We haven’t even watched a 2012 NFL preseason game and yet journalists all over the country are talking about their favorite subject, quarterback controversies. 2012 is no different and an early look shows a lot of unrest throughout the league at the NFL’s highest profile position.
Who doesn’t love a good QB controversy? Well, other than the actual quarterbacks, head coach, and team fans of course. NFL QB battles are always a fun off-field story full of high drama and cliffhangers. A great QB battle is a stark reminder that no matter how much money you make or how famous you are, everyone in an NFL uniform is replaceable.
Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Kolb walked into Arizona last season and signed a juicy contract without ever playing a full season as a starter in the NFL. Arizona fans quickly saw the green QB struggle in high pressure situations and fail to create the same magic as his backups did throughout the year. The Cardinals made a run at Peyton Manning in the offseason which tells me that they are ready to cut the cord on Kolb. Skelton with a 5-2 record as opposed to Kolb’s 3-6 year have Arizona fans demanding an immediate change.
Prediction: I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that John Skelton is your opening day starter in Arizona. Ken Wisenhunt is on a red hot seat this season and doesn’t have time to play games with Kevin Kolb. As a longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan I was stunned that Kolb got such a sweet deal last year. Big money or not, Wisenhunt is more concerned with his own job and will go with Skelton’s hot hand to open the year.
Matt Moore vs. David Garrard vs. Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins
The Miami situation is arguably one of the most intriguing in the NFL. A new regime is in town and after failing to land Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning, they are opening up camp with a vacant starting job. Tannehill is a raw talent, so raw that many pundits are still scratching their heads over Miami’s high draft pick. If the Tannehill vs. Moore drama isn’t enough, you also have David Garrard in the mix. Garrard was reportedly told that he would have a shot at competing for the starting job upon signing. Could a new regime start fresh with the A& M rookie or play it safe with the slow and steady Garrard?
Prediction: Matt Moore did some real nice things at the end of the 2011-12 season. I think the Dolphins have something there with Moore. Tannehill could use a year on the bench to develop and Garrard is one of the better backups in the NFL. I think the Dolphins could surprise some people and they try and recapture the lightning in a bottle that Moore created last season.
Jake Locker vs. Matt Hasselbeck Tennessee Titans
Hasselbeck was one of the bright spots at the start of the 11-12 season, bringing a high-powered offense to a team known for years as a ground and pound machine. Unfortunately Hasselbeck struggled after the midway point in the season and has many Tennessee fans openly campaigning for Locker. Locker looked good…real good at the end of the season, generating an in-game passer rating of 90+ at each outing. Is it time to release the dogs and open up the Locker era or do the Titans play it safe and keep him on the bench for one more season?
Prediction: All reports out of Tennessee indicate that the Titans feel they are close to making a run. With Peyton Manning out of the division the only thing standing in their way are the Houston Texans. Hasselbeck can still put up some big numbers but his mistakes are always a concern. I think Hasselbeck opens up the season but has a real short leash going forward.
Matt Flynn vs. Tarvaris Jackson Seattle Seahawks
Matt Flynn finished the season for the Green Bay Packers and put up historic numbers in his one and only start. As a free agent, Flynn immediately opened up a lot of eyes and became the darling of free agency this offseason. Seattle landed the former Packer for a cool $10 million guaranteed three-year deal. Most assumed that Flynn was anointed the starter with his new contract, yet Pete Carroll had other plans. Carroll has opened up the quarterback competition to Flynn and returning QB Tarvaris Jackson, who is scheduled to make $4 in non-guaranteed money.
Prediction: Something seems odds to me about this entire story. How could Seattle sign a QB for $10 million guaranteed and not presume he is the starter? Why did Miami bow out of the Flynn sweepstakes? Is Flynn another Scott Mitchell or is he the next Matt Schaub? I think we find out opening day, although it would not shock me to see Jackson taking the opening day snaps.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Chad Henne Jacksonville Jaguars
Prediction: Blaine Gabbert is your opening starter in Jacksonville. Most reports indicate that when the Jags interviewed new head coaches that developing Gabbert as the starter was a prerequisite for the gig. I may be out of my mind but I predict that Gabbert will have the biggest turnaround this season with new receivers and new coaches. He can’t get much worse?
Colt McCoy vs. Brandon Weeden Cleveland Browns
Prediction: Brandon Weeden starts the season and becomes a hero in Cleveland. Weeden doesn’t have the luxury as a 28-year old rookie to sit on the bench and develop like Jake Locker or Ryan Tannehill. With an aging Pittsburgh defense and suspect Baltimore defense, I think the Browns roll the dice on a potentially high-powered offense led by Weeden and Richardson.
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