There aren't a whole lot of sacred cows in Bronco Nation, but one that's starting to 'moo' loudly is the question of whether people should compare Brett Rypien to Boise State's unquestioned G.O.A.T. Kellen Moore. Many are of the mind that it constitutes sacrilege to merely mention the young signal-caller—who didn't even "win" the starting gig in Fall Camp—in the same breath as the deified Moore. Fans would be wise to not have Rypien bronzed just yet, but frankly I think we should compare Brett Rypien to Kellen Moore because honestly the comparisons are extremely easy to make...and because you've already been doing it anyway.
Brett Rypien already has legend status in his home state of Washington, where he wore #11 (like Kellen) and broke state records (like Kellen) for career passing yardage and single-game passing yardage. He also shares a Washington state record for touchdowns in a game—eight—with someone named 'Kellen Moore'. Oh, and Rypien was a ranked a four-star recruit...the first (and only) quarterback with that distinction since, well...Kellen Moore. These are what I like to call "gimme" comparisons, like if you saw two guys at the office wearing the same shirt. No one ever says, "quit comparing Steve and Rick's shirts!" the comparison is easy and it is obvious. Such is the case with the illustrious prep careers of misters Rypien and Moore...both dominated their respective leagues, put up gawdy stats, and wrote their names—in marker—in the state record books all while wearing the same numbered jersey. The only way you'd have more of a comparison layup is if Brett had a brother named Kirby.
Secondly—and really crucial to this narrative—is the fact that Brett Rypien is a FRESHMAN (a true one, at that)...something that puts him in a fairly small Bronco fraternity. Prior to Kellen Moore getting the starting nod in 2008, you'd probably have to go back to Bart Hendricks' freshman year (1997) to see another underclassmen signal-caller. And Brett wasn't really supposed to be the starter, inexplicable as that may be. Freshman Colin Kaepernick wasn't supposed to be Nevada's starter when the Wolf Pack nearly knocked off the Broncos in a quadruple OT game in 2007—it was supposed to be Nick Graziano, but he'd been injured the previous week. "Quit comparing Colin Kaepernick to Nick Graziano" people likely shouted at their TV sets while the ostrich stand-in was gleefully prancing down the sidelines at Bronco Stadium.
Yep, Kellen began his illustrious Bronco career as a redshirt freshman and it was immediately clear that he had something special. His field vision, his quick release, his general command of the offense were well beyond his years. If some of those same attributes haven't been visible from the moment Rypien took the field in the 3rd quarter of the Idaho State game, you aren't paying attention or it's willful ignorance. Kellen had an UNBELIEVABLE Bronco career, and one that will likely never be replicated, but comparisons abound and even legends are fair game, "QUIT COMPARING DOUG MARTIN TO IAN JOHNSON!"
Stats never tell the entire story, but they can begin to—and even with Rypien's limited sample size, I'd say he's done enough to warrant at least a "how'd they fare" comparison to FRESHMAN Kellen Moore. This is the part I can't emphasize enough...when we compare the two QBs, we're comparing apples to apples. Rypien is not a (probable) CFB Hall of Famer (yet) or a Heisman trophy finalist. His name does not adorn the quarterbacks room in the football complex nor does he have a "sweet" endorsement deal with Kendall Ford or Project Filter, but he's played in 2.5 games—approximately the same amount of snaps Kellen had taken in 2008 through Idaho State (spooky), Bowling Green, and Oregon and here's how the two stack up:
Kellen Moore, first 3 games (if memory serves, Kellen didn't play much into second half of Idaho State blowout) — 840 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 73.2 completion percentage.
Brett Rypien — 718 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 73.9 completion percentage
Eerie, huh? "Quit comparing Matt Miller to Austin Pettis!"
Finally, it's okay to compare Brett Rypien to Kellen Moore because you already have been. Everyone has...even the "quit comparing Darian Thompson to Marty Tadman" crowd. Kellen Moore is the benchmark, the cream of the crop, and since his departure exactly no one has lived up to his level of play. We've had some good QBs come through since Moore's graduation...some even did things better than Moore. Grant Hedrick, for example, was very fleet of foot...Moore was as fast as me when I do that fake fast walk to get out of the crosswalk. Indeed Rypien already possesses some physical attributes that might have made Kellen Moore a NFL draftee rather than an undrafted free agent—bigger stature, bigger arm. These things don't make them better than Moore, clearly...indeed, what made Moore so special was that he was so unassuming and seemingly, well...unathletic. Yet Moore slayed virtually every dragon he faced...as has Rypien so far, but his career is FAR from over.
Every single guy that has lined up as Bronco signal caller has been compared to Kellen Moore, it's just that the comparisons were used derisively. In 2012 Boise State had their first new QB starter in 4 years. The Broncos opened against Michigan State and lost a tight contest...a contest where the Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown. Reviews on Joe Southwick's performance that night were mixed, but it was clear from snap 3 or 4 he was no Kellen Moore. Nor was Grant Hedrick Kellen Moore in his first true start against BYU. Heck, Jeremy McNichols leads the nation in scoring, but he's not Jay Ajayi. Comparison goes both ways. Rypien is a smart, young, poised QB from Washington state who efficiently runs the Bronco offense and has Bronco fans excited about the next four years. If that doesn't scream 'Kellen Moore', I don't know what does. Moore is, in a word, irreplaceable...but if Rypien is even in the comparison stratosphere with old #11, I'd count us very lucky.
NOW QUIT COMPARING JAKE ROH TO DEREK SCHOUMAN!