Don’t Worry Carolina, You Are Not Alone

Jimmy Clausen has not had the best season in Carolina

Last night’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers pushed the Carolina Panthers one game closer to receiving the not so coveted first overall pick of the 2011 draft. The Panthers have struggled mightily this season at quarterback, trying Matt Moore and rookie Jimmy Clausen who have both been unable to secure the starting job. Although the two quarterbacks are both young and probably would benefit from some much needed experience and mentoring, the opportunity to draft a true franchise quarterback may be too good to pass up.

However, Carolina is certainly not the only team that has had to put up with quarterbacking issues this season. This year has shown us that there are a ridiculous amount of teams that could benefit from picking up a quarterback in the offseason one way or another.

By my count there are possibly twelve teams that could be making a switch behind center. There are a number of quarterbacks in the 2011 draft class who could be viable options for the large number of teams qualifying for the category of quarterback issues. The bigger names include Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and maybe even Cam Newton or Terrell Pryor could be prospective long-term options for certain teams.

Without further ado here is my ordering of the 12 teams who could be looking for a change at quarterback in the coming off-season.

12. Tennessee Titans. The public feud between Titans owner Bud Adams and head coach Jeff Fisher caused by the situation at quarterback has created a large amount of uncertainty amongst the organization and team. Last season, after the Titans 0-6 start under Kerry Collins, Bud Adams forced Fisher to institute Vince Young as quarterback and the Titans ended up finishing at 8-8 seemingly solidifying the starting position for Young. However, a second public meltdown from Vince Young making it well-known that the Fisher-Young relationship was declining fast made the quarterbacking situation a more up-front issue for the Titans. Adams’ insistence that Young start and Fisher’s insistence that Young is not a franchise quarterback is a flashing bright neon sign that the Titans QB situation needs to change altogether from the Collins-Young controversy. Despite the fact that both have proven that they can win games in the NFL, Collins’ age and Young’s immaturity likely establish that neither will lead the Titans to the promised land.

11. Denver Broncos. Even though Orton missed a game last week due to injury he is still 5th amongst quarterbacks in total passing yards this season. Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round last year and had a solid first NFL start last weekend. However, the Broncos are 3-11, have fired their head coach and may also be in need of change. Kyle Orton, like in Chicago, does not look to be the guy in Denver and who knows how Tim Tebow can perform in the NFL on a weekly basis.

10. Oakland Raiders. Another one of those QB carousels is in Oakland where anointed starter Jason Campbell has been fighting with Bruce Gradkowski for the starting job all season. I may have been wrong about Clausen, but Jason Campbell is still only playing mediocre as the Raiders are succeeding because of their vaunted running game. This team could use a legitimate quarterback because Campbell and Gradkowski sure aren’t it.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has played admirably but will it be enough to keep the starting job?

9. Buffalo Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown flashes of what the Bills need at quarterback but there is no way that the Harvard alum is the long-term answer in Buffalo. It is very possible that the Bills try to address this need, but if they are unable to Fitzpatrick can weather the storm in Buffalo for another season.

8. Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks still have veteran Matt Hasselbeck but he is clearly way past his heyday. The Seahawks have struggled tremendously on offence at times this season while flourishing in small doses. They may be the most bi-polar team in the NFL while their deficiencies are masked somewhat by the terrible NFC West. In all likelihood Charlie Whitehurst is not a true NFL starter. The Seahawks foolishly traded for him in the off-season and the jury is still out on him. With Hasselbeck possibly being gone at the end of the season and no one actually knowing how good Whitehurst can be, it would appear that the Seahawks should do something to try to address their need at quarterback.

7. Cincinnati Bengals. Even though the Bengals made the playoffs in 2009, the play of Carson Palmer was not the reason why. Coming into the 2010 season there was much promise surrounding the Bengals and thought that they could be a real contender if their star quarterback could return, at least somewhat, to his previous MVP form. Palmer has not delivered though as he has put up a quarterback rating of 78.7 and a touchdown to interception ratio that is close to even. This has caused the Bengals to currently be sitting at 3-11 on the season. Analysts have mentioned Palmer’s deteriorating arm strength as a potential cause to his fall as a quarterback and if this is the case, combined with his deteriorating play, then the Cincinnati front office needs to look elsewhere for their future.

6. Washington Redskins. I’m not sure too much needs to be said about this situation. With the new Shannahan regime in place, Donovan Mcnabb, who not too long ago signed an oddly structured contract, has already been benched twice in favour of Rex Grossman. Seriously?

5. Minnesota Vikings. Okay, Brett Favre didn’t work out, they sold a 3rd round pick for a few weeks of Randy Moss and Tavaris Jackson is injured so there is still no read on his ability to lead the Vikings into the future. Things are pretty crazy in Minny right now and I cannot believe that Jackson has any shot at being the long-term solution there. Joe Webb anyone?

Troy and Alex Smith have been less than stellar this season in San Francisco

4. San Francisco 49ers. Mike Singletary pronouncing Alex Smith as the 49ers quarterback of the future hasn’t helped the situation in San Fran as the 49ers got off to a 0-5 start and experimented with former Heisman winner Troy Smith at quarterback before reverting back and forth again between the two. The former number 1 pick has not lived up to expectations, is evidently not going to be the starter the coming years and it’s high time the 49ers give up on him and move in a different direction.

3. Carolina Panthers. The Panthers may have the worst record but they still have two young quarterbacks who have not been put in situations where most young NFL quarterback would be able to succeed. Like most 2-11 teams, quarterbacking is not the only personnel issue that Carolina needs to focus on. With that being said, a franchise quarterback wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

2. Arizona Cardinals. I was really surprised to see Matt Leinart cut at the start of the season. I realize that he has immaturity and work ethic issues, but it seems to me that they should have at least given him an opportunity to be the starter. Something didn’t stick into Leinart’s brain and maybe he wasn’t meant to be an NFL quarterback, but leaving Derek Anderson and John Skelton as your guys has proved to be disastrous. Needless to say, but the Cardinals could use some help behind center especially because of the fact that they are wasting arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

1. Miami Dolphins. I have put the Dolphins at the number 1 spot on my list largely because with better play at the QB spot they could actually be playing some meaningful games right now. At 7-7 they are very mediocre, but that has a lot to do with Chad Henne’s poor play as he has taken a couple of steps back as a player, while their inability to throw the ball consistently has caused their rushing game to suffer. The Dolphins could be a playoff contender with a legitimate quarterback and with some very good pieces in place right now I think they would be better served changing course towards a Chad Henne-less direction.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Unemployed and Desperate

Off the field Terrell Owens still shows the same swagger that he is so well-known for to NFL fans and players alike. Only a short time ago Owens was considered to be one of the best receivers in the game but his aging combined with his unpredictable personality has led teams to shy away from him.

With less than two weeks until training camp, Terrell Owens is left without a team and with no immediate offers on the table ‘Camp Owens’ are seemingly willing to take any offer given to them at this point.

So which team is going to be dumb or shrewd enough to give T.O. a chance to contribute to their organization?

The major problem with Owens at the moment is obviously not his steadily declining play. Teams have to weigh the costs and benefits of his attitude, and whether his play will make up for the somewhat cancerous presence that T.O. provides to a locker room.

Gone are the days when he was too talented for anything to matter. Terrell Owens is now more or less an ordinary player in the NFL, and it seems pointless for teams to take a chance on him when he is not going to necessarily provide a jolt to your offence week in and week out.

Owens right now is saying all the right things to get signed by a team, but no one really cares. He says that he doesn’t mind taking on a smaller role, a pay cut, and do whatever it takes to make it work.

Yeah, whatever you say bud.

First of all, are we supposed to believe that THE Terrell Owens is willing to do anything to make any situation a success?

T.O. could hardly handle not getting the ball every down during the prime of his career as the #1 receiver and now we are expected to think that he can handle being possibly as low as a #3 receiver.

Jeff Garcia isn't the only quarterback to have had his fair share of problems with T.O.

No matter how much he has liked a quarterback, there comes a point in time where he just doesn’t get along with them anymore. Whether it is Jeff Garcia, Donovan Mcnabb, or Tony Romo, it just doesn’t matter. Moreover, it must have taken every shred of will power in Terrell Owen’s body to not snap at Buffalo Bill’s quarterback’s Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

On the other hand, the ability to shut his mouth for the better part of last year could be a sign of maturity from the 36-year-old receiver.

Well…maybe not.

In all honesty though, if you take away T.O.’s personality and just look at him as a player I think that he would make a very solid #3 receiver at this point in his career. The only thing that is gone from his repertoire is that real burst that very few receivers possess. Without that burst he is no longer a #1 receiver anymore, but if he is genuine in saying that he is willing to take a smaller role, then the #3 receiver slot may not be such a bad idea.

Although, you can’t overlook the fact that T.O. is prone to dropping passes which makes him a little less ideal to be more of a possession receiver. But even Owens himself will tell you that he has dropped balls his whole career and that should never be the issue. That’s great that he is willing to admit that he has dropped passes his whole career. However, now that he is not that same big time receiver, you are not going to be as tolerant to dropped balls anymore.

Now taking all that into consideration you could probably go either way on T.O. The thing is, Owens is a proven receiver in this league, and come crunch time would you rather rely on younger, inexperienced receiver or a 36-year-old veteran?

I’d take T.O., but then again I’m a sucker for giving guys with baggage and talent a chance.

At this point in his career, it pretty much has to be the perfect fit for Owens. The kinds of situations that work out for guys like him are more likely to be the ones where a team is already are set up to win a championship prior to the season. There already has to be a winning mentality in place, in which bringing in a #2 or #3 receiver is one of the final pieces to the puzzle. It has to be a stable organization with a quality quarterback to keep Owens in check.

There have been rumours recently about a possible T.O. signing in New England, but that has fallen through. The Patriots could be a perfect fit for Owens because it matches so many of the criteria above. They already have so many pieces in place and a couple real winners in quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

I sort of alluded to this earlier but the problem that everyone realizes is if you’re bringing in Terrell Owens to be a role-playing receiver rather than a primary one, why wouldn’t you just sign someone who could probably contribute equally well but has no baggage?

Well you would do exactly that, which is why T.O. is still without a job.

It is inevitable that T.O. is going to get a job at some point this season. Either a team feels they need a little more punch offensively and decide they are going to give Owens a shot, or a team is going to be so decimated at the receiver position that their final option is bringing in T.O.

Terrell Owens will be successful if he is brought into the proper situation, but those situations are few and far between.

Even though T.O. is advertising the right product people have seen his inferior brand all too often.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Brett Favre return

Oh no, not another Brett Favre story right? I realize that most people are tired of hearing about whether or not Brett Favre is going to come back for another season. Well, I’m not.

It looks as though Favre is going to decide to play one more season. Over the last few years Favre has gotten a lot of grief over his inability to make a decision on his decision to return to football. The reason I want to write about this today is that I was listening to Steven A. Smith on the radio talk about how disgusting he thinks Brett Favre is. He thinks it’s disgusting that Favre leaves his team hanging, that he decides to have ankle surgery in May rather than in January, and that this allows him not to report to training camp. He also referred to Favre as a “media whore”, and many other people believe this to be true as well. I, on the other hand, am not one of those people. Over the past number of years I have been a huge Favre fan. I feel that Favre’s constant indecision throughout the last portion of his career as well as many other of his questionable decisions are justified.

Here’s why.

First off, give me a good reason to tell me why Brett Favre should have to go to training camp. The media is constantly on Favre about avoiding training camp and why this is not good for his team. This was especially apparent last year when I kept hearing that him not going to training camp would not allow Farve to develop a good relationship and chemistry with his future teammates in Minnesota. Yeah good call guys. If everyone hasn’t noticed Favre is getting a little old.  The fact that Favre avoids training camp most likely allows him to be fresher for the season ahead. This may have some small implications at the start of the season, such as Favre not having his timing down, but as the season goes on it is crucial that Favre’s body does not wear down and not going to training camp gives him a bit of an edge in this regard. Also, no one likes training camp, and if teams are willing to let Brett Favre avoid training camp then why shouldn’t he. Are teams telling Brett Favre that he has to go to training camp in order to play for their team? No they aren’t. They are accommodating him as best they can because he still is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. If teams are going to allow him to avoid training camp, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Media whore? Steven A. Smith called Brett Favre a media whore multiple times during a span of 7 or 8 minutes today and I’m sure it isn’t the first time he has called him that. Sorry members of the media, but Brett Favre is not a media whore. Brett Favre’s inability to make a decision stems from one thing, and one thing only. That is Brett Favre’s inability to make a decision. Favre is not out for publicity nor is he calling for the public to remind him of how much they want him back for another season. He is just unable to come to a conclusion about his playing future. I think this happens for a couple of reasons. First, after another grueling NFL season, Favre is bruised, battered, and exhausted. As the season draws to a close Favre has the idea in his head that he can’t take another year of the pain and tiredness of the NFL. However, as the off-season moves along he starts to feel healthier and eventually feeling pretty much 100% healthy. He starts to think to himself…hey, maybe I can play another season. Then the true indecision begins. Going back to the media whore referral. Favre is only a media whore because the media covers him so much. If the media didn’t give so much attention to the Favre controversy then there would barely be any controversy. I am almost certain that even if the media didn’t give this attention to Favre he would still have the same difficulties with regards to his decision, but the decision would just be much more private. One thing I wanna throw out there is that I also think that the much of the media is jealous of all the publicity Favre gets, and this skews their perception of him.

Brett Favre has had one of the most storied and successful careers in NFL history. He holds many NFL records including: most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, and most consecutive starts.  And as I said earlier he loves the game, maybe more than anyone that has ever played the game. Hasn’t Brett Favre earned the right to decide when and if he still wants to play, and make that decision the way he wants to make it. The Green Bay Packers sure didn’t think so, and with the exceptional play of Aaron Rodgers I sure don’t blame them. But the fact that they didn’t give Favre’s release when he asked for one was not a fair thing to do for someone who had given so much for the franchise. The same goes for everyone else. Brett Favre has given so  much to the NFL, I think it’s time that we recognize this and give him the credit that he deserves. 

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to comment below or e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Check out our videos as well at http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAlphabetBoyz

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