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Quick Reads: The quarterback schism

The top QBs have been great in 2009, but the bottom has never been this dreadful

Originally Published: November 2, 2009
By Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders

We are blessed to live in remarkable times.

Well, remarkably awful times.

Sure, there's a handful of Hall of Famers at the top of the quarterback charts. That's common knowledge. What fans don't realize is what's at the bottom: a historic amount of detritus.

Through the first eight weeks of the 2009 NFL season, 5.8 percent of quarterback starts and substitute appearances of 10 attempts or more have resulted in quarterback ratings of 30.0 or below. That's notably worse than in any of the five previous seasons, which have produced such disaster games 3.7 percent of the time. It also bears a pretty strong relationship to losing: From 2004 through 2008, when quarterbacks have posted a QB rating under 30, they've gone 14-83, a .144 winning percentage. This year, such quarterbacks are 1-13, with the only victory coming when Derek Anderson's Browns eked out a 6-3 win over the Bills in Week 5.

Although Anderson's start against the Bears was the only one to qualify for this ignominious honor this week, there are several obviously overmatched quarterbacks taking snaps under center right now. Their presence in the lineup comes thanks to injury (Ryan Fitzpatrick), organizational stubbornness (Anderson), the ravages of time (Marc Bulger), or the desperate attempt to justify spending several truckloads of money (JaMarcus Russell). The Lions and Jets play terrifyingly inconsistent rookies in Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, and hope they can learn on the fly. They've got the benefit of an acceptable excuse.

So sure, get in line to tell the legends of Peyton, Brady and Brees. There's a more remarkable story on the other side of the tracks, where Anderson, Fitzpatrick and Russell are polishing their UFL résumés with some of the worst quarterback play of the decade.

On that note, here are the Week 8 Quick Reads from Football Outsiders. Click here to learn more about what DYAR numbers mean and how they are computed. Note that our opponent adjustments are currently at 80 percent strength:

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