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Eagle Eye: Early season studs and duds
Robert Griffin III (knee), Michael Vick (concussion, ribs) and Terrelle Pryor (concussion) have each dealt with injuries in recent years. (USA Today Images)
Robert Griffin III had an amazing rookie season, then was banged up by the time the playoffs rolled around.
Terrelle Pryor got off to an encouraging start with the Raiders this year, then wobbled off the field with a concussion.
Michael Vick has set all kinds of rushing records but hasn’t won a playoff game in nine years.
Running quarterbacks are all the rage these days, but what quarterbacks are winning championships?
That’s what DeMeco Ryans would like to know.
Although Aaron Rodgers is a decent runner, the last real scrambling quarterback to win a Super Bowl was Steve Young, 19 years ago.
The last seven winning Super Bowl quarterbacks have combined to rush for two yards in their Super Bowl wins. None of the last 18 Super Bowl winners has rushed for more than 25 yards, and only Ben Roethlisberger (25 in 2005) and John Elway (17 in 1997) have run for more than 12 on their way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Ryans has noticed.
“The running quarterbacks, I don’t know how long that fad will take place,” Ryans said. “But you start getting hits on a quarterback, you start getting your quarterback hurt. Then what? So I don’t see that happening a lot.”
Peyton Manning, who the Eagles face in Denver Sunday, is the ultimate pocket passer. He’s rushed for a total of 20 yards since 2007, and his 1.9 career rushing average is fifth-worst in NFL history.
But Manning has won a Super Bowl, as have pocket passers such as his younger brother Eli, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, etc.
“I feel like there will always be room for drop-back quarterbacks … Peyton, Tom, Drew,” Ryans said.
“Those guys, they make the game what it is. You see all the rules coming out about defenders not being able to jam, it’s becoming a passing league, so you’re going to always have those drop-back guys who are sought after to be the face fo the league, so to speak.”
A few scrambling quarterbacks have reached a Super Bowl and lost, including Colin Kaepernick last year, Donovan McNabb in 2004, Steve McNair in 1999.
But until a running quarterback wins a championship and stays healthy for a full season, the questions will remain whether an offense that asks a quarterback to run frequently is sustainable and can produce a championship.
Over the last 10 years, 14 quarterbacks have rushed for 400 yards in a season, but only two of them have reached double digits in wins – Michael Vick in 2004 and Russell Wilson last year.
Vick is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks with 5,738 yards, including 187 already this year.
He has only played 16 games in a season once, but he’s also 33 years old and in his 11th NFL season with no sign of slowing down.
Asked about Ryans’ remark after practice Thursday, he smiled but answered sharply.
“That’s DeMeco’s opinion,” Vick said. “I know we’ve still got to continue to play the way we play. There’s nothing more to it.
“I love DeMeco, and he’s going to say what he thinks, but we had a running quarterback in the Super Bowl last year, so that kind of negates that comment.”