The 2010 NFL season is quickly approaching, and there are a number of quarterbacks that, for any number of reasons, are in desperate need of a good season.
Whether it be to maintain a starting job, or keep a career alive, I am going to look at the 10 quarterbacks who are in the most dire straits this season.
The former No. 1 overall pick has been subpar thus far in his career. He has been not only inconsistent, but also lost the 2008 season to injury. The second half of 2009, however, gave Smith a second chance.
After replacing Shaun Hill as the starting quarterback in San Francisco, Smith showed signs of progress. He finished the season with 2,350 passing yards and 18 touchdown passes. But it is essential that he continues his progress.
Another subpar season could spell the end of Smith's tenure in San Francisco, and we could see the second coming of David Carr. A former No. 1 pick trying to land a backup job.
Tony Romo is not on the hot seat, and not in any danger of losing his starting job. But for his credibility and for the sake of the franchise, it is vital for Romo to not only have a great 2010 campaign, but also to advance the Cowboys deep into the playoffs.
Romo has great career regular season numbers, but it is the poor playoff performances which have almost become a hallmark of his career. After earning the Cowboys their first playoff victory in 13 seasons, Romo and the Cowboys got hammered by the Vikings the following week. With the Super Bowl in Dallas this season, this is Romo's best chance to shed his reputation of not being a big game player.
The man who has possibly the strongest arm in the league, Jay Cutler needs to find a way to turn that into the golden touch. For his career Cutler is only 24-29 as a starting quarterback.
After trading away Kyle Orton and two first round picks (as well as a third rounder), the Chicago Bears were looking for Cutler to pay big dividends.
What they got in return was a mediocre season which saw only one more touchdown pass than interception. There wouldn't appear to be any competition for Cutler's job, but a sub-.500 record is not what the Bears were looking for when they traded for him.
In his second season in the Windy City, this should be when we find out if Jay Cutler can be a winner or just another strong armed mid-level performer.
Jason Campbell begins his tenure as the starting quarterback in Oakland. Lucky for Campbell, he doesn't exactly have big shoes to fill. Unluckily for Campbell though, the Raiders haven't been shy about transferring the starting quarterback duties throughout the roster.
I find it hard to believe that the Raiders would have Campbell on any sort of short leash, but at the same time, with Al Davis in charge, nothing that the Raiders do anymore can be much of a surprise.
While Campbell's career numbers won't blow anyone away, they are certainly respectable and better than those of his recent predecessors. So, while Campbell should be a lock to be the starter for awhile in Oakland, a good season would go a long way in prolonging his tenure.
Plagued by injuries recently, Hasselbeck has only played one 16 game season over the last four years. The key to Hasselbeck's season, and his health, will be a revamped offensive line.
If he is to regain any of his past form, he must first remain upright. With his rash of recent injuries, and mediocre play when in the lineup, Hasselbeck appears to be on the downhill slide of his career.
The three-time pro bowler has proven to be a very successful starter, even leading the Seahawks to their only Super Bowl appearance, but if there is anything left in the tank of Matt Hasselbeck, this has to be the season to show it. It is sad to say, but his career could depend on it.
There were grumblings late last season that David Garrard might not be the answer as the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback. A tough and gritty quarterback, Garrard has never had that big play receiver to complement his skills, and thus has had to take a lot on his own shoulders.
One big problem for Garrard is the division he plays in. Twice a year he has to face the defending AFC champion Colts, the always improving Houston Texans, and the Tennessee Titans, who are one season removed from having the league's best record. For the grumblings to come to a halt, Garrard is going to have to make something magical of the 2010 campaign.
After a nightmare of a season for Carolina in 2009, Jake Delhomme looks for a rebound year in Cleveland. Delhomme heads into training camp as the team's starter, but after last season he could be on a game by game schedule.
Like Hasselbeck, injuries have hampered Delhomme recently. Only one full season in the last four, has lead to very erratic play, and possibly taken a few years off of his career.
A 2005 Pro Bowler, Delhomme is looking to put last season behind him, but also behind him are Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy who are only a few turnovers from putting Jake Delhomme's starting days in the past.
Matt Cassel quickly made a name for himself in 2008 replacing the injured Tom Brady. After his breakout season, the Chiefs signed him to a six year deal worth $63 million.
His first season in Kansas City didn't quite live up to expectations. Not having the supporting cast that he had in New England, Cassel threw for under 3,000 yards and had just as many interceptions as touchdown passes.
With all the money that the Chiefs have invested in Cassel, it seems unlikely that anyone other than him will be taking the snaps this season, but he needs a good season to prove not only that he was worth the big contract, but to give hope to a franchise that has been stuck in the basement for a few seasons.
Matt Leinart's first stint as the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback was a failure. Kurt Warner was brought in as a mentor, who promptly lead the team to their first Super Bowl appearance.
Now, with Warner's retirement, the starting role returns to Matt Leinart, who has thus far been given every chance to succeed.
The loss of Anquan Boldin to Baltimore gives Leinart one less weapon than he has had in the past, but Larry Fitzgerald is still there. For Leinart to be really successful he will need to look his way more often than not. This is undoubtedly Matt Leinart's last chance to be a successful starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.
It is hard to imagine that a 28-year-old, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback could be number one on this list, but it happened.
By now everyone is familiar with Ben Roethlisberger the football player, and unfortunately we are all now familiar with Ben Roethlisberger off the field as well. His legal issues have been well documented and have resulted in a six game suspension to begin 2010.
When he returns to the field, this will be Roethlisberger's most important season to date. Even a Super Bowl ring will not excuse or erase his off the field problems, but a very successful season, both on and off the field will go a long way in starting to repair Big Ben's image.