Mike Sando of the Athletic wrote an article, highlighting and explaining where certain quarterbacks fit in his “tiers”. There were some disrespectful things said about QB’s such as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, so here is an article combating the one Sando wrote.
What Was The Article About?
Recently, Mike Sando of the Athletic wrote an article categorizing the various tiers that NFL quarterbacks belong in, ranging from one to five. I’m writing this article to disagree with it. Sando traveled the country and found certain offensive, defensive, and special teams coaches, coordinators, and mentors. There were also a few personal directors that Sando found in hopes to make his article as credible as possible. I’ve seen ESPN shows such as First Take and Get Up respond to the anonymous coaches and coordinators as well and make some strongly thought-out responses.
According to Sando, a “tier one quarterback can carry his team each week. The team wins because of him. He expertly handles pure passing situations. He has no real holes in his game.” (Sando) This is important, as I will revert to this quote throughout this article. I will start with Chiefs All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has dominated the football world ever since bursting onto the scene in December of 2017.
When you take Mahomes’ arm strength, precision, and accuracy and sprinkle it with a bit of running ability and superhuman plays that leave defenders and coaches in awe, it’s more than understandable why he has played in an AFC Championship in every season he’s been a starter.
He Said What?!
However, one defensive play-caller said, “We love Mahomes because of his unorthodox throws, not because of his natural pocket presence,” this voter said. “And when that disappears, that is when they lose games. I don’t think that is a 1. I think that is a 2. Nothing against the guy. I love the kid. But take his first read away and what does he do? He runs, he scrambles, and he plays streetball.” (The Athletic) What some may have gotten from this is that he loves Mahomes but he can be a bit erratic at times which allows defenses to catch up to him and force him into bad decisions.
However, what I gathered was that he believes that despite Patrick going to a title game every season since being named the starter, in spite of Patrick being a Super Bowl MVP, and in spite of Patrick undoubtedly being one of the greatest quarterback talents this league has ever seen, he is more of a “tier two” because of his at times “unorthodox style”, and “faulty pocket presence.”
This take is truly hard to take in as a football fan and for someone who has seen Mahomes undeniably dismantle the league in front of my eyes. Is there a rule for quarterbacks that they need to be statues in the pocket? Perhaps what makes the guy so effective is his ability to escape and use his scrambling to extend plays and find receivers open on the occasionally broken play.
How could he say that once the first read is taken away, “Mahomes reverts to playing streetball and that’s when they lose games”? They hardly even lose games, so either defenses aren’t doing a good enough job of taking his first read away, or that take is truly blasphemous and untrue. Ryan Clark of ESPN was exasperated saying “Sometimes we need to realize what this quote says is truly stupid and should simply not be published.” (Clark) Mahomes has not been figured out, he is a one, and what this anonymous DC said should not be taken seriously.
Going After Allen
Next, I’ll evaluate what was said about Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Allen was placed in the first tier for the inaugural time in his career. However, what this anonymous defensive coordinator said about the former Wyoming Cowboy would have surprised anyone. “Josh Allen is a better version of Lamar (Jackson), and I love him as a football player,” the defensive coordinator said. “I still think he is erratic as a thrower and so he doesn’t scare me the same way Rodgers does. But he’s ascending.” (The Athletic)
When I first read this, I had to laugh it off as if I hadn’t read something correctly. So, Josh Allen, a six-foot-five machine who runs over defenders, throws the football with an immense amount of power, accuracy, and precision, who is also a team leader and makes others around him excel, is a “better Lamar Jackson”? I thought a tier-one QB had no real holes in his game.
That he is a player who “wills his team to wins.” Because pegging Allen as a better version of Lamar and saying he has issues with his decisions and making a case that his erratic plays still “creep in from time to time”, are definitive problems and holes in his game.
Additionally, these anonymous voters keep trying to backtrack what they said by saying “but I love the guy”. I can understand how Allen doesn’t scare you the way the two-time reigning league MVP does, however, I do object to the reasoning behind the Jackson comparison. While I personally believe Lamar is an exceptional talent and a player who has all of the capabilities to win the city of Baltimore a Super Bowl, he is nowhere near Josh Allen in terms of his passing ability, his drive to win football games, and his decision making.
I also loved the “but he’s ascending” comment. As if to say, “you know, I’m not really too scared of this guy, he’s great, but he’s basically a better Lamar, and he’s been quite erratic. But he’s still ascending; he’ll be fine”. No! You can’t contradict yourself three different times in one evaluation of a player. But it’s fine, I’m sure that voter either hasn’t seen Allen dissemble his team’s defense yet, or perhaps he works for an AFC East rival.
Nevertheless, it was hard to believe that some of the most respected and revered people in the football world would go on record to say the things that they did when former players such as Robert Griffin III and Ryan Clark feel so much differently, and have difficulty taking them seriously as a result. Not every quarterback in the NFL is perfect and deserves all of the praise, however coming at some of the very best that we have and discrediting them with statements that are not true is simply ludicrous.