With Brett Favre once again being the storyline of the offseason, as well as evident flirtations between himself and the Minnesota Vikings, it brings up an interesting topic. The thought is that if he were to go to Minnesota, he would instantly upgrade their weakest and most important position by giving them a solid veteran with a proven track record.
With franchise QB's at a premium, let us take a look around the league to see just how many of them are out there, and which teams will trot out onto the field every Sunday in spite of who goes under Center.
Denver Broncos: The Jay Cutler soap opera has left them with a hole at the position with the Pro-Bowl QB crying and whining his way to Chicago. But Josh McDaniels at least seems to be high on Kyle Orton on the surface, which should help Orton’s confidence a bit. However, neither Orton nor backup Chris Simms will scare any opponents this season.
Kansas City Chiefs: A blockbuster trade for a guy who has started 15 games in the last 8 years seems like a risky move, but Scott Pioli knows what he is doing and Cassell is a natural leader with a good background. The trade of Tony Gonzalez will hurt Kansas City’s passing game, but at least they have a solid game manager in Cassell, but if he goes down, the Chiefs are in BIG trouble.
Oakland Raiders: Entering his second season as a full-time starter, JaMarcus Russell needs to validate Al Davis’ decision to make him the #1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He showed some promise in Tom Cable’s run-heavy offense at the end of last season, but consistency and decision-making are the biggest question marks with his skill set. Journeyman veteran Jeff Garcia has shown to be a great mentor so far in Oakland, and his ability to push Russell should show the league what Oakland really has at the QB position.
San Diego Chargers: Phillip Rivers has grown into the Quarterback position in San Diego with little obstacles, and he is clearly the cream of the crop in terms of AFC West QB’s. With key offensive pieces Gates and Tomlinson fading a bit, it will be up to Rivers to lead this offense for many years to come. He will be tested more now than ever, but he looks to be up to the task.
Arizona Cardinals: With Kurt Warner enjoying yet another career resurgence in a different uniform, the Cardinals are in a “win now” situation coming off the heels of a very surprising Super Bowl appearance. With Warner likely to retire within the next year or two, can Matt Leinart buckle down and show he can lead this team into the future? It hasn’t looked overly promising now, but Leinart will have some very nice offensive weapons at his disposal if and when he is able to take the reins.
San Francisco 49ers: Neither QB in the “open competition” has been enthusiastically endorsed by the organization, which is a bad sign for them. Shaun Hill will likely be the starter come Week 1, but if he struggles, then Alex Smith will likely receive his final shot both with the organization, and with the league. Damon Huard is just there to hold a clipboard and teach the other guys what he can, but the QB position is a big question mark going forward for this organization.
Seattle Seahawks: Surprisingly confident in their QB position on draft day, it is of note that Seattle didn’t take Sanchez as widely believed. Coming off numerous nagging back injuries, Hasselbeck might not have too much left in him, and Seneca Wallace is not a long-term answer. New coach Jim Mora has his work cut out for him, and may be hoping for one of Bradford/Tebow/McCoy to be available come next year’s draft.
St. Louis Rams: With a new coaching regime and the plummeting stock of Marc Bulger, it’s a wonder the team didn’t attempt to do more to improve the position. With concussions and injuries an issue for Bulger in recent years, newly-signed backup Kyle Boller may get to do a lot more playing and a lot less clipboard holding, which isn’t a very promising sign. Being in the same position as Seattle at the position, it will be interesting to see how new coach Steve Spagnuolo addresses the position after this season.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills made arguably the most surprising move of the offseason, by snatching up diva castoff WR Terrell Owens, and giving QB Trent Edwards an interesting new target. However, if things go sour up in Buffalo, expect some more fireworks from Owens, and his not-so-subtle calls for backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to start up. Should be an interesting year in Buffalo, but Edwards is a smart kid with plenty of offensive firepower to work with.
Miami Dolphins: Chad Pennington had a storybook resurgence in 2008-2009, but only has a year left on his current contract and doesn’t appear to fit-in with the Dolphins’ plans after this season. Expect Chad Henne to be worked into the lineup as the season progresses, but if he doesn’t show promise, the Dolphins will be in the market for a franchise-type QB a year from now.
New England Patriots: Not even a question until last season, but when healthy, Tom Brady is arguably the best QB on the league’s best team. The Patriots must feel very confident in his recovery from major knee surgery to ship Matt Cassell to Kansas City, and with the offensive weapons Brady has to work with, it should be a fairly easy transition back into the game. With seldom-used backups Kevin O’Connell and Matt Gutierrez the only other options on the roster, the Patriots seem to be their usual confident selves. And with a (hopefully) healthy Tom Brady under center, they have every right to be.
New York Jets: A high/risk high reward move to help make the team and the fans forget about the failed Brett Favre experiment from a year ago, the Jets made a big splash by trading up in the draft to take Mark Sanchez. He has had some very solid mini-camp practices and has a good head on his shoulders, but how will he take the pressure of the New York media and the fans while being thrown into the fire right away? Kellen Clemens thinks he’s the man, but with GM Mike Tannenbaum’s job on the line, Sanchez will have his work cut out for him.
Dallas Cowboys: The casual fan would think that with T.O. gone, Tony Romo will finally be able to play stress and worry-free. But losing the team’s biggest playmaker is going to hurt the team, there’s no doubt about that. Everyone knows TE Jason Whitten can make plays, but can Roy Williams step in and be a legitimate #1 WR for these Cowboys? With the most pressure in the league on his shoulders, another subpar season and no playoffs in Dallas can be Romo’s swan song wearing the Star. Otherwise, the team will have to rely on journeyman veteran Jon Kitna to pick this team up, and that’s rarely a good sign.
New York Giants: Eli Manning has really only put together one half of a truly productive NFL regular season, and won a Super Bowl. His biggest weapon shot himself off of the team and maybe out of the league, so Eli will really have his newly found leadership skills put to the test with a flock of young new Wide Receivers. And that O-line better make sure he stays upright, because backup David Carr surely won’t.
Philadelphia Eagles: The drama has lived in Philly as long as Donovan has been their QB. A connection? Most definitely. With everything on the line for the best QB to not have a Super Bowl ring, McNabb and Andy Reid have one last shot at it all this season, otherwise it will be time to take the training wheels off of Kevin Kolb.
Washington Redskins: With Jason Campbell being brought up just as often as Jay Cutler has this offseason, it will be a wonder if Campbell can and will want to produce in Washington after the team failed to “upgrade” the position. One slip-up and it could be Todd Collins time. Or Colt Brennan Time. Or Chase Daniel time. See where the problem is?