NFC NORTH

NFC North: A look at the quarterbacks

Posted Oct 2, 2012

We're taking a look at the play of the four quarterbacks in the NFC North through the first quarter of the season in this week's look at the division.

We're taking a look at the play of the four quarterbacks in the NFC North through the first quarter of the season in this week's look at the division.

AARON RODGERS

Packers record: 2-2

TD/INT ratio: 7/3

QB rating: 95.7

Stat that jumps out: Rogers is averaging just 6.8 yards per completion. That’s more of an indictment on how poorly the Packers’ offensive line and run game have played through the first four weeks than Rodgers, though.

Comment: Rogers got things back on track this week against the Saints when he accounted for all four of the Packers’ touchdowns in a 28-27 victory. He completed 76 percent of his passes in the game. The reigning MVP is still the head of the class among the NFC North quarterback class, but the beginning of this season has reaffirmed the fact that even the MVP can’t do it alone.

MATTHEW STAFFORD

Lions record: 1-3

TD/INT: 3/4

QB rating: 81.6

Stat that jumps out: After throwing 11 touchdowns in his first four games last season and 41 on the season, Stafford has just three through the first quarter of the season this year. He’s been the victim of some drops in the end zone, but he’s well off last season’s pace.

Comment: Stafford has been a little banged up, but he’d be the first one to tell you that’s no excuse for having just three touchdowns through three games. He hasn’t played bad, he’s just having to learn that the way he’s going to have success this year against all the zone coverage he’s been seeing is to be efficient with his reads and convert third downs and drive the football. He does that and the big plays down the field will open up.

JAY CUTLER

Bears record: 3-1

TD/INT: 5/6

QB rating: 75.3

Stat that jumps out: Only four quarterbacks have more interceptions on the season that Cutler. The addition of Mike Tice as the Bears’ offensive coordinator this season was supposed to limit Cutler’s interceptions as the Bears went back to some of their running roots. Cutler is on pace to throw 24 picks, almost as many as he did his first season with the Bears (26) back in 2009.

Comment: Cutler is coming off his best performance of the season Monday night against the Cowboys. He was efficient. He took care of the football. He made plays down the field. His 140.1 rating in the Bears’ 34-18 victory was his highest since a four-touchdown performance against the Eagles in Week 12 of the 2010 season when he registered a 146.2 rating. Maybe this is the game he needed to kick start his season and the Bears offense.

CHRISTIAN PONDER

Vikings record: 3-1

TD/INT: 4/0

QB rating: 97.7

Stat that jumps out: The Vikings have asked Ponder to limit his turnovers and play smarter football this season. He’s responded by throwing no interceptions through his first four games. The Vikings want to run the football and play good defense and have asked Ponder to play efficient and make plays down the field only when they're there. Ponder has done exactly that so far this season.

Comment: The biggest improvement with Ponder from his rookie season last year to this season is his command of the offense and his knowledge of his role in the offense. His quarterback rating is up nearly 30 points this season. He’s completing 68 percent of his passes, when he only completed 54 as a rookie. There’s tangible proof that he’s getting better as a player. You can’t always say that about first-round quarterbacks from year one to two.

Around the NFC North

Packers' goal is to feed Benson the ball
Mike Vandermause – Press-Gazette

3-game stretch will put Packers to road test
Rob Demovsky – Press-Gazette

Turnovers eluding Packers defense
Tom Silverstein –Journal Sentinel

Cutler backs Tice, dismisses incident on sideline
Fred Mitchell –Tribune

Biggs: 10 thoughts after the Bears victory over the Cowboys
Brad Biggs – Tribune

Bears can take much from the victory over Cowboys
Mark Potash – Sun-Times

Forte makes his return in the nick of 'game time'
Joe Cowley –Sun-Times

Five things we learned: Bears-Cowboys
Jeff Dickerson – ESPNChicago.com

Vikings defense has only allowed two touchdowns in past 27 series
Dan Wiederer – Star Tribune

Frazier still puzzled by personal foul call on Josh Robinson
Dan Wiederer – Star Tribune

Vikings' Percey Harvin says June's beef was all about position confusion
Ben Goessling – Pioneer Press

Vikings have been buying into Leslie Frazier's message
Judd Zulgad – 1500ESPN.com