The Most Reliable NFL Quaterback list 2015: #22 through 16

July 10, 2015

The SEP Reliability ratings are finally here!  SEP stands for Science, Evidence, and Performance; and this is the new way to determine which players you can count on.  I have ranked the top players at every position and will give you their rating and a few factors that helped to calculate that rating.  

I used weight, speed, experience, football IQ, injury history, position norms, and other factors to create a rating system that predicts which players are the most reliable.  Trust that each rating is calculated with injury science, evidence, and player performance history.  I put just a pinch of subjective into these ratings as I believe there are simply some things that you have to assess with your eyes and not through data.  

For the Quarterbacks I ranked 33 players.  The most reliable Quarterback earned a rating of 124 while the least reliable earned a rating of 73.  I rated the players that I expect to be starting caliber and I included the 2 first round draft picks.  Here we go!  Click here to see quarterback rankings 33 through 23.

“The best ability is availability”-Herm Edwards

22. Geno Smith: SEP Rating – 88

When it comes to Geno Smith, he gets some benefit simply because he is a big and young quarterback.  At 220 lbs and 24 years old, he has the right stuff to stay on the field.  Furthermore, Geno has played for Rex Ryan (who has moved on to coach the Bills) who has always loved a ground and pound style which has allowed him to take fewer hits than a young QB usually takes.  Things may be a little different with Chan Gailey as his Offensive Coordinator, as we may see the Jets spread it out a little more and see if Geno can make quick decisions.  My guess is that this is the year we really see who Geno is as a quarterback.  A bad adjustment to having the ball in his hands more could mean a short season or poor play for Geno Smith and the New York Jets.

21. Jay Cutler: SEP Rating -89

Jay Cutler’s reliability stats are about as bland as the faces he makes during the games.  He seems to be at the middle of the pack in just about every category.  16th ranked for times sacked, 17th ranked for pass attempts, and 12th ranked for rush attempts over the past 3 years.  If this rating accounted for “stupid” interceptions, I think it would be safe to say that Cutler may have slid completely off the list.  Cutler is interesting for the fact that he is one of the few players who is very open about playing with Diabetes.  Some even speculate that this is why his demeanor is so poor at times.  My opinion is if he walks like a prick, talks like a prick and looks like a prick; then of course it must be Diabetes.  Hopefully the sarcasm comes through loud and clear.  It is true that the changes in blood sugar levels can affect a persons mood and even their physical performance, but if I can help poor people regulate and manage their diabetes; I am sure that a multimillionaire quarterback should have his managed pretty well.  I work with many patients who have diabetes and I will tell you first hand that Diabetes has nothing to do with the way Jay Cutler carries himself, in fact he gives the condition a bad name.  I know my rating says that a group of quarterbacks are even less reliable than Cutler, but I will take this time to disagree with myself and urge you to put him at the bottom of your list.  With his most reliable receiver –Brandon Marshall gone, I think this may be Cutler’s worst and possibly final year as a true franchise quarterback.

20. Zach Mettenberger: SEP Rating -90

When it comes to Zach Mettenberger I will not even fake like I know anymore about him than you do.  Although I do not know him well, I do know Grade III AC joint sprains pretty well; and Mettenberger ended this past season with this injury to his throwing shoulder.  That would be cause for concern to Titans fans and anyone else who plans on relying on the young quarterback.  AC stands for Acromio-clavicular and that joint represents where your collarbone (clavicle) meets the top of your shoulder-blade (acromion).  With Mettenberger having a Grade III sprain, we know that there was lots of pain and instability as that signifies tearing of the ligaments that secure that joint.  Mettenberger should have plenty of time to heal and come in a full strength this upcoming season, but the fact that he is already having season ending injuries and that the Titans drafted a quarterback that most believe will start on day 1, makes Zach Mettenberger a hard player to rely on.

19. Aaron Rodger: SEP Rating – 91

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 28: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass on his only play of the game, a touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, in the 1st quarter against the Tenessee Titans on August 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Now here is an interesting one.  I think we all put Rodgers in our top 3 best quarterbacks, but as I mentioned in a earlier post; if you had Rodgers last year for fantasy then you know the difference between being the best and being the most reliable.  Aaron Rodgers drove me on a 16 hour trip, and while  for the first 14 hours I thought he was a great driver, during the last 2 hours he crashed and the car burned.  Over the past 3 years, Aaron Rodgers averages over 2 games per season missed due to injury.  This past year was the calf and in 2013 he broke his collarbone.  We have Rodgers rated as a 5/5 when it comes to decision-making/release time, but with that said his decisions sometimes mean a lot more risk as compared to a Manning or Brady type.  In addition to Rodgers play making style, he lands as above average with his rush attempts with a ranking of 11th most and is ranked 13th most in times sacked on this list.  Now I want it to be clear that I am not stupid; I am in no way saying that I would draft the next 18 quarterbacks over Aaron Rodgers.  However this ranking can help you make a more objective decision among the elite quarterbacks, as the ratings clearly classify Aaron Rodgers as the least reliable elite quarterback in the league.

18. Carson Palmer: SEP Rating – 93

This may be one of the only list you will see this year that will have Carson Palmer ahead of Aaron Rodgers regarding anything related to the quarterback position.  The fact is that despite Palmer missing some games over the past 3 years, he gets rid of the ball quick in Bruce Arians offense. He is ranked in the best 33% of these quarterbacks when it comes to taking sacks and rush attempts.  I am actually eating my own words on this one as I put Carson Palmer in my list of Red Zone players last year; with the Red Zone tag signifying that he is on the last legs of his career.  I still do believe his career is winding to a close but the data suggest that he is around the middle of the pack when it comes to reliability.  I think it is safe to say that Palmers veteran mind and Bruce Arians complimentary scheme is what may extend his career a little more than I anticipated before creating this rating system.

17. Nick Foles: SEP Rating – 93

Nick Foles edges Palmer out by fractions of a point for the 17th spot on my most reliable quarterback rating. As an Eagles fan I am very familiar with Foles and I believe he gets this spot primarily because of a Chip Kelly system that protected him well with easy reads and heavy run emphasis.  The good news for Nick Foles is that Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams will likely run the ball almost as much as Chip and the Eagles.  At 243 lbs, Foles size gives him a big bump in this rating system and despite his collarbone fracture last year, he has shown that he can take some huge hits to his big frame.  The problem is that his decision-making is going to make his body keep proving this point.  Foles receives a 2 out of 5 in our decision-making category, and trust me he deserves it.  I have watched every snap of his career, and while Foles is not RG3 bad when it comes to reading the field, he is not much better.  Only time will tell if experience will allow him to get rid of the ball quicker, but those who expect Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles numbers; you will be very disappointed this year.  Look for Foles to stay on the field all year, but likely with average to sub par performance.

16. Marcus Marriota: SEP Rating – 93

As you can see there was a big log jam at SEP 93 as Mariota edged out Foles by fractions.  When I did this SEP rating system the rookies were definitely a challenge.  With no professional statistics to consider it made it difficult to compare them to players who are already up to NFL speed.  But I knew not having the top picks who will almost definitely be starters in the league this year, would throw everything off.  For a player like Marcus Mariota with no real injury history, the primary fear is the catastrophic injuries like an ACL or achilles injury.  It is unlikely that a fresh bodied rookie quarterback will succumb to a chronic or nagging injury as he simply has not compiled the hits and collisions that other players have endured. Mariota gets a 2 out of 5 on our subjective rating primarily because he is a rookie, but his college background in a Chip Kelly system in which he showed how fast his mind can process information prevented him from the getting the basement score of a 1 out of 5.  Mariota enters the league listed as 212 lbs, but that may change after his first offseason as a pro.  The data for these high first round franchise quarterbacks shows that their teams will at least try to protect them through scheme and I think Mariota will handle the rest with what I believe will show to be a high football IQ.  I think the number 2 pick is sitting right about where he should be in the middle of the pack for reliability.

Stay tuned for the next half of the leagues most reliable QB’s as we inch near pre-season.  Feel free to comment or email me any feedback or questions about the SEP rating system.

Dr. Petty


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