Tuesday, March 25, 2008
D'Orazio, Sanders and Bonner atop Week 4 AFL QB rankings
By Gary Horton
So who has the best QB in the AFL? Gary Horton goes team-by-team and ranks them all.
1. Philadelphia's Matt D'Orazio
He was brought in as insurance against a Tony Graziani injury and that looks like an astute move as this offense continues to be explosive and productive. D'Orazio threw for 328 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions against Los Angeles, spreading the ball around to five receivers and continuing to showcase his chemistry with receiver Chris Jackson.
2. Dallas' Chris Sanders
Sanders continues to play almost mistake-free football in place of injured Clint Dolezel, who is doing a great job of calling the offensive plays. Against a good San Jose defense Sanders threw for 277 yard and six TDs and spread the ball around to six different receivers. He rarely makes a bad throw.
3. Chicago's Sherdrick Bonner
Bonner was back in playoff form after missing last week to witness the birth of his child. He threw for 210 yard and four touchdowns and he played a very clean game with no big mistakes, and his chemistry with WR Damian Harrell gets better every week.
4. San Jose's Mark Grieb
He is putting up great statistics and he is not the reason the Sabercats have lost two tough games. Grieb completed 34 of 45 passes for 356 yards and six TD passes and no interceptions against and excellent Dallas defense and he continues to be arguably the best decision-maker in the AFL.
5. Grand Rapids' James MacPherson
He had a career night versus Kansas City, throwing for 307 yards and nine touchdowns in a 24-for-27 performance. MacPherson spread the ball around to five different receivers as the offense is starting to really click.
6. Utah's Joe Germaine
He continues to put up good offensive numbers, but he can't do it all by himself. Germaine threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns versus Columbus, but he was also intercepted twice, was pressured all night and had six passes broken up. Right now this is a one-dimensional team.
7. Orlando's Shane Stafford
Stafford got good pass protection from his offensive line against Georgia and responded with a solid game: 278 yards, six TDs, and one interception. This is still an offense that makes too many mistakes -- penalties, turnovers, subpar third down conversions -- but a win is a win.
8. New Orleans' Danny Wimprine
He continues to be the surprise story of the 2008 season and his composure and decision making are excellent. Wimprine was pressured all night against a good Cleveland defense but still threw for 235 yards and four TDs and he spread the ball around to six different receivers.
9. Georgia's Chris Greisen
Greisen continues to generate solid stats but is not getting a lot of help. Charles Pauley is his go-to but this offense needs more weapons. Versus a suspect Orlando secondary Greisen threw for 287 yards and four TDs, but he couldn't always exploit favorable one-on-one matchups.
10. Arizona's Jeff Smoker
He played a very solid game, throwing for 240 yards and five touchdowns in his first win as the starter. He got good pass protection, made excellent decisions (71 percent completion rate), and he is developing excellent chemistry with WR Trandon Harvey.
11. Tampa Bay's Brett Dietz
He is coming off a bye week, and although his stats are good it just doesn't seem Dietz is playing at the elite level most expect. He has good receivers and good passing skills, but he needs a little more consistency and better pass protection.
12. Los Angeles' Sonny Cumbie
He continues to play inconsistently, and against a terrific Soul defense we saw the "down". Cumbie threw for only 132 yards and three TDs, was sacked four times and never had time to get into a groove. Is he the answer for the inconsistent offense?
13. Cleveland's Raymond Philyaw
He never had a chance versus a swarming New Orleans defense that created five turnovers and forced the Gladiators into a 3-for-9 performance on third- and fourth-down conversions. Cleveland also went just 1-for-4 in the red zone. Philyaw had a meager 146 yards passing and no touchdowns and did not look like the same QB that we saw in the three previous games.
14. Columbus' Matt Nagy
Nagy continues to put up respectable numbers, but this offense seems to lack a lot of explosiveness and his only go-to receiver right now is Derek Lee. Nagy threw for 188 yards and three TDs, but a suspect Utah defense broke up six passes and kept a lot of pressure on him.
15. Colorado's John Dutton
He had respectable numbers -- four TD passes, no interceptions -- but this offense was 2-for-11 on third and fourth downs and faded in the second half. There doesn't seem to be much explosiveness and you have to wonder whether a QB change is on the horizon?
16. Kansas City's Matt Kohn
Kohn replaced an ineffective John Fitzgerald as the starter, but the results were the same. He was 19-for-36 with 281 yards passing and four touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions and his offense turned the ball over five times.
17. New York's Rohan Davey
Davey was sacked once and hurried six other times and the Arizona defense made nine defensive stops, including five straight in the first half. New York was 3-for-11 on third and fourth downs and 331 passing yards are a little misleading. Unless he gets better pass protection this offense has no chance.
Gary Horton, a pro scout for Scouts Inc., has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.