NFL Quarterbacks on the hot seat

Tony Romo (en) at a Dallas Cowboys (en) preseason.

Tony Romo (en) at a Dallas Cowboys (en) preseason. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well the football season is almost upon us and I think it’s time to judge a book by its cover and put out theories of what quarterbacks are on the hot seat, in my opinion, and need to step it up without seeing anything yet.

Dallas CowboysTony Romo
He has been surrounded with some talented players but has yet to lead them to the Super Bowl. At first, it was blamed on the lack of experience, then it was the locker room, and now it is that he cannot play well when it counts. Romo is running out of excuses and while he is a better quarterback option than what other teams put on the field. So now, they still have Jason Witten, Miles Austin, the emerging Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray who came out of nowhere last season. Romo has to earn his paycheck and get them a ring. You can blame whatever, players, locker room, the division he is in, lack of a 3rd WR, golf, Jessica Simpson, Satan but truth is that has not stopped Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Maybe the Cowboys brought in Kyle Orton to compete with Romo but he is just an upgrade from Kitna but with Orton on the roster, it could give the Cowboys confidence to bench Romo if he has a few bad games in a row. Even with a weird voice telling me to predict that, Tony will be benched at some point this season I predict he will be the starter for the Cowboys.

Houston Texans- Matt Schaub
Matt has played well for the Texans but T.J. Yates did play well and the Texans could have a decision to make if they go back to playing sub .500 football. Yates would benefit from sitting back and learning for the next year or so because who knows what he can bring in a full season and how high his ceiling is. Matt Schaub is the clear starter next season I do believe but like I said, I do not see the coach or GM or Owner accepting a .500 or less season because winning is everything. I predict that Matt Schaub will be the starter until an injury forces the Texans to play Yates. Predicting this seems unfair because it is like predicting the ending to a movie after seeing it for the fourth time.

Kansas City Chiefs- Matt Cassel
Matt Cassel has to prove that he is not just a back up who benefited from a good system in 2008 when Tom Brady went down back when he was in New England. He has some talent around him now and only he is in his way. They do not have many other options at quarterback but if Cassel does not play well they will have to see what someone else can do. With Todd Haley gone Matt has to prove himself to the new coach and earn back his starting quarterback status. I predict that Cassel will finish the season as the starter because the Chiefs do not have many other better options.

Buffalo Bills– Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan has played well at the beginning of last season but really trailed off. Some could be blamed on the injuries, especially to Fred Jackson but with the losing record that the Bills have had I do not see them waiting for Ryan to straighten things out. I will be honest though the only reason he made my list is because one. They are the Bills and the coach has immense pressure on him since they have such a losing history lately and two. The Bills signed former first round pick quarterback Vince Young. The Bills were so happy he played well last season that they paid him as if he is the second coming of Jim Kelly. So tells me that they are desperate and should be but I do not think Ryan is the answer, neither is Young but Vince will benefit from a team that is still searching for an answer. I predict that Vince Young will see some time as the starter for the Bills this season.

New York Jets- Mark Sanchez
This just seems like a “duh” to me, like me asking out Jessica Biel, we all know what is going to happen. However, it is still worth mentioning because Mark did this to himself. The locker room is divided and the leaders need to step in but Mark does not seem to be the one. Already Tim Tebow, whom the Jets acquired via trade with the Denver Broncos, made an impact as a leader and even played better than Mark in the games they faced each other. Rex Ryan is a good coach and he is on the hot seat I believe so he will not let Mark continue to not develop. If he does not see Sanchez getting better, he will give Tim Tebow a chance because he is not with the Jets to make friends, he is there to win and give his team the best chance to do so. Sanchez needs to starting developing and showing that he can be better than he was. I predict that Mark Sanchez will remain the starter for the whole season, unless injured. Although, a debate could start when the Jets go on a cold streak.

Worth mentioning? Cleveland Browns- Colt McCoy. He does not have much talent around him so is it his fault? However, Brandon Weeden is already taking first team snaps so McCoy might not be on the hot seat after all, because he is not the starter anymore.

Why no Alex Smith? Well because I do believe that if he does well the 49ers will be happy but they will not be surprised if he does not. Alex was the best option they had since he did so well in Harbaugh’s new system and if he continues to develop it is a bonus, if not is anyone surprised? I, for one, am hoping that he does well again this season.

Overall- Tony Romo has the most to prove out of all of these quarterbacks, with Mark Sanchez in second. The Dallas Cowboys have a storied history and Jerry Jones wants to win so with those combined make Tony the one with the most pressure on him.

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One statement spelling out past and future draft strategies by Belichick

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England P...

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the preseason game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on August 28, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was going through ESPN and saw the Patriots Mailbag with Mike Reiss and something caught my attention with one of his answers. The question was about Belichick and trading up for an impact player.

“It sort of ties in to Belichick’s thoughts as relayed in Michael Holley’s “War Room” book about the Falcons trading up to No. 6 to draft receiver Julio Jones in 2011. Belichick didn’t endorse the move because he felt the difference between Jones and Jonathan Baldwin (a later first-round pick) wasn’t worth all it would take to move up.”

Now I can see what Belichick was talking about and sort of agree no doubt about it but I might also see where some of the Patriots drafts woes have stemmed from. Now both Julio Jones and Jonathan Baldwin were first round picks and both saw some significant time on the field but there were some clear differences in performance.

Jonathan Baldwin played 11 games, had 21 receptions for 254 yards and one touchdown. A decent season for a rookie wide receiver I must say.

Julio Jones played in 13 games, had 54 receptions for 959 yards and eight touchdowns. That is a great season for a rookie wide receiver.

While the Falcons did give up a lot to get Jones, I think it paid off in the end. As of right now I think the difference between the two is upside and other little things. Julio Jones, I believe, has a higher ceiling and has more upside than Baldwin has. Baldwin is no doubt talented, maybe as talented as Jones but I don’t think he has as high a ceiling as Jones honestly. Now the argument can be made that there were two completely different quarterbacks throwing to them. One is Matt Cassel, who is a slightly above average quarterback who benefited from backing up the great Tom Brady. Matt Ryan however is a first round pick who came to the Atlanta Falcons after they fell from grace because of the whole Michael Vick situation. Therefore, you would be right to make that connection and bring that up but either man could have ended up on the other team and I will argue that the results could be the same. Jones would still out perform Baldwin, even with Cassel as his quarterback.

Therefore, Belichick is right, sort of, and that giving up all of that might not have been worth it but comparing the two, right now it seems that the Falcons won. Would the Falcons, if they kept all the picks they had, and chose Baldwin and filled some other spots they really needed like defensive line, secondary and getting someone to eventually replace John Abraham, have made it to the playoffs? Maybe, maybe not but drafting Julio Jones did not hinder that at all, they still made it… granted they lost but they made it.

So is that why Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Crable, Chad Jackson, Laurence Maroney, Tyrone McKenzie and some others haven’t worked out and why Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace are currently not working out? Did he see that they had just as much talent as someone else in the draft but that they had a little less of an upside? While a good strategy by the mastermind Bill Belichick sometimes you have to take that “higher upside” talent to be surrounded by the others. Therefore, you have some adequate young talent surrounding one or two superstars and now you have a team.

However, hey, who am I? Just a fan, someone who watches the games and has an opinion on things. I am obviously not a part of the NFL or any station that follows them, but this is just my opinion and what I see.

I will say that in the last few drafts he has made some key hits with Brandon Spikes, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourt (well, judge is still out with his horrible season last season but for now I’ll count him), and Zoltan Mesko. Judge is still out on the 2011 NFL draft class but so far some hits seem to be Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon and who knows how Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley and Ryan Mallett turn out but right now, they seem to be a part of the Patriots’ future. Ras-I Dowling is a question mark for me because of his past with injuries and the fact that he ended up on Injured Reserve last season. Before going on IR, he was doing okay but you were, well I was, just waiting for him to end up on that list and he did.

Although, some key misses at least from 2011 was Brooks Reed who went to the Houston Texans and when Mario Williams went down him, Conner Barwin and J.J. Watt made it not so bad that they lost Williams to the Buffalo Bills this past off-season. Another I think was Torrey Smith WR who went to the Baltimore Ravens. I am not going to rehash all of the other misses from the other years because quite honestly, they have been talked about repeatedly and we all need to forget about them. I think it just seems that the Patriots miss more because Belichick piles up so many picks. I still think Brooks Reed and Torrey Smith were misses in time they’ll be in the same category as the others… under a file that just says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

In my opinion in this 2012 NFL draft that is a little over a month away Bill has to be aggressive, or at least stand pat with his picks and not trade down. Bill, Nick and the powers that be will have the master plan and do what is best for the team but with Tom Brady getting older and his seasons numbered, I think it’s more important than ever to snag a playmaker or two sooner rather than later. However, with what he said I see him continuing to trade down unless he sees an incredible talent on the board that is a once in a lifetime type of talent.

With whatever criticism we all have of coach and General Manager Bill Belichick it comes with an understanding that he is one of the best in the game. He has made questionable moves but we’re lucky to have someone who can win constantly and run the office side of things for as long as he has and like I said still have an “elite” team. At least we don’t have a revolving door at coach and G.M. like some other teams in the NFL. Of course, you could say that Tom Brady is the person who makes sure the Patriots keep winning but Belichick is the one who brings the talent in. Brady can’t do it by himself… don’t believe me? Well 2006 seems to point that way and if they had better talent at that time, they would have won it all instead of the Colts.

It was an interesting mailbag check it out:

ESPN Patriots Mailbag with Mike Reiss