Cody, Dalton & Dak: What Is a Good QB?

What the Dallas Cowboys should do with their "QB Drama" is the big story in the NFL as quarterback play continues to drive the narrative but what is a good QB?

The Cleveland Browns have been in search of the mythical "Quarterback of the Future." That search seems to have been going on forever.

For other teams, things just seem to work out. The Indianapolis Colts just happen to get the #1 overall pick in Peyton Manning's year then luck into Andrew Luck as the perfect transition. The New England Patriots find Tom Brady in the 6th Round for 15 plus years. 

The Cowboys have gotten a lot of production out of undrafted Tony Romo and now seem to have found their future QB in Dak Prescott, a 4th Round pick.

Then we have Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals. I've used Dalton as both a ceiling comparison for Cody Kessler and as a "good getting in the way of great" example. The Bengals have had an amazing roster but haven't been able to get anything going in the Playoffs.

This season has been an interesting experience for those of us who believe "Find the QB, everything will be fine." That is a take most Browns fans would agree with. "If only we had our guy at QB..." "Got to draft a QB till you find one!" "It doesn't matter till you find the right QB."

Dalton's Bengals are 2 - 4. Luck's Colts are also 2 - 4. Chargers Philip Rivers are 2 - 4. Giants and QB Eli Manning are 3 - 3. All time great Drew Brees is 2 - 3. Superstud Cam Newton is 1 - 5. Veteran Carson Palmer's Cardinals are 2 - 3.

That is a lot of talent at the most important position in the NFL and all of them, besides Manning, are leading teams under .500.

Over a quarter into the season and great QBs are not good enough to lead to winning records.

Then you look at the Pats going 3 - 1 without Brady. Bills and Tyrod Taylor are 4 - 2 along with Brock Osweiler's terrible play for the Texans. Even Sam Bradford has the Vikings undefeated.

Over a quarter into the season and these mediocre, or worse, are somehow leading their teams to winning records.

By the end of the season, all of this might be moot. Things might right themselves and the good QBs will lead teams to good records and vice versa but maybe not.

(To be clear, I am not a writer who believes in "QB Wins" stat. Quite the opposite.)

So what makes a good QB and a winning team may not be as closely connected as many, including this writer, have thought.

Since this article is called Cody (Kessler), (Andy) Dalton and Dak (Prescott) lets look at the start of their careers, 6 games for Prescott and Dalton and 4 for Kessler:

Prescott (6 games) Kessler (4 games) Dalton (6 games) Dalton (Season)
Completions 125 80 118 300
Attempts 182 122 189 516
Yards 1486 865 1311 3398
Comp % 69% 66% 63% 58%
TDs 7 4 7 20
INTs 1 1 5 13
Rating 103.9 93.8 85.2 80.4

See a big difference? I don't.

I even extrapolated Kessler's numbers for 6 games and put those next to Dalton's and Prescott's:

Prescott (6 games) Kessler (6 games) Dalton (6 games)
Completions 125 120 118
Attempts 182 183 189
Yards 1486 1298 1311
Comp % 69% 66% 63%
TDs 7 6 7
INTs 1 1 5
Rating 103.9 93.8 85.2

Yet Kessler's Browns are 0 - 4 in his starts, Prescott's Cowboys are an NFC East-leading 5 - 1 and Dalton's 2011 Bengals were 4 - 2.

While this might frustrate some fans, I'd dare say that Kessler could have also led the Cowboys to a 5 - 1 record and a Prescott led Browns team would still be 0 - 6. Then the narrative would be "Kessler is the Cowboys future" and "Browns haven't seen enough from Prescott, need to draft a QB high."

So what is the point? 

  1. QB play is not as simple as evaluating wins.
  2. The team around the QB means almost as much as the QB, maybe more.
  3. The Browns future may not soley be dependent on finding "THE QB of the Future."
  4. Kessler is a similar QB at this point as Prescott is and Dalton was.
  5. Evaluating QBs is not easy.

For the Browns, Cody Kessler could be the Andy Dalton of the future. His stats seem to matchup pretty well with Dalton's early career performance.

Cody Kessler could be the answer to the Browns long struggle at finding a solid QB just like many are saying Prescott is the answer to replacing Tony Romo.

Moral of the story is it isn't as simple as records. Remember Carson Wentz? The amazing franchise guy the Browns shouldn't have passed on. The noise around how "great" he is has gone down. Two straight losses can do that for a narrative. Might as well give you his stats versus the Kessler extrapolated ones:

Wentz (6 games) Kessler (6 games)
Completions 102 120
Attempts 157 183
Yards 1186 1298
Comp % 65% 66%
TDs 7 6
INTs 1 1
Rating 99.9 93.8

Looking at Cody, Dak, Dalton and even Wentz, what do you think makes a "good QB"?


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