Lost in all of the hullabaloo of last season's performances by Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco is that each of them is actually older than Oakland Raider Quarterback, JaMarcus Russell.
Born in January, Flacco is 8 months older than J-Russ and being born on May 17th, Matt Ryan is 3 months older than the Raider's quarterback.
Alex Smith and Brady Quinn were born in 1984 and Brian Brohm is actually days younger than JaMarcus, but, has fallen to third on Green Bay's depth chart.
Interestingly enough, even though he wasn't a true rookie, JaMarcus was the youngest starting quarterback in the NFL and unless someone throws another rookie on the flame, Matt Stafford (Born in 1988), he may be the youngest starting QB in 2009.
This is very important when you think about JaMarcus Russell's performances and his growth.
Just look at last season's trends:
After 13 games Russell compiled a 7-6 TD to Interception rate, had been sacked 27 times (2.07 times per game) and had only finished 5 games with a QB rating above 85.
In his final three games he had a 6-2 TD to INT rate, was sacked 4 times (1.33 per game) and had his lowest QB rating 85.7 against New England. The two other games he finshed at 128.1 and 98.9, respectively.
In the same three games Ryan compiled a 2-4 TD to INT rate, was sacked the same amount of times, 4, and didn't have one game over an 85 QB rating, even though he played against lesser competition.
Joe Flacco finished the year with a 1-2 TD to INT rate, was sacked 9 times and had one rating higher than 85, even though he didn't throw a TD in that game.
When you compare these QB's throughout the season they each win different segments, but, in my opinion it is how you finish the season that matters most and without a doubt, JaMarcus Russell finished the season MUCH stronger than the quarterbacks that have become media darlings, although they wilted down the stretch.
I wonder if even the MOST die-hard of NFL fans knows these stats?
He was down to his 4th-6th best options at wide-out and still performed better!!!
What do you think Nation?