We’re entering Week Eight in the National Football League, and already there have been seven teams that have sent more than one quarterback under centre. Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia, Detroit, and St. Louis have needed to make changes due to injury. In Miami, the shoulder injury suffered by Chad Pennington just brought the Chad Henne era to a start sooner than anticipated. Philadelphia, and St. Louis have gone back to their original starters, while Detroit will send Matt Stafford back out as soon as possible. Buffalo has an interesting decision to make with Trent Edwards when he recovers from a concussion, seeing as Ryan Fitzpatrick is 2-0. But it’s more interesting to look at the teams that have changed starters in hopes to turn their seasons around.
In Cleveland, Brady Quinn was given only two weeks by head coach Eric Mangini before he was pulled in favour of Derek Anderson. Anderson’s been far from capable of handling the job – two touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 43.8 completion percentage. How is he still the starter? Well, I’ve been critical of Eric Mangini in the past, and I see no other person to blame for this move. There’s the conspiracy theory that owner Randy Lerner doesn’t want to pay the $11 million bonus due to Quinn if he plays 70% of the snaps, but winning has to take prescendence in the NFL. Quinn should be the starter, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be given another chance in Cleveland.
The Tennessee Titans announced today that Vince Young will take over for Kerry Collins, giving him a second tenure as a starting quarterback. With the Titans’ season pretty much over at 0-6, why not see if Young has anything left in the tank? Plus, it gives owner Bud Adams an opportunity to watch Young and find out whether or not he can lead this team in the future. His rookie contract carries a $7.5 million base salary in 2010, so if Young’s not the guy, then you can expect him to be given his walking papers next year.
And then there’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 2008 draft, they drafted Josh Johnson in the fifth round as a developmental quarterback. Onto the 2009 draft, and the Bucs decided to take Kansas State’s Josh Freeman with the 17th pick. And then they signed Byron Leftwich in the offseason to compete with Luke McCown as starting quarterback. McCown was released, Leftwich was benched after three games for Johnson, and now he’s been given the hook for Freeman. Normally, I’m all for teams seeing what they have in first round quarterbacks, but in this case, it’s way too early. Johnson is only 23 himself, and by allowing him to start for the rest of the season they could have increased his trade value, or opened up a competition between he and Freeman next offseason. Freeman is going to struggle on this terrible team, and his confidence will take a huge beating with the complete lack of offensive weapons in Tampa. Johnson was the way to go for the remainder of the year in Tampa, and rookie coach Raheem Morris is making a big mistake by giving up on a 23 year old quarterback already.
Of course there’s still the teams that should make a switch but haven’t (hello Oakland and Carolina), but that just opens up an entirely different can of worms.
TWO POINT CONVERSION
– the Chicago Bears owe a big thanks to the people who made their schedule. There’s no better remedy for a struggling defence than facing the Cleveland Browns (well, maybe facing JaMarcus Russell)
– Rex Ryan stopped the Wildcat last season when he was with Baltimore, but good luck to him stopping it this weekend. The Jets are currently the league’s 22nd rush defence, and are without their best run player in nose tackle in Kris Jenkins. Recipe for disaster