At this point in the season, rookies aren’t rookies anymore. That doesn’t make any sense because rookies are rookies. It’s right there in the name. But it’s a thing I’ve heard a lot on TV, so let’s go with it.
With that in mind -- and with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III coming off high-profile games in Week 11 -- let’s rank the quarterbacks from the vaunted 2012 draft class so far.
11. Chandler Harnish, QB, Colts
The Northern Illinois product was the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2012 NFL draft. He was waived by the Colts on Oct. 16 -- days after impersonating Tim Tebow for the scout team -- and was then signed back to Indianapolis’ practice squad.
Scouting report: Has not seen game action. It’s probably safe to assume that the Colts, at least, consider him inferior to fellow rookie Andrew Luck.
Projects to: professional Tim Tebow impersonator / New York Jets’ third-string quarterback.
10. B.J. Coleman, QB, Packers
The former Tennessee-Chattanooga quarterback was picked 10 spots before Mr. Irrelevant, making him semi-relevant, but actually not at all relevant because being Mr. Irrelevant makes you relevant. It’s very confusing. Whatever. Coleman is on Green Bay’s practice squad.
Scouting report: He also has not seen game action.
Projects to: A Green Bay backup quarterback? He could either be the next Aaron Rodgers or he could have one good game against a terrible Detroit defense and the Seahawks could foolishly give him a ton of money. Either way, the future is bright.
9. Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos
The Broncos used a second-round pick on the 6-foot-7 Arizona State product, thinking Peyton Manning could mentor him or he could be insurance for Manning’s neck injury.
Scouting report: He’s been in two games but hasn’t thrown a pass.
Projects to: Doomed. Peyton Manning looks healthy, and he doesn’t mentor anyone or allow anyone to take snaps from him in practice. Osweiler basically projects to a really tall Curtis Painter or Jim Sorgi.
8. Ryan Lindley, QB, Cardinals
A sixth-round pick out of San Diego State, he is apparently Arizona’s quarterback now.
Scouting report: He played like an Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sunday.
Projects to: Not Kurt Warner.
7. Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
The Eagles picked the former Arizona Wildcat in the third round because Andy Reid thought he could be the quarterback of the future.
Scouting report: It’s hard to tell how good a quarterback is behind Philadelphia’s line, but you get the sense that if he had more time to throw well, that would be bad because he would be throwing.
Projects to: A backup quarterback on whichever team makes the mistake of hiring Andy Reid next.
6. Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins
Washington picked the former Michigan State star three rounds after Robert Griffin III because Washington does very confusing things.
Scouting report: Cousins is 5-for-9 on the season for 111 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Also, he’s ahead of Rex Grossman on the team’s depth chart, which is good because if he weren’t, he should probably just quit football forever.
Projects to: Trade bait the Redskins can use to address their secondary. Or maybe they can just try Cousins in the secondary. He has legs. He’s worth trying.
5. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns
The former minor league baseball player and Oklahoma State signal-caller was taken by the Browns with the 22nd pick.
Scouting report: Hasn’t been nearly as terrible as many expected. Oh, he has a 70.3 passer rating and the Browns are 2-8.
Projects to: A young Chris Weinke.
4. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
The former Texas A&M quarterback was picked by the Dolphins with the eighth pick.
Scouting report: Seemed to be coming on in October but has regressed noticeably in recent weeks.
Projects to: Not Dan Marino. Not Johnny Football. Maybe a taller Jay Fiedler? Miami can hope.
3. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Seattle drafted the ex-Wisconsin/NC State/baseball player in the third round.
Scouting report: He beat out free-agent signee and B.J. Coleman role model Matt Flynn in training camp, has given Seattle a spark at the quarterback position, and even is responsible for inventing a new pass: the interpletion.
Projects to: A quarterback whose “heart” and “intangibles” announcers will gush about for years and years.
2-1. Andrew RG3 Luck, QB, America
They were the top two picks in the NFL draft.
Scouting report: RG3 was the greatest young quarterback ever, then Andrew Luck was the greatest young quarterback ever, now RG3 is the greatest young quarterback ever again. I think. It’s hard to keep up. Basically, whichever one is currently on TV, he’s the greatest at that time.
Projects to: Somewhere between Cam Newton and American superhero. Stay tuned!
Quote of the Week
“No one has lined up and just beat us. No, it’s just mental mistakes.” -- Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie after a 31-6 loss to the Redskins dropped Philadelphia to 3-7
You know, he makes a good point. Really. It’s easy to get all bent out of shape by Rodgers-Cromartie’s comments and say it shows the Eagles still believe they are amazingly talented and superior to all other teams -- the “Dream Team” and “dynasty” in waiting, ready to activate whenever the team feels like it -- when, in fact, the Eagles are one of the worst teams in football and are beaten in nearly every phase of the game week after week after week.
But the Eagles truly believe they are good. They think that. And is that not a massive mental mistake? Rodgers-Cromartie understands this team better than Andy Reid.
Stat of the Week
That’s the passer rating of quarterbacks against the Eagles since Andy Reid made a change at defensive coordinator. Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III have combined to go 76-for-97 for 901 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, it’s gotten so bad in Philadelphia that you can hear people saying: “If only we had that offensive line coach back running our defense.”
Misleading Stat of the Week
Matt Ryan threw five interceptions against the Cardinals, and Atlanta lost the turnover battle 6-1, but Atlanta still won. Ryan became the first quarterback since Green Bay’s Bart Starr in 1967 to throw five interceptions and zero touchdowns in a game and still win. Starr’s Packers won in Week 2 of 1967 against the Bears, whose quarterbacks went 5-for-12 in the game for 23 yards and in interception. Bears quarterbacks: a tradition that stretches back generations.
This Week’s Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Chad Henne, QB, Jaguars: 16-for-33, 354 yards, 4 TD
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Cardinals: 133 total yards, TD
Bilal Powell, RB, Jets: 60 total yards, 2 TD
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars: 7 catches, 236 yards, TD
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: 6 catches, 100 yards, 2 TD
Garrett Graham, TE, Texans – 8 catches, 82 yards, 2 TD
Photos of the Week
News Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Rex Ryan: “At what point in today’s win over the Rams did you start thinking that the Jets are the team to beat for the Super Bowl?”
Bill Belichick: “With Rob Gronkowski’s injury, will you now open up your strategic tight end reserves?”
Mike Tomlin: “What was Byron Leftwich’s pitch count tonight?”
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@djgalloespn Why aren't all players identified by rank like Captain Munnerlyn of Carolina or Major Wright of Chicago?
— Jim Eken (@eeks63) November 18, 2012
I think it’s time this happens. I also think it’s time for Captain Munnerlyn to get bumped up to Major Munnerlyn or Lieutenant Colonel Munnerlyn. He has been making big plays all year, including a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown Sunday -- his second pick-six of the season.
Plus, in using military ranks, we could replace this absurd “elite” debate and give our country what it could really use right now: some more generals to be proud of. The Gen. David Petraeus scandal has been ugly. But it would be a lot easier if General Manning and General Brady were waiting in the wings.
ELITE Quarterback of the Week
Is Mark Sanchez ELITE?
Evidence for him: He completed 75 percent of his passes in a must-win game against the Rams; he is only 26 years old and has twice been to the AFC Championship Game; and he continues to keep starting ahead of American superhero Tim Tebow. Also, you can’t spell BENCHMARK, a standard to measure against, without MARK.
Evidence against him: He has a 55 percent career completion percentage; he hasn’t gotten any better since his rookie year in 2009; many people think Tim Tebow would give the Jets a better chance to win; and he is a USC quarterback. Also, you can’t spell BENCH MARK without MARK.
Five Things I Think I’m Thankful to Think I Thought
1. Larry Fitzgerald is now having passes thrown to him by rookie sixth-round draft pick Ryan Lindley. It’s time for an enterprising, young Cardinals fan to start a single-serving website called IsAnyoneDecentThrowingPassesToLarryFitzgerald.com. It would take 10 minutes to start and would require zero upkeep because the front page will read always -- sadly -- NO.
2. The Cowboys perform below their talent level every week and Jason Garrett has never accomplished anything as a head coach. Mike Holmgren has been linked to having interest in the Dallas job and met with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before Sunday’s game. But Jones says there was nothing to it. “Well, we had the visit that we always have when he comes, when I come to where he is," Jones said. “We're good friends.”
See, Jason Garrett? Nothing to it. They’re just friends. Nothing more. You need to understand that, in this day and age, an owner can have relationships with other coaches without it being you know, because he’s looking to replace you. Then who is that diamond-encrusted Tiffany’s mustache comb that you found in Jerry’s coat pocket for? Look, you just need to trust him, OK? He loves you. It’s just complicated. Give him time.
3. Raiders fans get a lot of flak for being terrifying freaks who have nothing more to do in their sad lives than dress up for Halloween four months out of the year and root for an abysmal football team. But that probably doesn’t accurately describe every Raiders fan. And I think we can all agree that this Raiders fan is awesome. Damn, you dat, indeed.
4. Jets linebacker Bart Scott was storming around the locker room after Sunday’s game telling his teammates not to talk to the media because of the New York Daily News’ “anonymous” Tebow story, which Scott believes was made up. This all has gotten way out of control and is probably just because of a misunderstanding. The players who spoke about Tebow probably weren’t “anonymous” so much as “nameless.” Like:
“I got a bunch of Jets players on record saying that Tebow stinks.”
“I don’t know. Some guys in Jets jerseys. I can’t really name many players on their team. I mostly follow good teams.”
“Understood. We can still run the story.”
5. To be cleared to play on Monday night after his concussion, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was to be given a “contact test.” This entails some form of his getting hit in the head with his helmet on. No, really. Recently concussed 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley had to go through the same thing: “For me, I had to bang against another person with my helmet. A quarterback is probably different, because his job doesn't consist of banging someone's head."
Now, I have little formal medical training beyond eighth-grade health class, high school anatomy class and random terrifying searching of WebMd, but I feel as though hitting a concussion victim in the head to see whether he still has a concussion is not the wisest practice. In fact, it seems prehistoric.
“Alex head hurt.”
“Me hit Alex in the head to see if his head still make hurt.”
“He now unresponsive. Not saying his head hurt. He fine to play.”
How They Spent Their Bye Weeks
Titans: Getting robbed.
Vikings: Fighting the pheasant menace.
Giants: Selling high.
Seahawks: Losing all of their 14-year-old girl fans.