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Rams-Cardinals preview: NFL is still a passing league, even at the quarterback position

The best “dual threat” that a QB can be is an accurate passer and a fearless passer

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The narrative that the NFL is now a league dominated by “dual threat passers” is one that is far more of a hopeful future for some fans than it is a current reality. When the LA Rams travel to Phoenix this week to face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, they will be facing one such dual threat, but not one who is in the MVP race because of his rushing abilities.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray currently leads the NFL in these passing categories: completion percentage (72.7%), TD rate (7%), Y/A (8.9), passer rating (112.2), net Y/A (7.72), and adjusted Y/A (9.1).

His single-game high for rushing yards? 59.

Murray has rushed for under 40 yards in eight of nine starts this season, but there is no questioning that his mobility is a key attribute in his passing success as a third-year signal-caller. It’s just that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the reason we’re talking so much about Kyler Murray in 2021 is because he improved as a passer, which is the same cause for us talking about Lamar Jackson in 2019 and Josh Allen in 2020.

Two quarterbacks who at the moment feel more like cautionary tales than prototypes.


There are currently seven quarterbacks in the NFL who have won at least eight starts this season (or if you prefer: seven QBs who were the starters for a team that won the game, if you don’t like attributing 100-percent of success to one player, which I respect) and the term “dual threat” is one of the last that comes to mind when I look at this list:

Kyler Murray

Matthew Stafford

Aaron Rodgers

Tom Brady

Mac Jones

Patrick Mahomes

Ryan Tannehill

When pondering the idea that the current NFL is now one that “favors mobile QBs over pocket passers”, one must consider the parameters.

  • Is the QB helping his team win games? We have people who hate “QB Wins” but I don’t think you can be a rational fan and not believe that the quarterback is the most important player on the field.
  • Is the QB a statistical success?
  • Is the QB generally accepted to be one of the top players at the position, measured in awards, honors, online praise, etc.?

Here we are in the year 2021 and while I keep hearing “dual threat, dual threat, dual need Trey Lance, not Mac need Justin Fields, not Mac Jones...QBs have to be mobile now or you die...”

What I keep seeing is...

“Hi, I’m Tom Brady.”

NFL: Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers-White House Visit Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

“Hi, I’m Aaron Rodgers.”

“Hi, I’m the quarterback of the New England Patriots. Call me Mac.”

For all his faults this season, Matthew Stafford still ranks second in touchdown passes (30, four behind Brady), fourth in Y/A (behind Murray, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Joe Burrow), second in passer rating (Murray), and he has the second-lowest sack rate in the NFL (a 44-year-old has the lowest).

“Mobility” still isn’t ringing true for most of the NFL’s top quarterbacks; Kirk Cousins ranks third in passer rating, and the playoff standings currently indicate that players such as Dak Prescott, Taylor Heinicke, Garoppolo could round out the NFC’s slate, with Jones, Tannehill, Mahomes, Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Burrow in the AFC right now.

It seems we are still seeing way more statues at the position than action figures.

When the Rams face the Cards on Monday night, it will feature two legitimate MVP candidates at quarterback and the winner of this game could very well push the needle in the direction of either Murray or Stafford. But I don’t think that’s a needle that either player can run through—they’re going to need to prove it in the air.

Which QB do you think is most likely going to be in the MVP race in 2023?


Which QB is most likely to still be an MVP candidate in 2023?

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