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Predicting the Starting Quarterback Battles for 2012

Alex GiobbiAnalyst IMarch 29, 2012

Predicting the Starting Quarterback Battles for 2012

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    With the 2012 NFL season four months away, there are still moves to be made as teams scramble to assemble their final rosters.

    Some teams are looking to fill some needs, while others are looking to fill other needs.

    One of the most important needs is a starting quarterback, and while almost three quarters of the league know who will be behind center in 2012, there are a few teams still figuring out who will be their starter.

    This slideshow will preview the quarterback battles of the 2012 season and will determine who will likely be behind center by week one of the season.

Miami Dolphins: Matt Moore vs. 2012 Draft Pick*

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    *For all intents and purposes, the draft pick is Ryan Tannehill.

    Matt Moore took over for an injured Chad Henne, who had already lead his team to an 0-4 start, and proceeded to go 6-6 over the remainder of the season. Despite this, it seems as though Moore may not retain the starting position.

    The Dolphins have spent this offseason looking for a replacement for Moore, and Henne signed a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. So far, it's been three straight swing-and-misses, as Matt Flynn (Seattle Seahawks), Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos) and Tim Tebow (New York Jets) have flown for greener pastures.

    On the hypothetical that the Dolphins do finally crack and draft a first-round quarterback, or a second-rounder again, say either Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden or Kirk Cousins, (most likely Tannehill) expect him to give Moore a run for his money.

    Winner: Draft pick

New York Jets: Mark Sanchez vs. Tim Tebow

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    After Mark Sanchez failed to get the Jets over the proverbial AFC Championship bump two years in a row, he was expected to finally ascend it in 2011. After an 8-8 record, capped off with a three game losing streak to end the season, Sanchez was rewarded with a contract extension.

    It seemed as though the Jets were going to go with Sanchez for 2012, but then opportunity struck when John Elway's Broncos signed Peyton Manning, allowing him to trade away his competition for most popular Bronco quarterback, Tim Tebow.

    Tebow was sent to the Jets and, since then, a flurry of rumors have been spreading about which quarterback will be under center.

    Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson say that he will be a Wildcat quarterback, while Tim Tebow (reportedly) and Skip Bayless think he can win the starting role.

    Either way, Tebow is getting playing time, no matter what.

    Therefore, the real question is, who will end the season as the Jets quarterback?

    Sanchez will start, but will be given a short leash by the fans, and when he starts to make mistakes, Metlife Stadium will be rocking with chants for Tebow. Considering fan demand worked in Denver, it's a matter of time before it works in the Big Apple. After all, it worked for Jeremy Lin, right?

    Winner: Mark Sanchez (barely)

Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy vs. 2012 Draft Pick*

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    *Assume it's Brandon Weeden

    Colt McCoy is not the quarterback he was in Texas. When he was surrounded by guys like Jamaal Charles, Jordan Shipley and Tre Newton, he was unstoppable. Now that he's in Cleveland, through no personal fault of his, he has no legitimate weapons, save for Josh Cribbs.

    The NFL draft could either save him or destroy him, as the Browns are practically expected to draft running back Trent Richardson to compensate for the loss of Peyton Hillis. It is unknown what they plan to do with their late first rounder, but their second rounder could be used for a quarterback.

    The Browns may go after Oklahoma State star Brandon Weeden, an older quarterback in the mold of Chris Weinke. Drafting him might jeopardize McCoy's starting spot.

    However, McCoy need not worry. His job is safe for now, as Randy Lerner and Pat Shurmer have invested too much in him already.

    Winner: Colt McCoy

Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III

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    With Peyton Manning now in Denver, the holder of the keys to the Colts offense will be a rookie.

    Andrew Luck is the consensus No. 1 selection in the draft, with Robert Griffin III the consensus second overall selection.

    Luck is the model that owner Jim Irsay wants. He's a traditional passer with great leadership skills, and has won two BCS bowls: the Sun and Fiesta.

    Griffin, on the other hand, is part of the new breed of quarterbacks. He's a dynamic dual threat quarterback and a Heisman selection.

    Like previous Heisman winner and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, his high draft position is a combination of an excellent season and a great combine/Pro day.

    It's completely obvious who Irsay wants, a guy with experience and leadership, rather than a one season wonder.

    Winner: Andrew Luck

Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert vs. Chad Henne

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    It's a shame that Jacksonville did not keep David Garrard, as they could have used him to ease Blaine Gabberts transition from college to the NFL. Instead, the former Missouri signal caller lead the team to a 4-10 record (two games started by Luke McCown) and has already acquired the bust label.

    Jacksonville underwent some changes midseason as longtime coach Jack Del Rio was fired and Shahid Khan bought the team. Because Gabbert wasn't Khan's quarterback, there has been speculation that he would either sign or draft a replacement.

    This offseason, Chad Henne was signed, giving Gabbert either a backup, or giving Henne an understudy. Either way, Henne and Gabbert will battle it out as Henne lost his season last year when he was injured, and Gabbert was practically thrown into the fire.

    My guess is that Henne will win out and start the majority of the year.

    Winner: Chad Henne

Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselbeck vs. Jake Locker

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    Matt Hasselbeck had a resurgent season in Tennessee, but was hurt a few games, allowing Jake Locker to audition for the starter job. After a convincing performance, it's safe to say that Locker is ready.

    The question is, do Bud Adams and Mike Munchak think he's ready?

    The options are: Give Locker more learning time by having Hasselbeck start another year have Locker and Hasselbeck battle in training camp or give the job to Locker.

    Considering that this is a full offseason with no lockout, my bet is that Locker will get the starting job this summer. He definitely looks ready.

    Winner: Jake Locker

Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III vs. Andrew Luck

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    The Redskins traded up to get the second best quarterback in the draft. Assuming either Luck or Griffin is picked, the Redskins will take the other.

    Most likely, the Redskins will pick Griffin.

    Robert Griffin III wins

Arizona Cardinals: Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton

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    Bill Bidwell made a commitment when he traded for former Eagles backup Kevin Kolb. Hopefully he made the right decision in getting him and last year was a fluke.

    If Kolb isn't the man he's looking for, John Skelton could be the answer. Skelton filled in admirably while Kolb was hurt, going 6-2 while Max Hall was on injured reserve.

    Basically, it all comes down to who's healthy. Whomever is healthy will start for the Cardinals.

    Winner: Kevin Kolb (or John Skelton if he impresses enough)

Seattle Seahawks: Tarvaris Jackson vs. Matt Flynn

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    Tarvaris Jackson was a placeholder for the Seahawks while they went out and evaluated other quarterbacks.

    When they signed Matt Flynn, they effectively gave him the keys to their offense.

    Although Flynn doesn't have as much experience as Jackson, he still has a better track record, especially as he almost singlehandedly throttled the Lions in Week 17. The Seahawks had better hope he can play like this on a weekly basis, or they could find themselves in third place yet again.

    Winner: Matt Flynn

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