The quarterback position is by far the most important position on the field. While it’s true winning and losing normally falls on the strength of the offensive and defensive fronts, quarterback play controls the offense. Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer and several others are entrenched as their team’s generals, but there are several teams that are still seeking their driver.
Some teams have been searching for their quarterback for years. The Cleveland Browns haven’t had a quarterback they have trusted since Bernie Kosar. But finding that right individual to run the team for years is very difficult. As an indicator, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were drafted one and two respectively and neither one of them are predicted day one starters.
NFL Preseason Quarterback Controversies and Competitions
That San Francisco Treat
Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert’s competition for starting quarterback is the most noteworthy of them all. Gabbert finished last season 3-5 while Kaepernick went 2-6. Neither quarterback did enough to make the San Francisco 49ers competitive. Gabbert seems to be the early coach and fan favorite. During the 49ers preseason game with the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick controversially made a political stand by not standing for the National Anthem. Fans have retaliated by openly burning his jerseys. Kaepernick will need to regain his 2012 form when he led his team to a Super Bowl, if he wants to win back over his fans.
Mile High Problems
Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian have been wrapped up in the heaviest quarterback competition of the summer. It looks like Siemian has won the job. Yikes, from Super Bowl and league MVP winning Peyton Manning to Siemian who hasn’t thrown a regular season pass yet. Sanchez has demonstrated that he is still his old self. And Siemian is showing that he is about the same. Paxton Lynch is the only quarterback in Denver with enough talent to possibly make it in the NFL long term. The fact that this is a competition is very telling of Sanchez’s skill level and deficiencies. The defense for the Denver Broncos is great, but they are going to spend the whole season on the field.
Everything’s Bigger in Dallas
When Tony Romo fell and winced after being hit by Cliff Avril, the whole state of Texas cried. Romo attempted to slide as the brutal Avril of the Seattle Seahawks crushed him. Romo’s predicted to miss at least half of the season. Sure, broadcasters and fans alike are all in awe of Dak Prescott, but the Dallas Cowboys are a completely different team without Romo. The Cowboys won 12 games and a playoff game before losing a close game 26-21 to the Packers in 2014. Last season, Romo played four games winning three. The Cowboys went on to only win one game without Romo.
Is the rookie Prescott ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL? Most would say no. Starting on day one under center is a rarity and normally reserved for the ultimately gifted. There is a steep learning curve for all single callers. The NFL game is ten times faster than the college game. The NFL game is 100 times more exotic than the college game. For instance, when college players are in class learning about ancient history, NFL players are learning blitzes and hiding coverages. Prescott has been performing marvelously, but how high can your expectations be for a fourth round draft choice in his first year?
Should the Cowboys be nervous? You bet. When backup quarterback Kellen Moore suffered a broken leg a couple of weeks ago, the organization started talking about looking for help. Rookie Prescott and second year player Jameill Showers are the only quarterbacks on the roster. Showers is 19 for 37 for 227 yards and one touchdown. That mediocre play against the third team won’t hold up against the first team. If history holds true, the Cowboys are in major trouble.
Who Would Have Known?
Robert Griffin entered training camp in a battle with Josh McCown. Griffin has shined since being named the starter. Griffin has been impressive and has corrected his errors. He’s sliding! Unfortunately, he’s still holding the ball too long. Griffin has struggled with injuries over his last two seasons. Griffin has to shorten the clock in his head to make quicker decisions. If he doesn’t, he will go down in the first couple of weeks and we will see McCown taking snaps.
Sam Bradford is holding on to the starting position for the Philadelphia Eagles while Wentz stalks him from the sideline. It’s only time before the Eagles give the keys to Wentz. Bradford is playing for his next contract. The Eagles hope that he can excel and keep Wentz on the sidelines for a couple of years like Aaron Rodgers. But Bradford isn’t Brett Farve and very soon Wentz will be their best chance to win.
What’s out there for teams to pick up? Are there any quarterbacks that are just waiting for the right situation? The answer is no! The lack of talent in that position around the league persuaded the Broncos to use a lowly seventh round pick on bringing Sanchez over from the Eagles.
Michael Vick appears to be the best available option. And that’s not a great one. There will be some quarterbacks available after the last cut, but do you really want them? Yes, if you’re planning on throwing games to get next year’s number one draft choice. But the answer has to be no, if you plan on being competitive this year. Most teams have their guy, but those that don’t are in crisis. The injury bug is ravaging the league highlighting the need for teams to have depth at all positions.