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GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02: Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to snap the ball during the first quarter of the preseason NFL game against the Washington Redskins at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It was a horrid week for quarterbacks last week, with four QB’s benched midgame and a fifth (Trent Edwards) demoted shortly thereafter, while a sixth (Kevin Kolb) was given back his starting spot before having it yanked away from him. Every year, there are a handful of NFL teams that, through either injury or very bad planning, suffer terrible QB crises. This is how you end up with such delightful historic stopgap starters as Spergon Wynn and Moses Moreno.
But it’s hard to remember a season in which so many teams are facing these crises so early, and so many of them suffering such misfortune as a result of glaringly bad management. A bad season at the QB position is essentially a wasted season. It doesn’t move a team any farther along in the development process for the next season. A bad QB season just sits there, like a horrible mole on a team’s historical record. Remember when the Ravens had to start Tony Banks that one time? Of course you don’t. You blocked it out from trauma.
So which teams, right now, are facing the worst crises? Let’s rank them in order.
Two years removed from the Super Bowl, the Cardinals have lost key players at wideout (Anquan Boldin), linebacker (Karlos Dansby), and defensive back (Antrel Rolle, who is overrated but still not someone you want to necessarily lose). But this is still a talented team in a division that they still could have easily been dominated had they simply had the right passer. That’s what makes watching Derek Anderson screw up week by week so tragic. This isn’t like Buffalo or Cleveland, who were hopeless even if Galactus were starting for them. This is an ACTUAL team, run by mildly competent people who decided wayyyy too late to ditch Matt Leinart when they should have made contingency plans months ago. Now they may be forced to start undrafted rookie Max Hall, about whom I’ve heard good things, which means he’s all but doomed.
Again, this team voluntarily went into this year with Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. That was their supposed improvement of the position, which is INSANE. I can’t even begin to comprehend it. We need about eight QB’s to simultaneously win the Heisman this year, to give all these awful teams hope.
I liked that Chan Gailey said Ryan Fitzpatrick might provide “a spark”. It’s one of those things that sounds good as a metaphor, but is awful if taken literally. Imagine being trapped on a desert island and in desperate need of fire. You rub a stick against a piece of split pine bark for ten hours. Imagine getting just one spark. You’d be angry, wouldn’t you? One spark isn’t NEARLY enough to get your tinder going. Bear Grylls knows that. So Fitzpatrick is perfect in that regard. He may make exactly ONE good play all game long. Total sparkiness.
To reiterate: It’s okay to say Jason Campbell is just plain bad now. He was outplayed by Bruce Gradkowski, and his successor in DC is playing well with mostly the same cast of old backs and wideouts. He stinks. And I don’t think there’s any way this team will be able to develop a solid professional QB so long as Al Davis lives and employs coaches with less than sterling resumes. You can’t get away with this kind of thing in football anymore.
What do you do with Vince Young now? He seemed back on track at the end of last year, then he got crushed by Pittsburgh (including that awful red zone pick to Polamalu) and again Jeff Fisher shows NO faith in him at all. If it’s same story as always with Young, then this team hasn’t moved forward at the position in nearly three years, and may be wasting Chris Johnson and Cortland Finnegan in their primes. This should be a playoff team right now, and the QB spot is holding them way back.
It’s clear they don’t have the 2009 Brett Favre in the fold. They have the REAL Brett Favre, who is old and tired and likes to do really stupid things. That means Favre could (if Jason Whitlock is to be believed) be placed on IR with a posterity injury to make way for perpetual project-in-the-making Tarvaris Jackson, who is not good, at all. The Vikings are on the verge of having to start a very long and tiresome rebuilding project.
Well, they’re just waiting to move to LA anyway.
They do have a QB of the future in Jimmy Clausen. Unfortunately, Jimmy Clausen is awful and I hate him. So that doesn’t bode well.