As a Houston resident, I’ve gotten a pretty close-up look at the value of a quarterback. After going 9-7 last season with a serviceable passer that seemingly no one here liked, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the team settled for a couple of castoffs from other teams. The results have been dismal.

Quarterbacks get more blame in bad times and more glory in good times than they deserve, but they’re still very important. Now that we’re at the halfway mark of the season, here are a few observations, facts and figures that illustrate this point.

  • Saints fans (like me) were up in arms when the Saints traded their only real red-zone threat, TE Jimmy Graham, in the offseason. At the halfway mark of the season, Graham has 38 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. Through eight games, Ben Watson, the player who replaced him, has 38 catches for 472 yards and 3 TDs.
  • By the way, not only is Watson surpassing Graham, but he’s already totaled more catches and yards than he did in eight of his 12 seasons. Obviously, Saints head coach Sean Payton recognized that as long as he had Drew Brees, he could score touchdowns and move the football.
  • Packers receiver James Jones bolted for Oakland last year after seven seasons in Green Bay and looked pretty much spent, averaging only 9.1 yards per catch (ypc). After returning to the Pack, he’s connected with Aaron Rodgers for a 19.1 ypc average, his best average ever, in his 10th season.
  • Tom Brady has won multiple Super Bowls with players that were either mostly overlooked in the draft (Julian Edelman, Troy Brown, Wes Welker) or cast off by other teams (Randy Moss, Brandon LaFell).
  • The Cowboys, obviously, were expecting a lot different results this season from the ones they’ve gotten since Tony Romo went on IR Sept. 22. With five straight losses, there won’t be much for Romo to come back to this year.

I could go on and on, obviously, but you get the point. That’s why it’s so important to watch the Paxton Lynches and the Jared Goffs as we wind down the season. NFL teams certainly will be.