Our final installment of Around the AFC East takes us to the most important position on the field, quarterback. We've seen some heated debates in our division roundtable. This one will probably produce consensus. If this list is not identical to the ones produced by our friends at Buffalo Rumblings, The Phinsider, and Pats Pulpit, something is seriously, seriously wrong.
Take your pick as to what puts Tom Brady on the top of the list. It could be his three rings. It could be his two Super Bowl MVP's. It could be his single season touchdown record. It could be the fact he guided the most productive offense in NFL history two years ago. Brady's a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure. He's one of two quarterbacks in the league right now who might stake claim to the title greatest ever once his career is over. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and this competition still isn't even close. Brady laps the field a couple of times.
Chad Pennington is one of the most polarizing figures in the league. I think that's because we tend to use absolutes at the position. A player is either a franchise guy or he stinks (If you want to be nice, you could call the guys in the second category game managers). Very few players fall in between. Pennington is one of them. On the one hand, he has trouble staying on the field. Only twice in his nine seasons has he started all sixteen games. His lack of arm strength also prevents him from being able to make all NFL throws. On the other hand, he has a lot of great qualities. He's a tremendous leader. Nobody in the game is tougher. He twice played with a torn rotator cuff twice. In fact, he's the only player to overcome a pair of those tears. His teammates love him. He's extremely accurate and smart with the football. Every time he stays healthy, his team seems to make the Playoffs, albeit not advancing very far. Pennington's the rare quarterback who is above average yet very few would argue is a franchise guy. It's too bad. If he had only stayed healthy, he might have been something special. The rotator cuff tears did a lot to weaken what was an adequate arm. As it is, he's still pretty good.
The jury is still out on Trent Edwards. After two years, he's had great moments and ugly ones. His 85.4 quarterback rating and touchdown to interception ratio of 11 to 10 last year isn't spectacular but isn't horrible either. At this point, I think Edwards is one of those guys you'd love to have as a backup quarterback but don't love as a starter. He has had a few successful streaks but hasn't put it together over the course of an entire season. He's only entering his third year so he will have time to improve and potentially change this view of him.
I'm sorry. I hope a year from now I can put Mark Sanchez second. The fact of the matter is the top three guys on this list have done something on the pro level. Sanchez hasn't. Until he does, he has to rate last on the list.