4 Teams Without a 4000-yard Passer
28 of the 32 NFL teams have a 4000-yard passer. Only the Bears, Eagles, Seahawks and Buccaneers have never had a player reach that plateau. Which of these teams has the best chance to come off that list this year?
(Erik Kramer 3838 yards in '95). Jay Cutler is certainly capable, he threw for 4526 for the Broncos in 2008. He was on pace for over 3700 yards last year before a thumb injury finished his season. With Matt Forte and an above average stable of running backs, the Bears running game might cost Cutler a shot at 4000. But Forte is a good a receiver as he is a runner, and the Bears have added Brandon Marshall, who accounted for 1264 of Cutler's 4526 yards in '08 on a career-high 104 catches. I give the Bears a 37% chance* of breaking into the 4000 yard club.
(Brad Johnson 3811 in '03). While every other stat went down for Josh Freeman last year, his passing yards increased from 3451 to 3592 (which tends to happen when you're constantly behind in the 2nd half). This is a make or break year for Freeman, who looked like one of the top QBs in the league in '10 (25 TDs - 6 INTs), but came crashing back to earth last year. He has the receivers in newly acquired Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark and a rebuilt offensive line featuring G Carl Nicks. His hopes for a 4000 yard season are also bolstered by a questionable defense. The Bucs will be behind in the 2nd half a lot again this year, that means a lot of attempts. I give the Buccaneers a 33% chance* of breaking into the 4000 yard club.
(Donovan McNabb 3916 in '08). Michael Vick went from story of the year in '10 (21 TDs - 6 INTs and 9 rushing TDs) back to the most talent average QB in NFL history last year. But he also set a career high with 3303 passing yards. Vick certainly has the receivers to hit 4k, but not the accuracy or health. I give the Eagles a 22% chance* of breaking into the 4000 yard club.
(Matt Hasselbeck 3966 in '07). The Seahawks have a better chance of having 3 quarterbacks start a game than they do of having a 4000 yard passer. Matt Flynn has 2 career starts, he has averaged 365.5/start, which projects to 5848 yards over a full season. But those 2 games were with the Packers, not the Seahawks. And we don't even know that Flynn will be the starter. I give the Seahawks a 4% chance* of breaking into the 4000 yard club.
Honorable Mention - Jets. Joe Namath threw for 4008 yards in 1967. Not only was that the first 4000 yard season in NFL history, it was the only one until Dan Fouts did it in 1979. It was also the Jets' last 4000 yard season. Mark Sanchez' yards, TDs and rating have gone up each of his 3 years. He topped 3400 yards last year and has started 47 of 48 possible career games. But he just isn't very good and now has to look over his shoulder at the most celebrated below average backup QB in NFL history. I give the Jets a 12% chance* of re-entering the 4000 yard club.
*by 'chance' I mean a totally made up number meant to give the article legitimacy.