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The Blue & Gray Press | December 15, 2017

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In the endzone: quarterbacks on top

By NATHAN MARKLE

If you believe someone on my top ten NFL quarterback list is undeserving and should be replaced, I offer a suggestion: imagine my choice and your own on the opposite team. If you believe Alex Smith (No. 9) does not produce enough stats to be on the list, and Eli Manning and his two rings should be instead, try to imagine the Giants with Smith. Their record would probably be better now. Also, the Chiefs would be incapable of going unbeaten to this point if the turnover happy Eli was running the show. Now, to the top five!Aaron_Rodgers

No. 5: Andrew Luck: Indianapolis Colts

Luck led a fourth quarter comeback to beat the Texans on Sunday night. What else is new? It seems all Luck does since he broke into the NFL is play Captain Comeback.

Two whole seasons since he was drafted No. 1 overall, he managed to drastically separate himself from not only those in his draft class but practically the whole league.

Whether or not Luck belongs to the elite class already is a viable debate topic. He produces dazzling numbers and possesses tools that few can claim. Luck holds a Hall of Fame career ahead of him.

No. 4: Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints

It is hard to believe that San Diego let this man walk. Since his departure from the Chargers, Brees solidified his position as one of the unquestioned top five quarterbacks in the league.

He took the Saints to their only Super Bowl, won two MVP awards and broke passing records held by greats like Dan Marino and Johnny Unitas.

Brees also has more five-passing touchdown games than any other single caller in history. He kept at it this season with 20 touchdowns so far and an astronomical quarterback rating of 109.2.

No. 3: Tom Brady: New England Patriots

Cue the chorus of moans and groans of disagreement. It has become basically blasphemous to exclude the golden boy from the top two on any list. But keep in mind, we are not talking legacy here.

This list is predominately about which quarterbacks are great this season and show beyond reasonable doubt that they could right the ship of any franchise.

Brady is not himself this season. In fact, up until Sunday’s match up with the Steelers, he was downright mediocre.

It would be defendable to keep him off this list for 2013-14 altogether, but, alas, Brady is Brady.

Tom Terrific will not be denied success, and if you provide him with any weapons whatsoever, he will win games. Despite his lackluster production this season, the Patriots are still 7-2, which speaks to Brady’s leadership.

No. 2: Peyton Manning: Denver Broncos

No. 2 may be a shocking place for Manning, as it seems this year is all about Peyton. I know I sound like a hater, but shouldn’t he be great?

Even Sam Bradford would look like a superstar if he had Demarius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas to throw to.

Plus, Manning has a tendency to come up short when it counts most. Remember last year when he lost at home against the Ravens in the championship game? He made a costly error, throwing against his body to the middle of the field for an interception, practically sealing the team’s fate.

This is where that smidge of history comes into the equation for this list, because the Broncos probably would have made the Super Bowl last year if the following quarterback on the list was their own.

No. 1: Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers

He is the best all-around quarterback the league has to offer. His arm is a cannon with pinpoint precision, and he is fleet-footed enough to extend plays and escape pressure.

Few other quarterbacks could survive the awful offensive lines Green Bay rolled onto the field the past few seasons.

Rodgers not only survived, he is phenomenal. He boasts the NFL’s best touchdown to interception ratio ever, he holds the record for quarterback rating and, most important of all, he brought the Lombardi back to Lambeau.

Rodgers belongs above Manning because, at this point, Manning’s arm strength is nothing compared to what it once was, and that occasionally hurts him.

Plus, Manning is a sitting duck in the pocket. Manning is one of the best of all-time, but imagine the lethalness the Broncos would possess with all of the tools Rodgers possess.

He deserves the higher ranking than the declining Brady as well. Many used the injuries to Amendola and Gronkowski as excuses for Brady’s slow start. It is conceivable that Rodgers would have still produced in that environment.

Just look to this season as proof. His receiving corps was decimated by injuries to James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, but Rodgers did not slow down at all. Aaron Rodgers is by far the best quarterback of the 2013-14 season.