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9 Teams That Will Replace Their Quarterback in 2011
The number of young quarterbacks in the NFL continues to grow at an extremely fast pace, with almost 20 teams starting a different player this coming Sunday than just five years ago. These players represent a significant culture change in the NFL. It’s now critical that a team respond to their quarterback instantaneous, and if not a replacement will undoubtedly be signed, traded for or drafted.
The term “what have you done for me lately” is not just important for the passers, it is also important that coaches, coordinators, and general managers all increase the wins column any way they can. Many times the way for a team to change its fortune is simply to change it’s quarterback.
With such an culture, it is not unusual to see several teams chase their next savior in the NFL Draft. Teams will do anything to secure the selection of the guy that just might turn everything around. In the upcoming 2011 draft which teams will we see make a run for a pass thrower? Here are the suspects:
Current starter: David Garrard
The Jaguars are a team that seems to have been in danger of relocation for several seasons now. They are such a streaky team that manages to just miss the playoffs every year. Last season they flirted with the idea of drafting Tim Tebow but ultimately decided not to. If the Jaguars manage to miss the playoffs again it is undoubtedly going to be the beginning of the end for current starter David Garrard.
Current starter: Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Bills also flirted with Tebow, and in the end decided to stand pat with “Captain Checkdown” Trent Edwards. Edwards has already been benched just two games in the season. There clearly isn’t any hope for Fitzpatrick or Edwards as the long term starter here, a rookie will be drafted next year to replace them both.
Current starter: Carson Palmer
The Bengals are listed here due to the lingering injuries that seem to still be effecting Carson Palmer. Just a few years ago Palmer looked like a top 5 player at his position. Now he is a shell of himself and still seems to be recovering from an arm injury he suffered two seasons ago. If the Bengals go with a rookie, look for them to make the move later in the draft and give Carson another season as the rookie prepares to replace him.
Current starter: Seneca Wallace
Mike Holmgreen is no stranger to All Pro quarterbacks, and now with him making all the decisions for the dawg pound I don’t expect him to differ from the strategy that has made him so successful in this league. Holmgreen is going to evaluate his current rookie Colt McCoy before he decides if he should draft a higher rated prospect at the position. Expect to see McCoy start a few games at the end of the season as an audition. If he fails, you might see the Browns go in a different direction.
Current starter: Charlie Batch
The only reason the Steelers are here is because there has been no definitive end to the Ben Roethlisberger saga as of today. If after Ben’s suspension is over and he is reaffirmed into he lineup, then obviously the Steelers will not need a quarterback. If for some reason Mike Tomlin decides that he has had enough of Ben, the Steelers could very well trade him this off season and look to draft a guy that fits more with the team’s image. Jake Locker comes to mind here.
Current starter: Brett Favre
Brett Favre has already told the team that this season will be his last in the NFL. As the team looks ahead to 2011 and beyond, Tavaris Jackson and Joe Webb are going to be the only players on the roster to fill in once Favre is gone. Both Webb and Jackson are talented runners, but the Vikings may elect to go with a more traditional passer here. If that happens expect them to retain Webb as a backup and trade or release Jackson.
Current starter: Derek Anderson
The Cardinals released former tenth overall selection Matt Leinart and gave the keys to journey man Derek Anderson. Anderson has not been hot so far, and that could change, but for now one has to believe that Kurt Warner’s cellphone has been ringing off the hook these last few weeks. If Anderson continues to struggle then the Cardinals will likely audition rookie Josh Skelton before making a decision for the future.
Current starter: Bruce Gradkowski
Jason Campbell was supposed to be the end of bad quarterbacking in Oakland but the curse got him too. The Raiders are in “win now baby, win!” mode and Bruce Gradkowski gives them the best chance to do so. Gradkowski could very well quarterback his way to a long term deal if he does manage to get them into the playoffs. If that happens then obviously they will probably not draft a quarterback. If Gradkowski fails to lead them back to the playoffs, then the Raiders quarterback carousel will continue.
San Franciso 49ers
Current starter: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is still very much an enigma in this league. Some games he looks like the #1 overall selection he was coming out of Utah, other games he looks like a journey man player. Only coach Singletary knows if Smith is going to be the guy going into 2011. Alex Smith probably cannot play his way into the starting job next year unless he somehow makes the Pro Bowl. The only reason I say this is because Michael Vick will be a free agent next season and the 49ers were reportedly very interested in signing him just a season ago before Vick revived his career. If Vick is available and Smith continues to play pedestrian, look for them to make the switch. If Vick isn’t available and Smith struggles then Coach Singletary will have to go find “his guy.”
This is just a preview of a few teams that may be making the switch at quarterback next season. Keep a close eye on how the starters for these teams play the rest of the year. In future articles I will be outlining the upcoming rookie and free agent quarterbacks as well.