Recently, NFL analyst Chris Wesseling put forward the idea of the Dalton Scale. This actually posed one simple idea: Andy Dalton is the Prime Meridian of NFL QBs; all QBs on one side are franchise players, and all QBs on the other are not. Dalton straddles the gulf between either side.
Dalton has been to the playoffs multiple times, however he has never won a game. All this is in spite of the fact that he has excellent statistics and features in “the most talented roster in the NFL”.
This answers the all important question, “is the QB is carrying a team or the team is carrying the QB?”. Andy Dalton largely tethers in the middle of those two sides, which is why he is the benchmark.
No team can go to the Super Bowl they can’t win playoff games. However, they also need to win enough games to reach the playoffs. So, the franchises need a QB who can execute on an offense, keep the turnovers low, and allow the defense to win a couple games. It’s just above what you need out of a backup QB, and Dalton has provided that throughout his career.
Jay Cutler was supposed to break Chicago’s franchise records for yards and touchdowns in a single season. Statistically, Cutler leads the league in turnovers and is fairly impressive. However, his rate stats around the same as his usual seasons.
In the case of Eli Manning, the 39-year old is regarded as better than average on the Dalton scale. Peyton Manning’s younger sibling is steady and his offense has improved. To his credit, Eli has outplayed quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton and Kyle Orton.
Colin Kaepernick is largely a hit or miss player. Sometimes, he makes 3-to-4 plays that are often breathtaking. But his offensive line has let him down too often and the team’s passing game is weak.
Back in September, Philip Rivers was the best quarterback in the league, but downgraded to “really good” afterwards. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is known for his aggression, but it has been tempered and controlled.
Against defensive teams like New England or Minnesota, he tends to struggle. Otherwise, he is a decent player, but is rated a little below on the Dalton Scale.