NFL 2017 – Quarterback grades for all 32 teams

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Which quarterbacks have exceeded expectations? Which has fallen short? And what is going on in Buffalo?

NFL Nation reporters graded the QB situations for all 32 teams based on each team’s expectations heading into the season, on a scale from A-plus to F.

View the teams by grade: A-plus | A | A-minus | B-plus | B | B-minus | C-plus | C | C-minus | D-plus | D | F

Note: The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys will be added after their Sunday night matchup.


Grade: A-plus

The Patriots started slower than they wanted at 2-2, but that was hardly due to anything relating to Tom Brady. One of the questions entering the season was if Brady, who turned 40 in August, would show any signs of decline. Have you seen any? He’s once again a contender for MVP honors. — Mike Reiss

Grade: A

It’s safe to say there weren’t any sizable expectations for Case Keenum before the season started because he was never supposed to be in this position. He’s shattered every notion tied to his role as a backup and has helped position Minnesota as a legit contender in the NFC. He’s now 6-2 as a starter after guiding the Vikings to their sixth straight win on Sunday against the Rams, and has proven why he should remain the starting quarterback despite having Teddy Bridgewater waiting in the wings. Regardless of where he signs next season, Keenum has earned himself a nice payday by proving he can be more than just a viable backup. — Courtney Cronin

Grade: A-minus

Jacoby Brissett was an emergency acquisition from New England a week prior to the start of the regular season after the Colts front office realized that Scott Tolzien was not the right person to start until Andrew Luck returned from his shoulder surgery. Brissett replaced Tolzien in the fourth quarter of Week 1 and has been the starter ever since, which he’ll remain for the duration of the season given Luck will not play due to a setback in his right shoulder surgery. Despite taking most of the season to learn his new team’s offense, Brissett has thrown for 2,172 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s the first Colts player to have four touchdown passes of at least 60 yards in a season since Johnny Unitas did it in 1966. — Mike Wells

Alex Smith entered Week 11 as the NFL’s top-rated passer and is on pace to set career records for touchdowns and yards. But Smith is trending the wrong way. His three games with a passer rating of less than 100 have come in the last five, and he was at his worst in Sunday’s loss to the Giants. He threw two interceptions and failed to have a touchdown pass for the first time this season. — Adam Teicher

Practically anything would’ve been considered improvement for Jared Goff, who was coming off a disastrous seven-game stretch as a rookie. But few could’ve imagined him making such significant improvement as a second-year quarterback. Thanks to a QB-friendly scheme run by first-year head coach Sean McVay, a significantly-improved offensive line featuring left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan and a better group of receivers that includes Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, Goff has accounted for one of the NFL’s largest Total QBR improvements since last season. He put together back-to-back games of 300-plus yards, three or more touchdowns and zero interceptions before a more pedestrian performance against the Vikings on Sunday, and is on pace for 4,176 yards. Goff has made big strides, with the repeatability of his throwing motion, his feel for the pocket and his accuracy down the field. — Alden Gonzalez

Brees raised his grade from a B-plus just in time for this report card by proving that yes, he still can be Superman when needed. He went 11-for-11 for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the final two drives of the fourth quarter as the Saints rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Washington in overtime. Brees has played more of a supporting role over New Orleans’ eight-game win streak because the run game and defense have been so good — and since the Saints haven’t been hitting on the deep ball as consistently as usual. He was on pace for his lowest yardage and TD totals in 12 years with the Saints before Sunday’s win over the Redskins. But he is also on pace for a career-best completion percentage and now ranks third in the NFL with a passer rating of 104.3. — Mike Triplett

Russell Wilson has arguably exceeded what were already high expectations based on how he’s shouldered much more of the offensive load than anyone thought he would have to this year. The Seahawks have struggled to run the ball despite efforts over the offseason to beef up that area of their offense. That’s part of the reason why Wilson is on pace to top his career-highs for attempts (546), completions (335) and passing yards (4,219) while matching his previous best in touchdown passes (34). Wilson is also Seattle’s leading rusher with 290 yards through nine games. His accuracy has occasionally been off, and he’s thrown six interceptions, including two bad ones in a Week 9 loss to Washington, which are the only real blemishes on his 2017 resume. But you can live with six picks considering how much more has been on his plate. — Brady Henderson

Grade: B-plus

Josh McCown was considered a placeholder when he signed in March, just a guy to keep the seat warm for Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, but he has been so much more. At 38 years old, he’s having a career year, and he’s the main reason why the Jets have four wins. With a 69 percent completion rate, he’s an ideal fit in the Jets’ short-passing scheme. McCown might have played his way into the team’s 2018 plans. Even if he’s not starting, he can be a mentor to a young quarterback. — Rich Cimini

Grade: B

The only reason I’m going with a “B” for Matthew Stafford is because the expectations of him to start the year — when he got his contract making him the highest-paid player in the NFL — were quite high. He’s come close to meeting them, but that five-turnover game in New Orleans in Week 6 stands out and there are times where it looks like he’s struggled, particularly early in games. But he’s as consistent as he’s ever been and continuously makes good decisions. He’s one of the reasons the Lions are heading into their Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Vikings competing for a playoff berth. — Michael Rothstein

Kirk Cousins has played without his top target, tight end Jordan Reed, for four games, including the last three. The QB is playing behind a banged-up line, hasn’t had the benefit of a consistent run game and his wideouts weren’t producing early. In some cases, yes, Cousins could’ve helped this. But he’s still produced with 17 touchdowns to five interceptions. He led a game-winning drive in Seattle in Week 9 and played one of his best games against New Orleans on Sunday — until the offense made costly mistakes late. Cousins was more aggressive against the Saints, something that needs to continue for the Redskins to have a shot at turning their season around. There have been times when Cousins opts not to take shots or wait for the big play. It’s helped the Redskins move the ball, but it’s also cost them more shots at big plays. However, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking the Redskins’ offense would do anything if given the injury scenario that’s unfolded this season. — John Keim

Grade: B-minus

The expectations for Matt Ryan were extremely high coming off his MVP season and Super Bowl appearance. Even Ryan would tell you that he hasn’t played his best ball yet, but that it’s “close” based on certain moments when the offense looked like last year’s high-octane attack. Adjusting to new coordinator Steve Sarkisian could be one reason Ryan didn’t start off as sharp as he wanted to. Not working a lot with Julio Jones (foot surgery) and Taylor Gabriel (lower leg injury) leading into the season is another factor. And dropped balls plagued the Falcons through the first nine games, contributing to Ryan’s eight interceptions — one more than he had all of last season. That said, Ryan remains among the top quarterbacks in the league and has all the tools to lead the Falcons back to the postseason. But the critics likely won’t give him a pass until he wins a ring. — Vaughn McClure

This is a hard one simply because there weren’t any great expectations because Cam Newton was coming off of surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. Nobody knew for sure how the shoulder would respond and how long it would take the 2015 NFL MVP to reach his stride. Overall Newton’s statistics aren’t great — 14 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. But consider he played most of othe first 10 games without Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil and Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, consider the Panthers traded No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo three weeks ago, consider Newton was limited in practice most of the preseason and the first three games (and he’s still limited to a degree weekly), you could argue Newton has exceeded expectations. He’s definitely trending upward with four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last outing. — David Newton

Derek Carr is still picking up stats — 1,954 yards with 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions while completing 65.2 percent of his passes — but there’s just something missing. He, and the entire Raiders team, got “shook” at Washington in Week 3 and they have been trying to get their legs under them ever since. Carr often doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket and gets rid of the ball too soon, before a play can develop. He also seems to be putting too much touch, or air, on his passes at times. Is last year’s broken leg still on his mind? Is the broken bone in his back, suffered in Week 4, still an issue? Carr was supposed to be an MVP candidate for a Super Bowl contender this season. Instead, something just looks, well, off. — Paul Gutierrez

A stellar four-touchdown performance on Thursday night saved Ben Roethlisberger from “C” status. He’s been effective at times, but has missed throws he usually makes, particularly deep downfield, failing to complete 16 of his first 18 attempts beyond 31 yards. He’s had moments of indecision in the pocket and just recently raised his QB rating from the low 80s. But the vintage Big Ben moments have been strong and provide hope for the playoff push. He seems to be surging at the right time. — Jeremy Fowler

Grade: C-plus

After finishing 2016 with a career-high 20 interceptions, Philip Rivers has done a better job of taking care of the football this season with seven interceptions through 10 games. However, the Chargers have lacked consistency and rhythm on offense, finishing in the bottom third of points scored and third down efficiency through the meat of the season. But Rivers could turn things around by playing more consistent football in the last six games of the year. — Eric D. Williams

There is a lot working against Eli Manning. He doesn’t have his top weapons, his offensive line is below average and the running game took several weeks to get going. But Manning also hasn’t done his part to carry the team when they needed him most. That’s what is expected as the highest-paid and most-accomplished player on the roster. He has 15 total touchdowns compared to 10 turnovers in 10 games. He had a fumble that cost the Giants their Week 5 game against the Chargers. He hasn’t been bad, but he also hasn’t been good. He’s been closer to average, hence the mediocre grade. — Jordan Raanan

Grade: C

There’s no certainty that Blaine Gabbert, despite playing well in Sunday’s loss to the Texans, will start next week against Jacksonville, leaving open the possibility that Drew Stanton could regain the starting job while Matt Barkley waits in the wings. Even though Stanton beat San Francisco in Week 9, Gabbert has shown more long-term promise than Stanton for a franchise that’s in need of long-term stability at quarterback. There’s also the possibility that Carson Palmer could come back for the last two weeks of the season. The cast is off his broken left arm. While Gabbert’s talent is evident and readily available, the entire situation is still murky for Arizona. — Josh Weinfuss

The Bengals came into the season with two new weapons for Andy Dalton in John Ross and Joe Mixon, sparking hopes that the offense could be turned around from a poor 2016. But the offense has regressed. It hasn’t been all Dalton’s fault due to bad offensive line play, but he certainly takes his share of the blame, and has missed on a number of throws he should’ve made. — Katherine Terrell

A few folks nabbed Marcus Mariota as a dark horse MVP candidate coming into this third NFL season, but he’s been nothing close to that. An early season hamstring injury and inconsistent accuracy — most notably in his four-interception performance at Pittsburgh on Thursday — have been big reasons why Mariota has not progressed or performed in the way many expected. Mariota, who has 12 total touchdowns to 10 interceptions led the Titans to three comebacks in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, and his dual-threat capabilities continue to make him one of the more difficult QBs to game plan against, but he hasn’t played like the Titans expected so far this season. — Cameron Wolfe

Grade: C-minus

Joe Flacco is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his career. Bad throws and poor decisions are the reasons why he ranks among the league leaders with 11 interceptions. But Flacco hasn’t had much help. Protection has been shoddy because the offensive line has been hit with injuries, and Flacco’s receivers have dropped too many passes. The Ravens need him to cut down on turnovers and stretch the field more in order to get them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. — Jamison Hensley

General manager Ryan Pace wanted Mike Glennon to be the starting quarterback in 2017, but Glennon’s short tenure (four games) was disastrous. Rookie second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky has played OK since taking over for Glennon, but quarterback is definitely not a position of strength. There’s no way to give the Bears a grade higher than a C-minus because of how bad the Glennon signing turned out to be. Trubisky has talent, but he has a long way to go before anyone will confuse him for Deshaun Watson. — Jeff Dickerson

The Texans and coach Bill O’Brien clearly had high expectations for Tom Savage heading into the season, as he won the starting job over rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson in the offseason. Savage’s first stint as a starter was short as he was benched at halftime of the season-opener. In the two weeks since Watson tore his ACL, Savage and the offense only put up 14 points. Savage showed improvement in the Week 11 victory over the Cardinals, but has still turned the ball over nine times in four games. — Sarah Barshop

The Jaguars wanted Blake Bortles to cut down on his turnovers and be smarter with the ball and he has done both — for the most part. Until the last two weeks, anyway. He lost a fumble and then tried to throw a pass away over his shoulder with a hook shot against the Browns on Sunday and threw two interceptions in the final two minutes of regulation against the Chargers the week before. Bortles is in a tough situation because he doesn’t have two of his top receivers who are out with injuries, so he’s working with a rookie who made his NFL debut against the Browns and a first-year player who didn’t make his first catch until last week. Bortles hasn’t killed the Jaguars in any games this season, but he hasn’t exactly put the team on his back, either. That’s OK, though, because the defense has become one of the league’s best. If Bortles plays smart football, he Jaguars can win the AFC South. — Mike DiRocco

I didn’t have high expectations for Jay Cutler to save Miami’s season after Ryan Tannehill (knee) was lost for the year in training camp. So Cutler has been about what I expect: Inconsistent, committing untimely turnovers and not leading the Dolphins to the playoffs. In a must-win situation, Cutler had a season-high three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay. Cutler won’t return to the Dolphins in 2018. — James Walker

Jameis Winston has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, an injury that has also hampered him since Week 6 against the Cardinals. In eight games, Winston had 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. The big issue with him at the helm, and now with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, is the fact that the Bucs have generally has moved the ball well, but offensively have averaged just 18 points a game through the first nine games. Injured or not, that’s really not acceptable for a quarterback with Winston’s natural talent, in his third year and with such a strong supporting cast. — Jenna Laine

Grade: D-plus

Brett Hundley is no Matt Flynn, at least not through his first four-plus games as Aaron Rodgers‘ replacement. The Packers are 1-4 in the five games that Hundley has finished since Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6. Flynn went 2-2-1 under similar circumstances in 2013, although Flynn was actually the third different QB to start after Rodgers got hurt. There was so much promise after Hundley’s best performance last week at Chicago, but it all went south with his turnover fest against the Ravens on Sunday. — Rob Demovsky

Grade: D

Coach Hue Jackson sold DeShone Kizer as someone who could be the team’s long-term answer and could help the offense be dynamic. An 0-10 record and 14 interceptions later, Jackson is promising to keep Kizer on the field for the final six games to find out everything he can about the rookie QB. The roster around Kizer provides little help, but Kizer struggled against the Jaguars on Sunday. What Jackson has found out so far has not been overwhelmingly positive. — Pat McManamon

The Broncos have already benched one quarterback — Trevor Siemian — because of turnovers and the Broncos are now 0-3 in games Brock Osweiler has started in Siemian’s place. Paxton Lynch, who was the team’s first-round pick in the 2016 draft, will be next to inherit the offensive woes at some point down the stretch. The Broncos have consistently tried to use the three-wide receiver set that was so successful in Peyton Manning’s time with the team, but it’s clear they’re not built for that right now. Behind shaky pass protection, the Broncos have simply turned the ball over far too often no matter who’s behind center. They need help at tight end, a more consistent third option at wide receiver and to find a group in the offense line that performs far more consistently or none of the quarterbacks they try will have a great chance at success. — Jeff Legwold

No reasonable person expected much from the quarterback duo of veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie C.J. Beathard, but even by those meager standards, the fact that Niners QBs rank near the bottom of the league in most major passing categories has been a disappointment. Hoyer had a strong camp, leading to belief that he could at least be serviceable. That didn’t happen, and though it wasn’t all his fault, he was benched sooner than expected. The silver linings that keep this from a failing grade? Beathard has showed that he has some upside and could at minimum become a solid backup. And the addition of Jimmy Garoppolo gives the 49ers hope that things are going to get better at this position in the near future. — Nick Wagoner

Grade: F

The Bills seem lost in no-man’s land at quarterback between Tyrod Taylor and Nathan Peterman. Their offseason decision to keep Taylor could be questioned after their 5-4 start in which Taylor’s statistical performance continued to decline from his 2015 highs. Yet coach Doug McDermott’s call to turn to Peterman in the midst of the playoff hunt backfired badly when the rookie fifth-round pick threw five interceptions in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. McDermott has yet to name a starter for next week’s game against the Chiefs, which contributes to a sense of chaos around the team and the position at the moment. Nobody was expecting greatness from the BIlls at QB this season, but this situation seems bungled. — Mike Rodak



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