Best players at every position for Week 8

New England's Julian Edelman and Tom Brady highlight our list of the best players at every position for Week 8.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

Best players at every position for Week 8

Six Patriots made our Team of the Week after a big performance on Thursday Night Football. Who else posted games worthy of the roster?

Let’s find out.

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Patriots (+7.6)

Wait, what? No Drew Brees? While Brees posted some eye-popping numbers, it was the brilliance of Brady (with pressure flying at him) that was a true sight to behold. The Patriots’ quarterback  is playing as well as he ever has.

Running back: Latavius Murray, Raiders (+1.9)

The Raider finished with 113 yards after forcing four missed tackles to emphasize why he’s the deserved starter in Oakland.

Fullback: Zach Line, Vikings (+3.1)

The Vikings continue to produce fine lead blockers for Adrian Peterson.

Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (+1.5)

The unstoppable Gronkowski had another touchdown and was simply too much for Miami to deal with, as he ended the day with 113 yards.

Wide receivers: Julian Edelman, Patriots (+4.3) and Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (+4.5)

It’s not just about yardage, and Edelman’s efforts on Thursday Night Football proved that. Thomas was at his best in feasting on the Packers’ secondary.

Tackles: Anthony Castonzo, Colts (+7.3) and Kyle Long, Bears (+3.4)

Beaten for just the one sack on an incredible 55 pass blocks, Castonzo surpassed the competition with some excellent work in the run game. On the right side, it was a nice effort from Long, who is starting to look like more than a makeshift tackle with his quality displays.

Guards: Jeff Allen, Chiefs (+5.6) and Michael Harris, Vikings (+4.1)

There was a time when you wouldn’t see guards dominating Detroit the way Allen did. Not any more. Harris may have been a poor tackle but he’s proved a much better guard, with his Week 8 efforts his best yet.

Center: Matt Slauson, Bears (+4.0)

The Bears, as we mentioned earlier, have had to move some pieces around on the line, so it must be refreshing to see how well guys like Slauson are doing when presented with a totally different challenge.


Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).

Defensive interior – ends: J.J. Watt, Texans (+13.9) and Aaron Donald, Rams (+4.3)

There are times when you really need to protect your rookie lineman; having J.J. Watt as the opposition is a great example of such an instance. He wreaked havoc to the tune of three sacks, four hits, and three more hurries in a dominant effort. Donald wasn’t quite at that level, but he still ensured the 49ers’ interior line won’t have much fun reviewing the tape this morning.

Defensive interior – nose: Michael Brockers, Rams (+1.5)

With Brockers spending 27 of his snaps either shading or head-on from the center, we feel comfortable with him at this position—especially after he added three defensive stops in the run game.

Edge rushers: Khalil Mack, Raiders (+6.1) and Cameron Jordan, Saints (+7.5)

Greg Hardy is a little unlucky to not make the team, but the pure pass-rushing brilliance of Jordan earned him the nod. Eight hurries got lost in the score-fest that was the Giants’ trip to Louisiana, but it was a remarkable effort. Each week, Mack just goes about his business—and each week, we’re impressed. He’s spearheading the Raiders’ return to relevance.

Linebackers: Jerrell Freeman, Colts (+8.2) and Luke Kuechly, Panthers (+5.0)

Monday Night Football was a showcase for two of the best linebacker performances we’ve seen all year. Freeman was a menace in the run game with Kuechly dominant all over the field. It was fitting one of them would make the games defining play.

Cornerbacks: Richard Sherman, Seahawks (+5.0) and Darius Slay, Lions (+3.3)

It hasn’t been his best season so far, but Sherman showed he hasn’t lost a step. Thrown at five times, he allowed just one reception and broke up the other four passes. Slay broke up two passes and allowed just seven yards in London.

Safeties: Roman Harper, Panthers (+4.1) and Kurt Coleman, Panthers (+3.6)

It doesn’t get much better for a team when their safeties play like this. The two were thrown at a combined seven times and walked away allowing just 28 yards after deflecting three passes and intercepting another.

Kicker: Justin Tucker, Ravens

Is there any player you’d trust more than Tucker to kick a game-winner?

Punter: Johnny Hekker, Rams

You almost feel bad for the ball when Hekker charges that leg up.

Returner: Marcus Sherels, Vikings

He didn’t have a lot to do, but boy, did he do it well.

To see the worst players at every position for Week 8, visit Bryson Vesnaver’s Worst Team of the Week.

  • Scott Kohler

    Yeah, ok. No Brees. That’s hilarious. He made pinpoint throw after pinpoint throw and except for 1 bad pass, he was nearly perfect.

    • Calvin Jackson

      so did eli and so did brady but u can only choose one . its not liek he was snubbed for ryan tannehil or soemthing

    • Balmori HappyFeet Valle

      But did he do it while being defended? There was almost no defense played that game.

      • Scott Kohler

        He changed plays at the line of scrimmage and recognized coverages. Once he recognized the coverage, he put his receivers in good positions to get open. I’d like to see Brady get 7 tds against them in week 10. There was a reason there was no defense played in that game, and that was because Brees was playing so well.

        • zach morano

          Brees has struggled in games before playing one of the worst defenses in the league. I don’t see that play being consistent especially because he played so poorly under pressure but still Brees showed some life and I could see him helping his team attain a playoff run like years before just not at the same level

          • Scott Kohler

            Brees really hasn’t struggled that much at all this year, in fact I would say that he’s aced most of all of his matchups. The stats don’t tell the tale because he’s made sacrifices to run the ball more, unlike Brady. Hence the most rushing tds in the nfl. And obviously he’s not going to consistently play godly and get 7 tds every week, but I see him doing a little more of what he’s been doing all year. That’s playing efficient. I’m prepared to see the 2 TD games a little more than the 4 tds games but with Mark Ingramgetting more carries and touchdowns. He also didn’t struggle while under pressure because he made several nice throws under duress and only forced 1 pass into coverage. And if it’s so “easy” then ve’ll see what Brady does against the Giants.

          • geo2209

            Brady ain’t getting no 7 TDs against the Giants, agreed. He should have been QB of the week NOT Brady who’s getting the ball out in less than 2 seconds to the best slot receiver in the league (Edelman) who is almost ALWAYS OPEN. Give Brees that kind of weapon and scheme and he would replicate Brady’s effort. +8 is pure homerism by PFF.

    • Dan Sardo

      The giants pass defense is ranked 32nd in the league.

      He could have been throwing water ballons and they would have been completions.

      • Scott Kohler

        Really? Why haven’t any other qb’s play that well then? I’d like to see Brady get 7 tds in week 10 when they play them.

        • Dan Sardo

          He isn’t going to have to do that because his team’s defense isn’t almost as bad as the Giants so he has to do that to barely win. This really isn’t rocket science you know.

          • Scott Kohler

            Wow that’s surprising because Brady has 20 tds this season, so I guess he apparently has to throw a lot of touchdowns to win games. This really isn’t that difficult if you think about it. Brady also usually throws the ball 10+ more times than Brees so based on that alone he could throw for 7tds but I doubt that completely, but go ahead and make your excuses in advance.

          • Dan Sardo

            They pulled Brady from the game early because the pats were so far ahead. And what has that got to do with the fact that both the Giants and Saints have the most horrendous pass defenses in the league? I’m not sure what your trying to talk yourself into, but your not doing such a good job. Btw breese ends up throwing the ball less because he ends up throwing so many interceptions

          • geo2209

            If Brady gets 7 TDs then come back and talk smack. Pathetic Pats homer

          • Dan Sardo

            Brees has 6 interceptions in the last 7 games including 2 during that game you are so proud of against the worst pass defense, by far, in the league. He was tied for the 3rd most interceptions in the entire league last year. When you keep shooting your team in the foot it makes it a little less impressive when you actual do something positive. I don’t need to talk snack just remind guys like you of the actual facts

          • Brendan Dillon

            Come back and talk smack the next time Brady throws an INT. 20TDs, 1 interception on the season. And Brady played a better team, NY’s D is a joke. So is their offense for that matter, which makes NO look even worse.

          • Connor Molloy

            brady has thrown 5 TDs in a single quarter in the past. 7 TDs is unquestionably possible, but Tom Brady has the misfortune (by your logic its a misfortune) of having a competently coached defense which affords him the opportunity to run the ball and eat up clock. for gods sake, the commentators on sunday were complaining that brady shouldnt have been in the game during the 3rd qtr lol i refuse to knock a QB for crushing teams and controlling the ball

    • crosseyedlemon

      The PFF staff is going with Brady over Brees because Tom is having to adjust to playing with balls that aren’t deflated.

      • tonka

        Yeah, those non-deflated balls are really ruining Brady’s season. Hey maybe since Aaron Rodgers misses the over-inflated balls?

  • zach morano

    Too bad he had a 63.3 passer rating under pressure shows that he benefited off his opposing teams lack of defense Brady was perfect all game the only reason he didn’t put up 7 TDs was his defense allowed him to just run the clock out

    • geo2209

      And too bad Brees doesn’t have the best slot receiver in the NFL who is always open in 2 seconds. Nor the best TE in the league. Brees should have been QB of the week, he has no weapons. Ben Watson? lol. Snead? He was on the practice squad for how long? Cooks? Underperforming, undersized. Colston? Moribund dinosaur who has no speed and only gets open when the defense forgets he’s there. Ingram is about the only comparable weapon to the Pats (Dion Lewis). Otherwise, Brees is getting blood out of a stone so his performance was remarkable. Brady, almost any accurate QB can throw to Edelman in 2 seconds or less to avoid the pass rush.

      • Brendan Dillon

        Have you noticed that whoever the Pats plug into the slot magically turns into the best slot receiver in the NF:? First it was Welker (who turned mediocre when he left), then it was Edelman (who is a converted QB that nobody thought was worth anything). When Edelman can’t get open, suddenly Amendola morphs into the best slot receiver in the NFL. Gronkowski is certainly a beast, but the PAts receivers, with the exception of when they had Moss for a year, have always been pretty mediocre players who played up when they had Brady throwing to them, then regressed once they went elsewhere.

  • snoth cambin

    Gostowski is getting no love AGAIN!

    • Dwight Coleman

      Justin tucker made 5 FG’s including a game winner. Just because Gostkowski made a career long 56 yarder (5 yards less than Tucker’s career long) doesn’t mean he deserves the kicker of the week.

      • snoth cambin

        It’s not just this week it’s every week I’d take ghost over tucker any day of the week whether it’s a clutch situation or 60 yarder.

        • Vitor

          I think it’s way easier kicking when your team is already crushing the opponent (like NE did to MIA thursday) than when all the points coming from the FGs attempts count and the game is on the line, like Tucker did. But hey, I may be wrong…

        • geo2209

          Tucker has a bigger leg and is more accurate.

          • snoth cambin

            I don’t think you can make that assumption. Gostowski hasn’t missed a 50+ yarder yet this year and most of them would be good from 60

          • anon76returns

            “would be” doesn’t count for much. Has Gostkowski ever actually kicked a 60 yarder?

          • snoth cambin

            He kicked a 57 yarder that would’ve been good from 60 so yes it does count for a lot. Since the patriots offense is rarely at a point where 60 yarder is needed he doesn’t have the opportunities that tucker does because the Ravens offense is in that 40-30 realm alot more than him.

          • anon76returns

            Gostkowski has been in the league 10 years. There’s been plenty of times where the Pats didn’t get to the 20 yard line over that period.
            The Broncos kicker kicked a 75 yard field goal with his job on the line this summer. Guess what: nobody’s giving him an award for it, because it doesn’t count. Tucker and McManus have both been kicking a lot more high pressure, game winning kicks than Gostkowski has. When Gostkowski actually kicks a 60 yard field goal, or makes a field goal that provides a winning margin, then he’ll be duly celebrated.

            LOL! Man, leave it to a Pats fan to complain when they get 6 players on the “team of the week” list after pulling away in the 4th qtr from a clearly inferior opponent at home.

          • snoth cambin

            I could care less about a 60 yard kick. It’s just weird that gostowski is better than tucker but doesn’t get the credit because he doesn’t have to worry about kicking a game winner multiple times a year.

            Also what kicker in denver kicked 70 yards? It’s pretty 60 yarder in Denver.

            This has nothing to do with being a patriots fan gostowski is one of the best kickers of all time better than AV and by your knowledge has never kicked a kick that won them a game.

          • anon76returns

            Gostkowski gets plenty of love from PFF when he earns it. Pressure kicks matter. Game winning kicks matter. And actually kicking a 60 yarder, not just hitting a 56 yarder “that would have been good from 60″ matters.

            As for the Broncos Kicker’s 70 yarder, read about it here:


            That came when he was actually perceived as being behind in the kicking competition in the summer, so even though it was just in practice, there was plenty of pressure involved (i.e. it vastly improved his chances of earning an actual paycheck this year).

          • snoth cambin

            You’re telling me that gostowski isn’t better than tucker because McManus kicked a 70 yarder in camp in the high altitude of denver in training camp? Then I can tell you that gostowski hit a 60 yarder in preseason.

            Hitting game winning kicks matters but if a kicker like gostowski is hitting 95 percent of his kicks going back 2 years has hit 99% of his 50+ yarders 90 percent of his 40-49 yarder and is perfect from anything below that since 2013 it shouldn’t matter if he isn’t kicking game winners every other week since kickers are dependent on their own offense.

          • anon76returns

            I’m telling you that “would haves” and “could haves” don’t matter much. Gostkowski “would have” hit a 60 yarder, but he didn’t. McManus “would have” had a 70 yarder in a game, but he didn’t. Gostkowski hit a 56 yard field goal in a game that was never going to be close. Good for him- I’m sure he got a good grade on the afternoon, just not as good as Tucker’s, who hit a game winning kick in a game that Baltimore absolutely had to win to keep any hope for their season alive.
            Whatever other accomplishments Gostkowski has had over the years don’t really have much to do with a “kicker of the week” grade.

          • snoth cambin

            So gostowski can never be better than tucker because he’s on a better team with a better offense that doesn’t have close games often?

          • anon76returns

            “not often” ≠ “never”

            Anytime Gostkowski has better KO numbers and more impressive FGs than the other kickers, he’ll get best kicker of the week. IIRC, he usually ends up as one of the top 2-3 graded kickers of the year, which he could do without ever earning best of any given week. I’m really just not sure what you’re complaining about here.

  • Devin

    In regards to your question under Justin Tucker, I would say Stephen Gostkowski

  • Jared

    If you want a better understanding of Brady over Brees this week. Go to the worst players of the week and you will see that both tackles are Patriots.

    • anon76returns

      Right here I see Gronkowski and Edelman as two of the three top performing pass catchers on the week, while Brees didn’t have the same level of help (apparently). Having bad tackles doesn’t help, but when you habitually get rid of the ball in 2.1 seconds or less, there’s not enough time for edge pressure to get to you.
      I do have to question how much credit Brady is getting for essentially throwing quick, accurate short throws and then letting his targets rack up yardage after the catch. Brady’s definitely playing well, and played well on Thursday, but a nearly + 8 grade seems very generous based on what I saw.

      • Jim Winslow

        yeah but he was getting rid of the ball in two seconds, while under immense pressure.

      • Brendan Dillon

        How many QB’s can consistently get the ball out as fast as Brady? Their O-line is a train wreck, so they have to throw quick. With most QQ’s this would mean a huge dropoff in performance. That hasn’t happened with Brady. Part of the decision making process for a good QB isn’t just finding who is open, but also finding who is open and is in position to make plays. Brady consistently makes those reads.

        • anon76returns

          Manning had actually been getting the ball out quicker than Brady in 2012-2014, before being slowed down by more PA fakes this year. Rivers and Dalton have been consistently getting it out as quickly as Brady the last few years as well, with Rivers usually doing so under immense pressure. This year David Carr is actually throwing the ball about as fast as the 4 vets as well (but not facing much pressure due to a surprisingly stout OL.

          I don’t recall any of Manning-Rivers-Dalton-Carr getting a +8 grade in any of their games over the last 4 seasons, certainly not when their receivers were doing as much of the legwork as Edelman and Gronk did last Thursday.

          • Brendan Dillon

            QBR? Wait, are you ACTUALLY citing ESPN’s fictional pseudo-statistic? If you are foolish enough to actually cite a ‘statistic’ that nobody knows how it is calculated, then you need to have all sharp (or even pseudo sharp) implements removed from anywhere near your person. Anyone that dumb is in serious danger of stabbing their own eyeballs out with a ballpoint pen. According to ESPN, Brady had a worse week than Aaron Rodgers this week. That’s what a spectacular pile of pig turd QBR is. Apparently you like swallowing pig turd though.

          • anon76returns


            DVOA and DYAR largely back up QBR (though not in the case of Rodgers’ terrible game- that’s pretty silly).


            And people do understand how QBR is calculated, just usually not the types that spend much time discussing pig turds.

          • Brendan Dillon

            Nope. Total QBR is a fictional statistic made up by ESPN. They haven’t told anyone how it is calculated. If an objective outsider can’t calculate it themselves, then it’s not a real statistic. It’s pig turds, and you swallow it willingly. But hey, if you have the formula, by all means share it.

          • anon76returns


            Stay classy, Boston.

            In case your interests ever stray from the porcine, here are some tutorials:

   (see discussion on difference in Bridgewater’s QBR vs. DVOA)

          • Brendan Dillon

            ANY statistic that you can’t show someone else how to calculate is pig turds. When you are making judgement calls, which is what ESPN is doing with Total QBR, then you are not working with statistics, you are working off of opinion. The proof is in the pudding with ESPN’s Total QBR claiming that Aaron Rodgers somehow had a better week than Brady. I don’t know why you’re even mentioning DVOA or DYAR except to try to change the subject from Total QBR being a fictitious non-statistic. No one with an even basic understanding of statistical analysis takes it seriously. But you go right ahead and swallow that swill if it tells you what you want to hear and it makes you happy… that’s what you’re going to do anyways.

          • anon76returns

            You’re hilarious. Not pleasant, and certainly a little too preoccupied with pigs. Nor do I think you’re *intentionally* hilarious, but you are hilarious all the same.
            Yes, QBR has judgement calls thrown in there. We’re on PFF’s site, where literally every single snap by every player in every grade is ranked by … wait for it … a judgement call. It’s a -2.0 to + 2.0 scale of judgement calls.
            When in the mood I’ve gone through and graded players on the same scale as PFF, and my grades have generally been quite close to PFF’s. In those cases I’d defend PFF’s grading system.
            In this case the PFF grade for Brady doesn’t at all jive with what I saw on the field, so I question it. Pretty simple, really- I didn’t even need to refer to turds or pigs to make my point!

          • Brendan Dillon

            Trying to change the subject again? We’re talking about Total QBR here little boy, try to stay on target.

          • anon76returns

            Original comment to which you replied:

            “Brady’s definitely playing well, and played well on Thursday, but a nearly + 8 grade seems very generous based on what I saw.”

            Sure looks like we’re talking about PFF grades, though perhaps your dizzying intellect threw you for a few loops while you were spinning off sweet insults and talking about pig turds. Don’t sweat it, it happens to the best of ’em.

          • Brendan Dillon

            “Brady’s QBR on Thursday was a slightly above average 60.7…”
            Gee, that looks like you’re talking about Total QBR, which is what I was talking about. I couldn’t give two craps about PFF’s stats one way or the other. They have their strengths and they have their weaknesses. But when some bozo starts talking about Total QBR, that gets my attention, because it proves said individual is glaringly ignorant about statistical analysis. If the methodology of a statistic isn’t 100% clear so that anyone with a sufficient background in statistical analysis can calculate it, then it is NOT a statistic. It is akin o a scientist saying “I did an experiment and this is the result I got which proved my hypothesis. No, I won’t show you the work or my methodology or the results, you just have to believe it is what I say it is.” It’s 100% quackery.

          • anon76returns

            Out of curiosity, is the “Masshole” moniker a point of pride with Boston area sports fans? You all seem to relish living up to it with such abandon, and yet non-sports fans from the area are generally pretty cool.
            I suggested the PFF grade for Brady vs. the Dolphins was off base. You, regardless of what you may say now, defended the PFF grade by talking about Brady’s release speed and decision-making ability, as anyone with a working scroll finger can confirm. I then offered up QBR as a similar rating system to PFF (one that relies on judging how well a player did on any given play), and pointed out that its rating of Brady in that game jived much better with my feeling on the game. You then diverged on a sewage-laced porcine tangent from which I was beginning to think you’d never emerge.

            I talked about PFF grades and QBR. I never said anything about a statistic, but merely discussed the relative ratings of Brady’s performance using the two different systems. I may not be able to exactly calculate QBR, but given the descriptions in the links provided above, I’m confident I could come pretty close. I’d say the same thing with PFF grades- for instance, if I graded Brady’s game vs. Miami, I wouldn’t come up with exactly a +7.6 grade. Ironically, you wouldn’t come up with that grade either, even though you’re here defending Brady’s PFF grade like some “bozo” that references QBR.

          • Brendan Dillon

            What I discussed in one thread versus another are different matters, I have consistently discussed Total QBR in this thread and its blatant shortcomings, while you have done your best to change the subject, because Total QBR is indefensible and citing Total QBR is absolutely idiotic. Yours is a pretty typical troll tactic, when caught out in an idiotic claim, change the subject! Don’t address the topic, obfuscate! You should consider political office, between your determined avoidance and your blind adherence to what your media of choice spouts, you’d be a perfect mouthpiece on either side of the political aisle.
            In closing: Total QBR is Total BS and anyone with the slightest understanding of statistical analysis knows it. ESPN is off their rocker for trying to shove that down viewers throats. Keep on eating, don’t chew before you swallow (you might start to think if you do) and enjoy the slop!

          • anon76returns

            LOL! You’re actually proud of what you write, aren’t you?
            News flash: your posts are 90% personal invective and unearned chest thumping. You’ve engaged in personal attacks in nearly every post, you’ve defended PFF grades (judgement call-based ratings) while attacking QBR (judgement call-based ratings), you’ve tried to insist that I was using QBR as a statistic when I never did, and now, in a bid for the gold at the unintentional irony olympics, you accuse me of being an obfuscating troll. Anybody with a modicum of social awareness would be embarrassed to act like you do, yet here you are blowing kisses to your imaginary fans.

            The thread started under discussion of why Brady’s PFF grade was so high. Jared opened the discussion by pointing out the play of Brady’s surrounding talent (poor play by the tackles). I also brought up the play of Brady’s surrounding talent (receiving options) to say that while I agree Brady’s game was good, his PFF grade was too high. You pointed out that Brady was forced into a quick release by poor OL play and stated that no other QBs could have as good of production under such circumstances, and I brought up 4 other QBs that have been in the same ball park in release time without getting as high of a grade. I then pointed out that another judgement based performance metric was much more sanguine about Brady’s game, and then you went nuts. That is the thread we’re on. Scroll up and check for yourself if you don’t believe me. It’s all in the same thread.

          • Brendan Dillon

            Y’know what’s embarrassing? Building your argument around a BS statistic, getting called out on it, LYING about using the statistic when your comment is right there for anyone to read, lying about the statements the person you’re arguing with made (I never defended PFFs stats, try reading, I defended Brady’s approach), and perpetually trying to change the subject rather than owning up to the fact that you got busted trying to build an argument atop a soft, squishy pile of poo.

          • anon76returns

            QBR is not a statistic any more than a PFF grade is a statistic. They are both metrics designed to assess player performance. QBR wasn’t the basis of my argument, but rather a secondary support for an argument about whether Brady’s quick release time and production had been duplicated by other QBs in the league, addressing your statement that NE’s “O-line is a train wreck, so they have to throw quick. With most QQ’s this would mean a huge dropoff in performance.” I never swore by QBR or saw it as anything other than a competing metric with PFF’s grade for Brady in the Miami game, which I briefly mentioned.

            You did defend PFF’s grades implicitly- I said “Brady’s definitely playing well, and played well on Thursday, but a nearly + 8 grade seems very generous based on what I saw”, and you responded in contradiction. You clearly weren’t contradicting that Brady is playing well, or that Brady played well on Thursday night, so either you were responding with a completely non sequitur statement (to be fair, I wouldn’t put it past you), or you were trying to contradict my assertion that the +8 PFF grade was too high. I.e., you were defending PFF’s grade.

      • DC

        Brady has to get rid of the ball quickly right now, because of the
        injuries to the o-line. If he had the time to wait for someone to go
        down the field, I’m sure he would. It’s just not an option now.

      • Sheldon

        I think you’ve answered your own question. You mentioned how several other QB’s can throw as quickly or quicker than Brady, so this isn’t the differentiating factor, although I’m sure it’s influential. What Brady does is throw quickly AND effectively. Because let’s be honest, you can throw an interception in 2 seconds. Just because you let go of the ball quickly and before the pass rush reached you doesn’t negate the fact that it was an ineffective throw.
        Despite Brendan’s emphatic nature of attacking QBR, he does have a point. When your “stat” has Ryan Fitzpatrick as your #3 ranked QB, and when Aaron Rodgers gets a higher grade than Tom Brady despite the obvious huge disparities in the results, it’s highly suspect. One other note, it’s calculation is proprietary. So while some people may understand the gist of how it is formulated (as you intimated), only ESPN knows its inner workings.

        • anon76returns

          To your first point I’d argue that Manning in 2013 was equally fast, and had a game with 7 TDs and 0 INTs, along with 5 games with 4 TDs and 0 INTs (one of which he completed ~90% of his passes). Hard to argue that he wasn’t as effective as Brady while being as fast, but he never got as high of a grade. In 2013 Rivers had a similarly quick release time and was constantly under pressure due to poor OL play. He put up huge numbers and was (IIRC) PFF’s #2 graded QB on the season, but he never got as high of a grade. For that matter, Dalton has a similar release time and between 2013 and this year has had several (non prime time ofc) games with production as good as Brady’s, though obviously in the case of Dalton the pressure hasn’t generally been there due to his airtight OL.

          As to QBR, every metric has some odd results. The passing portion of Fitzpatrick’s QBR has him as the 19th best QB in the league, so his 3rd place showing is mostly due to his running/scrambling:

          My recollection is that he was also showing up in the PFF top 10 QBs on the season, though usually around 9th or 10th. QBR probably weights the running portion more heavily than PFF does (which also explains why Rodgers had a better QBR last week than Brady), but in general the two metrics are fairly closely correlated (as both of them are with DVOA, actually). I believe that all three metrics are more closely correlated with each other than any of them are to (for instance) passer rating- I threw out the QBR because I don’t have access to per game DVOA ratings.

  • Left footed pitcher

    Hey PFF! Jeff Allen is playing at RT, not Guard!

  • Brendan N

    Why does PFF list Khalil Mack as an OLB? He is constantly lining up as a defensive lineman. I know he drops back into coverage around 10-15% of the time, but that shouldn’t warrant the OLB designation as he is always lined up as an end? I’m curious what defines the DE and OLB designation between ‘edge rushers’? Thanks.

  • Jeremy Smith

    How in the F are no Broncos on this list??? Chris Harris, Jr.? Aqib Talib? Von Miller or Derek Wolfe? No one’s ever seen Aaron Rodgers THAT frustrated. The Orange Crush/No Fly Zone completely broke their will. C’mon PFF …. 77 yards passing? Someone here hates the Broncos if at least 1 or 2 Denver defenders aren’t on this list every F’n week.