Our irregular (cue the diarrhea sponsorship), quasi-periodic feature continues today with a look at the best quarterbacks in the division. It pains me to write it, but I think the alpha male is pretty obvious in this case.
Top Dog: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Big Dog: Joe Flacco, Baltimore
My thoughts: There should be little debate about Roethlisberger being atop the list as long as he’s on the field and not serving a league-mandated suspension. Big Ben has appeared in three Super Bowls and has won two of them. He’s big and mobile and certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league. Flacco is not quite there yet. In fact, I think Carson Palmer would have been extremely successful had he landed in Baltimore instead of the towering inferno that is the Bengals organization. Flacco will need a Super Bowl appearance and perhaps even a victory in it before he starts being discussed among the league’s elite.
The other AFC North teams are hoping their young quarterbacks will develop into franchise players. I thought Colt McCoy was rather impressive in his first season in Cleveland and I think he could make a solid leap in year two if the Browns can give him a few more playmakers. In Cincinnati, I’m hopeful that Andy Dalton could be a good fit in Jay Gruden’s West Coast offense, but I also worry that he could be forced to start too soon. I’m hoping that Jordan Palmer – or some free agent quarterback – can play well enough to keep Dalton on the bench for a good part of his rookie season.