By my count, the Bears have started 19 different quarterbacks and made 51 total changes in the starting lineup at quarterback during my lifetime. I'm going to go ahead and then claim myself an expert on quarterback controversies and expect you to follow my words in this article as though I am the burning bush and these are the very words of God. Or something.
Anyways, so far this week the Panthers, Bills, Raiders, Titans, and Jaguars have already benched their starting quarterbacks (as well as the Eagles benching Vick, but I'm not sure if benching your back up in favor of the original startings QB who was out due to injury counts). For most of these teams, this isn't going to make one damn bit of difference. The hardest thing for most NFL fans to swallow is that the guy starting is usually the best option on the roster, and no one is coming to the rescue. It's also hard to accept that the offensive line, running game, wideouts, etc. may also suck, and that salvation is more than one player away. Anywho, I'll go ahead and breakdown all the controversies:
Carolina Panthers: Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore
Some people thought Carolina was a darkhorse this year (okay, it was just Peter King and he sucks at everything), but I've maintained throughout that they blow. The complete disintegration of their offense behind Matt Moore has only confirmed my suspicions. This is the only one of the quarterback changes that I think may yield positive results. I'm not a huge fan of Jimmy Clausen, but he's a much more talented quarterback than Matt Moore. His arm strength is NFL caliber, with enough zip to make the short-to-intermediate throws that were Jake Delhomme's forte in his not so awful years. His deep ball tails a bit, but he can get it down there on occasion. Carolina's offensive line isn't that awful, and they have a solid running game and Steve Smith. Clausen may be enough to get them to 5 or 6 wins. I'm betting he'll be very inconsistent, however.
Buffalo Bills: Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick
Oh man. This team is so awful. Why they haven't even attempted to address their God awful offensive line is beyond me. Instead they're just content to have three good runningbacks that they can't open holes for. I used to think Trent Edwards reputation for checking down too often was unfair, as he never has time to look downfield, but by this point he suffers from David Carr Syndrome and is merely a shell who can't even contemplate throwing deep. Fitzpatrick's ability to hang around in the NFL and get a starting opportunity for three straight years absolutely baffles me. He has a weak arm (9.7 career yards per completion, 5.6 YPA), isn't accurate (just 57.8% completions) and he's turnover prone (27 INTS, 21 TDs). Other than that, he's awesome. I don't see why they won't just start Brian Brohm. He'd still suck, but he'd at least placate the fans since they'd at least be trying something new. Damn, Bills fans are screwed.
Oakland Raiders: Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski
Blue collar hero Bruce Gradkowski surprisingly replaced the offseason savior of the Oakland Raiders after just six quarters. This one is probably the most shocking change that's occurred. Even for the Raiders benching the guy that Al Davis compared to Jim Plunkett and gave a contract extension to is baffling, especially considering the fact that Gradkowski was less than impressive as well (11/22, 167 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 70.6 rating vs. Campbell's 30/52, 267, 1 TD, 2 INT, 61.9 rating). It's uncertain right now whether or not Gradkowski will keep the job, but it's humorous nonetheless that the Raiders return to respectability has been derailed once more. Again, nothing will change, no matter which one is taking the snaps.
Tennessee Titans: Vince Young and Kerry Collins
I'm not a fan of Vince Young. I've finally granted him begrudging respect as a game manager, but I've mostly been unimpressed with him since he entered the league. Apparently I'm a much bigger fan of him than Jeff Fisher. Ignore the fact that Kerry Collins got the Titans back into the game. This was an awful decision. Truly awful. Since his return to the lineup last year, Young is 9-3 and has completed 60.1% of his passes for 2,099 yds (7.4 YPA) 12 TDs, 9 INTs, and an 83.7 rating. Now, none of those numbers are all that impressive, but all of them are better than Kerry Collins career averages. Collins blows and he's old. Young is mediocre, young, and seems to fit the offense better. He's not the first, the best, or the worst quarterback that the Steelers defense has made a bitch out of. Fisher has declared that Young will start next week, but the pathetically short leash is just ridiculous, especially when the backup offers absolutely no upside.
Jaguars: David Garrard and...well, no one.
This would be a controversy if Luke McCown hadn't torn his ACL. Since his stellar 2007 campaign which was a golden example of game-managing at it's finest, Garrard has been, well, about as mediocre as Vince Young (62% completions, 6.9 YPA, 34 TDs, 26 INTs, 82.7 rating), but he's also been hurt by playing behind a pretty bad offensive line and not having any receiving threats outside of Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew. Still, it's convenient for Jack Del Rio to scapegoat Garrard for his failures as a coach, so Garrard is under fire. Why Del Rio criticized Garrard so heavily only to not bring in any competition I don't know, but the simple fact is that Garrard and Del Rio don't trust each other and both will be somewhere else next year.
Philadelphia Eagles: Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick
To be fair to Andy Reid, I totally understand his logic in starting Kevin Kolb next week. Kolb is younger and is potentially the ideal quarterback for his West Coast offense, and they traded McNabb in order to keep Kolb from leaving. However, I find it absolutely hilarious that this situation has occurred. Here's what I hope happens: Kolb starts, sucks, and loses the game against McNabb's Redskins in Philadelphia. The fans eventually get their wish and Michael Vick returns, only to turn back into the Michael Vick that can barely complete half of his passes. The Eagles miss the playoffs, Reid is run out of town on a very large, reinforced rail, and McNabb finally has his vindication. F%&k the Eagles.
That's it for the QB controversies that have developed, but I'm also looking forward to:
Minnesota Vikings: Brett Favre vs. Tarvaris Jackson (oh yes, it'll happen)
Arizona Cardinals: Derek Anderson vs. Anybody that's not Derek Anderson
Cleveland Browns: Seneca Wallace vs. Jake Delhomme (maybe this is already happening?)
Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Cassel vs. Brodie Croyle
My point is that there are a lot of really bad quarterbacks and bad teams in this league. And their back ups are worse. I'm sure plenty of teams are already watching highlight films of Ryan Mallett's armcock.