Ranking the NFC North QBs
Nothing totally unexpected here. Favre has had eyes for Minnesota since he was pushed out of town in Green Bay after his first retirement last summer, and the six- to eight-week timetable for recovery puts him on track to be ready by the start of training camp.
For the purpose of this discussion, let's assume Favre signs with the Vikings. If he does, in my opinion, the Lions will once again have the least desirable quarterback situation in the NFC North (for 2009, that is). Here's my rankings. Where do you stand?
1. Bears – Chicago made the bold move of trading for Jay Cutler this offseason, and the Pro Bowler stands as the division's best signal caller. He threw for 4,526 yards last year in Denver, and while those numbers likely will go down, he's the type of talent who can win any game, any where. Interceptions have been a concern in his career, but at 26 and entering his fourth year, he's still maturing.
2. Green Bay – Maybe this ranking is skewed a bit by the two times I've seen Aaron Rodgers play. In two games against the Lions last year, he threw for 636 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions, and set two career marks for passer rating (117.0 and 132.2). I'd like to see Rodgers play at a high level for another season before I call him a top-10 quarterback, but the 25-year-old has that kind of potential. He played hurt part of last year, and defense, not Rodgers, wasn't the reason the Packers went from 13 to six wins last year.
3. Minnesota – Favre is closing in on his 40th birthday, but he didn't play like he was over the hill most of last season. Before things fell apart the final five weeks, Favre had 20 touchdown passes and had the Jets headed for the playoffs. His struggles were somewhat injury-related down the stretch, though he remains a chance-taking gunslinger. Beyond that, Minnesota has the most depth at the quarterback position with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels as capable backups.
4. Detroit – Take heart, Lions fans. A year ago everyone thought Detroit had the best quarterback in the division in Jon Kitna and all that got them was an 0-16 record. The Lions are much more stable under center now, with No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford and a slimmed-down, something-to-prove Daunte Culpepper in the fold. But Culpepper didn't look good in his cameo last year, he's had turnover and injury issues throughout his career, and Stafford is the great unknown. Two years from now, he might be the best quarterback in the North, but he's got to prove it first.