Every year, there are massive questions heading into NFL training camps: which players will start, will the rookies overtake the vets, can injured players return to form and many more. These are important questions for fantasy owners as they try to put together dominant fantasy teams, and this year is no different.
In this article, we will break down the quarterback training camp questions for 2012 to help prepare fantasy owners for their drafts. Fortunately, most fantasy drafts take place after a lot of these questions are answered, but for those that don’t, knowing the questions can help steer fantasy owners away from trouble areas.
Can Peyton Manning return to form?
Peyton Manning killed a lot of fantasy owners in 2011. While many were discussing his injury and when he would be back, not many thought he wouldn’t play at all. That came as a huge surprise to everyone, including Peyton.
Peyton indicated in June that he was not all the way back to 100 percent. Mike Klis, a beat writer for the Denver Post reported on PFT Live on July 3 that he felt Manning ended OTAs at about 85 to 90 percent.
If he truly is back in that range, that would still put him ahead of most starting quarterbacks in the league. But one question will remain well into training camp: Can he take a massive hit and still get up and throw? We just won’t know until it happens.
Will Kevin Kolb finally prove his worth in Arizona?
Kolb was supposed to be the QB to elevate Larry Fitzgerald’s play in 2011 after coming over from Philadelphia. Unfortunately for both Kolb and Fitzgerald, that didn’t happen. He completed only 57.7 percent of his passes and lost six of his first seven games before getting hurt. He came back to win one more game against Dallas in Week 13 before getting injured again in Week 14 and missing the rest of the season.
In his defense, Kolb had little time to work with his new team because of the lockout, and it showed. He was indecisive and sometimes just looked lost. Skelton played better than Kolb when he came off the bench, but he was already familiar with this offense and players.
If he can stay healthy, and that’s a big if, then Kolb should certainly improve with a full offseason, but he will have to beat out Skelton in what will be a heated training camp battle. Just remember that most teams don’t give a player $20 million in guaranteed money to sit on the bench.
Which quarterback will lead Seattle into battle in 2012?
Tarvaris Jackson started 14 games for the Seahawks in 2011. He went 7-7 in those starts and completed 60 percent of his passes, but only threw for 14 touchdowns while throwing 13 picks. Those numbers certainly won’t push this team into the next level.
Matt Sando of ESPN believes that Jackson’s situation is the most volatile. He states that Jackson could end up starting, could be a veteran backup or even possibly be released if both Flynn and Wilson produce strongly in training camp.
This team was definitely not sold on Jackson after last season. They aggressively went after Peyton Manning, and when that didn’t work, Seattle GM John Schneider went after Flynn, whom he knew when he worked with Green Bay. Flynn is the guy most expect to take the reins, especially after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed.
The team then drafted Wilson, who, despite being only 5’11”, Matt Waldman of FootballGuys thinks that Wilson can be a good starter in the NFL in this article he wrote for Football Outsiders. Most likely, it will be hard for Wilson to wrest away the starting job this year, but if Flynn falls on his face in training camp, this team may decide the future is now.
Which quarterback will lead the Miami offense, and will it matter?
Miami has a three-way battle for its quarterback battle: a career backup in Matt Moore, a vet who sat out the 2011 season in David Garrard and a rookie drafted with the eighth pick in this year’s draft, Ryan Tannehill.
Coach Joe Philbin has said that the competition has been very close after OTAs and minicamp, although Ryan Tannehill seems to be a step or two behind the other two. Currently, it certainly seems to be a battle between Moore and Garrard.
Moore filled in well for Miami last year. He finished the season 6-6 in the games he started, but finished the year strong, winning six of the last nine games. He completed over 60 percent of his passes and 16 touchdowns with only eight interceptions in those 12 starts.
Garrard, meanwhile, got cut just before the 2011 season and never found a new home, but by most accounts, Garrard has looked very comfortable in Miami’s new West Coast offense. This battle looks to be one that won’t be answered until deep in training camp, but the bigger fantasy question will continue to be: Does it matter who is at QB, and should fantasy owners care?
The answer is most likely no, except in larger leagues.
Can Jake Locker beat out Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee?
Fantasy owners are definitely of the opinion that Locker is the quarterback to own in Tennessee despite the fact that most Tennessee beat writers, including David Climer of The Tennessean, think that Hasselbeck already has the job to start the year. The Titan’s have a very schedule to open the season, so this could make sense.
Hasselbeck had a decent year in 2011, as he led the Titans to a 9-7 record while starting all 16 games. He threw 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In his last seven games, he only threw four touchdowns while throwing seven interceptions. Hasselbeck also hasn’t thrown for more than 20 touchdowns since 2007, when he had 28.
Both quarterbacks bring different tools to the table. For Hasselbeck, it is mostly experience and knowledge because he doesn’t offer a lot of upside. With Locker, you get a young QB with a strong arm who is not afraid to move out of the pocket to keep a play alive. He is much more active on his feet and can create issues for defenses.
Heading into 2011, the Jets looked like a team on the rise. They had just come off back-to-back AFC title game appearances and looked to try and build on that. What they got instead was a running game that never quite lived up to expectations, a defense that was not quite as stellar as in the past couple of years and a quarterback-wide receiver feud between quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
In fact, LaDainian Tomlinson commented; "It is as bad as I've ever been around, honestly. And I've been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not. But it was as bad as I've been around."
Sanchez had a career high in touchdowns with 32, six on the ground, but he also turned the ball over 26 times. Jets quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh said that most of the turnovers came from poor decision-making. In fact, Sanchez turned the ball over nine times in the last three games. All games the team lost, and it pushed them right out of playoff contention.
The team was another that tried to get Peyton Manning when he became available, but when that didn’t work, they turned around and extended Sanchez’s contract. Soon after that, they brought in Tebow once he became obsolete in Denver. Sure sounded like a team that wasn’t sure where it was headed.
Since the acquisition of Tebow, the team has been steadfast in their claims that Sanchez is their starting QB. Rex Ryan, while on WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton, stated simply that Sanchez is their starting quarterback and there is no QB controversy. Tebow was brought in to run the wildcat formation and be the backup.
That’s all fine until Sanchez struggles. We all know New York fans are not the most forgiving, and many will be calling for Tebow from Week 1. Can Sanchez handle the naysayers and increase his level of play at the same time? That is definitely the main question in New York right now.
Most of these questions will be answered in training camp while a couple may drag into the season, but whichever way it turns, these are all big questions for these teams and for fantasy teams. Make sure to check back often as Bleacher Report provides the up-to-date info that will help win fantasy championships.
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