Tarvaris Jackson and Starting QB's on Thin Ice
Life in the NFL is never a given, and that's especially true for those who man the game's most important position: Quarterback.
Several NFL quarterbacks enter 2012 with a starting job that's either on thin ice or has already cracked. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is just one of those who is on thin ice, but he's joined by several others.
In the following slides, we'll break down the quarterbacks whose jobs are on the line ahead of the 2012 season.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks
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ESPN's John Clayton reported on SportsCenter this weekend that Jackson will enter Seahawks' training camp as the team's starting quarterback, according to Rotoworld.com.
While Jackson was a 15-game starter for Seattle last season, it has been the disappointing start of Matt Flynn's career with the Seahawks that has warranted Jackson's stay atop of the depth chart.
However, there's not a lot we can take out of OTAs and a short minicamp, and you have to believe that the Seahawks paid Flynn $10 million in guaranteed money this offseason to be their starter.
Jackson may enter camp as the No. 1, but chances are he'll still start 2012 as the backup quarterback in Seattle.
Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins
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Moore started 12 games for Miami in 2011 after Chad Henne was lost for the season, but it was his nine-game stretch to end the year that gave some fans confidence he could be the 2012 starter for the Dolphins.
In MIami's final nine games, Moore led the team to a 6-3 record—including wins over the New York Jets and twice over the Buffalo Bills. His numbers didn't end terribly either: almost 2,500 yards, 16 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
However, Moore will have to fight off two players to retain that starting job.
Veteran David Garrard has been neck-and-neck with Moore to start this summer, and rookie Ryan Tannehill will always be in the mix as the Dolphins' No. 10 overall pick in April. Garrard may have the early lead as we look towards training camp.
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Gabbert has the security of his draft stock to fall back on, as he was the Jaguars' first-round pick just a year ago. But another season in which he struggles as much as he did in 2011 could result in Jacksonville going with Chad Henne at times in 2012.
During his rookie season, Gabbert appeared sheepish in the pocket, his accuracy never developed and despite quarterbacks of all kinds—young, old, you name it—putting up historic passing numbers, Gabbert had just three games of 200 or more passing yards and just one start where his passer rating stayed above 90.0.
He has some leeway still because of where he was drafted, but Gabbert needs to show some improvement in Year 2 if he is going to keep Henne on the Jaguars' bench.
Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals
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Money talks in the NFL, and that's a good thing for Kolb in Arizona. The Cardinals gave him a $65 million deal with $12 million in guarantees last summer, so there's little chance he won't open the 2012 as Arizona's starting quarterback.
But there's also reason to believe that starting job isn't fully guaranteed for all of 2012. Kolb was shockingly average when he was actually on the field last season—he played in just nine games—and the Cardinals won just two games in which he started and lasted the entire contest.
His backup—the little known John Skelton—orchestrated the Cardinals' six other wins last season. Although the stats were far from spectacular for Skelton too, Arizona was at least winning football games with him at the trigger.
Kolb is still relatively safe as the starter, but there's no reason to think Skelton couldn't leapfrog him on the depth chart if he starts the season poorly and the Cardinals struggle.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
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Yes, as much as it pains me to write it, Mark Sanchez has to make this list.
While Sanchez has shown flashes of being an above average quarterback during his NFL career, there's been too many downs to consider him a slam dunk to start all 16 games for the Jets this season.
And you all know the real reason for that: Tim Tebow.
Once Sanchez struggles for a stretch—and there's no reason to think he won't, given his football past—the talking heads and fans will be calling for Tebow. Eventually, I think Rex Ryan would cave to those demands.
It may not be entirely fair to Sanchez, but this situation is the simple reality he has to deal with now that Tebow is in New York.