Tuesday, April 1, 2008
New Orleans' Wimprine climbing in 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 played another solid and clean game in a 59-51 win over a tough Tampa Bay defense that put a lot of pressure on him. He threw for 296 yards with seven TD passes with no interceptions and showed excellent mobility and feet to avoid the rush.
2. Utah's Joe Germaine
He continues to put up excellent numbers, but this is the most one-dimensional team in the AFL. Germaine completed 31 of 48 passes for 356 yards and seven touchdowns and was not intercepted once versus a pretty good Georgia defense. Sadly, his own defense couldn't come close to stopping the Force offense in another Blaze loss.
3. Georgia's Chris Greisen
He had his best game of the season, throwing eight touchdown passes in an explosive win over hapless Utah. He was a solid 21 for 32 for 248 yards and found a new target in rookie WR Tiger Jones (nine catches for 131 yards and five TDs), but he did have six passes broken-up.
4. Tampa Bay's Brett Dietz
He had an impressive statistical day in a tough 59-51 road loss to Philadelphia. Dietz was 31 for 46 for 400 yards and six TD tosses, and had three receivers over 100 yards in receptions. But the Soul defense put a lot of pressure on him and three sacks, two lost fumbles, and three tackles for loss is a lot to overcome against a real good team.
5. Chicago's Sherdrick Bonner
He did not have a great statistical game in an easy 59-35 win over Arizona, but he didn't have to. Bonner was just 17 for 32 for 216 yards and five TDs with one interception, but his offensive line gave him excellent pass protection and his running game produced three TDs.
6. New Orleans' Danny Wimprine
He continues to be one of the best stories in the AFL in 2008. He threw for 314 yards and six touchdowns on 44 attempts in a 54-51 win over Colorado. He is cool under pressure, spreads the ball around and makes good decisions. He is the real deal.
7. Orlando's Shane Stafford
He had a solid outing in a 47-44 road win over Columbus. With good pass protection, he threw for 316 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. Plus, he is getting better each week at finding his improving trio of receivers (T.T. Toliver, Chas Gessener, and Ron Johnson) and this offense is starting to gel.
8. San Jose's Mark Greib
He did not have his typical dominating game in a sluggish 44-36 road win over struggling Kansas City. Greib threw for 257 yards, but had only one TD pass, was intercepted and sacked twice and was only 3 for 11 on third- and fourth-down conversions.
9. Grand Rapids' James MacPherson
He's put together solid back-to-back games after leading the Rampage to a huge 84-59 win over fading Los Angeles. He was an efficient 18 for 22 for 215 yards and five touchdowns and has thrown just one interception in 74 attempts this year. MacPherson just doesn't make mistakes and runs this offense very well.
10. Columbus' Matt Nagy
He had decent numbers -- 206 yards on only 26 attempts -- in a low-scoring, home loss to Orlando. However, he was sacked three times and never really had time to get into a groove, especially in the first half. Three of the Destroyers' six TDs were on the ground and there is not a lot of explosiveness to this offense right now.
11. Dallas' Chris Sanders
He did not produce a lot of explosive, big plays, but he continues to be pretty efficient. Still, he did make a couple of mistakes in a sluggish 33-31 win over lowly New York. He was 22 for 39 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. Still, he's kept Dallas undefeated while starter Clint Dolezel is out.
12. Cleveland's Raymond Philyaw
Philyaw had a week off after a bad Week 4 loss to New Orleans. In that game, his pass protection completely broke down, he made mistakes, hurried throws and couldn't convert on third- and fourth-downs. The Gladiators hope that this was just a one week struggle.
13. Los Angeles' Sonny Cumbie
He was a decent 18 for 36 for 210 yards and five touchdowns in a blowout loss at Grand Rapids, but could not overcome a huge first-half deficit. He was pressured all game by a Rampage defense that sacked him twice, forced three fumbles, intercepted one pass and broke up 10 passes.
14. Colorado's John Dutton
He played a solid offensive game against a good New Orleans defense, but came up short in a 54-51 loss. He was a 28 for 46 for 232 yards, seven TDs and just one interception. Dutton had good pass protection, but had seven passes broken up and just couldn't make enough plays.
15. New York's Aaron Garcia
The good news for New York is that he returned to the lineup. The bad news is that Garcia was harassed all game by a swarming Dallas defense in a 33-31 loss. He was 20 for 35 for only 174 yards and three TD passes. But more importantly, he was sacked twice, threw an interception, and 0-6 on third-down conversions.
16. Arizona's Jeff Smoker
He never got into a flow in a blowout 59-35 road loss to Chicago. The Rush defense was tenacious and sacked Smoker four times and hit him countless other times. Smoker finished with only 179 yards passing, three interceptions and four TD passes, but it's not all his fault as he had no time to find his receivers.
17. Kansas City's John Fitzgerald
The coaches went back to Fitzgerald over Matt Kohn in a loss to San Jose, but had the same results. He was 17 for 28 for 190 yards and three TD passes, but was intercepted once and pressured a lot. The good news is that Fitzgerald did a decent job of spreading the ball around to five receivers.
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.