Realistic Stat Predictions for Every Starting QB in 2013
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While the rumor mill continues to speculate about the future home of Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn, teams are taking the new crop of 2013 rookie quarterbacks through the paces at private workouts around the country.
So let's look ahead and predict what kind of statistics every starting quarterback will generate this year. Our focus is on predicting the key passing statistics for 2013.
With the time NFL teams and coaches devote to learning how to play defense against read-option quarterbacks, making predictions about the rushing totals of quarterbacks seems pointless. The give and take between the offense and defense is the beauty of the NFL. Offenses try to find new ways to exploit defenses, and defenses respond in kind.
For any team where the starter is still up in the air, we will make our best educated guess about who will emerge as the starter.
Each team slide will include the available weapons on the roster, (or the supporting cast if you prefer), to bring you up to speed on every NFL team. Team weapons are listed in order by the overall size of their contract, as per Spotrac.com. We will also highlight the final passing stats from 2012, via team QB totals, considering that a number of teams used multiple quarterbacks.
Finally, we will include predictions for what the 2013 starter will do, along with analysis of every 2013 offense, as it stands on April 1. Please note the projected QB passer rating is only a prediction, as opposed to the result of plugging the numbers into a formula.
Will Carson Palmer wind up starting for Arizona in 2013?
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Arizona Cardinals Starting QB: (To be determined).
There is a big cast of characters already for Bruce Arians to select from, with seemingly more names to come. Right now the job could go to one of these candidates on the roster: Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, John Skelton or Ryan Lindley.
The rumor mill is going crazy that the Oakland Raiders will be trading Carson Palmer to Arizona for draft picks. Then there is the possibility that the Cardinals will pass over their need for a stud left tackle and draft Geno Smith of West Virginia.
The projection here is that Palmer will be traded to the Cardinals and becomes the starting quarterback in 2013.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Michael Floyd, WR Andre Roberts, RB Ryan Williams, RB Rashard Mendenhall, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, TE Jeff King and TE Robert Housler.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Averaged throwing for 187.8 yards per game (No. 28), with 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Completed 55.4 percent of their passes, throwing for 3,383 yards and a QB passer rating of 63.1, lowest in the league. Averaged 5.6 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Palmer will throw for 3,550 yards, complete 60.6 percent of his passes and will average 6.80 yards per pass. Ratio of 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. Offensive line play will result in 40 sacks and his QB passer rating comes in at 83.2.
Palmer's lack of mobility will result in plenty of sacks behind the Cardinals' offensive line.
Analysis: The Cardinals had the worst overall offense in the NFL last year, so a major overhaul is required. Arizona gave up the most sacks in the league (58), and they also threw the most interceptions (21). That is a bad combination. They were the only NFL team that failed to crack the 6.0 yards average per attempt (5.6). It doesn't get much worse than this.
Assuming that Palmer winds up coming to Arizona, he will find a running game that has been historically lacking. Mendenhall signed just a one-year deal, so he is going to try to prove to the rest of the league that he is healthy enough for a multiyear deal in 2014. If he gets hurt again, Palmer would need to throw the ball more than he did in Oakland, where he threw a whopping 565 pass attempts in 2012.
The Cardinals will also need Floyd to step up his game, as he turned in a disappointing rookie season. One person that will be happy about Palmer coming to Arizona would be Fitzgerald. The two of them should be able to put up some strong numbers, especially for fantasy football purposes.
If Palmer is traded for conditional draft picks (assumed to be late-round variety), the Cardinals would then be free to draft a stud left tackle with the No. 7 pick. If they don't draft that left tackle, Palmer would get beat up behind the Cardinals' line that gave up a league-worst 58 sacks in 2012.
Matt Ryan and Falcons should have another top-10 offense in 2013.
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Atlanta Falcons Starting QB: Matt Ryan
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Roddy White, WR Julio Jones, TE Tony Gonzalez, WR Harry Douglas, RB Steven Jackson, RB Jason Snelling, RB Jacquizz Rodgers and FB Bradie Ewing.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Completed 68.6 percent of passes, which led the NFL. Passed for 4,719 yards, 32 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. QB passer rating of 99.1. Average gain per pass of 7.7 yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Ryan will throw for 4,560 yards with a completion percentage of 67.2. Average pass will be 7.75 yards, with 34 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Ryan will be sacked 25 times and will have a QB passer rating of 101.8.
Jackson's presence will allow Ryan to throw less in 2013, giving Atlanta a more balanced attack.
Analysis: The Falcons had a top-10 offense in 2012, as they finished No. 8 in the NFL. With the addition of RB Jackson and the surprising decision of TE Gonzalez to forgo retirement and come back for another playoff push, the Falcons' offense could be even better in 2013.
Atlanta averaged 281.8 passing yards a game last year, which was No. 6 in the NFL. With all the weapons at Ryan's disposal, they should easily finish in the top 10 again in 2013.
Ryan is scheduled to hit free agency in 2014, so let's hope contract negotiations for a long-term deal won't be a distraction for him this season.
Atlanta re-signed tackle Sam Baker, so the Falcons' offensive line should be able to repeat its 2012 success. The team only allowed 28 sacks last year, which was tied for seventh best in the league.
How badly will Joe Flacco miss Anquan Boldin in 2013?
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Baltimore Ravens Starting QB: Joe Flacco
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Ray Rice, RB Vonta Leach, WR Jacoby Jones, WR Torrey Smith, RB Bernard Pierce, WR David Reed, WR Tandon Doss, WR Tommy Streeter and RB Bobby Rainey.
Baltimore also has two restricted free agents in TE Dennis Pitta and TE Ed Dickson who have yet to be signed to a new contract.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Passed for 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Threw for 3,996 yards and completed 59.6 percent of pass attempts. QB passer rating of 86.4. Average gain per pass was 7.1 yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Flacco will throw for 3,540 yards, completing 56.8 percent of his passes. Will have 20 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. Will get sacked 40 times and have a QB passer rating of 85.2. Average pass will go for 6.85 yards.
Projection is based on emphasizing Rice running the ball more, combined with the loss of Anquan Boldin, Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie.
Analysis: Joe Flacco got his well-deserved big deal this offseason, but at what expense? It is great that Flacco signed a six-year deal for $120.6 million, but at what price? With the next week, WR Boldin was traded away as the Ravens were hurting for salary cap space.
Replacing the talented Boldin will be no small chore. He made the tough catches in the clutch even when it appeared he was covered. The Ravens hope that WR Smith will grow into the role that Boldin used to fill.
The Ravens finished 2012 with the No. 16 offense and No. 15 passing attack.
Baltimore might be able to land a free agent WR to bolster the passing game. But with a deep pool of wide receivers in the 2013 draft class, they will likely invest in at least one receiver in late April.
The 2013 offense will feature a very young wide-receiver corps that will miss the leadership of Boldin. As a result, the projected stats for Flacco will take a bit of a hit in 2013.
Tarvaris Jackson is the only experienced QB on Bills roster.
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Buffalo Bills Projected Starter: Kevin Kolb.
Adam Caplan announced on Twitter that the Bills reached agreement with Kevin Kolb on a two-year deal for $13 million. The move gives the Bills two veteran quarterbacks, as Kolb joins Tarvaris Jackson in Buffalo. The team also plans to draft a rookie quarterback.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB C.J. Spiller, WR Stevie Johnson, WR/Wildcat QB Brad Smith, RB Fred Jackson, TE Scott Chandler, WR T.J. Graham, TE Lee Smith, WR Marcus Easley, TE Mike Caussin, TE Dorin Dickerson and RB Tashard Choice.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 3,430 yards with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Completed 60.5 percent of passes, with a QB passer rating of 86.5. Averaged 6.7 yards per pass attempted.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Kolb will throw for 2,450 yards, and complete 60.7 percent of his passes. Average pass of 6.81 yards. Will wind up with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, based on Kolb's history of only being healthy enough to play a portion of the season. QB passer rating of 89.1. Will get sacked 28 times.
Analysis: The Bills (Buddy Nix) owned up to the fact that they made a big mistake by giving that huge contract to Ryan Fitzpatrick and released their starter. Tennessee immediately snapped him up to be their backup QB.
The 2013 season will mark the debut of Doug Marrone as a head coach in the NFL. Marrone will want to go with a veteran at QB until he is convinced that whatever rookie they draft is ready to assume the job. The Bills will be operating in a hurry-up offensive scheme under new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Marrone and Hackett ran this offense at Syracuse, which will remind football fans of the old K-Gun offense the Bills employed when Jim Kelly was running the show.
Buffalo still offers one of the best running-back duos in the league with Jackson and Spiller returning for 2013. The new regime opted to part ways with David Nelson and Donald Jones, so the receiving corps is especially thin right now. The Bills will definitely be investing a high draft pick on another receiver.
Marrone believes in running the football, so while the stats for Jackson and Spiller should be strong, that doesn't bode well for the projected stats for whoever wins the quarterback competition.
Buffalo invested a third-round pick in T.J. Graham and Marcus Easley, so if either one of these receivers could step up in 2013 to fill the void, that would give the offense a much-needed boost.
Cam Newton enters the third year of his NFL career.
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Carolina Panthers Starting QB: Cam Newton
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Steve Smith, TE Greg Olsen, FB Mike Tolbert, WR Armanti Edwards, WR Brandon LaFell, WR Joe Adams, WR Kealoha Pilares, WR David Gettis, TE Ben Hartsock and WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 3,927 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. QB passer rating of 86.5 and a completion percentage of 58.0. Averaged 8.0 yards per attempt, one of only four teams in NFL to crack the 8.0 average mark.
Newton led the Panthers in rushing in 2012 with 741 yards on 127 carries, for an average of 5.8 yards per rush. Newton scored eight rushing touchdowns and had nine rushes that went for 20-plus yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Newton will throw for 4,130 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Will be sacked 34 times. QB passer rating of 88.3 and a 58.5 completion percentage. Average pass will go for 8.10 yards.
Newton continues his growth and development as a passer in 2013. How much Ron Rivera will allow Newton to run with the ball will ultimately determine his final production.
Analysis: The only new weapon the Panthers have added in the 2013 offseason so far is WR Ginn Jr. Carolina is expecting Newton to take a step up in his maturity and leadership skills in 2013, now that he is entering his third year in the league.
WR Smith will be 34 years old in May, so drafting his eventual replacement this year makes sense. The Panthers are only returning three players from 2012 who had at least 300 receiving yards (Smith, Olsen and LaFell), so adding another weapon for Newton would be a plus.
Newton still remains a viable dual-threat with his legs and arm. Not sure how much longer Rivera will want Newton to be the leading rusher, as there isn't much quality behind Newton if he gets injured.
Jay Cutler now has Martellus Bennett to add to the mix.
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Chicago Bears Starting QB: Jay Cutler
Team QB 2012 Totals: Bears threw for 3,298 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Had a QB passer rating of 80.4 and completed 59.2 percent of passes. Bears gained an average of 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Cutler will throw for 3,825 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Will complete 60.4 percent of his passes, with a QB passer rating of 87.0. Will have an average pass of 7.44 yards. Will be sacked 36 times.
Cutler rebounds in 2013 due to the addition of Marc Trestman and TE Bennett putting up better numbers across the board.
Analysis: Trestman, the new head coach, will be expected to pump new life into the Bears' passing attack, which only averaged 187.4 yards per game last year (No. 29 overall).
The Bears' offensive line gave up 44 sacks last year as well as a number of hits that forced Cutler to eventually miss a start. Cutler hasn't been able to play in all 16 games for any of the past three years. They hope the addition of T Jermon Bushrod and G Matt Slausson will improve the pass protection for Cutler.
Chicago had one of the strangest team-receiving totals in the NFL in 2012. Marshall led the team with 1,504 yards, but after him nobody else had more than 375 yards. That made the Bears' offense very predictable when Cutler went back to pass. Marshall had 194 targets, next closest was Forte with 60.
If the defense rotated to cover Marshall and Forte, it was likely that Cutler wouldn't have enough time to look at his third option before getting hit.
Jeffery needs to step up his game more in 2013. If he can, with the addition of Bennett and the new offensive linemen, the Bears should be able to spread the ball around more in 2013 and allow Cutler more time to check out his progression reads.
Andy Dalton is 0-2 so far in playoff appearances.
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Cincinnati Bengals Starting QB: Andy Dalton
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR A.J. Green, TE Jermaine Gresham, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, TE Clark Harris, WR Mohamed Sanu, TE Orson Charles, WR Marvin Jones, WR Andrew Hawkins, WR Brandon Tate and WR Ryan Whalen.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 3,807 yards, 28 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. QB passer rating was 88.1 and completed 62.0 percent of passes. Average pass attempt was 7.1 yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Dalton throws for 3,872 yards with 29 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Have a completion percentage of 63.1 percent, with a QB passer rating of 89.1. Will get sacked 43 times and have an average gain of 7.31 yards per pass.
Ownership's inability to land new weapons in free agency limits Dalton's growth potential for 2013.
Analysis: Despite having one of the best salary-cap situations of any NFL team coming into the 2013 offseason, the Bengals have put their blinders on and focused on signing their own free agents. Bengals fans have owner Mike Brown to thank for ignoring the rest of the free agents around the league.
Cincinnati had the No. 22 overall offense in 2012 and their passing attack was in the middle of the pack at No. 17, as they averaged 223.6 yards passing per game. Dalton could use another talented wide receiver opposite Green to step up and take their game to the next level.
Between Jones, Tate and Sanu, none was able to eclipse 220 yards in receiving last year. If one of them could hit the 600-700 yard mark, that would take pressure off Green and serve as a resource for Dalton.
Brandon Weeden doesn't have a firm hold on starting job.
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Cleveland Browns Starting QB: Brandon Weeden, (for now). Cleveland also has Jason Campbell and Colt McCoy on the roster. McCoy could easily be released or traded in the offseason.The Browns also figure to draft another quarterback to increase the level of competition at training camp.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Trent Richardson, WR Josh Gordon, TE Gary Barnidge, WR Greg Little, RB Montario Hardesty, TE Jordan Cameron and WR Travis Benjamin.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 3,668 yards, 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. QB passer rating was 73.6, which was No. 29 in the NFL last year. Completed 58.0 percent of passes. Average pass went for 6.5 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Weeden will throw for 3,530 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Will complete 58.2 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 6.70 yards per throw. QB passer rating of 74.4 and he will get sacked 33 times.
Don't see Weeden making a substantial leap in growth or development, meaning that Browns could pull the plug on him at any time during the 2013 season.
Analysis: The new regime led by GM Michael Lombardi, head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner inherited Weeden. Lombardi was especially critical of the selection of Weeden at the 2012 draft, when he was employed by NFL Network as an analyst. They have nothing personally invested in him, so the starting job will be opened up in training camp.
According to an article by Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Weeden will have the first shot at assuming the starting job in 2013. The team will ask Weeden to throw the ball down the field more out of a shotgun approach.
Weeden threw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (14) in 2012. That statistic tells you that his rookie season was painful to watch at times, part of the growing pains of being a rookie in the NFL.
If the list of supporting cast or available weapons for the Browns appears rather short, that is because it is. Despite having a wealth of available salary-cap space coming into the 2013 offseason, the Browns devoted the bulk of their money in free agency to adding more talent on their defense.
Cleveland must feel that it is going to add more weapons on offense at the draft, because it hasn't done much to improve the unit during free agency so far.
Dallas secured Romo with a new deal this week.
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Dallas Cowboys Starting QB: Tony Romo
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant, RB DeMarco Murray, RB Lawrence Vickers, TE James Hanna, WR Dwayne Harris and WR Cole Beasley.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Fell just eight yards shy of reaching 5,000 passing yards in 2012. Threw for 29 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and completed an impressive 66.0 percent of passes. QB passer rating of 91.3 and an average gain of 7.6 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Romo will throw for 4,755 yards, with 30 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Will get sacked 38 times, and complete 66.0 percent of his passes. Average pass will be 7.83 yards and a QB passer rating of 94.2.
Between Murray or a draft pick, the Cowboys will emerge with a better ground game in 2013. That will result in a very slight drop in Romo's overall stats. Still putting up impressive overall numbers in 2013.
Analysis: This isn't the right place to debate the merits of the new contract that Dallas awarded Romo this week. We will let the Cowboys' fans discuss that with owner Jerry Jones. Dallas usually seems to have some kind of drama going on, and this year is no exception. Last year the window was closing. This year it is who will be carry the responsibility of calling plays for the offense in 2013.
Now that Romo has finalized his deal, he can focus on the offense and trying to return Dallas to the postseason, something he has struggled to do.
Dallas lost WR Kevin Ogletree to Tampa Bay in free agency. Due to the limited salary-cap room they had available, the Cowboys haven't responded with another wide receiver to replace him yet.
Peyton Manning is hoping for better results in 2013 playoffs.
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Denver Broncos Starting QB: Peyton Manning
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Knowshon Moreno, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Wes Welker, RB Willis McGahee, TE Jacob Tamme, TE Joel Dreessen, WR Eric Decker, RB Ronnie Hillman, TE Julius Thomas and WR Andre Caldwell.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Denver completed 68.4 percent of its passes, second best in the NFL. QB passer rating of 105.3 led the entire league. Threw for 4,671 yards, 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Had an average gain of 7.9 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Manning will throw for 5,025 yards, along with 40 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Will complete 67.5 percent of his passes and have a QB passer rating of 104.1. Will get sacked 24 times and have an average gain of 7.67 yards per pass.
The addition of Welker does wonders for Manning's overall production in 2013. Believe that Manning will actually be throwing the ball even more in 2013, which is saying something. Welker will go on to prove that he wasn't a product of the Patriots' system, as he will have a very big year in Denver.
Analysis: Denver made a big move by adding WR Welker to the roster. His addition elevates the Broncos passing attack to another level, as they arguably have the best trio of starting wide receivers in the NFL. Welker will be a go-to guy for moving the chains, while Thomas and Decker work the deeper routes.
In 2012, the Broncos had the No. 4 overall offense, as they generated 397.9 yards per game. That number should eclipse the 400 yards-per-game mark in 2013. The passing attack was No. 5l, averaging 283.4 yards per game.
Denver did an outstanding job in providing Manning with plenty of time to survey the field when he dropped back to pass. The Broncos gave up just 21 sacks in 2012, which was second best in the NFL (the New York Giants allowed 20 sacks).
Matthew Stafford topped 5,000 passing yards in 2013.
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Detroit Lions Starting QB: Matthew Stafford
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Calvin Johnson, WR Nate Burleson, RB Reggie Bush, TE Brandon Pettigrew, WR Mike Thomas, RB Jahvid Best, TE Tony Scheffler, WR Ryan Broyles, RB Mikel Leshoure and RB Joique Bell.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Lions' passing attack gained 5,139 yards, one of only two NFL teams to break 5,000-yard barrier. Team had 22 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions. Completed 60.1 percent of passes with a QB passer rating of 81.5. Averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Stafford will throw for 4,820 yards, to go with 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Will get sacked 26 times and have an average gain of 7.24 yards per pass. Will complete 61.0 percent of his passes, get sacked 26 times and have a QB passer rating of 85.3.
Stafford benefits from the addition of Bush, which helps to improves his overall production. The Detroit offense should be going up the charts in 2013.
Analysis: The addition of RB Bush is designed to punish defenses that don't put eight men in the box. Once they do, Stafford will be able to get the ball to Johnson easier. It's like pick your poison for the opposition. Will it work? Depends on how Bush holds up.
Detroit had the No. 3 offense in 2012, averaging 408.8 yards per game. The passing attack was No. 2 in the NFL (trailing only New Orleans), by averaging 307.9 yards per game.
Stafford needs to focus on making better decisions with the ball in 2013. For a QB with his talent and experience, a ratio of 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions isn't acceptable.
The good news is that after two injury-plagued years to begin his career, Stafford has now played in all 32 games over the past two seasons.
Green Bay Packers
Despite 51 sacks, Rodgers still threw 40 touchdowns in 2012.
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Green Bay Packers Starting QB: Aaron Rodgers
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Jermichael Finley, WR Jordy Nelson, WR James Jones, FB John Kuhn, WR Randall Cobb, TE Andrew Quarless, RB Alex Green and RB James Starks.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 4,342 yards, 40 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. The 40 touchdowns were second to New Orleans (43). Completed 67.0 percent of its passes and had a QB passer rating of 108.3, which was the highest mark in the NFL for 2012.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Rodgers will throw for 4,537 yards, have 42 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Will complete 67.9 percent of his throws, with an average gain of 8.65 yards per pass. Rodgers will still get sacked 45 times, but will emerge with a QB passer rating of 110.4.
The Packers will feel the loss of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, as any injury to their wide receiver corps will slow down the Rodgers machine. Still, these are very strong numbers we project for 2013, and Rodgers will have another banner season.
Analysis: The list of weapons available for Rodgers is noticeably shorter in 2013, due to some developments that damaged the Packers' depth on offense. Donald Driver retired, Greg Jennings is now in Minnesota and TE Tom Crabtree is in Tampa Bay.
We know that GM Ted Thompson refuses to do anything in free agency, so they will have to rely on the draft to replenish the depth on offense. Perhaps he will dip back into free agency after the draft, as he did sign Cedric Benson last year off the street.
Rodgers is one of the best in the NFL at distributing the ball to his various options on offense. Green Bay had an amazing ratio of 40 touchdowns to just eight interceptions in 2012, which was the best by far of any NFL team. The offense was ranked No.13 with an average of 359.4 yards per game. The passing attack was ranked No. 9 last year, averaging 253.1 yards per game.
The lack of a solid running game is still holding the Packers' offense back from being a top-10 unit.
Green Bay gave up an alarming 51 sacks in 2012, which was the second-highest total in the league. They are lucky that Rodgers is as resilient as he is, because if he ever gets injured, the Packers are in trouble.
Matt Schaub topped 4,000 passing yards for third time in his career.
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Houston Texans Starting QB: Matt Schaub
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Andre Johnson, RB Arian Foster, TE Owen Daniels, RB Ben Tate, WR DeVier Posey, WR Keshawn Martin, TE Garrett Graham and FB Greg Jones.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 4,046 yards in 2012, with a QB passer rating of 89.2. Completed 63.9 percent of the pass attempts, with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Averaged 7.3 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Schaub will throw for 4,175 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Will complete 62.6 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 8.02 yards per pass. Schaub will have a QB passer rating of 92.4 and will get sacked 29 times.
These numbers could get bumped up based on which receiver the Texans add in the draft. If they do invest a high-round pick in a WR, that will elevate the offense in 2013. With Foster around, the Texans will rely on him to score in the red zone, which always limits Schaub's touchdown totals.
Analysis: Another year and another big departure of players from the previous roster. The offense will be clearly different in 2013, as H-back James Casey, RB Justin Forsett and WR Kevin Walter are gone. Texans did add Greg Jones in free agency, but they need to find another wide receiver who can take some degree of pressure off Johnson.
Look for the Texans to target adding a wide receiver in the draft. Without another weapon on offense, defenses will focus on stopping Johnson and Foster in 2013
Schaub threw for 4,008 yards in 2012, which is the third time he has reached the 4,000-yard mark in his career.
The Houston offense was ranked No. 7 in 2012, as they generated 372.1 yards per game. The passing attack was No. 11, averaging 239.4 yards per game.
Andrew Luck got into the playoffs and the Pro Bowl team as a rookie.
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Indianapolis Colts Starting QB: Andrew Luck
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Reggie Wayne, RB Donald Brown, TE Coby Fleener, TE Dwayne Allen, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Delone Carter, RB Vick Ballard, WR LaVon Brazill and FB Stanley Havili.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 4,374 yards, completed 54.0 percent of passes and averaged 7.0 yards per pass attempt. Threw 23 touchdowns compared to 18 interceptions. QB passer rating was 76.4.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Luck will throw for 4,580 yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Will complete 58.6 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 7.31 yards per pass. Will have a QB passer rating of 82.5 and get sacked 36 times.
Initially, Luck will feel the impact of not having Bruce Arians around, but as the year progresses, he will continue to grow. The areas that he struggled with in 2012 will improve in 2013 as he continues to learn on the job. The improved offensive line will also afford Luck more time to throw.
Analysis: The Colts' offense relied heavily on rookies in 2012, so Indianapolis is crossing its fingers that a number of them don't wind up with the dreaded sophomore slump.Their nucleus of skilled players will all be growing up in the NFL together, so watching their development will be a treat for Colts fans.
The offense will no doubt miss the creativity of Arians, so it will be up to new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to keep the offense as close to the design that Arians employed.The addition of Matt Hasselbeck will assist Luck in his overall development as well. Luck now has a great tutor.
Luck will be expected to improve his touchdown to interception ratio in 2013. That number should be at least 2-to-1 with the talent that Luck possesses. Aaron Rodgers is closer to a 5-to-1 ratio, as an example.
One area of concern was all the hits that Luck absorbed in 2012. The Colts gave up 41 sacks in 2012, which led to the team signing T Gosder Cherilus and G Donald Thomas in free agency. The improved line should be providing Luck with more time to throw in 2013. That will help out his completion percentage, which was in the 70 percent range at Stanford, but dipped to 54.1 percent as a rookie.
The Colts still need to add more firepower to the offense, so they can look forward to the draft to add more depth.
Will Blaine Gabbert retain the starting job for all of 2013?
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Jacksonville Jaguars Starting QB: Blaine Gabbert (for now). Chad Henne will be there to compete for the job in training camp, in addition to the potential drafting of a rookie to add to the mix. For our presentation, we will roll with Gabbert as the Jaguars' starter, but understand this is far from a ringing endorsement.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Marcedes Lewis, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR Justin Blackmon, FB Montell Evans, WR Cecil Shorts, RB Justin Forsett and WR Jordan Shipley.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 3,746 yards, completed 56.0 percent of their passes. Jaguars had 20 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions, with a QB passer rating of 74.7. Average pass gained 6.4 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Gabbert will throw for 2,530 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Will complete 56.4 percent of his passes and have an average gain of 5.84 yards per pass attempt. Will get sacked 47 times and have a QB passer rating of 75.1.
The projection is obviously not rosy for Gabbert. Based on a lousy 2013 record, the Jaguars will be drafting again in a prime position to land one of the premier rookie quarterbacks coming out of the 2014 draft class.
Analysis:The Jaguars' offense was ranked No. 29 in the NFL last year, averaging 299.3 yards per game. The passing attack averaged 213.7 yards per game, which was No. 21 in the NFL.
After two years on the job, Gabbert hasn't been very convincing that he is a NFL franchise quarterback. According to an article by Michael Silver from Yahoo Sports, Gabbert has developed a reputation within the Jaguars' walls that is far from flattering. Silver wrote:
First of all, at the Jags' facility, the 23-year-old is known as Blame Gabbert. "Nothing's ever his fault," said one former Jags assistant. There are internal knocks on Gabbert's intangibles (leadership, attitude, accountability) and, though his pocket presence improved last season, there were still concerns that he gets "scared" under pressure. He also has issues with accuracy (58.3 completion percentage in 2012).
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. It is reasonable to assume that the Jaguars will be kicking the tires of every potential starting quarterback in the 2013 draft class. If the team can fire Mike Mularkey after one year as head coach, then dumping Gabbert after two or three years is certainly possible.
In 2012, Henne completed 166 passes while Gabbert completed 162. The difference is that Henne's completions went for more than 400 yards than Gabbert's.
Jacksonville released Laurent Robinson, but it did bring back Shipley for 2013. Overall, the offense still needs more weapons, and don't forget that Maurice Jones-Drew will be a free agent in 2014. It is hard to envision that he would want to re-sign with a franchise that has so much trouble winning and drawing larger crowds.
Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith will be back on the field in 2013.
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Kansas City Chiefs Starting QB: Alex Smith
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Dwaye Bowe, RB Jamaal Charles, TE Anthony Fasano, WR Donnie Avery, WR Jonathan Baldwin, RB Dexter McCluster, TE Tony Moeaki and RB Shaun Draughn.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for 2,937 yards, which gave Kansas City the distinction of being one of two teams to fail to surpass 3,000 yards on the year (Minnesota was the other). Kansas City had a terrible ratio of eight touchdowns to 20 interceptions, worst of any NFL team. Their QB passer rating of 63.8 was the second-worst mark in the NFL. Averaged 6.2 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Smith will throw for 3,030 yards, with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Will complete 62.4 percent of his passes and have an average gain of 7.24 yards per attempt. Will get sacked 35 times and have a QB passer rating of 86.4.
Smith will improve Kansas City's passing game, but his personal production will take a dip compared to what he generated in San Francisco. He is no longer playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the game, and that is one of the reasons for these projections.
Analysis: As advanced as the passing attacks are around the NFL, that was hardly the case in Kansas City in 2012. The Chiefs' passing attack was the worst in the league, averaging only 169.6 yards per game. How much worse would it have been if they didn't retain Bowe?
Jim Harbaugh did a great job at developing Smith once they joined forces in San Francisco. We will see what kind of a job Coach Reid does with him in 2013. If he takes a step backward, that would be a black mark on the belief that Reid is so adept at developing quarterbacks.
Ryan Tannehill received some encouragement from Tom Brady.
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Miami Dolphins Starting QB: Ryan Tannehill
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Mike Wallace, WR Brian Hartline, WR Brandon Gibson, WR Davone Bess, TE Dustin Keller, RB Lamar Miller, RB Daniel Thomas, TE Michael Egnew and TE Charles Clay.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Miami threw for 3,425 yards, with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Completed 58.1 percent of its passes with a QB passer rating of 76.7. Averaged 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Tannehill will throw for 3,710 yards with 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Will complete 59.5 percent of his passes, with an average of 7.16 yards per pass. Will get sacked 33 times and have a QB passer rating of 82.5.
The addition of Wallace, Gibson and Keller will stretch secondaries to the point that Tannehill sees a nice jump in his personal production in 2013.
Analysis: GM Jeff Ireland has certainly upgraded the receiving corps in Miami for 2013, with the additions of Wallace, Gibson and Keller. Ireland mortgaged the future to do it, but that is beside the point. It is now up to head coach Joe Philbin and Tannehill to take the next step and put these new assets to work.
The ratio of 12 touchdowns to 13 interceptions has to improve in 2013 for Tannehill. He should be more comfortable performing in his second year in the league, and that will be reflected in his stats.
The Miami offense was ranked No. 27 in the NFL last year, averaging 311.5 yards per game. The passing game was ranked No. 26, with just 198.9 yards per game. Both ranking should rise in 2013.
Christian Ponder threw every pass for Vikings in 2013.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings Starting QB: Christian Ponder
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Adrian Peterson, WR Greg Jennings, TE John Carlson, FB Jerome Felton, TE Kyle Rudolph, RB Toby Gerhart, WR Jarius Wright, WR Greg Childs, FB Rhett Ellison and WR Jerome Simpson.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Threw for NFL-low 2,935 yards. Was one of two teams that failed to reach 3,000 yards in passing (the other was Kansas City). Passed for 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Completed 62.1 percent of passes with a QB passer rating of 81.2. Averaged 6.1 yards per pass attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Ponder will throw for 3,265 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.Complete 61.6 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 6.54 yards per throw. Gets sacked 30 times and has a QB passer rating of 83.6.
The addition of Jennings gives Ponder a true wide receiver to focus on, as opposed to Percy Harvin lining up all over the place. Jennings will help in bumping up Ponder's overall stats. This is still Peterson's offense, and as long as he is healthy, the passing attack will be second fiddle to the running game.
Analysis: Peterson had an amazing run in 2012. What is even more amazing is that he accomplished everything that he did, realizing that the Vikings had the worst passing offense in the NFL. Their production of 2,935 passing yards last year was dead last in the league. With defenses realizing the Vikings were struggling to throw the ball, you would think they could stack the box and shut down Peterson. But he proved that it didn't matter what they did, he ran through them all anyway.
For the 2013 season, the Vikings replace Harvin with Jennings, which helps to ease the pain of losing a top playmaker. The extra draft picks could go toward adding more firepower for the offense in general.
The Vikings were ranked No. 20 with an offense that cranked out 336.6 yards per game. The passing attack averaged just 171.9 yards per game. Now in his third year in the NFL, 2013 is the year for Ponder to take a jump up in his performance and start making more plays.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady will break in Danny Amendola into 2013 offense.
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New England Patriots Starting QB: Tom Brady
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Aaron Hernandez, WR Danny Amendola, TE Daniel Fells, WR Donald Jones, RB Shane Vereen, RB Stevan Ridley and RB Leon Washington.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Brady attempted all but four throws in 2012. Team threw for 4,844 yards, to go along with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions (a great ratio!). Had a QB passer rating of 97.7 and completed 62.7 percent of its passes. Average pass went for a gain of 7.6 yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Brady will throw for 4,410 yards, with 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Will complete 62.1 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 7.93 yards per pass. Will have a QB passer rating of 96.6 and get sacked 29 times.
Between losing Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead and Donald Thomas, the other concern for Brady is the health issues with Amendola, Gronkowski and Hernandez. The end result is a slight dip in the projections, but these are the kind of stats that most quarterbacks would kill for.
Analysis:It isn't often that you find an NFL payroll where the two highest-paid skill-players on offense (after the quarterback, of course) are tight ends, but that is exactly the case with New England.
The Patriots made plenty of headlines when they opted to sign Danny Amendola and weren't able to reach an agreement with Welker, even after Brady took a cut in salary to give the team room to sign him.
This calculated move by head coach Bill Belichick can backfire if Amendola goes down with an injury and Welker goes on to have another solid Welker-like year in Denver. Somehow, I don't see Belichick getting to worked up about it either way.
The Patriots have another dark-horse performer in TE Jake Ballard, but as of now, he still hasn't been signed to a new contract. Another free agent without a contract is Julian Edelman. New England will miss the production of RB Woodhead.
In 2013, Brady will find a way to continually get the ball to the open man, spreading the ball around to his numerous options. The running game was solid in 2012, which should help to keep opponents off balance in 2013.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees can now forget abot 2012 lost season.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints Starting QB: Drew Brees
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Marques Colston, WR Lance Moore, RB Darren Sproles, RB Pierre Thomas, RB Mark Ingram, TE Ben Watson, WR Nick Toon, TE Jimmy Graham and RB Chris Ivory.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team passed for 5,187 yards, which led the NFL in 2012. Threw for 43 touchdowns, which also led the league, and 19 interceptions. Had a QB passer rating of 96.4 and completed 63.0 percent of pass attempts. Average pass gained 7.7 yards.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Brees will throw for 5,240 yards with 45 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Will complete 67.5 percent of his passes, with an average of 8.02 yards per pass. Will get sacked 28 times and have a QB passer rating of 101.3.
Brees sees an uptick in 2013 production due to the boost he receives from the return of Sean Payton.
Analysis: Chase Daniel only attempted one pass in 2012, as the Saints relied heavily on Brees to keep them competitive. With Daniel gone in free agency, the Saints need to find another backup. They are the only NFL team with just one quarterback on their roster.
The 2012 offense was ranked No. 2, with an average of 410.9 yards per game. The passing attack was ranked No. 1, with an average of 312.3 yards per game.
Devery Henderson disappeared in 2012 and is still a free agent. The Saints need to get more production out of their running game. With Payton back in the fold, the Saints' offense should be clicking on all cylinders again.
New York Giants
2013 Pro Bowl was a Manning-family affair.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
New York Giants Starting QB: Eli Manning
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Brandon Myers, WR Hakeem Nicks, RB David Wilson, WR Rueben Randle, WR Victor Cruz, WR Jerrel Jernigan, TE Adrien Robinson and RB Andre Brown.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Giants passed for 3,967 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Completed 59.9 percent of passes and had a QB passer rating of 87.2. Average gain was 7.4 per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Manning will throw for 4,432 yards, with 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Will complete 60.6 percent of his passes and average 7.87 yards per attempt. Will have a QB passer rating of 91.4 and get sacked 24 times.
Manning is due to rebound in 2013 after a less-than-stellar 2012. Will enjoy working with new TE Myers and trying to involve Randle more in the offense.
Analysis: The Giants are still trying to finalize a long-term deal with WR Cruz, which would be a major step toward ensuring that they have one of the better passing attacks in the NFL. They lost Martellus Bennett in free agency, so the Giants are hoping that Myers can replace his production.
New York's offense was ranked No. 14 last year, with an average of 355.4 yards per game. The passing attack was slightly higher, ranked at No. 12, averaging 239.1 yards per game.
Manning was considered elite following the Giants' latest Super Bowl win, but there are some red flags that are starting to pop up which are concerning. Manning has seen his touchdowns drop for two straight years, just like his completion percentage has been dropping. In addition, despite playing in all 16 games last year, Manning threw for almost a full 1,000 fewer yards in 2012 than he did in 2011.
With the rest of the NFC East trying hard to improve, Manning needs to reverse these trends and have a bounce-back year for the Giants to challenge again.
New York Jets
Mark Sanchez is no longer guaranteed to be the starter.
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New York Jets Starting QB: (To be determined). When the Jets signed David Garrard to a contract, Mark Sanchez was put on notice by Rex Ryan that the job was now open to competition. The Jets will likely be drafting another quarterback to add to the mix for 2013.
We are going with Sanchez as the starter for the 2013 season.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Santonio Holmes, RB Mike Goodson, WR Stephen Hill, WR Clyde Gates, RB Bilal Powell, RB Joe McKnight and WR Jeremy Kerley.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Jets threw for 3,178 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Had a QB passer rating of 68.3, ranked No. 30 in the NFL. Completed just 55.2 percent of their passes, which ranked them No. 31 in the NFL. Averaged 6.4 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Sanchez will throw for 2,842 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Will complete 55.1 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 6.30 yards per attempt. Sanchez will get sacked 49 times and have a QB passer rating of just 67.2.
The 2013 season isn't shaping up like a very good year for Jets fans. The booing will get louder each week as the Jets attempt to compete with less talent than they have fielded in years. The end result is that Sanchez's career as a starter is in grave jeopardy after another disappointing season.
Analysis: The landscape appears to be set for the Jets to have a year to forget in 2013, as if 2012 wasn't bad enough. With one of the worst salary-cap scenarios of any NFL team, the Jets have watched helplessly as their free agents have been signed by other teams, or the team was forced to release old starters to get under the required cap figure.
Either way, there will be a number of new starters on both sides of the ball. Tony Sporano is gone, and it will be up to Marty Mornhinweg to put the pieces together and try to put together a competitive offense.
Sanchez will be pushed by Garrard in camp, and we will see what kind of a toll that pressure takes on his mental outlook. Tim Tebow doesn't figure to be long for the Jets, so he merits only a very brief mention.
As for the rest of the offense, Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller are no longer around to support Sanchez. The Jets will need to rely on the draft to add new life to the offense, because they don't have the salary cap space to do it on their own in free agency. The projections for 2013 look pretty dim right now.
Will Oakland complete the trade to acquire Matt Flynn?
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Oakland Raiders Starting QB: (To be determined). The starter is Carson Palmer, but it sure doesn't look like he will be there for much longer. The Raiders have been negotiating with Seattle to acquire Matt Flynn via trade, which would make him the starter in 2013.
Our predictions for 2013 will be made with Flynn as the projected starter in Oakland.
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Darren McFadden, RB Taiwan Jones, WR Jacoby Ford, WR Denarius Moore, WR Juron Criner, TE Richard Gordon, TE David Ausberry, FB Marcel Reece and WR Rod Streeter.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 4,292 yards, 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Completed 59.8 percent of its passes and had a QB passer rating of 82.5. Team averaged 6.8 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Flynn will throw for 3,460 yards, with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Will complete 61.2 percent of his passes, with an average of 7.42 yards per attempt. His QB passer rating will be 87.3 and he gets sacked 27 times.
It is understandably a challenge to predict what Flynn will do, since he has so little starting experience in the NFL. Projections are based on the Raiders focusing on running the ball with McFadden early and gradually easing Flynn into his role by passing more often as the season wears on.
Analysis: Not sure what is more depressing, reviewing the Jets' offense for 2013 or the Raiders'. Oakland continues to fight salary-cap battles that the old regime left behind. This year, the Raiders had to release Darrius Heyward-Bey and watched Brandon Myers and Mike Goodson leave in free agency. The team hasn't brought back WR Derek Hagan either. So if Flynn does come on board, he will be dealing with a scaled-down version of the 2012 offense.
In 2012, Oakland had the No. 18 offense, which generated 394.0 yards per game. The passing attack was No. 8 in the league, averaging 255.3 yards per game. While that looks impressive now, that will be very difficult for the Raiders to match in 2013, due to the shortage of talent or options.
Due to the latest power play (or tantrum if you prefer) of Palmer, the Raiders are better off turning the page and moving on. They should build their offense through the draft and make better selections that will actually make a positive impact on the team.
Michael Vick agreed to restucture his contract to play for Chip Kelly.
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles Starting QB: Michael Vick
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR DeSean Jackson, RB LeSean McCoy, TE Brent Celek, WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Jason Avant, H-back James Casey, WR Arrelious Benn and RB Bryce Brown.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 4,075 yards, to go along with 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Completed 59.4 percent of its passes and had a QB passer rating of 78.6. Average gain of 6.6 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Vick will throw for 3,635 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Will complete 60.2 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 7.33 yards per pass. Will get sacked 39 times and have a QB passer rating of 81.6.
Prediction is based on Vick playing in the majority of games for Philadelphia in 2013, but there isn't enough evidence to suggest that he will remain healthy enough to play in all 16 games.
Analysis: Vick agreed to restructure his contract so that he could have the chance to run the new Eagles offense under head coach Chip Kelly. The Eagles still retain a number of their old weapons in Jackson, McCoy, Avant, Celek and Maclin, in addition to adding Casey and Benn.
With that kind of talent, it will be interesting to see how much of his Oregon offense Kelly will be able to run in the NFL. According to this article by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, Kelly says he is prepared to adapt his offense to what his talent allows him to do, rather than force his old offense on these pros.
In 2012, the Eagles offense was No. 15 in the NFL, averaging 354.1 yards per game. The passing offense was No. 13, averaging 236.9 yards per game.
If the Eagles wind up relying on the hurry-up offense, they will need Vick to stay healthy all year. That means taking less chances with the ball and sliding or running out of bounds more. Whether he can do that remains to be seen.
Ben Roethlsiberger loses Mike Wallace to free agency.
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Pittsburgh Steelers Starting QB: Ben Roethlisberger
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Antonio Brown, TE Heath Miller, WR Jerricho Cotchery, TE David Paulson, RB Issac Redman, RB Jonathan Dwyer, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Plaxico Burress and TE Matt Spaeth. The Steelers still need to sign their restricted free agents to new deals, which includes Redman, Dwyer and Sanders.
Team QB 2012 Totals: The Steelers threw for 4,012 yards, along with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. They completed 61.7 percent of their passes and had a QB passer rating of 88.1. Pittsburgh averaged 7.0 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Roethlisberger will throw for 3,870 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Will complete 61.9 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 7.62 yards per attempt. His QB passer rating will be 94.1, and he will get sacked 35 times.
The loss of Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall means that other guys will have to produce in 2013. The Steelers need to bring home some new blood on offense out of their draft class. Projections are based on Big Ben starting in 14 games, which is par for the course lately.
Analysis: Pittsburgh usually isn't very active in free agency, but this year it addressed holes on the offense by signing TE Spaeth and backup QB Bruce Gradkowski.
The Steelers' offense in 2012 dropped down to No. 21 in the NFL, averaging 332.8 yards per game. The passing attack averaged 236.7 yards per game, which was No. 14 in the NFL.
The offensive line gave up 37 sacks in 2012, which was around the middle of the pack. For the 2013 season, the Steelers have lost Wallace, Mendenhall and Willie Colon, so they will need to replenish their depth in the draft to fill the void from these departures.
Gradkowski assumes the role of Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, being ready to go in whenever Big Ben gets banged up due to holding on to the ball too long.
San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers will be playing for Mike McCoy in 2013.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego Chargers Starting QB: Philip Rivers
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Antonio Gates, WR Robert Meachem, RB Ryan Mathews, WR Eddie Royal, WR Malcom Floyd, FB Le'Ron McClain, TE John Phillips, RB Danny Woodhead, WR Vincent Brown, TE Ladarius Green, WR Danario Alexander and RB Ronnie Brown.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Team threw for 3,606 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Completed 64.0 percent of passes, with a QB passer rating of 88.5. Averaged 6.8 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Rivers will throw for 4,145 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Will complete 65.6 percent of his throws and average 7.32 yards per attempt. His QB passer rating will be 89.4, and he will get sacked 51 times.
Rivers is still going to be hounded due to an inferior offensive line. The lack of ample time to throw prevents his numbers from making a bigger rebound in 2013.
Analysis: The Chargers gave up 49 sacks in 2012, which was the fourth-highest total in the league. They bolstered the offensive line by signing free agent G Chad Rinehart and T King Dunlap, but losing G Louis Vasquez to the Denver Broncos, an AFC West rival, is a painful loss for the team. Vasquez was the Chargers' best lineman.
San Diego's offense was an embarrassing No. 31 in the NFL in 2012, averaging only 297.3 yards per game. The passing attack was No. 24 in the league, averaging 205.9 yards per game.
With Norv Turner out and Mike McCoy in, the Chargers will have to find a way to get Rivers back on track, as the offense has dropped noticeably since it was ranked as No. 1 in 2010, which wasn't that long ago.
It would help Rivers tremendously if Meachem could try to earn some of the money he made in his big contract. WR Brown has lots of promise but needs to start showing results. Woodhead will help out in the running and passing games.
San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick just scratched the surface in 2012.
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San Francisco 49ers Starting QB: Colin Kaepernick
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Vernon Davis, WR Michael Crabtree, RB Frank Gore, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Mario Manningham, WR A.J. Jenkins, TE Brian Jennings, RB LaMichael James, RB Kendall Hunter, FB Bruce Miller and WR Kyle Williams.
Team QB 2012 Totals: The 49ers threw for 3,551 yards, with 23 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Their QB passer rating of 101.2 was one of five that broke the century mark. Completed 66.3 percent of their passes and had an average gain of 8.1 yards per pass, which was second best in the NFL last year.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Kaepernick will throw for 3,840 yards, with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He will complete 63.3 percent of his passes and have an average of 8.16 yards per pass. His QB passer rating will be 101.2, and he will get sacked 28 times.
The 2013 season marks the first time we get to watch Kaepernick progress for an entire season. The feeling here is that he will have a big season. Again, we are just projecting passing stats in this presentation, but you know that he will have impressive rushing totals due to his speed and mobility.
Analysis: With Alex Smith now in Kansas City, the 49ers can turn their entire attention to finding new ways to utilize Kaepernick's unique talents. You have the feeling that the team has just started to scratch the surface with him, and 2013 should reveal some new wrinkles to his game.
In the offseason, the trade that brought Anquan Boldin to San Francisco gives the passing attack a major shot in the arm. Boldin proved time after time in the playoffs that he is more than capable of coming down with the ball even when it appears he is being blanketed in coverage. With Boldin, Davis and Crabtree, the 49ers have three viable weapons that will stretch defenses.
San Francisco will miss Delanie Walker's overall game, but the addition of Boldin more than makes up for it. You can see a long list of weapons up top, so somebody won't be happy since there is only one football to share with this talented group.
Russell Wilson had an impressive NFL debut in 2012.
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks Starting QB: Russell Wilson
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Percy Harvin, WR Sidney Rice, TE Zach Miller, RB Marshawn Lynch, FB Michael Robinson, WR Golden Tate, RB Robert Turbin and WR Doug Baldwin.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Seattle threw for 3,234 yards, to go along with 27 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. Completed 64.0 percent of its passes, with a QB passer rating of 100.6. Seahawks were one of five teams with a QB passer rating better than 100. Average gain per pass attempt was 8.0 yards, which was tied for No. 3 in the league.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Wilson will throw for 3,845 yards, with 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Will complete 65.3 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 8.34 yards per attempt. QB passer rating will be 102.4, and he will get sacked 30 times.
Don't see any kind of sophomore slump occurring in Seattle. The Seahawks will utilize Harvin a number of different ways, but his impact will result in Wilson seeing greater production in the passing game.
Analysis: The Seahawks lost Leon Washington in free agency, but gained Harvin via trade. I would call that a win by any measure. Adding Harvin's athleticism to what Wilson can do at quarterback should take the Seahawks' offense to another level in 2013. That makes an already scary team, even scarier.
If the Seahawks succeed in trading Matt Flynn to Oakland, perhaps Pete Carroll can convince Matt Leinart to hold Wilson's clipboard. Technically, Leinart is a free agent, and Carson Palmer may wind up with that status as well. But some veteran needs to come in and serve as a mentor to Wilson, no matter how much older he appears to be beyond his real age. Wilson's maturity and focus are huge pluses.
In 2013, the Seahawks will have a stronger, balanced offense due to the addition of Harvin and the growing confidence and experience of Wilson. They will be an exciting group to watch.
St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford needs more weapons in St. Louis.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Rams Starting QB: Sam Bradford
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: TE Jared Cook, WR Brian Quick, TE Lance Kendricks, RB Isaiah Pead, WR Austin Pettis, WR Chris Givens and RB Daryl Richardson.
Team QB 2012 Totals: The Rams passed for 3,783 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Completed 59.6 percent of their passes, with a QB passer rating of 82.7. Average pass was 6.8 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Bradford will throw for 3,405 yards, in addition to 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Will complete 58.6 percent of his passes, with an average of 6.24 yards per attempt. Will have a QB passer rating of 81.4 and get sacked 32 times.
Bradford will be asked to break in a number of young additions to the offense in 2013. The additions will take time to jell, so the projections here take into account the struggles of developing chemistry with new players to the league. The loss of the key veterans on offense prevents Bradford from taking a step up in 2013.
Analysis: The Rams had a limited number of options on offense in 2012, so the cupboard is looking pretty bare right now since Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson left the Rams in free agency. The returning veterans on offense will have to step up to pick up the slack, The Rams will need to replenish the offense at the draft by addressing their lack of weapons and depth issues.
The big splash in free agency for St. Louis was adding tight end Cook. The Rams paid dearly to have him join the team, and he has yet to fully produce to the level the Rams compensated him. They hope this experiment isn't a waste of money, as he never really did flourish in four years with Tennessee.
In 2012, the Rams gave up 35 sacks, which was a huge improvement from the NFL-worst 55 sacks that Bradford experienced in 2011.
The Rams' offense will be a young group in 2013, which can lead to some exciting plays, but also to a number of youthful mistakes. Replacing the trio of lost offensive weapons will be a challenge, but that won't deter Jeff Fisher from trying to mold the Rams into a contender.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Greg Schiano needs Josh Freeman to step up in 2013.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Starting QB: Josh Freeman
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Vincent Jackson, RB Doug Martin, WR Kevin Ogletree, TE Luke Stocker, WR Mike Williams, RB D.J. Ware, RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Tom Crabtree and WR Tiquan Underwood.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Bucs threw for 4,144 yards, to go with 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Had a QB passer rating of 81.8 and a completion percentage of 54.9, which was the second-lowest total in 2012. Averaged 7.3 yards per pass.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Freeman will throw for 4,217 yards, with 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Will complete 58.6 percent of his passes, along with an average of 7.35 yards per attempt. QB passer rating will be 88.6, and he will get sacked 28 times.
Prediction for Freeman in 2013 is based on the competition challenge he has to survive to retain his job. This will elevate Freeman's game to a degree, which is reflected in this prediction.
Analysis: Freeman drew the ire of Coach Greg Schiano with his accuracy issues in 2012. Tampa Bay will need greater competition than just Dan Orlovsky to push Freeman. Passing for more than 4,000 yards is fine, but when you complete less than 55 percent of your throws, that is a major issue.
In free agency, the Bucs added WR Ogletree and TE Crabtree.
Luckily, the Bucs' ground game is in good hands with "the Muscle Hamster" Martin. If Martin continues to run the way he did as a rookie, that should keep defenses honest and help Freeman in the passing game.
Schiano wants Freeman to earn the starting job in camp this year, but the Bucs need to add another QB to the mix to push him.
Can Jake Locker improve in 2013?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Starting QB: Jake Locker
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: RB Chris Johnson, WR Nate Washington, TE Delanie Walker, TE Craig Stevens, RB Shonn Greene, WR Kenny Britt, WR Kendall Wright and WR Lavelle Hawkins.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Titans threw for 3,577 yards, with a poor ratio of 17 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions. Completed 58.9 percent of passes, with a QB passer rating of 76.9. Averaged 6.6 yards per attempt.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Locker will throw for 2,855 yards, along with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Will complete 57.7 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 7.45 yards per attempt. Will have a QB passer rating of 72.8 and get sacked 30 times.
As we mention in the analysis below, the projections for Locker are lowered due to the belief that Tennessee (and Locker specifically) will be running more and passing less in 2013.
Analysis: A story by Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains wants Locker to run more with the ball in 2013. With the additions of Greene and Walker, the Titans look like they will be passing the ball less and running it even more in 2013. That will have to be built into our prediction for Locker's stats for 2013.
It makes sense when you see Locker's ratio of 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. De-emphasing the passing game and sticking with the run is what the Titans do best.
Tennessee added veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and G Andy Levitre from Buffalo during the offseason. Fitzpatrick is there to mentor Locker and be ready to play if Locker ever goes down to injury. It is baffling that the Titans invested so much money into signing Levitre, who is far better at pass protection than run blocking. He represents a contradiction to what they are planning in 2013.
Locker is now in his third year in the NFL, so things should start slowing down a little bit more for him. We will see if that translates into better production.
Will RG3 be running as much in 2013?
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Washington Redskins Starting QB: Robert Griffin III
Supporting Cast/Weapons Available: WR Pierre Garcon, WR Santana Moss, WR Josh Morgan, TE Logan Paulsen, RB Darrel Young, TE Fred Davis, WR Leonard Hankerson, RB Roy Helu, RB Alfred Morris, TE Niles Paul, RB Evan Royster and WR Aldrick Robinson.
Team QB 2012 Totals: Redskins threw for 3,666 yards, with an impressive ratio of 24 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Team QB passer rating of 102.1 was third best in NFL in 2012. Completed 65.8 percent of passes, with an average gain of 8.3 yards per pass, which was the best in the NFL.
Starting QB Projected 2013 Stats: Griffin will throw for 3,570 yards, with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Will complete 67.2 percent of his passes, with an average gain of 8.31 yards per pass. Will have a QB passer rating of 104.6 and will get sacked 29 times.
Prediction for RG3 is based on starting 14 games, which allows him to miss two starts due to his knee injury, running style and the condition of the turf in Washington. Your results may vary. Overall, Griffin will improve as a thrower in 2013, especially so if Garcon can remain healthy for most of the year.
Analysis: RG3 breathed new life into Washington last year. His knee injury and subsequent speedy recovery is augmented by the impressive play of Kirk Cousins, who proved he is ready to step in and run the show if Griffin experiences any setbacks in rehab.
For 2013, the Redskins will be asking Griffin to pay more attention to the hits that he takes by trying to be smarter about exposing his body. Sliding more, running out of bounds and throwing the ball away are three techniques he can utilize to eliminate a number of hits and stay in the lineup.
Washington will be curious to see how far NFL defenses have progressed in learning how to stop the read-option in 2013. If more teams focus on delivering a big hit on the quarterback every time the Redskins run the play, you can imagine that they will be quick to go to Plan B.
Due to the poor salary-cap situation, the Redskins couldn't do that much in free agency to improve the offense, so it will be up to the Shanahans, head coach Mike and offensive coordinator Kyle, to take the returning players and continue to develop the offensive attack.
There is already a long list of weapons available for Griffin and Cousins, so the Redskins can address other needs in the draft. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Redskins had to trim a player or two from the above list to give the team more breathing room with the salary cap.
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