New Decade, New Faces: 10 NFL Second Stringers That May Start in 2010
So far this offseason, we've seen a barrage of breaking news headlines that have left us all in shock.
Brandon Marshall is a Dolphin, Brett Favre needs surgery, and poor old Terrell Owens is still wandering the NFL streets in search for a new home as he asks just who will be his quarterback in 2010.
Personally, I hate change. When I grow accustomed to something I cling to it, and I guess that is why it has taken me so long to adjust to Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform, instead of heaving heavy passes down the sidelines to Greg Jennings.
However, like my elders have always said, "everything changes in life" and I guess that saying can be applied to the NFL as well. Right now, the NFL is full of potential busts. Not just rookies, but experienced players that are on the brink of a "make it or break it" type season.
So as long as we are discussing it, here's a look at a few second stringers that could be stepping in this regular season to replace these shaky and unpredictable players, and just how they may help out their respective teams.
10. Marion Barber/Felix Jones
Since the offseason begun, there has been a small amount of talk in regards to whether or not Marion Barber may be on the move out of Dallas.
Of course, this was going back two months ago, and now it seems that Marion is a certainty to be wearing silver and blue this season.
In 2009, Barber didn't have an overly fantastic year, but given the amount of snaps and actual plays he does receive during the regular season, his stats were fairly impressive.
Felix Jones on the other hand rushed for 685 yards and three touchdowns, making the Cowboys rushing game amongst the hottest in the league. Right now, it seems Dallas are fairly comfortable with alternating between the two, especially since Barber is a fantastic third down runner.
However with this said, if Marion somehow "falls off the wagon" so to speak, he may see his snap count dwindle down as Jones takes the dominant starting role.
Felix in and Marion out isn't a situation I'd like to see, as Barber is a fantastic running back. But if the Cowboys offense is clicking with Jones toward the midway point of the regular season, than Marion may be on the sidelines for longer periods than he is used to.
9. Ahmad Bradshaw
Sticking with the NFC East theme, we now focus on the New York Giants. I think it's safe to say right now that more than just a few Giants fans aren't at all happy with Brandon Jacobs, as his 2009 season was certainly disappointing.
835 yards and five touchdowns may seem like fairly stable stats, but when thinking of just how dominant Jacobs has been in the past, they simply don't live up to expectations.
More importantly though, Brandon let the entire Giants team down. When Eli Manning was noticeably hurt with a toe injury, the Giants were in desperate need of a player that could grasp their team with an experienced hand, and guide some of the young rookie wide receivers in the right direction.
As a result, the Giants wound up 8-8, and although the blame can't entirely be pinned on Jacobs, his play did leave a lot to be desired in 2009.
Therefore, don't be surprised to see Ahmad Bradshaw see more snaps than Brandon this season. Last year Ahmad managed to record 778 yards and seven touchdowns, which leaves Jacobs in a spot of bother.
Will Brandon lose his starting job entirely? Well it seems Brandon may have already lost out, as noone is totally sure just what Tom Coughlin intends to do with the running game.
Bradshaw is a decent fill-in for Brandon, but it wouldn't be wise to count Jacobs out. We could see a tandem like running game, but if the Giants stick to their usual smashmouth style play, then it seems more likely we will see one rather than the other.
8. Brett Ratliff/Colt McCoy
Finally, the Cleveland Browns seem to be on the right track. A successful draft in the books, along with two new quarterbacks in Jake Delhomme and Colt McCoy, Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren seem to have this franchise heading in the right direction.
The question with the Browns is, can they really find a consistent and reliable starter after all these years of quarterback turmoil?
Looking at Cleveland on paper, the obvious answer is yes. But unfortunately either one of these guys has huge potential to fail especially since the confidence is a little low in all three.
As of now Delhomme is the favored starter and his past play with the Carolina Panthers looks promising for the Browns. Picking up former Texas Longhorn McCoy is also an added bonus, but it has also added some spice to the Browns quarterback position, which ensures us for a shootout in the coming months.
With these two in mind, don't count out Brett Ratliff. His ability is questionable, but he is young and bursting with potential.
7. C.J Spiller
The newest addition to the Buffalo Bills caught some people by surprise originally. When I first heard that C.J. Spiller was drafted by Buffalo, the move didn't make total sense to me.
But after careful consideration, I realized that this draft pick could really spark the Bills offensively.
The 2010 Bills are new and improved. Chan Gailey steps in, and although Ralph Wilson is still the old time owner it looks like the Bills have taken some steps in the right direction.
When Spiller was originally drafted, the Bills indicated heavily that they have no intention of placing Marshawn Lynch on the trading block.
This is good news for the Lynch lovers out there, but it is bad news for Marshawn himself. With a young rookie of C.J.'s caliber hot on his tail, Marshawn will have to perform exceptionally well in 2010 to keep his starting job.
C.J. is the type of back that can just make an impact for any team, so if Marshawn slips up even slightly, Spiller may just get his foot in the door.
6. Brady Quinn/Tim Tebow
Some may have expected this to be a little higher on the list, but it seems that Kyle Orton is still the expected starter in Denver.
The biggest issue with the Broncos is failure. Josh McDaniels is on the hot seat, and with three quarterbacks that could potentially blow up in the Broncos faces, it's fair to say that there will be more than just a few nervous fans amongst the stands of Mile High Stadium.
Orton had a fairly decent 2009 season. His 3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns to finish the year leaves Bronco fans placing their utmost trust into Orton has he tries to guide this team to the playoffs.
Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow though aren't to be written off. Brady Quinn is yet to flourish totally in the NFL, and like a flower waiting for the sun, it may be only a matter of time before he returns to his college ways.
As for Tebow, well we all know what he is capable of. However his accuracy is a bit of a concern.
If Orton fails, Quinn may step in, or Tebow for that matter. It's a puzzling situation really, but it should be interesting to watch play out.
5. Golden Tate
What do you get when you mix an explosive wide receiver with a previously struggling offense? Well it normally results in a few jobs going astray.
When you think of Seattle, you don't instantly think of wide receivers, but now that the former Notre Dame star is one of Pete Carroll's newest employees, Deion Branch and T.J Housmandzadeh better step their game up.
Both wide receivers failed to live up to expectations last season, so right now the starting position at either side of the field is open for Golden Tate to jump into.
A three-way battle for the starting role seems to be on the cards for Seattle, but the bigger question may come down to just who Matt Hasselbeck feels more comfortable with.
I assure you that at one time or another Tate will apply his trademark touch on the Seahawks, but whether or not it will be in 2010 remains to be totally seen.
4. Dez Bryant
Okay, so we all know that Dez Bryant will start in 2010. He's a fantastic wide receiver, and the Cowboys have indicated in every which way their exact intentions with the former Oklahoma State star.
As to who he replaces, well it seems Roy Williams will move down the bench to make room for Dez. Personally, I see this move providing wonders for the Cowboys offense, as Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, and Bryant are a foursome that no other team simply has the benefit of having.
Roy Williams on the other hand is looking to fade into the history books. Perhaps now his dropped passes last season have come back to haunt him, and even if he does manage a few starts, in the long run Bryant is simply going to outdo him.
3. Dennis Dixon
We have seen a few brief stints in Dennis Dixon's career. During Ben Roethlisberger's concussion stage, Dixon became the instant starter for the Steelers, and he did manage to provide some moments of brilliance, in black and yellow.
The biggest issue for Dennis is not knowing whether or not he will start. The Ben Roethlisberger scenario is still yet to be resolved, and the announcement of Dixon starting may take longer than hearing that Brett Favre is returning to the NFL.
The simple factor is, Pittsburgh needs a solid quarterback to keep this team on track. If Roethlisberger does indeed miss this season, it is a certainty that Dixon starts.
Will Dixon prevail? Quite possibly, but the bigger question is how long he will start for, rather than just how well he will do.
This story is still developing, but I assure you the quarterback position is being well looked after in Pittsburgh.
2. Michael Vick
Donovan McNabb gone, and now Kevin Kolb in is the situation that has struck the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the most part, Eagles fans are fairly optimistic in regards to how well Kolb can do with the Eagles. Although all this optimism is great, the true test lies ahead when the Eagles step onto the field in September, and take on the Green Bay Packers.
Recently, Michael Vick has expressed his interest in starting. Now a veteran of the game, Vick is left to wonder why his expertise has been left unnoticed, and a young inexperienced player is set to take the helm.
The main story here is that Vick was happy to be standing behind McNabb, a well established quarterback in the NFL. But when Vick is behind a young guy with questionable skill, well things become just that bit more interesting.
It seems quite likely that we will see more of Vick in 2010. The left-handed arm is set to be on screen a little more, and seeing as though Kolb is the firm starter, Vick will be hot on his heels in order to gain the starting job.
1. Jamarcus Russell/Jason Campbell
It isn't quite clear who the Raiders are willing to start this season. Right now Oakland is coming off a high from its successful draft, and finally Al Davis seems the least bit intelligent after selecting Rolando McClain.
Now that Jason Campbell is a Raider, a whole new range of doors open for the team. Jamarcus Russell has been inconsistent and downright embarrassing in recent memory, but that still doesn't seem to have affected his starting chances immensely.
During the offseason Jamarcus has worked hard to get back in shape, so as of now it seems Russell and Campbell are declaring an all-out war for the starting position.
A quarterback is so desperately needed for this team to succeed, and with a possible .500 record on the cards, it is crucial that Oakland make the right decision.
For once, it seems that the Raiders will let performance make the overall decision, as Campbell and Russell look to duel it out this season.
Who will be the starter is unknown, but whichever one is left standing should hopefully be the better man.