009

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.