In order for a team to have success, it is important to have a signal-caller that can lead the offense.
Of the 12 playoff quarterbacks from last season:
- All of them threw for at least 3,000 yards.
- Seven were in the top 10 in passing touchdowns.
- Seven threw less than a dozen interceptions.
- Seven were top 10 in passer rating.
- Matt Ryan and Drew Brees were 11th and 12th, respectively.
- 10 completed at least 60 percent of their passes.
- Matt Hasselbeck completed 59.9 percent.
Let's see which QBs deserve another chance to lead a huddle and which are better off holding the clipboard.
Team: Denver Broncos
The consensus is that Tebow will become the starter at some point in the 2011 season. He proved many critics wrong at the end of last season by playing relatively well for a rookie.
There is nothing wrong with Tebow holding the clipboard next season and Kyle Orton remaining the starter for all of 2011.
It takes pressure off of the former first-round pick and allows him to get more comfortable with the system in place.
If Tebow does not start, expect him to get on the field occasionally as a gadget and for goal line situations.
Team: Carolina Panthers
In his rookie season, Clausen was completely overwhelmed. It doesn't help that Carolina was the worst team in 2010, but the Panthers still have hope.
It looks like Clausen needs a year or two of holding the clipboard before he is ready to become a full-time starter, if ever.
Chances are Matt Moore will be the starter again next season, but he is not much of an upgrade.
Team: Cleveland Browns
Although his last two performances were bad (one TD, six INT), McCoy has shown he can lead the Browns offense.
Unlike Jimmy Clausen, McCoy does not look overwhelmed on the field. Around the line of scrimmage, he actually looks like he knows what he's doing.
He is clearly the future of the Browns.
Even though Cleveland re-signed Seneca Wallace, he is a career backup.
Expect Wallace to continue backing McCoy up.
Alex and Troy should not be starting for the 49ers anymore. It is not due to a lack of talent, even though everybody labels Alex Smith as a bust.
As the former No. 1 overall pick, Alex has shown flashes of brilliance in the Bay area despite just as many bad moments.
Troy still has some growing up to do as a person. He is immature and does not handle adversity well. That's not the kind of guy you want leading your offense.
Give him the clipboard.
Alex Smith is now a free agent. New coach Jim Harbaugh wants him as his starter in 2011. If Smith returns and underperforms, he might become a career backup.
Both sides should move on. There is still a possibility Alex can succeed as an NFL-starting QB, but it would probably be best if he does it elsewhere.
Best Fit: Tennessee, Miami
Team: Buffalo Bills
Fitzpatrick quietly had the best season for a Bills QB since Drew Bledsoe in 2002. Since Trent Edwards was cut early in the season, Fitzpatrick played in 13 games and ended up with the following stats:
- 23 touchdowns
- 15 interceptions
- 57.8 completion percentage
- 3,000 passing yards
- 81.8 QB rating
The Harvard graduate still has room for improvement, especially against New England, but he gives Buffalo the best chances to win.
He knows the system, and if Fitzpatrick builds on his 2010 performance, then it's tough to even think of an upgrade in Buffalo. Ryan has some young receivers to work with and the addition of a pass-catching tight end should give Buffalo an underrated but rounded aerial attack.
The Bills should be content with how their once horrid quarterback situation turned out.
Team: Tennessee Titans
Despite indications that the Titans would part ways with Vince Young, he is still with the team. This may be due to the whole CBA ordeal, but it would be surprising to see Young in Tennessee by training camp.
Young's personal issues and immaturity may prevent him from being one of the great quarterbacks in the NFL. He should hold on to the clipboard until he gets himself together.
However, there is no denying his talent. Several teams will be interested in Vince Young as a starter if Tennessee puts him on the trading block.
Best fits: Minnesota, Miami, San Francisco
Team: Free Agent
Previously: Backup with the Baltimore Ravens
Surprising? Many might view Bulger as nothing more than a backup, but he is a guy capable of lighting it up. His misfortunes in St. Louis were not because he lacked talent. The Rams were not a good team, and the offensive line he had was horrendous. As a result, he suffered multiple injuries.
But now, he has had a full year of rest while holding the clipboard for the Ravens and mentoring Joe Flacco. Baltimore coaches have done nothing but praise Bulger in his time there, citing his work ethic and quickly learning the system.
Any team desperate for an upgrade at QB should take a hard look at Bulger. Whether he can be consistent as a starter again remains to be seen, but the man deserves a shot. If he does turn out to be good, it will be a huge bargain for the team that signs him.
Best fits: Arizona, Miami, San Francisco
John Skelton, Derek Anderson and Max Hall combined for 10 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a 60.5 QB rating.
That will not get it done.
Hall and Skelton were both rookies that only saw the field because of the Cardinals' desperate situation. Skelton looked more promising of the two last season.
Derek Anderson was supposed to be the answer but has been terrible since having a Pro Bowl season in 2007 with Cleveland.
As it stands, training camp may feature an open QB competition with Skelton as the favorite to win the starting nod, and Anderson is not likely to return. However, it is no secret that Arizona needs to upgrade.
Everyone knows Larry Fitzgerald wants an upgrade.
Arizona needs to search free agency and any trade possibilities to stop the bleeding. Fitzgerald is not willing to sign an extension with the Cardinals unless they do.
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
One thing is certain: Kevin Kolb wants to start.
Another thing is also certain: it won't be in Philly.
Andy Reid has the luxury of two quality starting-caliber quarterbacks. It is no knock on Kolb that he is the Eagles' backup. Michael Vick made the most of his opportunity and played out of his mind in 2010. If not for Tom Brady, Vick would've won the regular season MVP award.
For the second straight season, the Eagles are contemplating trading a quality quarterback in a league that is short on such a commodity.
Every team that needs a starting quarterback will be trying to get their hands on Kolb.
Best fits: Arizona, Tennessee, Miami
Team: Miami Dolphins
Chad Henne is likely to be the starter again unless the Dolphins go after a veteran this offseason.
Henne is still young, and he possesses all the physical tools one looks for in QB. However, Henne made bad decisions on the field. Many fans are unsatisfied with his performance.
If his 2010 stats are compared to his 2009 stats, it looks like he has improved overall, but the 19 interceptions have been costly to Miami. He regressed after a promising 2009 campaign.
There is still time for young Chad to right the ship, but anything short of a breakout season will be a disappointment. The Dolphins need him to perform well in order to succeed. Otherwise, he may be holding a clipboard for a long time.
The pressure will be on in 2011, especially after claiming the new system is "QB friendly."
Team: Minnesota Vikings
If Minnesota does not obtain a veteran or draft one of the top QB prospects, Webb is almost certainly the starter.
Webb played well against Philly in that infamous Tuesday night game. Besides showing off his athletic ability, he made some good decisions on the field.
However, Webb starting would be due to Minnesota lacking better options more than anything.
He still has to convince the world he is a legitimate NFL QB with more than just athletic ability. Otherwise, Vikings fans have seen this before in the form of Tavaris Jackson.
Whatever happens with Donovan McNabb and Carson Palmer, they should be starting. The only way they don't start is if they retire, as Palmer might do.
Out of the two, McNabb is the better choice.
Although he is older, McNabb has had more success, is more of a leader and is a classier person.
Palmer has forced the issue too much. It has led to unnecessary interceptions.
Both are likely to be traded. Although both are veterans clearly past their prime, they should still be an upgrade for any team seeking QB help.