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QB Index, Week 5: Aaron Rodgers hits No. 1; Josh Allen cracks top three

Throughout the 2020 campaign, Chris Wesseling will provide his rankings of the league's starting signal-callers, 1-32. Below is the pecking order entering Week 5.

NOTE: To keep all 32 quarterbacks on common ground for evaluation, the rankings and statistics below reflect what has transpired through WEEK 4; the events of Thursday night's game between the Buccaneers and Bears are not included.

Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 16

2020 stats: 4 games | 70.5 pct | 1,214 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 13 pass TD | 0 INT | 31 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Reasonable minds can differ on Rodgers vs. Wilson at the top of the QB hierarchy. Each has been practically perfect. Rodgers has joined Don Meredith, Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes as the only quarterbacks to pass for at least 13 touchdowns without an interception in the season's first four games. He's played 253 snaps without a turnover-worthy play, per Pro Football Focus. What's perhaps most impressive is Rodgers' surrounding talent is no better than last season. The personnel is basically the same. He still leads all quarterbacks in yards lost to dropped passes. But he's doing what the great ones do in all team sports: making his teammates better. Davante Adams tied a franchise record with 14 receptions in Week 1. Aaron Jones' 236 yards from scrimmage in Week 2 were the most by a Packers player in over 60 years. Allen Lazard posted a career-high 146 receiving yards in Week 3. Against the Falcons, it was Robert Tonyan's time to shine, becoming the third Green Bay tight end to haul in three touchdown passes in a game.

Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 9

2020 stats: 4 games | 75.2 pct | 1,285 pass yds | 9.4 ypa | 16 pass TD | 2 INT | 95 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

As PFF's George Chahrouri pointed out, Wilson has six incompletions and seven touchdowns on passes of 20 or more yards downfield. That somehow seems appropriate for a quarterback who hits his receivers' hands on a good percentage of incomplete passes. He'd still be without a turnover-worthy play himself had rookie receiver Freddie Swain managed to get both feet down in the back of the end zone on the pass prior to Xavien Howard's end-zone interception in Miami.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 3

2020 stats: 4 games | 70.9 pct | 1,326 pass yds | 9.0 ypa | 12 pass TD | 1 INT | 83 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

His first four games represent one of the most incredible metamorphoses I've seen at the position. After trimming his interceptions last year, Allen has rounded out his passing skill set in 2020. He's improved from second-worst to second-best in deep passing, he's on point with ball location (70.9 completion rate) and has even started throwing receivers open with keyhole passes, as evidenced by back-to-back gems to Cole Beasley and John Brown at the end of the third quarter in Las Vegas. If there's one weakness left, it's ball security as a runner.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4

2020 stats: 4 games | 67.3 pct | 1,134 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 11 pass TD | 0 INT | 108 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

It was a treat to watch New England's Bill Belichick spending Monday evening trying yet again to thwart the golden child. Mahomes is one of the most talented and accomplished young quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Belichick might be the smartest football mind, period. The Chiefs have gone without a touchdown in the opening half only three times in the Mahomes era, per NFL Research. All three of those instances came at the hand of Belichick. When Mahomes is in the zone, though, not even Belichick can stop him -- as New England saw when Mahomes racked up 31 points in the final 30 minutes of the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 3

2020 stats: 4 games | 68.4 pct | 769 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 7 pass TD | 1 INT | 235 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Jackson's career-long 50-yard touchdown run immediately called to mind Michael Vick's overtime game-winner versus the Vikings in 2002. Lamar chipped in a couple of impressive touchdown passes to Mark Andrews, but might want to take lessons from reformed fastballer Josh Allen on adding touch and loft to deep throws.

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 5

2020 stats: 4 games | 68.2 pct | 1,690 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 9 pass TD | 3 INT | 86 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

How much credit do we give to a quarterback who keeps passing his way out of holes that he helped to create with fumbles and compromised field position for his already-porous defense? It's the same question we asked of Jameis Winston last year. Prescott is a much better quarterback than Winston, but he's not an MVP candidate -- even with a record-breaking pace in volume stats.

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 9

2020 stats: 3 games | 67.3 pct | 809 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

I have no idea if he's head coach material, because designing and calling plays are just a fraction of the skill set necessary to run an NFL team, but Arthur Smith merits a long look from owners in 2021. Under his watch, Tannehill graduated from backup to franchise QB. Derrick Henry improved from inconsistent tease to NFL rushing champion. Jonnu Smith developed into one of the most dangerous catch-and-run tight ends. A.J. Brown produced one of the best rookie seasons by a wideout in Titans history. Even afterthoughts such as Kalif Raymond and Anthony Firkser are put in position each week to deliver big plays. Smith's next project should be turning rookie Darrynton Evans into the third-down dynamo that Dion Lewis was supposed to be alongside Henry.

Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · Year 17

2020 stats: 4 games | 72.7 pct | 984 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Watch Rivers and Josh Allen back-to-back on Game Pass and you will be immediately struck by Indianapolis' fatal flaw: The declining quarterback is too limited in the red zone. Allen bedevils defenses with his legs on rollouts, designed runs and QB draws, while at the same possessing the top-notch arm strength from any platform to squeeze tight passes into condensed spaces. At this stage of his career, Rivers offers none of those skills. The closer Rivers gets to the goal line, the more limited the Colts' aerial attack.

Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · Year 5

2020 stats: 4 games | 72.1 pct | 1,063 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 29 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Conventional wisdom tells us scoring has reached record-breaking levels early this season because offenses don't have to deal with crowd noise and officials have ostensibly been handed a mandate to reduce holding penalties. But there's another factor at play. Coaches around the league have shown an inclination to go for fourth-and-short regardless of field position, as evidenced by the Kyle Shanahan-Sean McVay-Matt LaFleur coaching tree. McVay was surprisingly one of the most conservative fourth-down play-callers early in his Rams career. Much like Pete Carroll, though, he seems to have reached an offseason epiphany.

Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 21

2020 stats: 4 games | 65.2 pct | 1,122 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 11 pass TD | 4 INT | 12 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

No matter what happens the rest of the way, Brady had to take a moment to savor NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after posting a perfect passing rating in the second half of last week's win over the Chargers. He's still got it -- without the help of Bill Belichick or Josh McDaniels. For halves at a time anyway.

Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 7

2020 stats: 4 games | 73.6 pct | 1,095 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 8 pass TD | 0 INT | 33 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Watching Carr square off with Josh Allen, it was evident that he lacks his counterpart's firepower not only at wide receiver but also in arm and mentality. Carr can't match Allen's downfield aggressiveness, which is one of the reasons why the Raiders QB owns the NFL's longest streak without an interception. It's a streak offset, in part, by his league-leading four lost fumbles.

Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 13

2020 stats: 4 games | 64.7 pct | 1,246 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 7 pass TD | 2 INT | 24 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

On one hand, Week 4 opponent Aaron Rodgers had no trouble racing up and down the field without his top receiver. On the other hand, Ryan isn't Aaron Rodgers. He needs help.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 1

2020 stats: 3 games | 72.0 pct | 931 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 47 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Coach Anthony Lynn finally came to his senses after Bruce Arians strolled across the field last Sunday and offered congratulations on finding a "great one" at quarterback. It's not just that Herbert is the most productive in the league versus pressure, is converting third downs and is making throws into windows that didn't even exist when he released the ball. He's also been must-see TV, standing toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady, turning the Chargers' offense into a feast for the eyes. When the sideline starts going nuts in response to his triple-take throws -- like a dugout during Mark McGwire's home run practice or the opposing bench when an unconscious Larry Bird is going for 60 points -- the talent can't be denied.

Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · Year 20

2020 stats: 4 games | 71.3 pct | 1,006 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 8 pass TD | 2 INT | -3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

This was the game we were waiting for, as Brees' upper-echelon accuracy resurfaced in Detroit. He survived go-to receiver Michael Thomas' multi-game absence, developing a much-needed trust with Tre'Quan Smith along the way. Let's see if he can keep it up.

Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 17

2020 stats: 3 games | 67.0 pct | 777 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 7 pass TD | 1 INT | 4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Outside of the deep sideline rainbow to rookie Chase Claypool in Week 2, Roethlisberger has been one of the league's least efficient deep passers. It will be interesting to see if he follows the pattern of 2018 Andrew Luck, who gradually reacclimated to the deep ball upon recovering from his own major arm surgery.

Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 3

2020 stats: 4 games | 62.6 pct | 729 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 7 pass TD | 2 INT | 15 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Mayfield's longest completion versus the Cowboys went for 16 yards -- and his team scored 49 points! That's easy living at the quarterback position. Credit new play-caller Kevin Stefanski for good coaching, defining his QB's looks in a run-dominant offense.

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 1

2020 stats: 4 games | 65.5 pct | 1,121 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 75 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

I wanted to give A.J. Green at least a quarter of the season before dancing on his grave as a No. 1 receiver and weekly impact player. Maybe he'll get his confidence back and play with more ferocity going forward. After a month of play, however, Burrow must know that he has a better chance for a positive outcome by throwing to Tyler Boyd or rookie Tee Higgins. Even with Green as an early-season albatross, Burrow has played better than his numbers suggest. He's lost several perfectly thrown touchdowns to penalties and drops.

Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2020 stats: 4 games | 72.1 pct | 1,138 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 4 INT | 69 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Might the two New York/New Jersey teams be searching for a new quarterback before the Jaguars try to upgrade on Minshew? Entering the season, I never expected that could be the case.

Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · Year 12

2020 stats: 4 games | 60.6 pct | 1,017 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 3 INT | 45 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

It took four games, but I finally figured out the nebulous missing ingredient that has been nagging me in Stafford's game. Keep an eye on his lateral agility in the pocket, one of his easily overlooked strengths the past couple of years. Coming off fractures in his back that ended his 2019 season prematurely, Stafford has looked a step or two slower in his age-32 season.

Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 2

2020 stats: 4 games | 68.8 pct | 919 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 265 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Every year, there's a player who represents a dead giveaway as to who's watching the games and who's simply gorging on highlights. Anyone adding Murray to the premature MVP discussion can be summarily dismissed. As dangerous as Murray has been as a runner this season, he's been equally disappointing as a passer. He remains one of the least effective quarterbacks on intermediate throws (10-20 yards), an issue going back to last season.

Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · Year 7

2020 stats: 4 games | 73.0 pct | 1,147 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 70 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

The Panthers rank 14th in offensive DVOA, 13th in yards per drive and 16th in Drive Success Rate. Not bad for a rebuilding team that was supposed to be an NFC South doormat in 2020.

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins · Year 16

2020 stats: 4 games | 69.0 pct | 994 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 115 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Fitzpatrick tossed a pair of interceptions and threw three more through the hands of Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright in Week 4. A couple more starts like that and the Dolphins won't be able to ask their fans to pay no attention to the young QB behind the curtain, the one who was once more highly touted than Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert -- a pair of rookies infusing hope in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. 

Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · Year 4

2020 stats: 4 games | 65.6 pct | 1,092 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 58 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Watson is too good for his Texans to be languishing in the bottom third in offense, 29th in points per game and 27th in Drive Success Rate. Maybe he'll turn his season around after the firing of Bill O'Brien.

Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 5

2020 stats: 4 games | 60.6 pct | 930 pass yds | 5.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 7 INT | 111 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

To hear the Philadelphia papers tell it, Wentz had been holding the rest of the offense hostage through three debilitating weeks. Leading the Eagles to victory over the 49ers, Wentz proved it's a lot more complex than that. He's run the gamut of mistakes, to be sure. But Doug Pederson was right to shut down talk of a sea change at quarterback. Wentz is too talented to throw in the towel for after a month-long slump. 

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 9

2020 stats: 4 games | 62.0 pct | 883 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 53 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Now that Dalvin Cook is once again bullying defenders and Justin Jefferson is playing with confidence as the No. 2 receiver, the next step is to incorporate TE Irv Smith Jr. into the aerial attack. Drafted to be the pass-catching complement to bruising Kyle Rudolph, Smith has just two receptions for 14 yards through four games. 

Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · Year 9

2020 stats: 2 games | 59.2 pct | 437 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | -4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Who knows Foles better than the Colts' Frank Reich, the man who made him as a player? Reich brought the NFL's No. 1 defense to town, breaking the quarterback he originally made into a Super Bowl MVP. Even with the dispiriting outing in his debut start with the Bears, Foles seems to have the backing of his teammates in a way that Mitchell Trubisky never did.

Nick Mullens
San Francisco 49ers · Year 4

2020 stats: 3 games | 69.9 pct | 614 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | -2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

All of those off-schedule, off-platform, tight-window throws that Mullens unfurled in Week 3 came back to haunt him in Week 4. Mullens cost his team a win with his sloppy play versus the Eagles, ultimately getting yanked in favor of C.J. Beathard. Starter Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is trending toward returning to action this weekend, which would send both backups back to the 2020 version of the clipboard and visor. 

UPDATE: Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Friday that Garoppolo will start Sunday against the Dolphins.

Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 2

2020 stats: 4 games | 61.1 pct | 889 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 2 pass TD | 5 INT | 137 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Regressing by the week, Jones is now sporting the proverbial thousand-yard stare. His spatial awareness is reaching troubling Marcus Mariota levels of dysfunction, with Jones stepping into pressure other quarterbacks have the sense to avoid. I got the sense he could have been handed 10 more possessions versus the Rams without reaching pay dirt. 

Dwayne Haskins
Washington Football Team · Year 2

2020 stats: 4 games | 61 pct | 939 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 30 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

He wasn't ready last year, and he has the look of a developmental QB again in 2020. Haskins has a penchant for locking onto his primary receiver regardless of defensive alignment. His accuracy issues are among the most dire in the league, per Pro Football Focus, leaving little room for run-after-catch outside of quick-slant passes to electric second-year wideout Terry McLaurin.

A teacher's pet of coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner in Carolina, Week 5 starter Kyle Allen's bugaboo is pressure. He tends to faceplant when the offensive line doesn't give him time to go through his progressions. When Allen and Haskins faced off in Week 13 of last season, I wrote the following notes: "Difference in arm strength between the two QBs is stark. Allen has to put his whole body into the throw, doesn't have enough arm beyond 25 yards. Allen is also seeing ghosts and fleeing the pocket too early. The Panthers have no choice but to audition Will Grier before the season ends."

I understand Rivera's desire to upgrade on Haskins with the NFC East up for grabs. I'm just not sure Allen qualifies as an upgrade.

Brett Rypien
Denver Broncos · Year 2

2020 stats: 2 games | 67.5 pct | 295 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 4 INT | -5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rypien was lucky to escape with three interceptions in his NFL starting debut, as his biggest play came on a 48-yard touchdown pass that should have been picked by Jets CB Pierre Desir. His lack of arm strength was distinctly evident on sideline throws. Drew Lock (shoulder) is practicing this week, which could be a mercy killing for Rypien's chances of starting versus Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Sam Darnold
New York Jets · Year 3

2020 stats: 4 games | 59.4 pct | 792 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 4 INT | 117 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Darnold can't be fairly evaluated until the Jets upgrade his surrounding talent. Come to think of it, the time for a fair evaluation might have to wait for a new coaching staff. 

Jarrett Stidham
New England Patriots · Year 2

2020 stats: 1 game | 38.5 pct | 60 pass yds | 4.6 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

The only reason Brian Hoyer drew the starting nod versus Kansas City was to avoid game-changing mistakes if the New England defense managed to keep things close. So much for that notion. Hoyer's back-breaking sacks gave the Pats little choice but to turn to Stidham, who responded with a pair of interceptions on 13 attempts. How could anyone believe Cam Newton's camp competition was legitimate? 

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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