4 NFL QB Battles That Will Be Won by Veterans
With mini-camps getting underway and the smell of football in the air, most teams are already certain of who will be under center once Week 1 rolls around.
With the exception of the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins, no team has a highly prolific rookie quarterback on its roster.
Some teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns are very young and shaky at the quarterback position, whereas others like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders are more experienced and just as shaky at the quarterback position.
There won't be any quarterback battles on the same level as a Doug Flutie/Rob Johnson or Joe Montana/Steve Young, but there will still be controversies nonetheless.
Here are four teams whose experienced quarterbacks have the advantage over the future quarterbacks of the league.
Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselbeck over Jake Locker
After a 2011 season where he finished with more than 3,500 yards for the first time since 2007, Hasselbeck helped pave the way for the Titans 2011 first-round draft pick Jake Locker.
Tennessee signed Hasselbeck to a three-year deal last July, three months after they drafted Locker with the No. 8 overall pick.
Although he was limited in his rookie year, Locker was stellar during Week 11 against the Atlanta Falcons when Hasselbeck left the game with a elbow injury.
Locker finished the game 9-for-19 with 140 yards and two touchdowns and nearly led the Titans come back against a pesky Falcons defense.
Although he had some favorable moments in 2011, Locker will still be Hasselbeck's backup once the season begins.
According to ESPN's John Clayton there is "very minimal competition" between the two of them since the Titans have decided to let Hasselbeck run the show for at least another year.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Chad Henne over Blaine Gabbert
Let's face it: Jacksonville's rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert was awful in 2011.
He looked uncomfortable even when he wasn't under pressure and his five fumbles last season help explain that. Then again, he didn't get much help from his offensive line either.
When the Jaguars signed Chad Henne to a two-year deal in March, it gave them some hope at the quarterback position.
Henne isn't an elite quarterback by any means, but he's still better than Gabbert and also has more experience.
With new additions to the wide receiving core like Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, Jacksonville is sure to show many signs of improvement in 2012.
Consistent quarterback play will also take some pressure off Maurice Jones-Drew.
Gabbert will benefit from sitting on the bench and focusing more on his own game. He will have his shot as the top dog soon enough.
If by chance he does start in 2012, it will be a decision Jacksonville will regret.
Seattle Seahawks: Matt Flynn over Tarvaris Jackson
To call this a veteran winning the starting job is a bit of a stretch. Matt Flynn spent four years backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and has a career total of 1,015 passing yards.
His main competitor, Tarvaris Jackson, is the more seasoned veteran with six years of experience with actual time spent as the starting quarterback when he was a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
Seattle also drafted rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in this year's draft to make the quarterback carousel that much tougher for head coach Pete Carroll.
Though Jackson is the most experienced of the three, Flynn seems to be the most exciting.
After he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in Week 17 last season, Flynn's stock rose tremendously and he quickly became one of the top free agent quarterbacks available.
Seattle inked the former LSU Tiger to a three-year deal with the hopes of him taking over the starting job.
However, Jackson wouldn't be a bad choice either.
He was very consistent on the stat sheet in 2011, although he threw nearly as many interceptions as he did touchdowns.
With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield and a mixture of young and veteran wide receivers, whoever is under center for Seattle will have some targets to work with.
Miami Dolphins: Matt Moore over Ryan Tannehill
In 2011, Matt Moore took a Miami Dolphins team that was 0-7 and led it to six wins in its final games.
His numbers don't jump out and scream "starting quarterback material" on paper, but he helped the Dolphins play spoiler at the end of the season by beating the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets.
Moore threw three touchdowns in a game three times last season including the game against Kansas City where he went 17-for-23 for 244 yards.
Unfortunately for Moore, there are two men standing in his way for the starting job in South Beach.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and former Jacksonville Jaguars starter David Garrard.
Tannehill has never taken a snap in the NFL and Garrard hasn't played professional football in more than a year after having back surgery last season.
This leaves Moore as the best option for the Dolphins.
Putting a rookie quarterback in too soon can be detrimental to any franchise. Just ask Jimmy Clausen.
It's not as if Moore is a bad quarterback. He proved last season that he can play in the NFL and with the addition of Chad Ochocinco and a slate full of rookie wide receivers, Miami has the opportunity to make some noise in the AFC East this season.
It won't be easy but it can be done.
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