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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Can Tim Tebow fix the New York Jets’ locker room?

Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos Amer...

Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos American football team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of last season it was one of the constant things that you heard. Back and forth from the Jets’ players and them talking trash about opponents and even other teammates. Whether it was Holmes quitting on the team, Sanchez calling his team gutless, Holmes calling out Sanchez and the OL and it was just an NFL soap opera. I mean if Mark Sanchez ended up being related to Rex Ryan it would have been soap opera gold, goodbye HBO hello CBS. Therefore, you have to wonder what the Jets’ angle with Tebow was. Competition for Sanchez? Converting to a hybrid type of player? An attempt to fix and weed out the poison in the locker room? I am leaning towards all of the above because by nature, we humans are creatures of habit and we often mimic each other. Good deeds, good people, habits, personalities and other things can leak out on each other and with the Jets; it was in the negative side of the tracks the last few years. Trading for Tim Tebow will help alter that path, change that state in the locker room and I think provide a real role model and potential true leader of the locker room.

Antonio Cromartie and other Jets can say whatever they want on this subject but the fact is they brought this upon themselves by not being a team. The negative attitudes and egos in that locker room have also changed the path of Mark Sanchez and the path he was once on. From here on out who knows what he will turn into but it will be a product of that locker room and atmosphere. Ladainian Tomlinson walked away from the Jets saying it was the worst locker room he had been in, and I think LT did attempt to change the ways of the room but the dark “aura” that surrounds the team is overwhelming.

Whatever flaws Tebow has as a QB I think the biggest impact he will have on this team is off the field. However, LT had the same heart of gold and he could not change a thing. I think maybe it is time for Rex Ryan to step in and change this culture just as Belichick did with Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs and the other negative influences they had. I give Rex Ryan credit in that situation as well, believe it or not, because he did not sign “AD” after the Patriots released him, even though he had a past with him. Rex I think identified that even though Thomas might have had some talent at one point, his negative influence on the locker room would not be worth it.

Bringing in Tebow will also be a football move, obviously, and Tony Sporano new Jets Offensive Coordinator, will figure out how to use Tebow whether it be as a QB, HB, FB, TE or WR or all of them. It will put some pressure on both Sanchez and Tebow, which could make them play better. As of right now I believe Mark Sanchez is the starter and it would take a lot for Tebow to take over but the fact that the Jets could has the potential to push Mark to play up to his potential and be a better QB. Mark Brunell did a good job as a back up QB but I do not think that Sanchez ever thought that Brunell was ever going to be a threat to take over his job so never felt the need to improve. His ego simply told him that he was the best QB on the team, which he was, but he owed it to the team to improve and be the guy and compete with the other young QB’s for the title of the next elite QB and he did not. Will this signing make the Jets a super bowl contender? No, I do not think it does but it could make them better then last year but they need more positive influences in that locker room to help guide Sanchez and other young players in the right direction.

It would benefit Tebow if he played some other positions and shows that he can be a team player and not so stubborn. He has said in the past that he wanted to be a QB but he would really benefit from changing that stance. He can still come out and say, “I still see myself as a QB but right now I’m doing what is best for the team and winning games.” If he can somehow master the hybrid position, I think he could really change the league in the future. Players like him, Brad Smith, Aaron Hernandez and some others will not be limited to just one position but could move around and not be seen as odd or a trick play but a smart play by a versatile athlete and a smart coach. Is Tim Tebow ever going to be an NFL QB? I don’t think so, at least not the level of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but maybe he could be a game manager and end up leading a team to the super bowl but he REALLY needs to work on reading defenses, accuracy and playing from the pocket. If he does not then he will end up just a bust, which I think he is not. He would be a better HB/FB or TE then a QB and if a team wants to throw in a wildcat play or an option play with him then that would be smart. The Jets could also benefit from picking up a real speedy running back to play behind Shonn Greene in those situations.

I am a Patriots fan all the way and I love that the Jets did not win the division last season but I also like a competitive division. I think Rex Ryan is a good coach and the players are doing an injustice to him by being so egotistical and selfish. The Trail Blazers players got a good coach fired and it was their own fault and the Jets can make a stand to be better players, better people and be more positive. With that being said, I hope they do not ever win a Super Bowl, ha, just kidding. If they do then good for them and hopefully, it means that all of the heads in the locker room are on straight. Bottomline is I do not think that Tim Tebow will fix the New York Jets‘ locker room on his own but the TRUE leaders of the team need to STEP UP and make the others listen and start a positive culture on this team because Rex Ryan is a good coach and deserves better.

**cough** Go Pats!! **cough**

Patriots off-season grades and thoughts part two

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper

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

TE- Daniel Fells A good move for the Patriots because it adds some depth behind Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It will also allow Hernandez to play in the WR position more, as he did last season and still have the option to have a 2 other TE’s on the field to help block or run a pattern or both. Grade: B

WR- Donte Stallworth It’s been about 4 seasons since Stallworth has played in a Patriots uniform and while he was good while he was here back in 2007, what does he have left? This gives the Patriots some insurance if and when Gonzalez gets hurt and could be the nail in the Ocho experiment. Although since leaving, the Patriots Stallworth has not exactly been lighting up the stat sheet. His best season since leaving was last season with 11 games played, 22 receptions, 309 yards and 2 touchdowns, that’s not much of an upgrade over what Chad Johnson but I still like the move. You know that Donte knows the system, so adjusting will not be a problem for him. The only thing I don’t like about this move is that it most likely pushes Deion Branch out of the picture, even if they did trade or release Chad. Grade: B

DB- Marquice Cole- Who? This is a depth move and a player who will play on special teams mainly. Not the move I wanted to see but at least they are improving the depth, something that they needed to do. Hopefully they don’t forget that they need playmakers not just roster fillers. Grade: D

OL- Robert Gallery- Robert, who played for Seattle last season and was a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders back in 2004, is a good depth signing. He was pretty healthy for both Oakland and Seattle, except towards the end of last season where he missed 4 games because of injury. Belichick apparently had some interest in him during that 2004 draft and claimed if he had the first overall pick he would have taken Gallery (he was selected 2nd overall) He could jump in and start depending on what happens with Brian Waters and Matt Light who have been toying with the idea of retirement and also could step in if someone gets injured. Definitely like this signing. Grade: A

Visit of DL Luis Castillo- This tells me that Bill is not done on defense and has a plan in mind and is just playing his game of chess. He is just 28 years old but is coming off an injury. He, however, is not a pass rushing type of player either with just 2.5 sacks in 2010 and 2 in 2009. Therefore, I can see why they put him in and tried to see what he had, he can add to the depth of the DL but is not a game changer in my opinion. Some names are still available: Mark Anderson, Andre Carter, Shaun Rogers, Matt Roth, Aaron Smith, and Gerard Warren to name a few.

Jets sign LaRon Landry This is a blessing in disguise because Landry has a history with injuries for some reason (look up his recent photo and you’ll see why this is actually sarcasm). If he does well for the Jets, hey cool, but I’d rather give a chance and time to someone who can stay on it. Some interesting names still available on the market: OJ Atogwe, Melvin Bullitt, Bob Sanders, Jim Leonhard, Brian Dawkins, and Jarrad Page just to name a few.

Trade Rumors of Tim Tebow to the Patriots- While the Patriots were interested in Tim Tebow during the 2010 NFL Draft a lot has happened since then. Mainly, Brian Hoyer has got better and we drafted Ryan Mallett so I don’t know where he would fit. The idea though is intriguing and Josh McDaniels, who did draft him, is on the team and can share the ideas he had for using Tebow with Belichick. However if he came here he would have to change positions, to something like TE/RB/FB hybrid who can occasionally take a direct snap, or run a wild cat type offense. You can do many things with Tebow on this team but he would have to agree to be something other than a QB, even if you have to sell it to him that it’s just for now. You can have Tebow in the backfield with Brady and Woodhead, in the shotgun formation and Tebow can take the direct snap, Brady does his typical fake and then the Pats can run some form of the option-offense. Tebow can either throw it, run it, or hand it off to Danny but of course that’d be only one play but Tebow I think can fit as that TE/RB/FB type of hybrid. So many options, but I honestly don’t see him on this team because I don’t know if he’s ready to put his “dream” of being a QB aside, especially since Tom Brady is the main man and you don’t want to take the ball out of his hands. Message to Tim Tebow- don’t be stubborn, if Bill Belichick a Hall of Fame bound head coach wants you and asks you if you want to change positions… you change positions man. Also, just a fun fact, the Broncos need some WR help and the Patriots have an abundance of them and one in particular could be odd man out… sooo maybe you offer Chad Johnson and a pick to Denver for Tebow. I think that Chad has plenty left in him even though he is 34 and if he can’t prove it to New England fans on the Patriots then we will on another team… they I could be wrong but I just don’t see it that way. Do I see Tebow in a Patriots uniform? No.

The Patriots could also look at the draft to upgrade the pass rusher position but I am not going to hold my breath. Free Agency is not over so we’ll see what the Patriots do with the time they put into it but safety is not deep in this drafting according to some analysts so the only key I think would be getting some sort of impact DB. Belichick has done a good job this off-season focusing in on needs but getting mid-range players who aren’t horrible options. We’ll see what happens, so far it’s been pretty decent.

UPDATE: Dolphins continue to go in the opposite direction by planning to cut starting Safety Yeremiah Bell. Um, sure, Ireland is nuts I think… this is like Timberwolves and Kahn… entertaining. I mean they went from maybe one, two or three pieces away to rebuilding… already.

Tim Tebow is the next Tom Brady?!

Tim Tebow

Image via Wikipedia

Tim Tebow, drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round of the 2010 NFL draft by Josh McDaniels. I think the one thing I took from that move by McDaniels is his thoughts about whether Orton can run his offense. Is Tebow, who is now starting over Orton when Fox saw what Josh did, the next Tom Brady? Please! Absolutely not. He does not have the accuracy nor the consistency or a team that will back him if he has a bad performance. I think that Tebow has some potential to become a decent Quarterback in the NFL but I’m not sure he is a Franchise Quarterback. If you use smoke and mirrors and have shorter routes by the wide receivers and yeah that hurts them but Tebow is a young Quarterback who has some issues throwing the deep ball. He can scramble, energize the offense, is becoming known as a 4th quarter Quarterback, throw the short routes and maybe some medium ones and from what I have seen will protect the ball. Look at what the 49ers are doing with Alex Smith. Instead of trying to mold him into someone he just simply is not, they decided to use what skills he possesses to their advantage and simplified the offense and are now winning.

What will happen to Tebow next season? This is all based on what he does this season and how much time Denver gives him. If they have passed on Kyle Orton and have determined that Kyle is not the future for them then I see them just going with Tebow for the rest of the season cause you spent a 1st rounder on the kid so you should just see what he can do. Maybe if you see that he can’t play Quarterback full-time then you move him to a different position and use Tim as a wildcat type QB. I don’t read much into what ESPN and others have said and I am waiting to see what he does on the field and if he progresses from week to week simply because they have been wrong before.

Tim Tebow will not be the next Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana or Steve Young. I see him, if he can get his accuracy to at least a respectable level, reading the defense better and making adjustments, being a Jason Campbell, Chad Pennington, Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer, Kordell Stewart. Which is a Quarterback who can run your team, can win you games and even get you to the playoffs but probably won’t get you a ring and needs a very good defense. Anything can happen in the NFL however and who knows who Tebow will eventually become… maybe an above average QB, maybe a Game Managing QB, maybe a bust, maybe a Tight End or Wide Receiver. The Broncos don’t have anything to lose by playing him for the rest of the season cause I didn’t think they’d make the playoffs anyway and figured that Kyle was not in the plans for Fox or Elway.

 

Bottom line is that Tim Tebow has a lot to learn in order to become a viable NFL Quarterback and I do think that most of that comes with more playing time but I do not see him being elite nor will his throwing motion completely change. He might be best suited to switch his position or becoming a hybrid player. That is one thing that no player has perfected which names like Kordell Stewart, Brad Smith and some others have tried but no one has made it as dangerous as Tebow could.