≡ Menu

Smith struggled as a rookie; then again, so did many greats

Smith struggled as a rookie; then again, so did many greats.

In 2013, Geno Smith had the worst passer rating (66.5) in the NFL. The year before, Mark Sanchez had a passer rating of 66.9, which was very nearly the lowest in the league (Matt Cassel had a rating of 66.7). But while the Jets didn’t quite do it, a couple of teams have managed to have different quarterbacks in consecutive seasons finish with the lowest passer ratings in the NFL (minimum 14 attempts per game).

In 2000, a second-year Akili Smith was given the starting job and posted a miserable 52.8 passer rating. A year later, Jon Kitna took over for the Bengals, and his 61.1 rating was the worst among qualifying passers.

In 1993, Mark Rypien finished with the worst passer rating in the league two years after winning the Super Bowl. Washington drafted Heath Shuler the following year, and as a rookie, Shuler finished with the worst passer rating in the NFL.

The Seahawks almost pulled off this feat in the prior two years. In 1992, Stan Gelbaugh had the worst passer rating as part of the historically inept Seattle passing attack. In 1991, Jeff Kemp finished with the worst passer rating in the league. Kemp, the son of Jack , started the year with Seattle but finished it with Philadelphia. He didn’t have enough attempts with the Seahawks to qualify, so I probably wouldn’t include the ’91-’92 Seahawks in this category, although that may be pickin’ nits.

The table below shows the quarterbacks to finish with the lowest passer rating in the NFL in each year since the merger. For each passer, I’ve included his age as of September 1st of that season, his traditional metrics, and his passer rating.

2013Geno SmithNYJ22.94432473046122166.5
2012Matt CasselKAN30.3277161179661266.7
2011Blaine GabbertJAX21.94132102214121165.4
2010Jimmy ClausenCAR22.929915715583958.4
2009JaMarcus RussellOAK24.1246120128731150
2008Derek AndersonCLE25.228314216159866.5
2007Kellen ClemensNYJ24.2250130152951060.9
2006Andrew WalterOAK24.3276147167731355.8
2005Kyle OrtonCHI22.8368190186991359.7
2004A.J. FeeleyMIA27.33561911893111561.7
2003Kordell StewartCHI30.9251126141871256.8
2002Joey HarringtonDET23.94292152294121659.9
2001Jon KitnaCIN28.95813133216122261.1
2000Akili SmithCIN2526711812533652.8
1999Jake PlummerARI24.7381201211192450.8
1998Ryan LeafSDG22.3245111128921539
1997Kerry CollinsCAR24.73812002124112155.7
1996Rick MirerSEA26.5265136154651256.6
1995Trent DilferTAM23.5415224277441860.1
1994Heath ShulerWAS22.72651201658101259.6
1993Mark RypienWAS30.9319166151441056.3
1992Stan GelbaughSEA29.7255121130761152.9
1991Jeff Kemp2TM32.1295151175391755.7
1990Marc WilsonNWE33.5265139162561161.6
1989Troy AikmanDAL22.8293155174991855.7
1988Vinny TestaverdeTAM24.84662223240133548.8
1987Mark MalonePIT28.8336156189661946.7
1986Jack TrudeauIND24417204222581853.5
1985Vince FerragamoBUF31.4287149167751750.8
1984Todd BlackledgeKAN23.5294147170761159.2
1983Scott BrunnerNYG26.4386190251692254.3
1982Joe FergusonBUF32.4264144159771656.3
1981Vince EvansCHI26.24361952354112051.1
1980Phil SimmsNYG24.84021932321151958.9
1979Doug WilliamsTAM24.13971662448182452.5
1978Steve DeBergSFO24.6302137157082240
1977Joe PisarcikNYG25.2241103134641442.3
1976Gary MarangiBUF24.12328299871630.8
1975Archie ManningNOR26.3338159168372044.3
1974Mike PhippsCLE26.8256117138491746.7
1973Norm SneadNYG34.1235131148372245.8
1972Jim PlunkettNWE24.7355169219682545.7
1971Bobby DouglassCHI24.222591116451537
1970Terry BradshawPIT2221883141062430.4
  • Rypien is the only quarterback to finish with the lowest passer rating after winning a Super Bowl. Joe Namath had the 2nd lowest rating in the NFL in ’76; Eli Manning had the 3rd lowest in 2013, although a few other quarterbacks have done that, too.
  • Two franchises have had four quarterbacks finish with the lowest rating in a season. You probably won’t be surprised to see the Bears are one of them. But the Giants are the other, with all four quarterbacks coming between the years of 1973 and 1983.