I always hated those lists where media members voted for some ranking of players and you had no idea how they voted, so in my effort to try and keep you in the loop, here is how I voted for our DallasCowboys.com top 10 quarterbacks that the club will face in 2012.
In Week 16 (I count the bye) Drew Brees makes a late season appearance at Cowboys Stadium with most likely something on the line for both teams in the playoff race. Brees is the reason why Jerry Jones wants to carry as many corners as possible on his roster.
In Weeks 1 and Week 8, the Cowboys face the quarterback that I have gone much too long without respecting in game. For years I have called Eli Manning "Dumb Face" for all those looks that we saw after red zone interceptions and fumbles when he got sacked. Two Super Bowls later, I am the one with dumb face.
In Week 15, the Steelers come to town and with them is Ben Roethlisberger. There is nothing pretty about his game but at the end of the day, he finds a way to beat you. Like the Saints game, there will most likely be something on the line and that is where Roethlisberger is at his best.
In Week 7, the Cowboys travel to Bank of America Stadium for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Newton is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL with his ability to make plays with his arm but his feet as well. Newton proved a lot of scouts wrong with his ability to throw the ball. I believe that he will only get better as the Panthers get him more weapons.
In Week 4, say what you want about Jay Cutler's toughness but you will not hear that talk from me. The Bears have consistently struggled to protect Cutler but when you watch him play, you have to be impressed with his ability to take big shots but also make big plays. His arm strength is not over rated at all. You think the Colts missed Peyton Manning? When Cutler when out with injury, there went the Bears chances to make the playoffs.
In Weeks 10 and 13, the Cowboys face Mike Vick and the Eagles. This usually is the point in the season where Vick is struggling with some type of injury so that is something to keep an eye on. What Andy Reid and the offensive staff has done with Vick and his throwing motion has transformed an athletic guy trying to play quarterback into one of the most dynamic weapons in the league. Despite being a little older, he still shows that ability to kill you on second chance plays.
In Week 9, The Cowboys travel to the Georgia Dome for a meeting with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Ryan is a different player at home than he is on the road and he is also a better regular season quarterback than he is in the playoffs where he is yet to win a game. This is where I had my first big problem with my list in that there is a side of me that really likes Andy Dalton but just in his 2nd season I couldn't put him ahead of Ryan. I have a feeling I won't make that same mistake in 2013.
In Week 14, I am not one bit surprised of the success of Andy Dalton. I had the good fortune of being on staff at TCU when Dalton was a redshirt freshman and I knew that he would be a special quarterback one day. I have never been around a quarterback that worked so hard each week to get ready for a game. He might not have the best skill set but as far as smarts, toughness and desire, he is one of the best. He is will continue to get better at his position.
In Weeks 12 and 17, the Cowboys will get their shots at Robert Griffin III which I think is a dangerous situation because I really do believe that he will be better later in the season than early. Like Newton and Vick is that rare combination of passer but runner too. His ability to make plays both in the passing game with accuracy and touch will be problems for defenses to deal with but the way that he can also use his legs to convert third downs will put a great deal of pressure on defenses.
In Week 6, the Cowboys will face the Baltimore Ravens which will be more about Tony Romo and his ability to make plays against their defense than it will be about Joe Flacco. I have never been a huge fan of Flacco because I have always thought it was more about the team than it was his ability which might be a mistake on my part but he rounds out my Top 10.