By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer
NEW YORK (RPRN) 7/30/2009
1. Tom Brady
#12 New England Patriots Height: 6-4 Weight: 225
It should come as no surprise to NFL fans, not even those in Indianapolis, that Tom Brady is the gameâ€™s greatest active quarterback. Having cracked the 50-touchdown mark in 2007 and orchestrating a perfect 16-0 season, Brady has seen and done it all during his prolific 10-year career. Letâ€™s not forget about his three Super Bowl rings.
Itâ€™s hard to say that the New England Patriots are a one-man show, given the array of complementary talent. However, when Brady was knocked out of the 2008 season when Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard rolled over into the quarterback’s left knee, the mighty had fallen. This was the first time in seven seasons under head coach Bill Belichick that the Pats failed to make it into the postseason.
Look for the Brady bunch to rattle off a dismal year, by their standards, and continue building up their dynasty. Brady enters 2009 with a record of 101-27 in regular season and playoff games.
2. Peyton Manning
#18 Indianapolis Colts Height: 6-5 Weight: 230
There are a number of reasons that make Peyton Manning such a prolific passer. His solid frame and laser arm may jump off the page, but there is much more to his game. What makes Manning such a valuable asset for the Indianapolis Colts is his high football IQ and tremendous understanding defensive schemes.
It has been widely rumored in the NFL that Manningâ€™s opponents consider him as a player and as a coach due to his profound knowledge. If there are mistakes and missed assignments in defensives, rest assured that he will turn those into points.
Manning has one downside that pundits will always criticize him for: disappointing postseason results and lack of championships, despite bringing home Super Bowl XLI in 2007. For the moment, he has got the monkey off his back. Having said that, he might need one more ring to silence the critics before being considered alongside some of the leagueâ€™s greatest quarterbacks who have the bling.
3. Ben Roethlisberger
#7 Pittsburgh Steelers Height: 6-5 Weight: 241
Ben Roethlisberger’s pro debut got off to a fast start. When former quarterback Tommy Madox went down with an injury, the man they call Big Ben was essentially forced to step in as a rookie learning on the job.
Roethlisberger survived his freshman year in the NFL and became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Talk about making an entrance. Since then, Ben has made big strides in his development at the quarterback position.
His two main features consist of size and mobility, making him a multi-dimensional threat. At times he resembles a magician making something out of nothing and extends the play with his legs.
The run game helped give Ben room to operate and throwing on the run which has become his bread and butter (as seen in Super Bowl XXL.)
4. Drew Brees
#9 New Orleans Saints Height: 6-0 Weight: 209
Drew Brees has his Saints marching down New Orleans and is the leader of that franchise. His individual stats are impressive. His leadership qualities are evident. At 8-8 his team did not make the playoffs, but he was pretty productive.
The saints had no running game last season, which forced Brees to throw the ball 635 times for a league high of 5,069 yards and nearly surpassed Dan Marinoâ€™s record for most passing yards in a single season.
Brees carried his team through the air and displayed his skill set when opponents knew that he would make a play with his arm. In an offense that preaches short patterns and quick releases, Brees was on point and threaded the needle into tight spaces.
5. Donovan McNabb #5 Philadelphia Eagles Height: 6-2 Weight: 240
Expectations are always high in the city of Philadelphia so youâ€™d better deliver. And if you allow McNabb to sit in the pocket, he will be successful. Known for keeping drives alive with his legs in the earlier part of his career, numerous injuries have slowed down McNabb and we are seeing him do damage in the passing game.
McNabb is relying more on his arm which has opened up the playbook more for the Eagles. With a combination of short screen passes to his running backs and the occasional long shot, McNabb is a more well-rounded quarterback than when he first started.
Bonus: Eli Manning
#10 New York Giants Height: 6-4 Weight: 225
No longer considered as only Peytonâ€™s little brother, Eli has become his own man, embarking on his own quest. He needs to put together a few good seasons before cracking our list.
Photo of Tom Brady courtesy of the National Football League.
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