Assessing the QB Situations for All 32 Teams

Kobina TaylorContributor IJanuary 19, 2010

Assessing the QB Situations for All 32 Teams

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    Firstly, I'm pure analyzing the regular season; the 2009 postseason does not apply here.

    Secondly, I'm not just looking at what happened this season; I'm taking into account the past and this season, and I'm trying to forecast the future at QB for every NFL team.

    Some teams are simple, while others are very complicated. I do not expect to be right with every team. Crazy things happen.

    Finally, I tried to analyze top performers for each team. I started this at the conclusion of the regular season, so that should tell you how much time I spent on this. I watched games and highlights to pick out positives, negative, skills, and tendencies.

    Every team received a specific condition relating to their QB situation:
    Extremely Critical

    Remember, this relates not just to the starter but to the situation at the position as a whole....there's always controversy.

AFC South: Houston Texans

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    Matt Schaub's star is rising fast.

    Finally starting for a full season in his third year, Schaub displayed big play ability and has the Texans on the playoff fence.

    He's shown he can be an excellent QB and will be the starter well into the decade. His backups, recycled NFC North QBs Grossman and Orlovsky, will probably have the opportunity to stick around.

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts

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AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    David Garrard was a solution to a problem, but is he the long term solution?

    An extension indicated yes, and signs mostly point to yes, but there are seeds of doubt.

    He's a solid QB who supports a strong running game, but Jacksonville might jump at the opportunity to get an elite starter.

    Their eyes will be on free agency and the draft as they look to groom a successor. Garrard will hold on to the job for another two years at least. Backup Luke McCown has marginal NFL experience.

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

AFC South: Tennessee Titans

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    The QB of the future disappeared for about year but reclaimed his starting role. Continued development of his passer IQ combined with his ridiculous ability to scramble effectively could make him dangerous for years to come.

    For now it seems Tennessee has re-inserted him as the long-term starter, but keep your eyes on this one. A backup QB will be needed because Collins is on his way out, maybe as soon as this current offseason.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

AFC North: Baltimore Ravens

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    Flacco has progressed faster than anyone could've expected at this stage; however, he still has many things to learn on the job. He's become a reliable but not a complete passer downfield.

    He hasn't grasped all the coverages or all the reads. But he's already played in five playoff games, and his stock will continue to rise. He showed plenty of development at the start of the year when he was airing it out constantly. No reason to be worried here.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals

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    Carson Palmer isn't on a short leash or anything....I mean he IS the guy, but he just doesn't have IT anymore. Maybe he'll get IT back, but he's just not elite right now.

    With that said he's certainly a more-than-capable starter who's recovered well from a serious knee injury and a nagging elbow ailment that severely limited him last season. He has plenty of years left in this league.

    The backup situation is troublesome, though, and they may want look for better options.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

AFC North: Cleveland Browns

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    Simply put, this is a disaster.

    Holmgren will have to decide who gets to carry the torch...that is, if he even approves of either Quinn or Anderson.

    It's likely long-term success for either QB will come on another team, although one of them may get one final opportunity to redeem themselves in the brown and orange...most likely Quinn.

    Holmgren surely will look to free agency to help solidify the horrible QB play until he can draft a QB that Cleveland can develop for the future.

    Prognosis: Critical Condition

AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers

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    He gets beat up. A lot.

    But that just makes him even more respected around the league. Big man, great leader, strong arm, pocket presence, and more mobile than anyone could've expected.

    I'm talking of course about Ben Roethlisberger. So while he's the boss man of the offense, the Steelers better always make sure there's a capable backup around, just in case. And they usually do.

    Diagnosis: Good condition

AFC West: Denver Broncos

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    As far as being a reliable NFL QB, everyone loves Orton. People praised the move from Rex Grossman to Orton, and he delivered consistency.

    Traded to Denver for Cutler, he definitely had the better season and took much better care of the ball than his counterpart.

    He doesn't overwhelm you with skills or measurables, but he's shown since his rookie year that if you give him enough to work with, he'll get the job done. Ask Brandon Marshall: it may have been more fun to catch balls from Cutler, but Orton got more wins and almost led the Broncos to the playoffs (in spite of/despite the defense depending on your point of view).

    Barring something substantially shocking, Orton will be the QB in Denver for quite some time. Backup QBs should be contacted though...

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Matt Cassel experiment went as expected in year one: new team, new weapons, new system, lots and lots of unfamiliarity.

    It's not time to declare failure, but certainly success is far from view. Cassel needs to show more leadership and pocket presence next year. He's a fine prospect who's proven himself in certain areas, but bottom line is that he has to deliver wins. I'm not crazy about the backup situation, though.

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

AFC West: Oakland Raiders

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    Gradkowski earned the right to have his picture displayed for being the only one to give any semblance of hope to Raider Nation, not because I think he has a long future there.

    This is just a mess.

    Remember Jamarcus Russell? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

    Yeah, maybe his career was ruined by coming here to work with bad players and horrible coaches, or maybe he was going to be a bust regardless...who knows? The fact is that Russell has to be on his last chance, unless he has no remaining lives.

    So management has to decide who stays, who goes, and who to bring in. And I'm just talking about quarterbacks...

    I would expect another free agent signing (although they've pushed enough QBs through Oakland), and as much as it pains me to say this....maybe draft a QB, too.

    Diagnosis: Extremely Critical Condition

AFC West: San Diego Chargers

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    Philip Rivers is a hyper competitive, extremely confident, super fierce QB.

    Luckily, that works for him.

    He's piling up wins and experience and has slowly become the focal point for that offense as LT has been scaled back.

    Good thing, too, because there's no telling if they will have a good running game next year. He keeps himself in good shape, makes good reads, and has nothing holding him back for the next five years at least.

    You've been warned.

    Did I mention he has maybe the best backup too? Just saying...

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

AFC East: Buffalo Bills

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    Look, no one who has started at QB in Buffalo has progressed and played at a consistent level for several years now...Trent Edwards is their best QB, but is he the one?

    There are many cases to say no, but they still has a chance to prove otherwise.

    He's a solid worker, a student of the game with good skills and some decent weapons. He needs to continue protecting the football and take the time that his offensive line can give him.

    Fitzpatrick has proven his worth as a backup on two teams now; he's a keeper.

    Edwards needs to keep improving, and soon.

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

AFC East: Miami Dolphins

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    The Chad Henne era has begun, and there's no looking back.

    The other Chad (Pennington) needs to decide if it's time to finally become the backup, because if he doesn't feel that way he needs to move along.

    Bill Parcells has put together a great team. It's clear that he wants to focus on the run, but Chad Henne will be the passer he needs for many, many years.

    He's a calm pocket passer who scans the field well with a stronger arm than he's given credit for. With time, he will learn to dissect defenses and will continue to raise his abilities.

    Regarding backups, I thought Tyler Thigpen got a raw deal in KC. He was doing pretty decently, but Cassel came and took his spot. In Miami, his chance for promotion are slim at best, and he might need another relocation.

    Pat White may be a gimmick weapon or an actual developmental backup, tough to tell so far, but he'll be around for a little while so we'll see.

    If we knew Pennington was sticking around I'd raise the status to fair, but we we don't know for sure...

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

AFC East: New England Patriots

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    Well, let's Tom Brady okay?

    He's shown he can use no names to win Super Bowls; now he has Wes Welker and Randy Moss to play with on a regular basis, and the Patriots are always looking to add more weapons.

    With Welker going down they'll have to be more creative at the start of next year, but it's never safe to bet against this guy.

    He should improve going into next year, which will be his second full year back. Meanwhile, they need to coach up a backup fast. If it's Hoyer, so be it, but it needs to be fast

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

AFC East: New York Jets

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    The rookie's got something.

    Somehow, he got his team to the playoffs. Sure, a dominating defense and running game helps, but the QB still has to make plays.

    Sanchez can only get better, and he will. They gave him more freedom in the beginning but clamped down and let the running game dictate the defense.

    In his second year we'll look for smarter decisions and better....sliding (sorry had to say it).

    He's already displaying valuable leadership skills, and more success will follow in the future as long as he puts in the work.

    Clemens is an acceptable backup.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

NFC South: Atlanta Falcons

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    Matt Ryan will be gold for years to come, and his attitude and work ethic have been phenomenal.

    His development is progressing rapidly, and his abilities combined with their potent run game will drive the Falcons for years to come.

    He still telegraphs passes though...he needs to change that.

    Great backup, too, who was able to pull out a win when Ryan went down.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

NFC South: Carolina Panthers

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    Delhomme is really spent, but Carolina might have found something in Moore.

    However, they'll never know unless they give him the opportunity from the start of the season.

    Moore showed mental toughness and a lot of accuracy and smart decision-making down the stretch.

    It's time for a change, and if Delhomme can't embrace that, then he has to go because he doesn't have much left to give.

    This may be the beginning of something great for Moore, though. I wouldn't be surprised by an intriguing free agent pickup, either.

    Diagnosis: Serious Condition

NFC South: New Orleans Saints

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    Brees is dynamite and the best free agent signing in the Saints history.

    He sees the field and has accuracy, intelligence, mobility, and fiery leadership; he's just outstanding.

    He makes everyone around go harder and play longer. He's still getting better, and as his experience level grows, he gets infinitely more dangerous.

    Still not sure I like the backup situation, though.

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

NFC South: Tampa Buccaneers

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    I'm very worried. I'm seeing another Jason Campbell/Alex Smith-like situation here, and it's not making me comfortable.

    If the ceiling here is a barely tolerable week-to-week starter, then TB has a problem.

    I'm no expert by any stretch, so hopefully Josh Freeman shows more next year because his backups aren't great and who knows how much time he has; the leash is getting shorter all the time.

    He's mobile, has a big arm, and can make things happen, but his knowledge of defenses is shaky at best, and he's not a wonderful decision maker...lots to learn.

    Diagnosis: Serious Condition

NFC North: Chicago Bears

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    Cutler put it together towards the end, but the reality is: he's the No. 1 gunslinger in the NFL; it's no longer Favre's title.

    Cutler has to reign that in because we all know he has all the potential in the world, and he's going to be in Chicago probably until the end of the decade.

    However, he must learn to read defense better and avoid getting locked onto his primary receivers.

    His backups aren't pushing him for playing time, so he needs to take a deep breath and figure this out.

    He'll be fine, but the Bears should invest in a backup....bad things happen sometimes.

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

NFC North: Detroit Lions

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    Stafford grew as a rookie, showed leadership and toughness and displayed some great passing skills.

    He's still incredibly raw, though, so the Lions would do well to upgrade the running game so they can protect their best asset who looked lost at times.

    It's a long shot that Culpepper returns, and Stanton is mediocre at best.

    There's still work to be done, but Stafford had a decent year. He needs to learn when NOT to force the ball, a problem that has occurred far too often.

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

NFC North: Green Bay Packers

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    Aaron Rodgers throws the prettiest ball in the NFL right now....gotta love that delivery. He's accurate, has a quick release, and a competent grasp on NFL defenses.

    His pocket awareness is not at its best, so he needs to work on that. He's the guy in Lambeau, and that will not change for a long time. As long as the wins keep coming, they will love him in GB.

    Matt Flynn is continuing his development as a backup, not that the Packers are worried: Rodgers has everything under control.

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

NFC North: Minnesota Vikings

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    When the arguments die down and the pros and cons are finally set out, it's simple really: the Vikings would've been screwed without Brett Favre.

    The uncertainty going into next year is what makes this a tough diagnosis.

    I still can't say we trust either Jackson or Rosenfels, but they are adequate options. But if Brett Favre returns like some people think he will, the sky's the limit.

    He displays the leadership, toughness, playmaking and experience that's impossible to find anywhere else.

    But for how much longer?

    That's what Vikings fans don't know. When the answer comes, and if Brett Favre is done, it'll be interesting to see how the Vikings proceed. The ship isn't sunk, but it's on high alert...

    Diagnosis: Stable Condition

NFC West: Arizona Cardinals

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    This one is also tough, although I'm more inclined to say this team is in fair condition because if Warner really is done, Leinart isn't the lame duck everyone thinks he will be: He'll have amazing weapons and a running game on the rise.

    But back to Warner. He's shown the kind of resilience, accuracy, and decision making that puts him into the elite category again and again.

    A lot of people wrote him off, but as long as he's around, the Cardinals always have a chance to win.

    I think for now the Cardinals can sleep easy at night; the future is secure.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

NFC West: San Francisco 49ers

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    They aren't happy in San Fran at all.

    Alex Smith may have been their best performer, but he wasn't a very good one. When he took over, he was supposed to contribute to the winning ways, not take away from them. Smith just isn't that good, and the 49ers, by switching to him, voted no confidence for Hill... so what now?

    They need a fresh start, someone who can be an adequate game manager for Gore to run wild. The thing is, Hill or Smith will be back, but they'd be much better served with a fresh start.

    I scratch my head when I look at Smith; where was all the hype and potential? Change is on the horizon...

    Diagnosis: Critical Condition

NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

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    Hasselback is still the guy, but he isn't going to last: The search is on for the heir apparent.

    It's not Wallace. Hasselback isn't awful; he has a decent arm, he can move around, and he's kinda accurate. He's a typical west coast guy, but there's no upside, and with no running game, there's no room for error. And he's had plenty of those.

    Hasselback probably won't be leaving Seattle, but he'll be leaving the field. Enjoy the beginning of the end of the Hasselback era...I give the Hawks three years before it's over.

    Diagnosis: Serious Condition

NFC West: St. Louis Rams

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    Oh my.....Bulger needs to go, and the other QBs don't inspire anyone.

    There's not much to say about Bulger; he was accurate when he was healthy, but he's rather brittle anyway.

    Someone new needs to step in and take over.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Bulger gets released, although I can see him coming back for one more year.

    What they need here is depth because nothing they're going to get will bring an instant upgrade.

    The Rams need to start grooming a QB. Whenever they make that step, they cannot throw them to the sharks...they must be eased in, or recovery will take forever.

    Diagnosis: Extremely Critical Condition

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys

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    Romo isn't a flash in the pan; he's finally shown consistency that makes him worthy of the praise he receives.

    He keeps plays alive and keeps his eyes downfield. A quick release and superb accuracy make him a dagger to most blitzing defenses.

    His decision making has improved, and he trusts in his reads more, something he did not do early in his career, resulting in the happy feet we saw so often.

    As long as the Cowboys contend regularly for the playoffs, Romo's contributions will be validated.

    Diagnosis: Good condition

NFC East: New York Giants

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    Eli Manning is the guy...he's not elite, but he's solid and steady and will be there years.

    He runs the offense and keeps things under control. He doesn't have outstanding skills, but he knows what's expected of him and minimizes mistakes.

    He doesn't have to take over a game, but he can if needed, which he has shown on a few occasions.

    There's no reason to expect anything to change for the Giants. Maybe the backups, but that's about it. Eli Manning has settled into New York, and he's not going anywhere.

    Diagnosis: Good Condition

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles

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    The future will remain bright here, whether it's McNabb sticking around (no certainty) or Kolb taking the reins (no certainty) or Michael Vick could maybe.... I dunno.

    All I know is that one of these guys is starting for the Eagles next year, and even if it's Vick, all three have exceptional skills in key areas that can drive defenses crazy.

    McNabb is an accomplished pocket passer. Kolb showed off his arm and his considerable accuracy. Vick is elusive and extends plays that he certainly has the ability to make.

    So who do you want?

    It doesn't matter because we'll have to wait until September to find out.

    Diagnosis: Fair Condition

NFC East: Washington Redskins

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    Poor poor Jason: He has a nice arm, considerable mobility, and there's some perseverance there, too.

    Unfortunately, no one likes Campbell and no one likes the backups, so even if Shanahan keeps Campbell around, it's purely for the transition.

    He'll be searching free agency, and he's guaranteed to draft a QB that will have every chance to be the starter.

    That makes the future of the QB position in Washington very up in the air. It's going to be a long wait in Washington

    Diagnosis: Critical Condition