The following is NOT a knee-jerk reaction but rather an evaluation of his body of work in the regular season as well as the playoffs. Consider this, there were five quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds of the 2008 NFL draft. The first round saw Matt Ryan drafted by Atlanta and Joe Flacco drafted by the Ravens. Round two saw Brian Brohm drafted by the Packers and Chad Henne drafted by the Dolphins. Rounds three saw Kevin O’Connell drafted by the Patriots. Other quarterbacks drafted in 2008 do not warrant a mention.
Chad Henne has seen his career flounder all the way to Jacksonville, where if it wasn’t for an injury to Blaine Gabbert, he would not be starting. In six starts in 2012 he threw for 2084 yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Over his career he has 42 touchdowns compared to 48 interceptions. He is destined to be a clipboard holder in NFL circles.
Brian Brohm had two careers starts (I know he played behind Aaron Rodgers but he lost his backup job to Matt Flynn). He has zero career touchdowns and five career interceptions. Brohm is now a UFL quarterback playing for the Las Vegas Locomotives. Nothing else is required to say on Brohm.
Kevin O’Connell has no relevant data to go off of (he did play behind Tom Brady). He tried to catch on with the Jets and Chargers but was released in both instances (released by the Jets? WOW). He is no longer in football and is a broadcaster for San Diego State University and a member of XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego. Done.
Matt Ryan is the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and has earned the nickname “Matty Ice.” In 2012 Matt Ryan threw 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while keeping a rating of 99.1 with a QBR of 74.5. He has 15 fourth quarter comebacks and 22 game winning drives in his young career. He is the franchise player in Atlanta. However, in the playoffs, Ryan is 0-3 with three touchdowns, four interceptions and roughly a 70 quarterback rating. His last playoff loss was an embarrassment falling to the Giants 24-2 and he could not even reach 200 yards passing (he hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a playoff game yet). He just looked “out of sorts” in that game like he wasn’t prepared for the stage. Here is an example from the Giants loss.
Tomorrow’s game will be telling since he is starting at home against the Seattle Seahawks.
Joe Flacco is the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. In 2012 Flacco threw 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while keeping a quarterback rating of 87.7 with a QBR of 46.8. In his first playoff start of 2012 he managed a QBR of 89.5. He has nine fourth-quarter comebacks and 14 game-winning drives in his career. While the offense does not “run through” Flacco (see Ray Rice) he is still a very important part of the roster. Much like Eli Manning, he steps up on the big stage. He has played in 10 post-season games in his young career. He has won at least one playoff game in every year since he was drafted. He has six starts with a rating over 89.4 with three of those carrying a rating over 115. He has 13 career post-season touchdowns with eight interceptions. In his last four playoff starts he has thrown nine touchdowns and one interception. He went toe-to-toe with Tom Brady, and outplayed him, in the AFC Championship game and came one dropped-ball in the end zone from going to the Super Bowl.
Tonight he threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning in Denver winning in double overtime. He threw a 70 yard touchdown pass with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
While their careers need to play out, I do not see any way that Flacco isn’t the premier quarterback from the 2008 NFL Draft. Matt Ryan has nice numbers and a good career but… Flacco gets it done in the playoffs, he takes his team on his back and gets the win. That is the mark of a great quarterback. Will Matt Ryan change his post-season play tomorrow against the Seahawks? I don’t know. I know this, Flacco did it again tonight! Sound off with your opinions.
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About the Author: Adam Solowiei
Adam is a writer and opinionated personality with an affinity for MLB, Poker, Horse Racing and the game of golf. Adam is also Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is devoted to providing a fact based, unfiltered analysis of the sports world.