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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Where do the New England Patriots go from here?

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper (Photo credit: Axel.Foley)

After losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl you have to think, where do they go from here? Well it was obvious, to me anyway, that the Patriots have some holes that really need to be filled if they want to win another Super Bowl ring. The score of the game cannot blind them, yes, if they scored a touchdown then they would have won and ESPN and other outlets would be swamped with comparisons of Tom Brady and Joe Montana, and we would be trying to find a channel that was not talking about it and most likely failing. However, the Patriots defense could not stop the Giants on that last drive and even on other drives made some crucial mistakes and they lacked playmakers on that defense. The Giants had 114 yards rushing and 282 through the air and they won the time of possession battle. So where do the Patriots go from here?

So out of all of the Patriots free agents, a list can be found here, who comes back? Wes Welker I believe is a given, Deion Branch, Dan Connolly, Matthew Slater, I do believe will all be back. Who is on the fence? Andre Carter, Mark Anderson and BenJarvus Green Ellis– all had decent seasons and could be offered contracts that the Patriots don’t want to match or beat. Especially with Green Ellis who hasn’t fumbled yet, what team wouldn’t want that and by letting him go you make a commitment to the two young running backs that you drafted last season, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, they deserve to play more than they did last season and bringing back Green Ellis will just stunt any production I believe. The top priority is obviously Wes Welker but Matthew Slater is also on top of that list as well and as for Branch, well if he is willing to take a reduced role then we should sign him.

So what positions should be looked at in free agency? They need a pass rusher we all noticed the impact Andre Carter had so to have that consistently and from both sides would really make a difference. Defensive backs- they need better corners and safety. Bringing some impact defensive backs can really turn around a defense and a game. I’m not sure any team respects our corners and safeties. They also need an explosive Wide Receiver, only one who is strictly a deep threat but just an explosive WR that will get teams to respect the talent and notice he can be a deep threat. Even with the pending retirement of Brian Waters, I believe the Patriots are okay with the offensive line but grabbing a player or two in free agency or the draft would not hurt.

As much as we say it’s an offensive league, a defense still wins championships. Since 2004, every team who won a Super Bowl had at least a good defense, except the Indianapolis Colts but they were against the Chicago Bears who probably should not have been there. Maybe it’s not all about where you rank but more about the players you have and the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers this season I believe proved that but they shouldn’t be fooled, The Patriots deserved to be last especially when they released Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders without getting anything in return.

So who do the Patriots look at in free agency? Well this is a little tricky because they will look for talent but most likely not top talent because they will command big money. So with that being said who could be on the radar? Well you have Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne, something that former Patriots Willie McGinest pointed out. I know he’s a top WR but I have him because he played with Peyton Manning in a complicated offense, so you know he will grasp the playbook and know what is expected of him from another future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady. So what other names jump off the page? Well Defensive End Aaron Smith is one name, if healthy, can provide some energy and make an impact. Also obviously, Mario Williams would also be worth looking into but who knows if the Houston Texans will franchise tag him. Corners and safeties that could be available- Rashean Mathis, Marcus Trufant, Eric Wright, LaRon Landry, Chris Hope and Jordan Babineaux. Also some decent linebackers available, which could be on the radar as well. What should be watched is the situations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Oakland because Pittsburgh and Philadelphia want to dump salary to make room for others and Oakland is going under a change in direction, strategy and everything since Al Davis passed away and is looking to release some “bad” contracts.

Some moves might be based on how they feel about Ras-I Dowling who was a 2nd round pick and was on injured reserve, also has a past of injuries. In addition, do they cut or keep Ron Brace, Jermaine Cunningham, Myron Pryor, and Chad “Ocho” Johnson and will they move Devin McCourty permanently to safety. This is certain though, Bill Belichick will make some moves, just as he did last off-season and with a whole off-season to teach the playbooks and system it will make a difference.

Key areas to improve- Cornerback, Safety, Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Wide Receiver and Offensive Line.

Whom to target in the upcoming NFL draft? Safety Mark Barron from Alabama could drop to them since he has an injury and his time at the Scouting Combine will be limited. If he is still on the board at 20 or so, they should try to trade up and snag him. DT- Michael Brockers, DT- Dontari Poe, DE- Fletcher Cox, WR- Mohamed Sanu, OLB- Courtney Upshaw. It’s hard to predict what Bill will do in the draft but this is what I predict- Mark Barron will indeed fall to the Patriots at 27 but Bill will trade down for another second round pick and the Baltimore Ravens will pick Barron. Why? Well they will see someone else who maybe has the same skill set as Barron but with a lower ceiling and will be cheaper.

Franchise Tags can be applied- February 20th

Free Agency begins on March 13th

NFL Draft starts April 26th