As usual, quarterbacks keep making the NFL world go round
Not that it's a quarterback-driven league or anything, but here's a quick recap of what's transpired in the past few days when it comes to the NFL's passing set:
• Terrelle Pryor has an NFL home, and even before he signs his first Raiders contract, a national debate about what position he should play, and when he should play it, has broken out. I mean, after he's served the five-game league suspension that he won't, will, won't, will, won't appeal.
• In a certain sign of the apocalypse in Indianapolis, the QB-desperate Colts lured a gray-bearded veteran out of retirement this week, just not the one everyone was bracing for. (I guess Jim Irsay turned the wrong way at the Firechief.) Kerry Collins is a Colt, because Peyton Manning's slow rehabilitation schedule was starting to be a real pain in the neck for Indy.
• Welcome to Kick-Tim-Tebow-While-He's-Down Week. If you believe some reports, the Denver lefty is running fifth on the Broncos' four-man quarterback depth chart, barely in front of 51-year-old John Elway (who is well-liked by the team's front office). The talking heads are fighting each other to bash Tebow's form, and his future at the position (No, no, Boomer, you've had your chance. Go wait over there, behind Merrill, until your turn comes up again), and I'm pretty sure any day now the Broncos are going to move Tebow's locker to a storage room near their loading dock.
• Cam Newton got told no tattoos or piercings by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and all I can say to that is thank goodness Carolina didn't draft Pryor. I mean, tattoos are pretty much the reason Pryor was available for the supplemental draft to begin with. Any word on whether Jimmy Clausen thinks it's a bad sign that he didn't get the same spiel from Richardson?
• It was announced that Michael Vick is the subject of the entire first issue of the relaunched
Lost amid all of that mostly fluff, there are some very interesting quarterback issues playing out around the NFL as Week 3, the most important week of the preseason, looms. And it's not so much the case that we have a bunch of unsettled starting QB competitions dotting the league's landscape, because I think the writing's on the wall in favor of Newton in Carolina, John Beck in Washington, Chad Henne in Miami, David Garrard in Jacksonville, Alex Smith in San Francisco, Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee and Tarvaris Jackson in Seattle. They'll all get at least a week or two into the regular season before that's subject to change.
With the Collins signing in Indianapolis highlighting the need for an experienced and capable No. 2 quarterback, the more intriguing topic to consider might be the various backup situations around the league. Some reserve quarterbacks have increased their value this month, and possibility given themselves another potential starting shot at some point in the future. Let's take a quick temperature reading of those No. 2's, and pass on a few impressions of whose stock is on the rise:
Whitehurst has led three Seattle scoring drives in the first two preseason games, and he's 28 of 39 for 212 yards passing, with a touchdown and a 93.1 rating. He's not getting yardage in big chunks ( 5.4 per attempt), but he looks confident in the West Coast system, and his 72 percent completion rate is a far cry better than Jackson's (14 of 26, or 58 percent). Should Jackson struggle mightily at Denver, and Whitehurst shine, look for Seattle's QB situation to remain a front-burner issue into next week.
Grossman is the kind of quarterback who only looks good when he has good players surrounding him, but he has a comfort level in Kyle Shanahan's offense (it's his third year playing in it) and gives Washington one of the better backup situations in the league. He'll get another chance to make Beck earn it when the Redskins play their dress-rehearsal game tonight in Baltimore.