The Future of An Ideal World: 2009 NFL Quarterback Battles

General PeppersCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 15: Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason NFL game at LP Field on August 15, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans beat the Buccaneers 27-20. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Sitting in front of you are two girls.

One was salacious and good-looking. She might have been beautiful once, but age and gravity have come into play and she is showing signs of wear and tear.

Your friends think she's hot, so she's forever date-able, but you could never see yourself marrying her.

The other girl had astounding features: pale blue eyes, bordering on grey, flowing strands of blonde hair, highlighted in all the right spots, long, toned legs leading to a perfect bottom...only problem is she's wearing overalls with paint on them.

Rough around the edges would leave hyperbole chuckling at understatement, yet, there's just something special about this one. With a change of style and a little bit of time, this one could be the keeper. 

For the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Cleveland Browns this is the situation they are looking at.

Each team has a quarterback in place; Shaun Hill for the 49ers, Byron Leftiwch for the Bucs, and Derek Anderson for the Browns. Each of these quarterbacks is tested on the NFL battlegrounds, and each one has shown the ability to manage games for wins.

What they haven't shown is the ability to win in the playoffs; Ravens rookie QB Joe Flacco has twice as many playoff wins in one year than all three of these QBs combined.

While these three quarterbacks might have been beautiful once, in their current states, they're simply future ex-girlfriends.

Standing behind these three dilapidated beauties are the paint-stained runners-up, brimming with promise.

Brady Quinn, Josh Freeman, and Alex Smith are all former first-round draft picks loaded with talent. Statuesque as they may be, they are still a few shadows short of a perfect silhouette.

Brady Quinn has upper-body strength rivaling some linebackers, but his touch and ability to read NFL defenses is still lacking.

At 6'5", 250-pounds, Josh Freeman is built like a larger Peyton Manning with a cannon arm to boot. But his accuracy in the intermediate range that wide receivers frequent so often is severely lacking.

Last and quite possibly least is one Alex Smith. Entering his fifth year in the league after being drafted first overall, Alex Smith has shown little to no signs of improvement. To his defense, non-existent wide receivers, constant coaching changes, and an unstable offense haven't really given him much to work with.

Going with the wily veterans would most likely, if we head back to that ideal world, lead to more wins, and in the NFL winning is all that matters, right?

The answer is yes, but it's not as black and white as the answer may seem.

Winning right now leads the way to losing in the future and vice versa; losing now could lead to winning in the future, you know, in that ideal world we're living in.

So, which is the right path to choose?

It is these questions that keep NFL General Managers up at night.The right choice could lead to a serious extension and pay raise. The wrong one could have you working as a broadcaster for NFL Sundays on Fox.

In the case of these three teams, you need to look at both their present and their future.

The Browns are stuck in a division behind the Ravens and the Steelers; a.k.a. the 2008 AFC Championship game. Their second to last ranked offense lost its number two receiver Dante Stallworth to the stiff right hand of Roger Goodell. Their 26th ranked swiss cheese defense didn't find any filling for any of its numerous holes.

In other words, Browns fans can expect the same results as last year.The 2007 season showed Derek Anderson's peak. Browns fans are still waiting to see Quinn for an entire season. In situations such as these, with no bright future in sight, why not try and create one?

The Buccaneers are trapped in one of the NFL's toughest divisions: the NFC South. The Falcons were the league's biggest surprise last year and only improved this offseason with the addition of All-World Tony Gonzalez. The Panthers were one of the league's top running teams, with the Saints being the league's best passing offense.

With a complete rehaul of the entire team, from coaching staff to veteran greats like Derrick Brooks, the Buccaneers are clearly in their rebuilding phase after winning a Super Bowl in 2003. Why not let the team build around Josh Freeman?

The 49ers have the best situation of the entire three. They aren't stuck in a great division. For them it is the exact opposite; they are pitted in one of the NFL's worst, where an 8-8 record nearly won the division.

If they can finally sign star wideout Michael Crabtree, they could have a potent offense featuring Frank Gore, Isaac Bruce, Josh Morgan, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis.

Their head coach Mike Singeltary is a hard-nosed former player who is bringing his ideals to the often soft 49ers.

Their sole problem is mediocre quarterback play. Their future was banked on first overall pick Alex Smith, and so far he hasn't panned out. They say when you draft a QB early in the first-round and he doesn't work out, it sets your team back nearly five years.

Well, welcome to year five Alex Smith.

This is Alex Smith's last chance to earn the monster contract he received in 2005. For the 49ers they either start Alex Smith or admit he was a bust and draft a quarterback in 2010.

Each of these teams have tough decisions to make this year and depending on their choices, some players and management could be finding new places of work this offseason.

For each team, a chance at turning life around is possible with their young quarterbacks of the future.

In an ideal world, that is.

For these three teams, it's a shame this is the NFL instead.