ESPN’s annual tier quarterback rankings is out which is created by ESPN’s own Mike Sando. What Sando does is ask anonymous league insiders about how they feel about the best quarterbacks in the league.
Sando explains the tier rankings as the following:
Tier 1: Can carry his team each week. Team wins because of him.
Tier 2: Can carry team sometimes but not as consistently.
Tier 3: Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win.
Tier 4: Might not want this guy starting all 16 games.
Tier 5: Do not think this guy should be starting.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is ranked as a second tier quarterback and 12th overall in the entire NFL according to the rankings. That isn’t a bad place to be considering the struggles Flacco went through before he tore his ACL and MCL in week 11 of the 2015 season.
Flacco, in the 10 games he played during the 2015 season, completed a career high 64.4 percent of his passes but struggled as he ended his season with 2,791 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 83.1.
However, what an unnamed coordinator said about Flacco in Sando’s article is a bit weird. The coordinator said the following via ESPN:
Though a coordinator called him "unbelievably physically gifted," he added, "I don't think he can lead a team or carry a team."
Now, as a quarterback, when you throw 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a postseason that leads to a Super Bowl victory while beating arguably two of the best quarterbacks to ever live in the very same postseason on the road in back to back weeks (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) is that not called leading? People must have a different definition of leading that I don’t know about.
Now, the league insiders being asked about Flacco obviously (other than the unamed coordinator) take his career into account as he is a Super Bowl MVP who is 10th all-time in NFL playoff history with 25 passing touchdowns and is ranked 16th all-time in postseason passing yards.
Not to mention, Flacco has a 4-1 record in the playoffs in the last five seasons against Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger. Even more impressive, three of those wins are on the road (Manning, Brady and Roethlisberger).
During the regular season, Flacco has 28,322 passing yards, 162 passing touchdowns and 102 interceptions. Flacco’s 162 passing touchdowns in the regular season is ranked 11th among active players and fourth among AFC quarterbacks.
I think Flacco would be ranked a little bit higher if he wasn’t injured, but being ranked 12th for now is respectable as the Ravens look to bounce back from its horrific 5-11 season last year.
The top 12 quarterbacks in the NFL are ranked in the following order. Keep in mind, rankings 1-3 are described as tier one quarterbacks and rankings 4-12 are described as tier two quarterbacks.
1.) Tom Brady
2.) Aaron Rodgers
3.) Ben Roethlisberger
4.) Cam Newton
5.) Drew Brees
6.) Russell Wilson
7.) Andrew Luck
8.) Phillip Rivers
9.) Eli Manning
10.) Carson Palmer
11.) Tony Romo
12.) Joe Flacco
With the weapons the Ravens have at wide receiver, tight end and at running back, Flacco has a chance to have the best year of his career during the regular season if everyone can stay healthy. Flacco having the best year of his career in the postseason would be a tall order since he had 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions during his playoff run in 2012.