It takes a burning passion to be a quarterback in the NFL, as you must have the drive to succeed every week or risk losing your starting position. Teammates want a signal-caller that’s very self-confident of their own ability to lead them to victory.
Here are quarterbacks that must take control of their teams in training camp:
Granted, the offseason has been rough with the controversy surrounding BountyGate. The fanbase has patiently waited for this marathon negotiation session to end and finally put an exclamation point on this offseason. Hopefully, both sides can come to an agreement and get back to the business of winning football games.
Brees will earn his money this year, as he has the difficult task of leading the Saints through a season of uncertainty. He will become the lone voice of the franchise all year long. Brees must instill pride inside the locker room, but make everyone aware that they’re wearing a large bull’s eye on their chest. If he plays well, chances are we will see the Saints once again in the playoffs.
This will be an important training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles, as QB Michael Vick must gain some chemistry with his offensive teammates or it will be another long, trying year. To be successful, the Eagles must find a reliable wide receiver to cure their lack of success in the red zone. Head coach Andy Reid must get away from their quick strike offensive attack, where it's either completing a 40-yard bomb or bust.
Vick has to show that he can consistently play in consecutive seasons. More often, Vick reverts back to his reckless style from the Atlanta days, and the front office wants a prototypical quarterback in their backfield. That’s why they kicked the tires on Peyton Manning before he ultimately signed with Denver. Vick will need to show more of a leadership role on the field to shut up his critics.
We last saw QB Peyton Manning on a football field on January 8, 2011 in a playoff loss to the New York Jets. Then in the aftermath came multiple neck surgeries and a year-long hiatus away from a sport that he truly loves. Manning is beginning a new chapter in his career with the Denver Broncos.
If healthy, Peyton is still an elite quarterback. But he will be the most-watched athlete this season in the NFL, as the biggest question to be answered is if Manning can return to All-Pro status.
The Broncos are gambling that a 90 percent Peyton is still better than the majority of quarterbacks in the league. His doctors have repeatedly reiterated that it’s a question of when and not if the nerves in his neck will regenerate. If the Broncos are going to be successful this season, then Manning will have to throw the deep ball downfield consistently.
The New York Jets have been very quiet this offseason, as no crazy comments or guarantees have come out of their locker room. The only major acquisition has been QB Tim Tebow from Denver. Is this the quiet before the storm?
The front office is banking on Tebow’s presence helping QB Mark Sanchez to become more consistent in his own quarterback play. By the end of last season, he was a shell of an NFL starting quarterback. Sanchez would often get rid of the football when hearing footsteps of opposing defenders in the backfield. But make no mistake about it, he must perform or risk losing his starting position.
The return of the ground-and-pound running game should take some pressure off of Sanchez and help to get better passing situations offensively. Last season, head coach Rex Ryan realized too late that his personnel weren’t capable enough to throw the football consistently to win. But if the Jets are going to become a true Super Bowl contender, then Sanchez must become more of a gunslinger and less of a game-manager.
Kevin Kolb’s first season in Arizona was a total disaster, and the hope is for it to only get better. His arm strength was woeful and lacked the poise to produce under pressure. The Arizona Cardinals front office tried to light a fire underneath him by holding conversations with Peyton Manning on possibly joining the team this offseason.
During training camp, head coach Ken Whisenhunt will have a short leash, as Kolb must show the physical skills to execute the offense. If he cannot, then Kolb will be replaced by QB John Skelton, who provided a much-needed spark to the offense last season. His success consisted of cutting down the team’s mental mistakes that often cost them early season wins.
The window on winning an AFC title is closing rapidly for QB Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, as another tough, disappointing season could cause head coach Norv Turner to lose his job. Yes, Rivers is still one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, but if he struggles throwing the football once again, then you could hear the boo-birds inside Qualcomm Stadium.
Rivers plays in a system that best suits his skills, but he needs to make better reads downfield and take the pressure off his offensive line to protect him. His teammates need to be reassured that Rivers is still a highly-skilled quarterback that’s capable of leading them to a championship.
Once again, you have another starting quarterback that cannot take it personal that his team courted Peyton Manning in the offseason. QB Alex Smith must face the hard facts that it took him seven long years before he won his first playoff game. But, you have to like the odds of Smith staying consistent for the remainder of his career.
Fans have to realize that championships aren’t won solely on quarterback play. Teams need a balanced offensive attack and not a quarterback that puts up lofty regular season numbers that often doesn’t translate into postseason wins.