With the exception of one team, each squad in the AFC West has a franchise quarterback, but interestingly enough, they’re all in different stages of their careers. In the doldrums of the off-season, we’re desperate for any topics, so here’s a fun debate. Who is the best quarterback in the AFC West?
Ranking the AFC West Quarterbacks
4. Trevor Siemian
What in the world is John Elway doing? How do you go from Peyton Manning, arguably the greatest of all time, to Trevor Siemian? To say that his numbers were mediocre last year would be polite. He threw for 3,400 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions, and was the reason the Denver Broncos missed the playoffs. There’s no debate. If the Denver Broncos had fielded a competent quarterback, that defense could’ve gotten them into the playoffs. Here’s hoping Paxton Lynch becomes something more than discount Tim Tebow before all is said and done.
3. Alex Smith
It’s weird to rank Alex Smith towards the bottom, but the reality is that’s where he belongs. Andy Reid asks him to be a game manager, and that’s what he is. He’s never sniffed 4,000 yards, he threw 23 touchdowns in his best season, and in all but three of the 16 losses the Chiefs have had since he came to town, he threw the ball more than 30 times. Coincidence? Well he’s only thrown at least than 30 passes in a game 24 times in his time with Kansas City. That means the Chiefs are 13-11 when Alex Smith throws the ball at least 30 times. It’s still a winning record, but it’s not a good thing when your winning percentage goes down as your quarterback gets more involved. That might be why they traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes in this year’s draft.
2. Philip Rivers
Let’s be honest. When you opened this article, you were curious as to whether Philip Rivers would be number one or number two. Well, this time last year? He’s probably number one. However, after you have a season where you lead the NFL in interceptions, and the other guy is one of the more promising quarterbacks in football? You’ve gotta take a step back.
All of the blame shouldn’t fall on Rivers’ head though. The San Diego Chargers were cursed last year. And even though he has an underrated supporting cast, he was forced to carry the weight of the entire team far too often last season. He was forced to carry the team by himself, and he did the best he could. However, there has been a changing of the guard, and there’s a new sheriff in town.
1. Derek Carr
That’s right, Derek Carr, the NFL’s $125,000,000 man is the best quarterback in the AFC West. Sure, lazy critics will spout off incomplete narratives about his losing record and the fact that he hasn’t thrown for 4,000 yards in the NFL yet, but it’s just silly. With Derek Carr under center (or, as he spent the second half of the season with an injured hand, in the shotgun), the Raiders are a 12 win, playoff team. Without him, they couldn’t beat the likes of Trevor Siemian or Brock Osweiler.
Everyone is so quick to point out that Carr has the likes of Amari Cooper and one of the NFL’s elite offensive lines, but nobody ever brings up just how unreliable his defense was last year. Furthermore, nobody uses Rob Gronkowski to discredit Tom Brady or Jordy Nelson to discredit Aaron Rodgers or even Julio Jones to discredit Matt Ryan. Holding a good surrounding cast against a player is laughably irresponsible and unimaginative.
Instead of playing with narratives, you have to look at the facts. Fact- Derek Carr is well on his way to shattering the passing records for the Oakland Raiders. Another fact- he and the Raiders have both dramatically improved every year that he’s been the starter. And the sad truth? At 35 years old, Philip Rivers is running out of time while Carr, a decade younger, set the record for game-winning touchdown passes. It would be poetic to say that Rivers passed the torch onto Carr, but in all likelihood, it would just be intercepted.