NFL Teams With Questions at QB
by Trevor Whenham - 06/24/2008
The typical NFL bettor probably pays more attention to quarterbacks then they deserve, but there is no denying that it is much easier for a team to find success when they have a good pivot than it is when they can never be sure if the QB will throw a completion or an interception. A quick perusal of the list of starting quarterbacks in the league shows us that there are a fair number of teams that probably wish that they were in better quarterback shape heading into the season. There are five teams, though, that really stand out to me as having more questions than answers behind center.
Kansas City Chiefs - It's almost too easy to pick on the Chiefs. They have problems pretty much everywhere, but the quarterbacking situation is particularly brutal. There are four quarterbacks on the roster currently, and none of them appear to be worth much. Not now, anyway. Brodie Croyle is the likely starter. The only nice thing you can say about him is that his completion percentage, 56.7 percent, was decent last year. Not great, but not disastrous. Beyond that, things get pretty bleak. He doesn't show a lot of composure in the pocket, and it seems like a big stretch that he will evolve into a star quarterback. Damon Huard is the first backup, and he has shown at times over the last couple of years that he is capable of moments of brilliance. He's almost 35, though, and he tailed off significantly as last season progressed, so his best days might be behind him. Behind that you have David Greene, formerly of Georgia, who is in his fourth year, and Tyler Thigpen, a second-year player out of Coastal Carolina with six career pro passes. Neither one is going to be the answer in the short-term future.
New York Jets - Chad Pennington has been under fire for almost as long as he has been in town, and Kellen Clemens is taking his time stepping into the primary role. Clemens got lots of action last year, but he didn't make the most of it, throwing twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. He's still likely viewed as the future of the franchise, but the enthusiasm for him in the organization has noticeably waned. He and his child met the Pope in the offseason, so maybe that divine inspiration will help him turn the corner. Pennington is the fallback, but he's a bit of a physical wreck and can't be relied upon extensively with any confidence. They chose Erik Ainge in the draft this year, but anyone who watched much Tennessee football in recent years knows just how consistent and reliable he isn't.
Tennessee Titans - It all comes down to Vince Young for Jeff Fisher's team. I don't know about you, but I'm not very optimistic. It's not just that Young threw 17 interceptions and just nine touchdowns last year. It's that he doesn't really look like he seems to bothered when he throws a pick. I'm a diehard Michigan fan, so I know how dangerous Young was in his Texas days. That spark, and the clear enjoyment he had for the game, seems to have faded as a pro. A change in offensive coordinator might make all the difference for him, but he'll have to prove that to be the case. Paul Thompson, Ingle Martin, and the ancient Kerry Collins don't provide much of a cushion if things go badly for Young.
Buffalo Bills - I am more confident in this situation that the previous three, but Buffalo still falls on this list because of the uncertainty. Trent Edwards gave fans some reasons to be optimistic last year, but he still looked pretty raw at times. He has an upgraded receiving corps and a year of experience under his belt, but he isn't from a program with a strong recent history (Stanford), and he's far from a lock to succeed. J.P. Losman is still in town for now, and would be the backup if he sticks around, but he has had a bumpy road so far with the team. Buffalo could be a pleasant surprise if Edwards plays well, but we'll have to see if that happens.
Chicago Bears - I'm not going to spend much time on this one because the situation is just ridiculous. The Bears have a lousy quarterbacking situation, but that has been the status quo in Chicago for way longer than should be acceptable. Yet again Rex Grossman gave the team all sorts of reasons to get rid of him last year, and yet again the team chose not to. I guess the reasoning within the front office is that he was good enough to get them to the Super Bowl once, so maybe he can do it again. Of course, he doesn't have the same talent around him as he did then, and he regressed pretty badly last year from his previous season, so there isn't a ton of reason to be optimistic. It's even less confidence inspiring that Kyle Orton is the only other choice the team has, and that's not saying much.