In watching the QB carousel this year, a question has arisen:
What constitutes a great quarterback?
Right now Tre Harris has some of the best statistics in the league, including yards and completions. However, when you actually watch him in games, he throws more short passes and backfield tosses to the flat than just about any quarterback I’ve ever watched. Occasionally he’ll throw one deep, but documented sightings of Bigfoot seem to occur more often.
So is a great quarterback one who throws lots of short passes and earns a high completion rate, or is it a pivot who has a lower QB rating but throws the long ball for points?
It also brings into the question…nobody would dispute that Mike Reilly was one of the greatest quarterbacks in the league in 2017 and 2018. This year, he’s like a three-dollar strumpet and spends most of his time on his back. If going by stats, he has the third-largest yardage tally, but has one of the worst QB ratings, and lowest average yardage. Is he still a “great quarterback?”
If the key criterion is wins, then Matt Nichols needs to be in the conversation, but you almost never hear anyone refer to him as “great.” There are some who believe he isn’t even the best QB on his own team, much less the whole league. But it’s hard to argue that he delivers victories.
Looking at the history of the league as well as the current rosters, what defines a great quarterback? And do any of the 2019 pivots qualify for that tag?