This is You Heard It Here First – where thinking outside the box and predicting the future is a social pastime.
Around the NFL there are a number of quarterbacks in precarious situations but also many quarterbacks in good situations who shouldn’t be. Every year we see a fairly high turnover of starting quarterbacks in the league despite but due in part to the complexity of the position and I believe that 2013 will be no different. One player almost certain to be a starting quarterback next year is USC’s Matt Barkley and you can safely assume that he is an option for every team on this list. To make things a little simpler, let’s go through each of the team’s one by one so you can see why I believe 25% of teams will not have the same starting QB in 2013.
The Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation has been in flux ever since Kurt Warner retired and it is no closer now with the team’s decision to retain Kevin Kolb who looked truly woeful in 2011. With the team placing even more emphasis on the passing game in the form of first round pick Michael Floyd, Kolb must step up in 2012. In my opinion I don’t think he’ll manage it. Come 2013 I believe either John Skelton will be the starter or some other player currently not with the team.
A couple of months ago I wrote an article on how I thought the Houston Texans might part ways with Matt Schaub and from the research I have done since this is still a distinct possibility. With the salary cap issues the Texans will have next year it is unlikely they could afford to put a franchise tag on Schaub and it would take some VERY creative accounting to pay hm what he deserves. When you take into account the contract just given to running back Arian Foster and the fact that usually Kubiak and the Texans prefer not to pay quarterbacks big money for the time being I am going to say Schaub ends up elsewhere.
So where does this leave Houston in 2013? T.J. Yates performed admirably in Schaub’s absence last year and with another year of coaching he could be a legitimate option for this team should they choose not to draft or sign a big name quarterback. I would also expect the team to retain rookie Case Keenum of the University of Houston. My other expectation is that the Texans would pick up a veteran free agent to compete with Yates.
No surprises here – the Dolphins quarterback situation is one obviously in flux right now. There are reports that rookie Ryan Tannehill could start for this team to start the 2012 season but I have serious doubts about this particularly as I didn’t think Tannehill should be a top 10 NFL draft pick in the first place. For my mind the best option for Miami in 2012 is former Carolina Panthers QB Matt Moore who was actually pretty good for Miami last season after taking over for incumbent Chad Henne. I give Moore every chance to win the QB battle this preseason and he’s talented enough that he may keep the job for most if not all of the season.
With all that said, I also fully believe that Ryan Tannehill will be the starter in 2013. Truth about the Miami Dolphins is that this team still needs work and they’re unlikely to perform this season which will see a ground-swell of support build to give Tannehill his opportunity. I expect Moore will either be traded or cut following this season – you did great for us kid but we’ve had enough of ya so bye. Tough break for Moore who deserves a lot better but that’s the nature of the NFL sometimes. He’ll make a very good FA pickup for someone in the 2013 offseason.
New York Jets
I really don’t want to write about this next situation basically because I have absolutely no faith in either of the main quarterbacks on the Jets roster. Let’s be honest – Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow have both got talent but neither is really an NFL-quality quarterback. Sanchez got his contract extension this offseason as a rather empty show of support from Jets management but I can see absolutely no way that Tebow stays out of the starting job for longer than one season. Mark Sanchez has been awful at the NFL level and while he has shown flashes of brilliance there’s just not enough there. Watch him get traded this offseason.
As for Tebow, he’s no great shakes as a quarterback either but at least he knows how to make plays happen. When you watched Denver last year it was obvious that Tebow contributed to a bunch of victories. What most people appear blind to is that his supporting cast helped him a lot more than Tebow’s fans are willing to accept. Willis McGahee may not be as good as he once was but he had a fantastic season supporting his young quarterback and I truly believe that it is McGahee and not Tebow who deserves the most credit for the success of the Broncos in 2011. So color me sceptical but while I see Tebow as the Jets starter next season I don’t see anything to this except empty hype.
The Raiders are a mess. Hard to say anything else about this team at the moment. The death of Al Davis left a hole in this organisation and I was truly shocked, appalled and disgusted by the actions of former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson when he took advantage of the situation to leverage a massive and irresponsible trade for former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer that gutted the franchise and ultimately resulted in Jackson’s departure. I won’t go into that aspect too much further except to say that Jackson should never have acted the way he did in helping both Palmer who he was associated with at USC and the Bengals who he had worked with previously.
Palmer may have had an offseason to prepare but when you look at the tape of his performance in 2012 it was just plain bad. Poor decision making was his biggest weakness as he failed to read defenses which resulted in a good deal of the interceptions he was charged with. He was still developing his chemistry with the Oakland receivers I know but the decision making was so poor that this can’t be blamed on the receivers or Palmer’s lack of time. When you factor in that Palmer is owed a huge contract that is due to pay him $13 million in 2013 I see no way that Palmer is on the roster after this season.
Some of you will be surprised to see Seattle on this list but this is a reflection of the fact I think the Matt Flynn experiment might not work. Is he talented? Yes. Is he worthy of a starting spot in the NFL? As of right now – absolutely. Is he an NFL caliber starting quarterback? On that note I have my doubts and on a Seattle Seahawks team that lacks a truly talented receiving corps – unlike what Flynn had in Green Bay – he may struggle.
There are so many ways the Seahawks could go but I am going to suggest a slightly unconventional route – I’d throw Russell Wilson in there and give him a shot. When it comes down to it this team could go out and get themselves another quarterback. They could even go for Matt Barkley who will join the NFL from Pete Carroll’s old stomping grounds of USC. I’ve been doing a lot of studying up on Russell Wilson these past couple of months and I am surprised to find myself warming to this kid. He may be small and he may be better suited to playing elsewhere on the park but his decision making, accuracy and field awareness and all pretty good. Call me crazy but I like this kid to earn his shot.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oh dear – this one is going to anger some of you. This is reality people and in the real world a team needs a good or at least capable quarterback to succeed in the NFL. Josh Freeman is neither of these things. He had one good rookie season in which he came out and surprised us all with his ability but his true colors shone last year as he failed miserably as both a quarterback and as a leader on a young team. Freeman might be a starting caliber quarterback one day – I doubt it – but right now he needs to step back and let someone else take the reins. I expect the Bucs to either draft another quarterback or go out and get themselves a solid veteran because Josh Freeman needs more time to grow and mature.
This is easily the most predictable change on this list because I am 100% certain that Matt Hasselbeck will start the 2012 season as the Titans starting quarterback. This is one of those situations where you have a high quality veteran who’s getting old and may not have much left being replaced by the young buck drafted to replace him. There may have been knocks on Jake Locker going into the 2011 NFL Draft but he fully deserved to go as high as he did and I believe he has a very bright future – which includes starting the 2013 NFL season as the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.
25% of NFL teams switching quarterbacks come 2013? I believe it could happen. When it does I won’t be surprised and now neither will you because You Heard It Here First.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer Case Keenum Houston Texans Hue Jackson Jake Locker John Skelton Josh Freeman Kevin Kolb Mark Sanchez Matt Barkley Matt Flynn Matt Hasselbeck Matt Moore Matt Schaub Miami Dolphins New York Jets NFL Oakland Raiders Pete Carroll Russell Wilson Ryan Tannehill Seattle Seahawks T.J. Yates Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Tim Tebow Willis McGahee You Heard It Here First