Black quarterbacks seemed as though they were on shaky ground over the off-season, but many of them are flourishing this season. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard (above) is second in the NFL with a 104.9 quarterback rating. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick leads the league with a 115.1 rating. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Stock is rising in black quarterbacks as three out of the top five rated quarterbacks in the NFL are black.
By Jason Lewis
In a league where solid quarterback play usually equates to victories, Michael Vick, David Garrard, and Vince Young are in the top five in quarterback rating, and other black quarterbacks are leading their teams to victories.
Black coach/quarterback combo working well for 49ers and Bucs
San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary finally found a quarterback that he can win with in Troy Smith, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris has been riding quarter back Josh Freeman’s arm out of the cellar.
Singletary is known for wanting players that he can win with. Well he wasn’t winning much of anything with Alex Smith at quarterback. A 1-6 record had Singletary on the hot seat. Looks like he might have found the guy to save his job.
When former No. 1 over all draft pick Alex Smith went down with an injury, former No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr was waiting in the wings to revitalize his career. Singletary must not have thought that he could win with Carr, because he went with former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith instead, and Smith does not look like he has any plans of going back to the bench.
This is Smith’s first real opportunity to prove himself in the NFL. He did not get much of a chance in Baltimore, even though a lot of the veterans on that team wanted to see him get more playing time as a rookie. Once the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco, Smith’s chances there dried up.
Since Smith has stepped in as the starter for the 49ers, they are 2-0, on their first winning streak of the season, and Smith has a passer rating of 116.6, compared to a 1-6 record with Alex Smith, who had a passer rating of 75.0.
Alex Smith has completed 59.1 percent of his passes, with 6.4 yards per attempt, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Troy Smith has completed 61.7 percent of his passes, with 11.75 yards per attempt, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Yeah, Alex Smith better be prepared to spend a lot of time on the sidelines with Carr.
Alex Smith is now healthy, but Singletary is going to ride Troy Smith as long as possible.
In Tampa Bay, Morris found his guy when the Bucs drafted Freeman in the 1st round of last year’s draft.
Morris, as a first year head coach, and Freeman, as a rookie, took their lumps last season as the Bucs were in a rebuilding mode. Well it did not take them long to turn the ship around. After tripping all over themselves in a 3-13 season last year, they have the Bucs in the playoff hunt this year with a 6-3 record this year, which is only one game behind the Atlanta Falcons, who have the best record in the NFC.
Freeman is completing 60.1 percent of his passes, is on pace to throw for about 3,800 yards, has thrown 12 touchdowns to only five interceptions, and has a quarterback rating of 90.1. Last season he completed only 54.5 percent of his passes, he threw only 10 touchdowns with 18 interceptions, and he had a 59.8 rating.
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was also drafted last year, gets more headlines than Freeman, but Sanchez’s 54.7 completion rate and 80.5 rating has him ranked below Freeman. And Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, has spent more time in rehab than on the field.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is also in his second season as a head coach, and he has a 6-2 record this year, which is only half a game better than Morris’ record. Looks like Freeman and Morris should be getting more press than what they have been getting.
Michael Vick a MVP candidate as he leads the league with a 115.1 quarterback rating
Michael Vick has always been a great video game quarterback, but the way he played on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins looked like it was straight out of Madden on Playstation 3.
In the Philadelphia Eagles 59-28 blowout victory over the Redskins, Vick completed 20-of-28 passes for 333 yards with four touchdowns and he also ran for 80 yards and two rushing touchdowns. A good amount of that damage was done in the first quarter, when the Eagles raced out to a 28-0 lead, and they were up 35-0 after the first play of the second quarter. It looked like a high school game.
Vick pretty much had his way with the Redskins. Now that he has become a legitimate threat as a passer he is nearly unstoppable. His football IQ is much higher now, and his technique has drastically improved.
While in college at Virginia Tech and earlier in his career with the Atlanta Falcons, offensive coordinators pretty much dumbed the passing game down for Vick. They would have Vick work one side of the field, or make one read and then just take off running if it was not open.
With the Falcons, Vick was really a running back that threw the ball. He was never efficient as a passer and he never completed more than 56% of his passes.
With the Eagles, Vick has turned into a passer who scans the entire field, can find second and third reads, and if nobody is open he can scramble. When he scrambles he is not taking off and running all the time like he did earlier in his career. When it looks like he’s going to take off and run, he’s still looking down field, searching for open receivers. And he resets his feet while on the run, something that he did not do in the pass, making his passes more accurate.
Vick has turned into Steve Young, and if he continues to play like this, he is more dangerous than Young ever was.
The Eagles are a contender with Vick at quarterback, but only a middle of the road team with Kevin Kolb, who was supposed to be the franchise quarterback. With a guy who can do all the things that Vick and do, and he has not turned the ball over this year, it’s almost not fair to defenses.
Vick will be able to cash in during the off-season, and it looks like it would be in his best interest to stay with the Eagles. Maybe Eagles head coach Andy Reid figured out how to get the best out of Vick. Maybe it’s the supporting cast in Philadelphia. What ever it is, it is working there, and it might not work somewhere else.
Don’t feel too bad for McNabb
Donavan McNabb has been the premiere black quarterback in the NFL for years, but it’s not looking too good for him in Washington. Two weeks ago he was benched with the game on the line. Reports said that he wasn’t in shape to run the two-minutes offense and that he was having problems learning head coach Mike Shanahan’s playbook. He has been under performing all season, and then he was shown up by Vick on Monday Night Football.
Can it get any worse? Wait, is it even bad in Washington for McNabb?
The Redskins just signed McNabb to a five-year, $78 million contract extension, and it could be worth $88 million with incentives, so all is good in McNabb’s world.
Now NFL contracts are not iron clad by any means. Chances are McNabb will not see anywhere near $88 million, but the contract is reported to have $40 million in guaranteed money.
This contract was a big surprise after McNabb’s benching and all of the negative reports. But McNabb is a good fit for Shanahan’s offense, which is at its best with a mobile quarterback. John Elway and Jake Plummer both excelled under Shanahan.
Shanahan’s offense takes more than eight games to learn, so the Redskins must feel confident that McNabb will pick it up in the future. Some growing pains were expected this season because the Redskins do not have much of an offensive line and their skill position players are nothing special.
McNabb needs Shanahan to hurry up and build a good offense around him, because that $78 million contract could be worth only $3 million if the Redskins decide to go in a different direction this off-season, and it could be worth only $13 million if they decide to cut ties after next year.
McNabb is really playing for that contract. Not much is really guaranteed.
Titans will need a healthy Young for the playoff run
The Tennessee Titans have been hit and miss in the first half of the season, partly because quarterback Vince Young has been in and out of the line up. Back up quarterback Kerry Collins has filled in nicely at times, but this team is still 5-4 and if Young does not stay healthy they could be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Young is sporting a quarterback rating of 97.6, 5th in the league. Even though his completion percentage isn’t anything to write home about (57 percent), he takes care of the ball. He has only thrown three interceptions to 10 touchdowns, and he is able to move the chains when needed. Young is a winner, whereas Collins has the knack to come up short.
Collins will be out of the line up for the next few weeks, meaning that Young will be playing on a sour ankle, which has kept him out of the starting line up the past few games. Last week he had to take the field, even thought he did not start because of the hurt ankle, because Collins strained a calf muscle.
If Young is healthy this coming Sunday, he should be happy to see the Redskins coming to town. After Vick lit them up, Young might be thinking that he can go for a career day too.
JaMarcus Russell update
Former Oakland Raiders and No. 1 over all draft pick JaMarcus Russell has worked out for the Miami Dolphins. If he cannot make it as a quarterback, maybe he should think about playing left tackle.