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Arm Strength Matters

A quarterback's arm strength matters in the NFL. Just ask the Eagles, who for 12 years have had two quarterbacks with the strongest arms in the league. Both possess Howitzer's for arms. Think this matters?

Philadelphia Eagles 2000-2011:
W/L Record - 116-70
McNabb(2000-09) - YPA average - 7.1 YPC average - 11.2
Vick(2010-11) - YPA average - 7.9 YPC average 13.1

During this span of 12 years, the Eagles offense has averaged 9th in the league in points scored(8 times landing in the top 10), and 10th in the league in total offense(3 times landing in the top 5).


Lets compare the Eagles success with another team, who throughout the same time period, had a quarterback with one of the best arms in football; The Indianapolis Colts, and Peyton Manning.

Indianapolis Colts 1998-2010:
W/L Record - 141-67
Manning(1998-2010) - YPA average - 7.6 YPC average - 11.7

During this 13 year span, the Colts offensive, with Manning under center, averaged 6th in both points scored and total yards on a yearly basis, finishing in the top ten in the league in both catagories 10 out of the 13 years.

Need more proof?

At the top of the strong-armed quarterback food chain are guys like Vick, Rodgers, Manning, Flacco, Stafford, Brady, Big Ben, Brees, E Manning, Freeman, Cutler, and Schaub. Manning was hurt all season, Cutler and Schaub were hurt for a good portion of it, but amongst the others, only Freeman and Vick(who was also banged up), failed to make the playoffs.

Still think a weak arm quarterback can get the job done? Let's take a look at how some of the lesser endowed quarterbacks fared.

The Chad Pennington led Jets(2002-04, 2006-07), are a good example of team with a weak-armed quarterback.

New York Jets 2002-04, 2006-07:
W/L Record - 32-29
Pennington - YPA average - 6.7 YPC average - 10.8

During this 5 year span, the Jets offense, with Pennington under center, averaged 20th in the league in points scored, and 20th in total offense. They never once cracked the top ten in either catagory.

Matt Hasselbeck is another NFL quarterback with a very average arm.

Seattle Seahawks (2001-10):
W/L Record - 78-69
Hasselbeck - YPA average - 6.9 YPC average - 11.5

During this 10 year span, the Seahawks offense averaged 15th in the league in both points scored, and total offense. Again, on par with his arm strength, which is about average.

Need more proof? Look no further than Rex Grossman, Colt McCoy, Curtis Painter, Kevin Kolb(when he is healthy), Christian Ponder, and Mark Sanchez. Andy Dalton and Tim Tebow seem to be the exceptions this past season.

My Beliefs:
I am a strong believer that your quarterback needs to have a strong arm to be successful in the NFL. Those who do not have this attribute can survive, but they are going to need the help of a strong running game, game changing wide receivers, and an excellent defense. I believe, however, that they will never become elite.

The past can certainly prove my theory wrong with quarterbacks such as Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Phil Sims, but the future of the NFL is going to rely on a guy who can drive the football into tight windows, and hit a wide receiver in stide 60 yards downfield. With todays athletes on defense, the definition of being open has grown slimmer. Without the quarterback who can take advantage of that very small window, your team has less of a chance at success.

Some people will argue arm strength isn't everything, but a quarterback who has a strong arm, will usually be able to complete more "NFL type" throws.

Below is my list of NFL starting QB, who I believe have the strongest arm, starting with the strongest at the top, and moving down to the weakest:
Vick - 10
Stafford - 10
Flacco - 10
Manning - 10
Brady - 9
Cutler - 9
Freeman - 9
Roethlisberger - 9
Brees - 9
Rodgers - 9
Newton - 9
E. Manning - 8
Palmer - 8
Schaub - 8
Rivers - 8
Jackson - 8
Ryan - 7
Cassel - 7
Henne - 7
Romo - 7
Fitzpatrick - 7
Bradford - 7
Gabbert - 6
Smith - 6
Sanchez - 5
Kolb - 5
Hasselbeck - 5
Tebow - 5
Dalton - 5
Ponder - 5
Grossman - 4
McCoy - 4

Anyone see a trend?

There are 6-7 signal callers the Redskins can opt for this offseason(this includes both free agents, and college quarterbacks). Here is my rating based on arm strength for each prospect from 10-1, with 10 being the highest.

Matt Flynn - 6

Drew Stanton - 7

Kyle Orton - 6

RG3 - 9

Nick Foles - 8

Brandon Weeden - 7

Ryan Tannehill - 5