Starting Signal-Caller Scenarios – Four Franchises Face Facts

First off…if you have followed the NFL for any length of time you know how the pre-season schedule is supposed to go. Week One a team’s starters play a series and then put on their baseball caps.  Week Two they play…say, a quarter…and then they break out said caps. Week Three they play at least a half if not into the third quarter…and the game in question is thereby deemed a “dress rehearsal” for the season opener.  Week Four…their helmets don’t go any farther North than under their arms for the National Anthem and those baseball caps get the full play.

My how things have changed.  In jumping back and forth watching various NFL games this past weekend it was amazing how little many stars played…if at all.

Maybe it is because coaches have finally become sooooo paranoid about losing key players in exhibitions.  Maybe they’ve accepted chemistry and rhythm is better found in the early stretches of what is a long, long regular season than in games that don’t count a lick…except of course to those players trying to secure a weekly paycheck in any manner possible. And maybe that’s part of it also..having a starter out on the field against a less experienced player who will do anything to make an impression…including leaving a lasting impression on the body of anyone in their path.  Football is a dangerous sport as is but when one player is playing to not get hurt and another is playing to not get cut…worlds collide.

Anyway…since the success of any NFL team is highly predicated on the play of the quarterback…here are four franchises who have interesting scenarios playing out at the premier position:

  1. Grantland.com just posted a column about Which Coach Has Had The Worst Quarterbacks In History?” Number 1? None other than recently relocated Rex Ryan.  Indeed, his Jets were not known for their talent at the position…Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith serving as Exhibits A and B.  That being said if you didn’t see his Bills’ signal-callers in action on a bright, sunny afternoon in Buffalo versus the Steelers this past Saturday you would swear his ranking is about to change dramatically. Now, understand this writer subscribes to the theory as far as your starting quarterback goes if you have three you have none.  I think it is critical a starting QB is named as early as possible in camp and given all the resources necessary to be successful as #1.  Right now Ryan has Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel and Tyrod Taylor all vying for the position. In their scrum with the Steelers they all looked more than capable. They actually all looked great.  Of course we continue to keep in mind these are practice games…but you had to see these three as they competed in what was a pressure-packed situation for them if no one else.  Heck, even Rex’s FOURTH-string signal-caller, Matt Simms, was 5-5 for 65 yards. If nothing else it looks like Ryan will have a game-manager this season no matter who is playing QB…and if the running game with LeSean McCoy takes off…that’s pressure off whomever is at the helm to force passes or consistently have to go press downfield.  The Bills’ D should be solid. Things are looking up in Buffalo…and possibly…maybe…for Rex Ryan’s ranking of worst quarterbacks.
  2. Here in Philadelphia fans are pretty much ignoring the fact games this weekend didn’t count and are instead counting up their dollars to see if they have enough to book flights for Super Bowl 50 to see the Eagles.  No NFL franchise’s season will rise or fall farther depending on the health of a player like Philadelphia will. The way Sam Bradford looked on a cloudy, cool Saturday evening in Green Bay was how the St. Louis Rams envisioned he would when they drafted him.  The Eagles’ offense was relentless and Bradford displayed a touch not seen by a Philly QB in like…um…never. I was reading some comments from Rams’ fans about Bradford leaving there for here and one stood out…to paraphrase the fan recalled holding their breath every time he went back to pass during his time in St. Louis…wondering if his frail legs would still be intact at the end of the play.  Chip Kelly and the rest of those invested in the Eagles’ fortunes for 2015 are practicing their breathing exercises.  If Bradford stays upright Philly may be able to outscore most every opponent they face.  If he goes down…well…you might recall the #2 QB here is…Mark Sanchez.
  3. And speaking of keeping people upright…Carson Palmer’s health as QB of the Arizona Cardinals may rank just behind Bradford in terms of the potential rise and fall variance in wins and losses for a franchise.  That health was under attack on a sunny early Sunday evening in the Bay Area as the Oakland Raiders spent a great deal of time in the Cards’ backfield.  After the game Bruce Arians suggested Palmer himself should take a greater interest in his own health by getting the ball out sooner. That’s common sense…so is Arians’ getting Carson some help up front.  Arizona got off to a fantastic start last year with a healthy Palmer. Yet their offensive line got their helmets handed to them in Oakland.  If they don’t get that fixed fast someone is going to be helping Carson get his helmet off…and Arizona’s prospectus will be poor.
  4. Fox analyst and former Dallas Cowboy QB great Troy Aikman commenting during Sunday’s Texans-Saints game on the QB situation in Washington – “Somebody compared the Redskins to the Kardashians. Saying they’re the Kardashians of the NFL.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I don’t think the Kardashians are nearly as dysfunctional.” Depending on whom you believe Robert Griffin III is being held off the field because he is concussed or because some in the organization want him off the team.  They apparently are set on Kirk Cousins to start in their opener regardless. I’ve felt for some time now Cousins has been the better choice. Washington has been a model of dysfunctional instability in the last decade and the RGIII debacle, from the way Mike Shanahan used him up to the way Griffin has less than manned up, has left the Redskins reeling. If they aren’t going to change their nickname to honor Native Americans they should at least do it to give their fans a fresh start from the wretched way they have operated their organization in recent times.

(Author’s note – since I have returned to the blogosphere I have found new followers and visitors.  Thanks to you all.  Please visit me at lifeattitudes.wordpress.com for my take on life outside of sports.  See you there…)

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About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside Philadelphia PA. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen US states (most just one time each) and Canada (twice). 50-plus years - married 30-plus years. Love massive quantities of sports, television and movies (viewed in a movie theater).
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13 Responses to Starting Signal-Caller Scenarios – Four Franchises Face Facts

  1. The only good thing about this weekend’s preseason games is I got to see a couple of young players willing to really put forth some effort and make a couple of important plays in hopes of gaining coach’s attention and perhaps a slot. A lot of bumbling around though. Preseason “it-doesn’t-really-count” games have become like the practice games fans can watch…only you have to pay to watch.
    Your comment about having 3 quarterbacks is on target. How are the teams going to get into a rhythm if they keep switching quarterbacks?(Even if the 2nd string quarterback is having a temper tantrum at being 2nd choice …Sit down and wait your turn. It will come. I think Texans went through 5-6 quarterbacks last year?)
    Glad to have you back

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    • I enjoyed seeing the Texans put forth a good effort against New Orleans. I know they continue to lack a “franchise” QB and thereby have issues at the position again in 2015. I think if they can “hang in” until Arian Foster returns…and assuming he is 100% which is a big assumption…they can carve out a respectable season. Love DeAndre Hopkins – one of the rising wide receivers in the NFL. O’Brien can certainly coach.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I echo the mouse’s comments. Welcome back to the fray.

    Great comments by Aikman. Hadn’t heard that.

    And good luck with Bradford in Philly. I’m still not convinced but you seem to think they’ll be alright. I think the Bucs’ll be alright with Jameis.

    I guess there’s a little homer in all of us.

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    • Chris, I actually was watching the game Aikman made the comment on with my wife and we both laughed out loud. He said it in that dry, droll way of his and it was perfect. Joe Buck teed up the question and Troy hit it out of the park. Bradford looked really, really good in Chip’s offense. I know Kelly likes to run up the score even if he’s playing solitaire but when the first team was on the field and the pedal was to the floor they looked like the best offense in football. IF they can keep Sam clean this could be a special, special year here. I agree the Bucs will be OK with Jameis. He has the tools…just has to not act like one.

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  3. Well, apparently Kirk Cousins is now there guy, but “I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think the Kardashians are nearly as dysfunctional.” was still a great line.

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  4. I just wanted to say thank you for deciding to follow me and my blog over “At the Attic.” The only explanation I have for this wonderful development is you played football without a helmet? Possibly were hit in the head by an Aroidis Chapman fastball? Or, while playing hockey, you forgot that the NHL now allows players to wear helmets. Either way I’m thrilled! But seriously, thank you very much for following what has to be the most confusing blog on the internet. :O)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to thank Dan Snyder’s wife for continuing to show how embarrassing the Redskins remain as an organization, beyond their ongoing incompetence being shown on the field.

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      • LOL I fear that my beloved 49er’s may have actually been infiltrated by the Snyder family. That, or possibly the ever incompetent, Roger Goodell.

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      • sportsattitude … It wasn’t Snyder’s wife who actually made the comment and posted it to Twitter . It was the GM , Scott McCloughlan’s wife Jessica McCloughlan. The Redskins have become a real embarrassment during this preseason in spite of the team’s record during this exhibition schedule. RGIII has to be thinking , so now they’re offering sexual gratification merely get a story about me . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

        Let’s hope the Redskins have an abysmal season .

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  5. You are very welcome and I look forward to future visits to the “Attic.” As for my mental state please refer to one of my “recent posts” about a plan to save football by growing antlers. I had only a helmet when I played as a youngster…

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