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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How do I rate the NFL QB’s?

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

Image via Wikipedia

Quarterbacks leveling off

Joe Flacco– How come, with some weapons that he had and has including the running game and the élite defense they have, is this team not elite? I still think Flacco has some potential but could very well head down the “slighty above average QB” path as well. Let’s just say this, I know they have Anquan Boldin but sometimes I forget, and he is a great talent. You put him on most other teams and his name would be tattooed on other teams Gameplans and NFL Network broadcasts. He has had some good games since I began this but I still feel he is leveling off.

Mark Sanchez- Starting to see that he is a game manager and not a game changer and with the weapons he has around him that is not what the Jets need but it is efficient and will win you some games, even some key ones… just maybe not the big one.

Philip Rivers- If he has the same weapons that some other QB’s have/had then he could go back to being on the rise. He doesn’t have much help with Gates and Matthews injury problems and one real receiver. You take away the original trade and put him in Mannings spot I think he’d be back to being on the rise if not élite and a few rings.

Eli Manning- Has a good group around him, young and talented and is becoming, somehow, prone to turn the ball over. He is good enough I think to get them to the playoffs most of the years he is starting but winning another Superbowl? I don’t know, if he turns his habits around and stops turning it over then yes and he could off higher on this list as well.

Jason Campbell- He lives on the this list and I think that this is what Sanchez will be. Good enough as a starting quarterback but don’t expect him to win you a Superbowl.

Matt Cassel– Chiefs are still young and have some decent pieces but Cassel is definitely not surrounded with the same amount of talent that he was when he stood in for Brady the season Tom was out. What would he be with established targets and the same running game he had with Weis?

Matt Hasselbeck- He is getting older and he was always more of an above average QB anyway. I never felt that he was going to win you a Super Bowl, however he did get you to one.

Rex Grossman- He is just too inconsistent and all over the place from week to week. It’s why he didn’t work out in Chicago, he did do good enough to get them to the Super Bowl but the real Rex showed up and they lost.

Charlie Whitehurst- I’m still not sure what he can do really. He was a back up for Rivers and Seattle traded for him and it was a good move for maybe they saw as the QB of the future but now he is already on the bench waiting for his moment behind Tavaras Jackson? That’s not a good sign.

Still rising, some barely not counting rookies

Matt Ryan- I still think that the only targets he has is White, Tony, and now Julio Jones and they definitely are better in this area than last season but his consistency and lack of wins on the road hold him down a little. Still progressing though and making some key plays and is starting to get Brady/Manning like at the line. Falcons however needs a defense to help him out a bit. He can manage the game, keep from turning it over and put points on the board but if the defense can’t stop anyone, you’re in trouble.

Matt Schaub– He is not surrounded by much but still seems to make the best of it. Johnson, the élite WR is his key and almost only target. Schaub could still get you to “the game” if he had some other talents around him. Tight ends seem good, Tate and Foster seem are  headed that way thus far so we’ll see. I think they are just too reliant on the monster known as Andre Johnson. I think you need another dynamic WR to help out Schaub and also help the passing game. It seems that if you take away Johnson, double him and make him a non-factor than you beat them, not good.

Ryan Fitzpatrick- He is making some no name receivers look good and that is what a QB should do. If he continues this the rest of this season and into the next who knows what ceiling he has, could be a hidden gem or just a fluke.

Sam Bradford- Doesn’t have a lot around him, or really anything besides Stephen Jackson. He has done well with what he has, the only real good target I believe has been Amendola. They get some others around him and Jackson stays healthy and he could be the next elite QB in the NFL that could bring the Rams back to the promise land.

Matthew Stafford- A few shoulder issues has me instantly thinking of Chad Pennington but Stafford if he can stay away from the IR has a higher ceiling especially with the talent around him.

Colt McCoy– The game that really opened up some eyes in the NFL was the game against the Patriots at least in my opinion. He has some decent pieces around him but it could be better I think. Get an elite WR and let Hillis continue to improve and now you have a great QB.

Michael Vick- Yes he is on this list and not the elite list. I must admit he is probably very close but playoff wins and a trip to the superbowl hold him back for me. He is in between great and elite and it is up to him to get to that coveted position. He has the tools to become a unique quarterback and the blueprint for what a scrambling quarterback is suppose to be, minus the jail time.

Josh Freeman- An up and comer in this league and can become the next Donovan McNabb if he keeps up the pace and the Bucs plays their cards right. The team has some young pieces at each position and has revamped the defense so we will see where they go from here. Blount is also a nice surprise, especially since they picked him up as most likely a back up and now he has turned into a good running back, which helps Freeman.

Kevin Kolb– Disappointing season thus far for Kolb but he is still on this list, barely but he still remains. I do believe that he is still getting down this system due to coming to the team late and I think when he does have it completely down, he’ll be very good but that is up to him.

Tim Tebow- Is only on the rising list cause he is not declining and not leveling off. This could very well go badly but not because of him, not completely anyway. The Broncos have no running game really and traded Brandon Lloyd the current number 1 receiver. Decker, Royal, Thomas and others are promising at WR but are still young and mostly unproven. Eddie Royal looked to have promise and was probably one of the main reasons why McDaniels felt comfortable enough trading Marshall, I bet drinking helped as well JUST KIDDING but anyway Royal did not come through after the trading of Brandon Marshall. What is with Denver and trading the only developed WR they have? Note to others on the depth chart, want off a losing team? Just become a known commodity and a viable receiver and you’ll be traded. Again, I’m kidding, trading Lloyd makes sense to me honestly and gives the young guys a chance to develop.

Alex Smith- Surprising that he is on this list cause of all of his earlier seasons but in Harboughs system he is shining which is to the 49ers benefit. He is becoming a good game manager and now it is up to him to keep it up and for now it is his job to lose.

Elite

Tom Brady
Peyton Manning
Drew Brees
Ben Roesthlisberger
Aaron Rodgers

Declining

Tony Romo– Seems to collapse in crunch time where even average QB’s are decent in. He plays paranoid, rushed and makes bad decisions during these times. His WR talent doesn’t help but QB’s, especially elite ones, are supposed to make no names look good. Anyone heard of Reche Caldwell before or after his season with the Patriots? No, but Brady made him look good. You have to think that if the Cowboys either don’t get into the playoffs or lose in the first round, are the Cowboys going to try to replace Tony? It’s not a crazy thought, and that’s why Romo is here.

Tavaris Jackson- Probably shouldn’t be starting anyway but his play with the Vikings pre-Favre was okay and had some potential but when showed what an elite QB could do with the same offense you saw why Vikings let him walk to Seattle. I think that he is just a bridge until Carroll can find his starter, maybe his name starts with a C? Pete is a smart coach I think, he’ll find his man, but I don’t think either are on this roster.

Jay Cutler- His lack of time, lack of talent surrounding him at all spots except RB could be the reason he is on this list. His whining in Denver didn’t help his reputation at all and neither did the injury during the playoffs last season. Give him some time and an elite receiver or two and maybe he jumps up to leveling off. I wonder what the Bears see in some of the WR’s they have, because I sure don’t see what they do. You give any QB time and some good receivers around him and he’ll give a chance to win, example Curtis Painter and the Colts. Orton did not do as bad as Cutler with the Bears, it’s almost as if both of these guys were better off where they were.

Carson Palmer- I just think that his issues with the Bengals and the owner Brown has made him look bad, even if he is right by doing it. He should know his owner is stubborn and honestly should just play. Now he has lost leverage since Dalton is playing well and the team is winning so even if he came back, he’d be #2 or 3 on the depth chart. Could also be ego driven and Palmer could be in the wrong. He has recently traded to the Raiders so hold your hats everyone, we’ll see if he goes up or down on the list.

David Garrard- Inconsistent and might be a decent game manager but I think he hit his ceiling already and is only the down side already, then again maybe Jacksonville didn’t give him the pieces to win with, but, I don’t see that as true. They haven’t had a good QB since Brunell and now are showing they are attracted to the same type of QB, was expecting them to go after Vince Young in the off-season. Gabbert is kind of the same type, but he is rookie, hard to judge him.

Kyle Orton- Can make the throws, put up the stat numbers but can’t seem to put points on the board. You can throw for 400 yards a game but if you end up with just 7 points by the end of the 4th, you did something wrong. Even in Josh McDaniels offense, which made Cassel look like Brady, he couldn’t stay consistent in the win column.

Donovan McNabb- At one time was one of the elite QB’s in the game and I do think that the Eagles squandered his prime years away with low quality talent at the WR position but you could see that after drafting Jackson and Maclin that McNabb already started to level off and now he has lost a step. Just got to wonder why Vikings didn’t resign Sidney Rice and give McNabb a better chance to go back in time but with Ponder waiting behind him he might just be a teacher/bridge.

Chad Henne- Came in with question marks this season and before his injury he was on the verge of getting sent to the bench, especially since his coach is most likely on the hot seat and now his season is over cause of a shoulder injury. Something that Dolphins fans are all too familiar with when talking about quarterbacks. So when next season starts where will Henne be? Miami? Or somewhere else either starting or backup? I guess his time is over starting in Miami unless he comes out of the gate next season during off-season and exhibition games and plays like the quarterback they thought they were getting.

Regardless of my opinion of these quarterbacks my analysis won’t change after just a game or two. It would have to take a few games playing at the same compete level and getting better with each game. At the beginning of the season, for example, I would bet that Ryan Fitzpatrick would have been on my declining or leveling off section but to my surprise he is getting better and now a part of the on the rise section after 3-4 games with great performances.

Next  elite QB’s?

So who is the next class since Brady and Manning are getting older. Who will step in and join that class?
Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, maybe Philip Rivers.

Surprising move at Quarterback?

Cutler/Romo traded or benched. I would see Romo traded if Dallas felt he was not there man going forward just cause of his contract, that kind of money can’t just be sitting on your bench. Cutler, who in Denver was a borderline Franchise QB, most actually called him that, has not been able to duplicate such a label with the Bears and if he doesn’t improve they might just move on. I see them trying to trade Cutler if they don’t see him in their future plans but with so many teams with quality starting QB’s I’m not sure they’d find someone able to bite. It depends where Luck goes and what happens with other teams with question marks at QB.

Teams with QB issues

Miami Dolphins
Seattle Seahawks
San Fransisco 49ers- depending on how Smith develops this season
Denver Broncos- Just because the front office doesn’t believe in Tebow.

I think that some other teams are comfortable with who they have going forward, but might not have the Franchise Quarterback they want and one of two others have Quarterbacks who are doing very well but can they keep progressing? I will also mention that I wrote this list after Week 5 in the NFL and I have made a few changes on my thoughts and I will update them again soon. Any of the names on this list can go up or down depending on performance.