NFL's Potential Quarterback Battles
An offseason of intriguing player movement has left many teams uncertain about their starting quarterback. With organized team activities and training camps still to come, here are seven quarterback battles that must be settled between now and NFL Week 1: Overview: Being paid like a franchise quarterback has not helped Kolb perform like one. Durability and consistency remain issues. The Cardinals were 3-6 when Kolb started last season; they were 5-2 when Skelton did. With a full season to immerse himself in the Cardinals' offense, the time has come for Kolb to take charge, if he is ever going to. Prediction: Kolb will win the job, but the key is to play better and stay healthy once the season starts. The Cardinals drafted wide receiver Michael Floyd to pair with Larry Fitzgerald. For Kolb, there are no more excuses.
Overview: Weeden's arm strength wowed the Browns during rookie minicamp last weekend. They drafted him in the first round (No. 22 overall) because they think he can start right away. At age 28, Weeden doesn't have time to waste. He's older than two starters in the AFC North--Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco--and just a year and a half younger than Ben Roethlisberger, 30. Prediction: McCoy didn't have many weapons to work with when he was the starter, but who said life was fair? With rookie running back Trent Richardson taking pressure off Weeden, he'll be the starter unless he falls on his face during preseason.
Overview: Gabbert struggled as a rookie, which looked even worse compared to what Cam Newton and Andy Dalton did. New coach Mike Mularkey has declared Gabbert the starter at this point. But Henne has been a starter and has to believe he can win the job. If Henne looks better during preseason, Mularkey will have a tough decision. Prediction: Mularkey will likely open the season with Gabbert, giving him every chance to show improvement. However, the leash on Gabbert could be short.
Overview: This is actually a three-way battle involving David Garrard, Moore and Tannehill. As a top-10 pick, Tannehill is going to start at some point. The question is when. Prediction: Moore opens as the starter. But once the Dolphins are out of the postseason picture, it's Tannehill time.
New York Jets
Overview: The Jets keep saying this isn't really a battle. Stay tuned. Tebow is the most talked-about backup quarterback in league history, and Sanchez has never gone through a season without a rough stretch. If Sanchez struggles this season, he will be in danger of losing his job for good. Prediction: Hard to believe Sanchez won't open the season as the starter, because the fire will be there to focus, work hard and show leadership. However, Tebow's presence could create a quarterback controversy that hurts both players, as well as the team.
Overview: Third-round pick Russell Wilson is also in the mix for the starting job, according to coach Pete Carroll. That declaration is not good news for Jackson. By signing Flynn in free agency and drafting Russell, the Seahawks have put Jackson on notice. Prediction: Flynn would have to flop not to get the starting job, because he already has a starter's contract. If Russell plays well in preseason games and wins the top backup job, Jackson may be gone.
Overview: Hasselbeck was solid last season, but Locker is clearly the guy for the future. Locker is being groomed the old-school way--learning behind a veteran instead of being thrown into the fire. It could pay off long-term. Prediction: Haselbeck will start the season, but Locker could very well finish it.