Quarterbacks run the show in the modern NFL. Which will rank as the top five overall passers for the 2014 season?
#5 – Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
This is something fans have been waiting years for with the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler has had to fight through terrible offensive lines, weak receiving corps and constant coaching changes to finally arrive at this point. He has protection, a laundry list of weapons including Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall and enters the second year in Marc Trestman’s offensive system. Cutler is ready. All he needs to do is stay healthy.
#4 – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
It’s so easy to forget about Matt Ryan after the way the Atlanta Falcons collapsed in 2013. Losing teams tend not to get much attention. Yet that doesn’t erase the fact Ryan threw for over 4,500 yards and 27 touchdowns despite no running game, uneven pass protection and missing star receiver Julio Jones for 11 weeks. Well now Jones is on his way back and the protection got a huge boost with the arrival of 1st round pick Jake Matthews at left tackle. Ryan is in store for a big year, especially if his defense can give him a few extra possessions along the way.
#3 – Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
Any guy who has pretty much averaged over 5,000 yards passing the past five seasons deserved to be at the top of this NFL list. Drew Brees, even at age 35 is the same old machine he’s been since joining the New Orleans Saints. There is no reason to doubt he’ll slow down in 2014. He has a new toy to play with in rookie receiver Brandin Cooks and his trusted go-to guy in Jimmy Graham. The lone question mark at hand is whether his offensive line can protect him. That question can’t be answered until at least preseason.
#2 – Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos
An improved defense? Check. A healing offensive line? Check. Compensating for the loss of Eric Decker? Check. Those were the objectives for the Denver Broncos in the 2014 NFL off-season in order to keep Peyton Manning at his typical level of dominance at the age of 38. All his weapons are still in place and a bolstered defense featuring new faces like Aqib Talib and Demarcus Ware should give him even more opportunities to touch the football. Provided that old body doesn’t break down, he should remain atop the league.
#1 – Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
At age 30 things are looking up for Aaron Rodgers. He has a stable running game for the first time in his career and the Green Bay Packers worked diligently in the off-season to add some extra weapons to his armory including Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis. Throw in proven stars like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and Rodgers is poised to make a run at his career numbers he posted back in 2011. The key will be whether he stays healthy and whether his defense can stop opposing offenses. Getting lucky in both areas is bound to work out very well for him.