Preseason Roster Battle Winners Who Won't Survive the Regular Season
NFL roster battles have dominated the headlines for weeks now. With the season set to begin in just a few short weeks, many battles will rear their ugly heads again during the thick of the 2012 NFL season.
NFL coaches have the tough task of naming starters just weeks into the preseason and will soon be flip-flopping on their original choice.
Right now, there are many coaches with their fingers crossed that they pushed the right button. Some decisions may have been made prematurely while others may just have been ill-advised.
The winners of these battles should be cautiously optimistic, as the smallest amount of poor play will land them on the bench.
Here are the preseason roster battle winners who won't survive the regular season.
The Extra Point: Ken Wisenhunt Has Put Himself on the Hot Seat in the Desert
What a mess.
The quarterback battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton has been heating up since Week 17 concluded last season.
Now, head coach Ken Wisenhunt has his team in a pickle.
Who should they start in Week 1? Does it even matter?
The real answer is unequivocally, "No!"
Both of these quarterbacks are average at best, and they'll both get to start in 2012.
The Cardinals have their backs against a wall because they decided to pick up Kolb's $7 million roster bonus in March. It would be a waste to cut him now, but it's clear that he's not what they hoped for when they inked him for $65 million just an offseason ago.
While it's true that Skelton led the team to a 5-2 record as the starter in 2011, he completed just 54.9 percent of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions.
So, who's the real winner? It may just be the Cardinals' first-round draft pick in 2013. All signs point to the team landing a top-five pick and drafting a franchise quarterback.
Brandon Weeden as the Starter in Cleveland Won't Last Long
The Cleveland Browns made a huge mistake when they named rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden the starter even before he took a snap in the NFL.
Weeden was drafted No. 22 overall in the 2012 NFL draft with the hopes of him becoming the next Bernie Kosar.
Right now, he's not ready to start in the NFL. Unfortunately, at 28 years old, it's now or never for Weeden.
The young quarterback has only completed 24-of-49 passes this preseason and has fumbled three times.
Does he deserve more time? Yes.
Does he have much time? Not really.
Browns head coach Pat Shurmur stated when he named Weeden the starter, "We're rolling and I'm not looking back" (via ESPN).
Hopefully, he has a rearview mirror.
For those wondering why backup Colt McCoy hasn't been traded or cut yet, it may be because of the fact that the organization is unsure of its decision thus far.
Expect to see Weeden out of the starting role by Week 9. It won't be his last chance in the NFL, but he'll have lost out on a golden opportunity.
The Cincinnati Bengals' No. 2 Wide Receiver Winner Has 1 Shot
The Cincinnati Bengals have been searching for a No. 2 wide receiver to complement A.J. Green the entire offseason.
While the competition seems to be down to Brandon Tate and Armon Binns, if either man muffs his opportunity, he'll be quickly replaced.
The Bengals' official website lists the men as "2A and 2B" at the moment, but it's no time to become complacent. Behind Tate and Binns are rookies Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, who are fighting for a piece of the action.
With tight end Jermaine Gresham currently maimed with a knee issue, having one of the men emerge is critical if the Bengals are to succeed this season.
Wanting to return to the playoffs in 2012, the difference-maker for the Bengals will be from the winner of the No. 2 wide receiver battle.
Don't expect to see an undisputed No. 2 until Week 5 this season. The winner has to not only get the nod, but he has to prove that he is the best option over the span of a couple of games.
When Jake Locker Falters, Matt Hasselbeck Will Be Waiting
The Tennessee Titans have been open about second-year quarterback Jake Locker being the future of their franchise.
Not too long ago the Titans decided the time is now for Locker to become the starter. While there is plenty of upside to Locker, when he struggles out of the gate in 2012, backup quarterback and consummate professional Matt Hasselbeck will be waiting to take over.
Led by Hasselbeck in 2011, the Titans finished 9-7 and nearly made the playoffs. Not wanting that chance to slip away, the Titans will be forced to rely on Hasselbeck to get them there in 2012.
In the end, it's a win-win for the franchise. Locker may need some more time and experience in the league. Remember, this is his first true NFL offseason, and he's still learning the ins and outs of the NFL.
It's a good thing he can learn from one of the game's best leaders in Hasselbeck.
Expect to see the veteran starting no later than Week 7 at Buffalo.
LeGarrette Blount Doesn't Want to Be Shown Up by Rookie Doug Martin
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted rookie running back Doug Martin with the intention of him pushing LeGarrette Blount to get better.
Now, Martin is the starter and Blount is on the outside looking in.
While Martin has been a dream come true for the Bucs thus far, seeing him start Week 1 will finally motivate Blount to become sound within himself and reach his maximum potential in the NFL.
He had a successful rookie season in 2010, compiling 1,007 rushing yards before regressing last season by tallying only 781. One thing that has plagued Blount is his nine fumbles in just two seasons.
The Bucs' bye week is Week 5 this season, and Blount will get enough opportunities to impress before then to earn the starting role by Week 6.
Martin has to be careful. Although Blount hasn't wowed many recently, he's still a quality NFL back. The fact that the Bucs should be better overall in 2012 will also help Blount find his swagger again.
Martin is just a rookie who has yet to experience the true speed of the NFL game. As long as he holds onto the ball, Blount will start again in the NFL. It will become apparent that Martin will need some polishing.
While he may not be taken in your fantasy draft, don't be shy to nab Blount off waivers once he regains the confidence of his coaches.
Russell Mania Won't Last Forever in Seattle, as Wilson Will Soon Return to Earth
It's been a spectacle to watch Wilson shoot into the stratosphere this preseason. He's been simply stunning. He's an intelligent dual-threat quarterback who seems to always make the wise choice.
Remember when everyone was scoffing at the Seahawks after they took defensive end Bruce Irvin in the first round in 2012? Wilson has made everyone forget about that choice, and Irvin has looked spry as he looks to show everyone why the organization drafted him so early.
While this definitely speaks volumes of what the franchise thinks of Wilson, he won't make it through the entire season as the starter.
The hype surrounding the Seahawks has put them in playoff talks, but it will be backup quarterback Matt Flynn who will give them the best chance to make the postseason. The franchise signed Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million deal in the offseason which included a $6 million signing bonus.
Because of these numbers and his valuable experience as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Flynn will get his chance.
The Seahawks' bye week isn't until Week 11, so fans should expect to see Flynn under center as the starter before then.
It's not because Wilson will be terrible; it's because it will become evident that he has some growing to do in the NFL.
Week 8 against the Detroit Lions on the road is a reasonable time for Flynn to take over. Week 7 is against the San Francisco 49ers. Wilson will take plenty of lumps as the Niners look to send a message that they are tops in the NFC West.
The team could easily be 2-5 by Week 8, and not wanting to season to go to waste, they'll turn to Flynn to turn things around.
Also, Flynn torched the Lions to the tune of 480 passing yards and six touchdowns in Week 17 last season, which made him the hottest free-agent quarterback on the market.
Regardless of who the quarterback is for the Seahawks by Week 17, the future is mighty bright in Seattle.