Tag Archive: Colts


Fast Fifteen: Quarterbacks

We are introducing a new feature today, the First and Fifteen Fast Fifteen.  It will take in various things as the offseason and (hopefully) subsequent season roll on.  The first series will focus on five teams with the best and worst situations at each position group, plus five that could break either way.  We’ll start off with the games most important position, Quarterback:

The Best:

New England Patriots: How good is their QB situation?  When their incredible starting quarterback (Tom Brady, for those of you just joining us) was injured, their backup quarterback led them to an 11 win season.  So?  That’s what backup quarterbacks are supposed to do.  Except Matt Cassell hadn’t started a game since high school.  The Patriots find talent deep in the draft and make the most of it, and that puts them at the top of this list.

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees was supposed to be washed up following a shoulder injury, and the San Diego Chargers, with replacement Phillip Rivers in the fold, let him walk.  Only two teams had any interest in him, and he signed with New Orleans- and the rest is history.  For the first time in a long time (ever?) the Saints aren’t horrible, and much of that is thanks to Drew Brees.

Cleveland Browns: They won’t make many ‘best-of-anything’ lists, but they deserve to be on this one.  Question marks surrounded every quarterback in last years draft, including first overall pick Sam Bradford.  Colt McCoy was no exception, and despite a stellar record at Texas, he slipped to the third round.  When injuries thrust him into the starting job, he showed up despite a lot of lackluster talent around him.  The Browns are on the upswing, and should feel lucky to have gotten McCoy to settle their QB woes.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Their starting quarterback was suspended the first four games of the season, and they went to the Super Bowl.  I think that says it all.

Green Bay Packers: This Aaron Rodgers guy is pretty good, in case you hadn’t heard.  However, while he gets them on this list, their backups need work.  They were ok when he missed a game, but because of their defense, not their quarterback.  Prolonged absences from Rodgers could sink them.

The Worst:

Minnesota Vikings: Brett Favre is gone, and he wasn’t there this last year anyway.  I said it in the Vikings Draft Needs, but no one on the Vikings roster inspires any kind of confidence moving forward.  It’s full of ‘serviceable’ quarterbacks.  Not to say one of them couldn’t step it up, but right now, it’s a huge mess.

Arizona Cardinals: After the season that just happened, the Cardinals probably deserve their own category.  A mess of veteran journeymen, undrafted free agents and busts sunk their season from the start.  The worst part is that the Cradinals could be back in contention with some stability here (see Warner, Kurt).

Tennessee Titans: Up until late in the past season, they wouldn’t even be close to this list.  The last few years, when one Quarterback has been down, the other has been up, and it has worked for them.  But Kerry Collins is showing his age, and Vince Young is showing his temper.  No solution exists on their roster.

Carolina Panthers: For some reason, headed into last years draft, a lot of people thought Jimmy Clausen could be an NFL quarterback.  That is not the case.   Combined with Matt Moore- who showed some flashes of promise, but no consistency- and the departure of interception machine Jake Delhomme, there’s a reason the Panthers own the top spot in the draft.  Sadly for them, there is no sure-fire QB prospect in this draft.  Expect another year of limping along.

Washington Redskins: I know they belong here, but it’s so hard with the Redskins to know where to assign blame.  The organization as a whole is such a walking disaster, you hate to even begin to put the blame on the individual players.  However, none of that changes the fact that when Rex Grossman started a game, he became the instant favorite to be the 2012 starter.  Yeah, it’s that bad.

Those That Could Go Either Way:

Denver Broncos: This has a lot to do with coaching, but with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton both on the roster, there has to be a fundamental scheme for which one you’re going to use.  If it’s done right, this will be a dangerous team next year, but I’m not counting on it.

Seattle Seahawks: Most people probably see the Seahawks as belonging on the ‘worst’ list, but there is considerable evidence to the contrary: Matt Hasslebeck still has gas in the tank, which he showed in the playoffs, and despite the fact that most people are ready to hang him, the jury is still out on Whitehurst.  He played well at times, and not so well at others, but it was his first chance to start since college.  There is a lot of potential at quarterback for Seattle- for good or disaster.

Jacksonville Jaguars: David Gerrard is good, but he needs to improve if the Jags will be.  They showed promise this year, but the entire future of the team is shaky.  A playoff berth would go a long way to getting fans into the stadium and keeping them in Jacksonville, and that starts with Gerrard.  If he implodes this year, look for a complete rebuild.

Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning is a good as it gets, but he took a beating this year, and for the first time in a long time, the Colts came close to missing the playoffs entirely, and even then, it was an early exit.  With the rest of the AFC South breathing down their necks, the Colts can’t afford another down year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis returns, with a new offensive coordinator.  Owens and Ochocinco probably do not.  However, Carson Palmer says he has had enough.  He may be tempted by the chance to play without the distractions of the most petulant and arrest-prone receiving corps in the NFL, but if I am in his shoes, I never want to wear orange and black again ever, no matter what.

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Wild Card Weekend Thoughts

Here are my knee-jerk observations from a great first week of the playoffs:

  • One of the best seasons of football I’ve seen.  It had tons of ups and downs, and no clear-cut ‘best team in the NFL’.  Ok, on to the actual playoffs:
  • Awesome job by the Seahawks of showing that they deserved to be there.  I think that’s a universal opinion at this point, but still.  The real trick will be going out and winning in a much more competitive NFC West next season.
  • What the heck, New Orleans?  I expected much more out of their defense after a fantastic regular season, that was a much underrated improvement over their super bowl squad of a year ago.  They didn’t do enough to keep their offense in it, and the amazing Lynch run only punctuated that.
  • The Chiefs showed they- not the Seahawks- are the worst team to make the playoffs.  Overall, the AFC West was as unimpressive as their NFC counterparts, but it was more competitive, so that got lost.  The Chargers have been overrated for years, and the Chiefs picked up the pieces.  Don’t mistake them for a bad team, though.  Pioli and Haley are building a long term winner.
  • The Ravens need to make up their mind before that planes lands back in Baltimore if they are a good football team or not.  The team we saw today is, but that’s not the team we’ve seen all year.  They need to bring that a week from now to stand a chance against the Steelers.
  • The Packers can run the ball.  Watch out, Falcons.
  • The Colts were doomed from the start.  They might have won against the Jets, but they weren’t headed to the Super Bowl.  Too many injuries, and it showed.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with this team, and if the wheels start to come off.
  • The Jets/Pats rematch will get a lot of hype, and rightly so.  It could go either way, and most likely will be a lot of fun to watch.  It could also be a blowout, but hey, I’m optimistic.
  • The Eagles have a lot to address.  They have issues to address on the defensive side of the ball, and while they got lucky with their QB situation this year, they won’t two years in a row.  This will be two years in a row a QB is traded out of Philly, and that won’t be a bad thing for them, unless the one they keep gets hurt (or in trouble).
  • Along those lines, Vick fell back to earth, and no one should be surprised.  I will be the first to say he had a hell of season, and is better than he ever was, but as nearly always happens after a few games of a new QB, teams figure out how to beat him.  The new and improved Vick will need to study and practice hard this offseason in order to be equally potent next year.

 

Hello, all, and welcome to First and Fifteen, a blog about all things football!  The middle of the playoffs might seem like an odd time to get started, but hey, why not?  We’ll be here through the rest of the playoffs and the offseason with observations, analysis and opinions.  Hopefully you enjoy the ride!