pictured: Marc Bulger
by Kevin Roberts
With hype of the NFL a year-round phenomenon, how can anyone not think about the upcoming season? I know I can’t stop thinking about who will be in the playoffs and what players will break out. So with that said, here is a breakdown of each team at the quarterback position.
1. Buffalo Bills:
J.P Losman – For now, he has the keys, but to be honest, with newly drafted Trent Edwards waiting in the wings, Losman does not have much room for error.
Trent Edwards – Edwards has the make-up of a future star in the NFL, if only he wasn’t sitting behind a guy in the same mold. However, with Kelly Holcomb shipped off to Philadelphia, Edwards should be next in line if Losman wavers.
Craig Nall – With his only solid play coming in mop-up duty or overseas, Nall is very fortunate to even be on an active roster. He will undoubtedly begin the pre-season third on the depth chart, and probably end the season there as well.2. New York Jets:
Chad Pennington – Pennington makes up for what he lacks in arm strength with his leadership, intelligence and passion for the game. He’s still a very accurate thrower and has the ability to be Brady-esque on his good days. However, his most famed supporter, coach Herman Edwards, is now in Kansas City, not New York.
Kellen Clemens – Second round picks usually don’t spend their careers on the bench, and a guy this good is destined to be starting sooner rather than later. Still, Pennington has at least earned the benefit of the doubt until he drastically screws up, or like usual, gets hurt.
Marques Tuiasosopo – Once a very well rounded prospect, Tuiasosopo has failed to progress at all and is lucky to be in the league. He may very well have to fight just to keep a spot on the Jets.
3. New England Patriots:
Tom Brady – Mr. Clutch is the apparent Montana clone that nobody can get enough of. Every year he shows up the Pats have a shot at the Super Bowl. This year is no different.
Matt Cassel – Cassel actually could be a possible starter somewhere else in the near future. He never was able to show off his skills while sitting on the bench behind Carson Palmer at USC, but in pre-season action in New England, he has impressed.
Matt Gutierrez – Basically the third guy by default, because he’s the last guy there taking snaps. New England could try what Carolina did last year, and run with two quarterbacks. It’d save them some money.
4. Miami Dolphins:
Daunte Culpepper – If he is somehow healthy, he could re-emerge as a big time player and fantasy contributor. That is a big if, however, and the drafting of BYU’s John Beck might have been a push in the opposite direction.
Cleo Lemon – Lemon has solid skills, but with no real experience, so for now, is merely a tasty thought amongst Culpepper and Beck.
John Beck – After playing in a pro-style offense in college, Beck could be surprisingly advanced and prepared to take over from day one. It truly all rests on Culpepper and his knee.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers:
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben faltered last season in a big way, but I expect him to come back and produce for a team that might look to add more vertical passing plays into the system. It’s time for them to make use of that powerful arm.
6. Cincinnati Bengals:
Carson Palmer – The only thing keeping Palmer from the Manning level is his knee. If his mobility and confidence are completely restored, 35-40 passing touchdowns are highly possible in this offense.
Dough Johnson – A veteran back-up who really doesn’t have a lot to offer. He could lose his spot to rookie Jeff Rowe, but since he’s been around awhile, he’ll probably stick around.
Jeff Rowe versus Jeff Smith – It’s a 2007 draft choice up against a guy no one knows about. Smith is the odd man out.
7. Cleveland Browns:
Brady Quinn – While they might not throw him to the dogs the first day, Quinn is destined to be the guy in Cleveland for some time to come. He’ll make Braylon Edwards look like Randy Moss. This is damned exciting.
Charlie Frye – I honestly feel Frye has the tools and confidence to succeed, not just in the NFL, but with this very team. Too bad, though, for the drafting of Quinn.
Derek Anderson versus Ken Dorsey – Anderson impressed late last season, and at 6’6, is the ideal height to man the position. Dorsey, on the other hand, was a winning college quarterback, and has a lot more playing experience.
8. Baltimore Ravens:
Steve McNair – You have to admire Mcnair’s “Brett Favre” like toughness, but Favre doesn’t get hurt nearly as much as McNair. He used to be among the elite, but he just is not what he used to be.
Kyle Boller – Probably labeled a bust by some; I feel that is a bit premature. He’s still young, and with an aging and injury-prone quarterback ahead of him, Boller’s career in Baltimore still has life in it.
Troy Smith versus Drew Olson – Honestly, this is a battle between two solid college quarterbacks who just shouldn’t even be in the NFL. Smith will win, simply because he was a draft pick.
9. Indianapolis Colts:
Peyton Manning – Easily the cream of the crop at the position.
Jim Sorgi – Highly over-rated, but still serviceable as a back-up.
John Navarre – He has the tools to be a starter, as well as the size, but he just doesn’t look even remotely comfortable when in games. He’s like a very, very poor man’s version of Tim Couch.
10. Houston Texans:
Matt Schaub – The new starter, Schaub will not disappoint. He’s been thinking about this for the past few years while he watched Vick do a poor job in Atlanta.
Sage Rosenfels – A decent back-up who should never really get a look as a starter. He did well in mop-op duty last year, but just is not a great player.
Quinton Porter vs. Bradlee Van Pelt vs. Jared Zabransky- Van Pelt and Zabransky are highly athletic (white) quarterbacks, which interestingly enough, is why both fight for their lives to even play in the league. Porter is average at best.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars:
Byron Leftwitch – This just shows you that when black quarterbacks fail and fail again, they are repeatedly given every chance to redeem themselves. So, here you go, Mr. Leftwitch, attempt at greatness, number 5.
David Garrard – Athletic, but rather elementary when it comes to decision making, and, well, every other aspect of the quarterback position.
Quinn Gray – Rounds out an all black quarterback roster. He is actually quite gifted. Many would say he should be a starter somewhere else, as well as Garrard. But that would ruin this great dominance the Jaguars have at the position!
12. Tennessee Titans:
Vince Young – Quite honestly, I was impressed with Young’s leadership last season, and his ability to carry the team. However, he still remains an awful quarterback.
Kerry Collins – The past few starting gigs Collins held down were failures before he took the field. He hasn’t had good talent around him in four years. With that said, Collins remains a very good back-up.
David Koral vs. Kent Smith – Unknown meets unknown in a classic “who gives a rats ass” match-up.
13. Denver Broncos:
Jay Cutler – He showed late last season he won’t crack under the pressure, and with the speedy Brandon Stoklely added to his receiving corps, I feel good about his development.
Patrick Ramsey – It’s funny when people call players busts when they never even get a fair shot to prove themselves. Ramsey is a tough, gritty player, with the tenacity of an endangered animal. Too bad we’ll probably never get to see it again.
Darrell Hackney versus Preston Parsons – Parsons has had experience being on an NFL roster, so he gets the heads up.
14. San Diego Chargers:
Philip Rivers – As accurate and poised as they come. Rivers will break out even more in his second season as the starter.
Charlie Whitehurst – An athletic quarterback who is sometimes used on trick and situational plays. Whitehurt will provide the Chargers with real depth at the position while he waits for his chance with another team.
Bill Volek – Sums up a fantastic depth chart of quarterbacks. If Rivers goes down, it is not a lost season.
15. Oakland Raiders:
Jamarcus Russell- I don’t care if he was the top pick. He should not be the starter to start the season.
Josh McCown – Never truly given a fair chance to succeed, he exhibits excellent throwing power and running ability. I’d say he’s the “white Vick” but some (black people) might deem that racist.
Andrew Walter – He did not receive a fair opportunity last season playing behind perhaps the worst offensive line ever and with disinterested receivers.
16. Kansas City Chiefs:
Trent Green – Will he stay or go? Doesn’t matter. He’s going to be 38 and already was showing signs of regression.
Damon Huard – He was effective years ago in Miami, and then never got another look. Huard could be a surprise starter and solid producer this season.
Brodie Croyle – A second round pick who looked shaky at best in limited pre-season action. It’s too early to say anything more.
Omar Jacobs – Holds the advantage over the other two quarterbacks who will be fighting for action in training camp. He was an overrated prospect coming out of college, and he still is.
1. Dallas Cowboys:
Tony Romo – This time around he’s the guy from day one. Now, is he the guy who was oozing with so much talent that he unseated Bledsoe, or the guy who fumbled away Dallas’s playoff hopes?
Brad Johnson – He has become Vinny Testaverde.
Brock Berlin – He doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in the NFL, but he’s better than the other two guys trying to make the team. Hey, if Ken Dorsey can do it…
2. New York Giants:
Eli Manning – He still has what it takes to survive in the NFL, but he hasn’t made much progress. With a lot of weapons around him, this is the year that will tell us just how good this kid can be.
Anthony Wright – A damn good back-up and slightly better than average starter when given the chance. Still, like most back-ups, a very erratic player.
Jared Lorenzen versus Tim Hasselbeck – Lorenzen is huge with an amazing arm, and Hasselbeck has great poise and much more experience. The Giants will probably keep both, but Hasselbeck would be the odd man out if they don’t.
3. Washington Redskins:
Jason Campbell – Even the Redskins aren’t sold on this guy just yet.
Mark Brunell – He’s done in this league. If only someone would tell him that.
Todd Collins – He should be ahead of Brunell on the depth chart, but that be too embarrassing.
Jordan Palmer – He won’t make the team, but his blood-line will get Carson’s brother a job somewhere.
4. Philadelphia Eagles:
Donovan McNabb – If healthy again, McNabb will be a top five quarterback. If not, Kolb begins his reign.
Kevin Kolb – Has all you need to be a productive quarterback. Andy Reid has gone and done a real good thing.
Kelly Holcomb vs. A.J Feeley – This is just two veterans duking it out for one of the two spots.
5. Detroit Lions:
Jon Kitna – At 35, he still can be among the elite. Especially in a Mike Martz offense.
Dan Orlovsky – Probably the default back-up by default after McCown’s departure, but Stanton is the better long-term project.
Drew Stanton – A very good selection by Detroit. They didn’t have to get Quinn. If coached correctly, this guy could be very good.
6. Chicago Bears:
Rex Grossman – In a contract year with a team that just lost the Super Bowl. Pressured much?
Brian Griese – Once again, waiting for a guy in front of him to mess up and give him another shot to prove himself.
Kyle Orton – He’ll get another shot someday to start and succeed, just not with this team.
7. Minnesota Vikings:
Tarvaris Jackson- I don’t see any reason at all why Brad Childress would put this much stock in a guy who wasn’t even that great in college. He will never live up to the hype.
Brooks Bollinger – Bollinger doesn’t wow Childress, and he gets benched. Jackson doesn’t wow Childress, and he earns the starting job. Hmm…
Drew Henson- From what I have seen, Henson is slowly, but surely, working towards being ousted from the NFL.
8. Green Bay Packers:
Brett Favre – If Greg Jennings can emerge as an offensive threat, Favre may not regret coming back. But the fact McCarthy is expecting Robert Ferguson to finally contribute something more than special teams play does not bode well for the offense.
Aaron Rodgers – By not taking Quinn, many think Thompson was sending Rodgers a message — that Rodgers is their guy. No, not really. They just needed a defensive tackle.
Ingle Martin – Another default situation. However, Martin is athletically superior to many of the quarterbacks starting in the NFL, and probably is going to end up being a better player than Rodgers.
9. New Orleans Saints:
Drew Brees – Brees showed once again last year that he is one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Jamie Martin – He has a ton of experience, but he simply is not very good.
Jason Fife vs. Tyler Palko – Palko was a good prospect this year, but went undrafted. The same goes for the ultra-athletic Fife, who went undrafted last year.
10. Atlanta Falcons:
Michael Vick – The ultimate running quarterback. Vick will go down in history as the only player to ever go an entire career without being benched, despite how poorly he performed.
Joey Harrington – Harrington gets a bad rap, but can you really blame him? He’s never had enough good players around him.
Chris Redman vs. D.J Shockley – Georgia native Shockley is destined to remain on this team, while Redman continues to be turned down by the NFL.
11. Carolina Panthers:
Jake Delhomme – Still a solid starter, but showed last season he isn’t great.
David Carr – the Panthers signed Carr because they know he can be good if he has talent around him.
Brett Basanez – It’s highly possible the Panthers will just go with two throwers again. Just think Stefan Lefors.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Chris Simms – This is the biggest quarterback controversy in the league. Who’s it going to be? If you’re going for immediate success, probably none of these guys. But Simms still has a lot of potential in him.
Jeff Garcia – Still very athletic and a true gamer. He might win the job, but will suffer because of an aging receiving corps and ineffective run game.
Jake Plummer – Sure, he retired, but if Gruden guarantees him the starting job, that retirement will be short-lived.
Bruce Gradkowski – Shined in a few games last year, but came back down to earth when he started facing better competition.
Luke McCown – Athletic like his brother, McCown will also be overlooked like his brother, as well.
13. St. Louis Rams:
Marc Bulger – A very accurate passer with a quick release. If Bulger can continue to stay healthy and maintain some consistency, he could threaten a lot of passing records.
Gus Frerotte – A quality back-up. He’s always good for some great reliever performances. Probably could start somewhere.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Impressed in his NFL debut with 3 touchdowns, and then was average after that.
Drew Tate – A very elusive and athletic quarterback who excels in the bootleg, Tate is in the mold of a Doug Flutie, or even a Michael Vick. But of course, no one can touch Vick’s athleticism.
14. Seattle Seahawks:
Matt Hasselbeck – Slightly overrated, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a heck of a player. If the running game gets even close to where it was two seasons ago, Hasselbeck could shine.
Seneca Wallace – Sometimes used as receiver, Wallace is actually a pretty good pocket passer, on top of his running ability.
David Greene – A very cerebral quarterback with decent arm strength. Had a very good record at Georgia. He could still be a starter in this league.
15. Arizona Cardinals:
Matt Leinart – Now that Dennis Green is finally gone, the quarterback position can breathe a sigh of relief. Leinart was destined for greatness even if he didn’t have one of the most talented offenses around him.
Kurt Warner – Probably could be a better than average starter still, but provides excellent depth and can still help Leinart grow.
16. San Francisco 49ers:
Alex Smith- This is Smith’s make or break year. With newly acquired receivers, he should continue to build on the substantial progress he made last year.
Trent Dilfer- A good leader and mentor. Dilfer is just around to help Smith grow.
Shaun Hill- the consummate journey man, Hill will finally earn and keep a spot.