Battle For The Ball: Six NFL Teams Destined For a QB Shootout in 2010
For any avid NFL fan, it is no secret that the first thing you learn when becoming a fan of the game is just how vital the quarterback position truly is.
The quarterback is the lifeblood of the team, the backbone of the organization, but also the guy that tends to take on the most criticism and blame when a team falls apart.
In 2009, the quarterback position was seemingly solid for most teams. Young guns such as Aaron Rodgers and Mark Sanchez shined with their new up and coming teams, and the old time gunslingers such as Brett Favre and Peyton Manning once again went about business from September through February.
Now that the draft is over, several questions arise in regard to the quarterback position. Some players starting roles are stable and solid, while others hang in the balance under threatening new and improved rookies.
So which teams should we watch for in 2010 if we want to see an all out war for the starting role? Hopefully this list acts as a TV guide, and tells us what teams to keep an eye on.
6. Pittsburgh Steeelers
Current Starter: Ben Roethlisberger
Competition: Dennis Dixon, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch
Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger's off-field dramas have caused head coach Mike Tomlin to thoroughly consider his quarterback options for the first month of the regular season.
So far we have seen brief stints from both Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon in past years, as both have had to fill in for Roethlisberger due to his tendency to get concussions in recent years.
It's fair to say at this point in time, either man would be a decent replacement for Big Ben, but of course neither are exactly stable enough just yet to totally convince the Steeler fans one way or another.
With this said, it seems that we will see Ben Roethlisberger suit up some time this season, and unless Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich do exceptionally well as the starter, Ben is likely to step back into the starting role sooner or later.
This is good news for Steeler fans, but a question could be asked of both Dixon's and Leftwich's ability.
Can either of the two put together decent stats for at least the first six weeks of the season? And if so, could we possibly be seeing a Kerry Collins over Vince Young like reenactment in Pittsburgh?
These are all questions that are surrounding the Steelers as of late, and with the organization not totally happy with Ben Roethlisberger, there is the slight chance that we do see a new starting man in Pittsburgh.
Who it will be is anyone's guess, but Big Ben better watch his back.
5. Cleveland Browns
Starter: Jake Delhomme
Competition: Colt McCoy, Brett Ratliff, Seneca Wallace
Prior to the draft, the Cleveland Browns had become one of the more promising teams heading toward September. Obvious needs were still present, but the addition of Colt McCoy has surely added some spice to the quarterback position.
Mike Holmgren seems to have placed full faith in Jake Delhomme at the moment, and so far he is leading the starting race.
In his time with Carolina, Delhomme showed bursts of brilliance at times. He isn't the most consistent quarterback in the league, but with a new jersey and a new crowd to please, Delhomme may just impress us all in Week 1.
The only concern for Delhomme is McCoy. As a quarterback that is used to winning with the Texas Longhorns, McCoy won't take too kindly to sitting on the bench for extended periods of time.
Delhomme's ability is certainly there, but a massive question mark hangs over his head. Can he be accurate and consistent enough to hit targets? Or will he fail miserably in a desperate attempt to revive his NFL career?
Like the Steelers, McCoy is hot on Jake's trail. One slip up could land him on the bench for a long time, but fortunately the coaching staff has faith in Delhomme.
The Browns are a very promising team for 2010, and although they have other pressing needs, they have made great strides at getting this franchise back into the right direction.
All that is needed is a solid quarterback, so lets hope that either of these two men can get the job done.
4. Denver Broncos
Starter: Kyle Orton
Competition: Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow
There's one word to describe the Denver Broncos right now, desperate. They need wins, confidence and McDaniels certainly needs to get things back on track.
It was a questionable call by Denver when they drafted Tim Tebow in the first round, and it's safe to say that if all three quarterbacks fail, this is a team that could bust in the blink of an eye.
It appears that in 2010 Kyle Orton is the favored starter, and rightfully so. Given that he showed promising signs in the early stages of last year.
Brady Quinn from Cleveland was also a questionable pickup, as his talent is yet to be displayed in the NFL.
For the most part, this is like watching a triple threat wrestling match. All three quarterbacks want the starting role, but no one knows for sure just how much ability they truly possess.
Tebow has accuracy issues, Quinn lacks decision making skills, and Orton faces a "make it or break it" season.
This is a team to watch in 2010, as they are oh so close to the playoffs, but oh so close to failing as well. A see-saw season lies ahead for Denver, but either way we should see the true Denver Broncos shine.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Starter: Matt Leinart
Competition: Derek Anderson
The competition for Matt Leinart isn't all that strong, but the pressure certainly is. Now that Kurt Warner is out of the picture, the Arizona Cardinals are a team missing their leading man.
Almost like the 2008 Green Bay Packers, the Cardinals have become a team of doubt, as they have lost "the glue" that was Warner. However, we have seen a fair bit of Leinart's play in the past, and we do know he can throw the ball well when he wants to.
Derek Anderson from the Browns shouldn't pose too much of a threat to Leinart, but if the pressure overwhelms him, then we may see Anderson step in for a snap or two every now and again.
The issue for Arizona is that they now feature two talented quarterbacks. Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Denver all have quarterbacks that have started for at least a season in the NFL.
This is not the case for Arizona. Should Leinart slip up, what's to say Anderson won't?
That's right, nothing. This should be a concern for Cardinal fans, but it isn't time to hit the panic button yet. If we look back to Green Bay once more, Aaron Rodgers learned from the best in Brett Favre. The same applies to Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner.
2. Buffalo Bills
Competitors: Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm, Levi Brown
No one knows for sure who the Bills starter will be in 2010, and quite frankly it is a concern. As you can tell, the list above doesn't feature any quarterback standouts, and even though Trent Edwards has gotten the job done lately a lot is left to be desired.
Former Green Bay Packer Brian Brohm may sneak into the starting role in Buffalo, but a lot relies on newly appointed head coach Chan Gailey, who has had a rather quiet offseason.
In 2009, Edwards only played eight games, in which he threw for six touchdowns and seven interceptions. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick also failed to live up to expectation as he threw for nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Therefore, the Bills have obvious issues. No one can say for sure who will start for Buffalo, but at least Terrell Owens is now out of town and won't demand the ball.
The Bills have survived in the past without a solid quarterback, but it certainly would be nice to see this team with a starter that can play a full 16 games and pass the ball well.
We should find out soon who will start in Buffalo, but for now just sit tight.
1. Carolina Panthers
Starter: Matt Moore
Competition: Jimmy Clausen
Matt Moore is perhaps the most exciting young quarterback in the NFL right now. Unfortunately, he has one of the most exciting young rookies behind him in Jimmy Clausen who packs talent left, right and center.
Now that Jake Delhomme is out of the picture, head coach John Fox can work on shaping the points of Moore's game that could do with some attention.
Moore's 2009 stats were solid. He threw eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Moore is well on his way to having a great career in the NFL.
Moore is the favored starter in Carolina, but should the unthinkable happen and he fails miserably in the first two to three months of the season, it could be time for Fox to bring in Notre Dame prospect Clausen.
What Clausen brings to the field is what the Panthers have been lacking. The ability to weave passes to wide receivers in the tightest spots is Clausen's forte, and unfortunately this plays against Moore.
There is a slight possibility we see both of these guys share the snaps this season, but I think the Panthers would benefit from a preferred starting quarterback, rather than mixing and matching.
The Panthers are far from being in trouble, but another poor season will land them in a tough spot. The fans are growing anxious, and we all want to see what Moore can produce.
Clausen or Moore could be the starter this time next season, but both will have to let their play do most of the talking.