Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole: Carolina Panthers’ Quarterback Rating

Okay, here we go again. More posturing and predicting — this time from Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole.

Last week, after the Mike Florio madness about Steve Smith calling rookie QB Jimmy Clausen a punk on Pro Football Talk, Jason Cole decided to try his hand at something similar, albeit a little different. Curiously, he started with ranking the receiving cores throughout the league, and had some things to say about the Panthers’ tight ends. “A wasteland.” But enough, I’m not going to re-hash that one again; water under the bridge, onto greener pastures…Or are they?

No, not really. After Panthers fans spirits were lifted to the moon when‘s Peter King ranked Carolina as the eighth most-likely team to make a playoff run as a Wild Card, and maybe even ranked them eighth overall in the League?… Maybe not, but that could confuse some.

Merely a day later, Jason Cole returns to dash Panthers fans’ all-time high yesterday to an almost all-time low today with his quarterback rankings.

The New Orleans Saints sit atop the list –surprising that it’s not the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning, just because it’s the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning — which I have no problem with. In my humble opinion, the team that’s just won the Super Bowl deserves to be atop the list, so long as they still have the same starting quarterback.

The Colts are No. two, New England Patriots sit at three. Fine, no problem. No qualms there. San Diego Chargers at four? Yeah, okay.

Fans of the Minnesota Vikings must be thrilled…no, wait…Brett Favre must be thrilled that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are ranked one slot higher. I think Cole’s trying to start a battle of words between the two quarterbacks and their clubs.

Here’s where I begin to take issue: Scroll down to No. 14 overall: Tennessee Titans.

People make a lot out of the fact that Vince Young guided the Titans to an 8-2 record once he returned to the lineup. Throw in the fact that he had a career-best 82.8 rating and there’s ample reason for promise. But also acknowledge that the Titans were 1-2 in that stretch against playoff teams (the one win was a stunning game-ending driving against (the) Arizona (Cardinals) and that Young is still hardly a precision passer. Yeah, Young still has promise, but he also has plenty of questions. -Jason Cole, Yahoo Sports

Then jump down to No. 17: Philadelphia Eagles.

…As for Kolb, he has had three games with significant playing time (in his career — two-and-a-half to be exact). He got hammered in relief against Baltimore in 2008 and New Orleans in ’09during his first (full) career start. He looked great against Kansas City in his second start, but that’s the Chiefs. It’s going to be a while before the jury returns a verdict. -Jason Cole, Yahoo Sports

At No. 19, he has the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m not going to quote every ranking I mention, but to summarize, “Garrard is a perfectly mediocre quarterback who needs a good running game and good receivers. Without help, his lack of accuracy and inability to make a crucial play at a crucial time becomes obvious.” Which is most times, because the Jags’ front office seemingly does everything it can to address wants more than needs.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ranked four places higher than the Panthers, because Josh Freeman‘s daddy “played Pro Football and Freeman gets the big picture. There are going to be struggles because of lack of talent around him, but don’t be surprised if five years from now Freeman is the best of the three.”

Okay, I’ll try to remember that. Don’t be surprised if five years from now, the Bucs have a new head coach and nobody has ever heard of Josh Freeman, other than oh yeah, he’s that dude who plays back up to…

So where do the Carolina Panthers rank in all of this? No. 30. A spot above the Cleveland Browns and two spots above the dead-last Buffalo Bills.

I guess ridding the team of Jake Delhomme saved the Panthers from being ranked 31, but the acquisition of Jake kept the Browns from being dead-last.

30. Carolina Panthers: Matt Moore did some pretty impressive things in his first real opportunity to play. His 98.5 passer-rating, 8 TD passes, two interceptions and especially his 7.6 yards per attempt over 138 passes are pretty good. Throw in the fact that he did most of that against playoff teams New England, New Orleans(*), and Minnesota and it gets more interesting. That said, if Moore falters at all, second-round pick Jimmy Clausen is quickly going to be the flavor of the month in Charlotte. -Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports

So because the fans — members of the whine and cheese club especially; admit it, those of you whom the shoe fits — get restless, as all fans do, that’s the biggest factor in ranking the Panthers at 30? Because what happens if Kevin Kolb falters? How about David Garrard? How long did the fans of the Panthers carry on about Jake Delhomme and “Pick Six” before he was benched by John Fox? 10 or 11 games, give or take.

“Coaches who listen to fans will soon find themselves sitting amongst the fans.”

And who did Kolb lead the Eagles to a victory over in his first regular season win as a starting quarterback? The Kansas City Chiefs. Wow, that’s impressive. Not to knock Kevin Kolb, because the man has a bright future in this League. But Matt Moore led the Panthers to wins over the New York Giants, knocking them out of playoff contention; he guided Carolina to a win over the Minnesota Vikings, a team which boasted a highly rated defense (and offense), he gave the New England Patriots a good scare in his first start, and I put an asterisk by the New Orleans Saints, because they sat their starters that day, which is fine. I understand the reasons behind that.

Last I checked, the success of a quarterback depends on his offensive line, his receivers, and the team’s running game. It’s rather hard to delete all of those factors and hone in on just the individual. The counterparts have to come with it. It’s like picking out some really cool looking tires for your car or truck, and even though you know they won’t fit, you go ahead and buy them anyway. Or something like that.

When you factor in the Panthers’ offensive line, Steve Smith and the untapped potential beyond him, as well as the Panthers’ “wasteland” who call themselves tight ends, and two outstanding running backs, this is more of a “middle-of-the-road team;”  I’m not staking outrageous claims that the quarterback position is top-10, or even top-15.

Personally, I would have ranked the Panthers somewhere in the middle-of-the-pack — in the neighborhood of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Atlanta Falcons are ranked at 15, the Chicago Bears at 16, and the Eagles at 17. Carolina could easily slide into 16, put the Bears at 15, and I’ll be generous and move Atlanta up to 14. Put the Titans at 29 or 30. Somewhere Vince Young is familiar with.

In the end, it’s a rankings list. It doesn’t determine in stone what the final result of the season will be. I understand that. But for someone who gets paid to write this stuff, and does so haphazardly after the 13th spot, needs to stay away from creating lists.

I don’t know what Cole has in mind next, but I’m really looking forward to seeing where he ranks the Panthers’ running game when he gets around to it. That will be the true test to this man’s credibility as a list-maker.

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  • Kiah Duncan

    30th is absolutely ridiculous. If this guy has the itch to make lists and step into those treacherous waters then he shouldn’t do so in such a hasty and poorly thought out manner.. This guy HAS to take into consideration that Moore has a top 10 o line (or better in my opinion), 2 1000 yard rushers, 3 serviceable and underated tight ends, and possibly the most dangerous #1 wideout in football (and for all you thinking Smitty is getting over the hill, get real). Not to mention we are surrounding smitty with young albeit unproven athletes.

    Take all that into consideration and how does Vince Young rank in your mind, with issues with C. Johnson wanting a new contract and Lendale gone?

    Kolb has potential but they gotta get a running game in there for him to open up the pass.

    However, I will have to say, I kind of like the fact that everyone (with the exception of Peter King) is overlooking us… We have our best seasons when we are under these circumstances and I thinker are going to surprise people. I think two of our bigger questionmarks are gonna be 1) will we see a more electrifying “speed to the ball ron meeks defensive system this yearand will it hold up for a full season, along with our committee of young defensive Tackles. 2) Did we shore up our special teams issues? I think that quite possibly cost us a few games last year. Hopefully Armanti and Gettis and some others can step up, as well as some guys on the kickoff and punt coverage squad.

    I am not quite as worried about the DL and DE issues. I think we have the young talentand depth to create competition…. It almost reminds me of how the colts have dealt with defensive personel in the past. I am really hoping that a second year under Ron Meeks has this defense really flying around the field and giving us an edge as a really unique and fierce defense. I feel that sticking to a 4-3 system and playing Ron Meeks type defense is actually out of the norm in today’s 3-4 blitz/packagehappy NFL. I am wondering if this gives us an edge as far as gameplanning and preparing for us goes? Just a thought…

    Enough of my ranting and raving, I have football fever apparently and can’t wait for the season to get rolling along!

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Nice comment, Kiah! I actually enjoyed reading your opinion here.

      30th is absurd, which is why I mentioned all the other teams ranked above Carolina, because he gave Moore better accolades than the others I mentioned, who were ranked higher. Everyone who reads content from this site, will have the opportunity to hear a Q&A that John White of Cat Crave Radio will be holding with Cole in the next week or two, and you can be sure questions in regard to this piece will be among anything else Mr. White asks of him. I’ll be sure to post a reminder on Twitter when that episode is available for listening.

      Again, I say Cole can go ahead and slide the Titans with Vince Young and old washed up Kerry Collins down to the 30-spot. If you read Cole’s article too, it’s actually quite funny how some teams he uses the receivers and running backs as reasoning for the quarterback’s success. maybe he forgot Carolina has Steve Smith and two 1,100-yard running backs? Oh, and forget our tight ends, Kiah. In his last article, they are underrated in no way. They are “a wasteland.”

      I’m not overly concerned with the DE and DL/DT position, either. We signed UFA Ed Johnson from the Colts; he’s a fairly big boy. I like what we have, and I agree with you that this team being undervalued by so many, and Mike Florio making bogus stories about Steve Smith should give this team plenty of bulletin board fodder to get the fires burning.

      Thanks for the read and comment!

  • BigG

    I think with youth comes changes. Begin on the the changes.
    Playoffs Maybe? Go Panthers

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Big G, with youth definitely comes change. Playoffs are a possibility; as a Wild Card, they’re even more of a realistic possibility.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  • Evan

    More delusional expansion team ignorance. Over-looked, under-estimated, counted-out, completely ignored, forgotten about, etc. Just the way we like it.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      That could be, Evan. John White will have Jason Cole on Episode 113 of Cat Crave Radio next week to ‘splain hisself.

      Thanks for the read and comment.