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Monday, September 20, 2010

Quarterback Controversies: They Suck

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.

Around the NCAA

My reactions to this week's college games:

Nevada 52, California 31
California's been in a decline ever since Aaron Rodgers left, so it's not like these are the powerful Bears of the early Tedford years, but this was still a surprisingly awful beatdown. Kudos to Colin Kaepernick and the rest of the cogs in Chris Ault's pistol offense for giving the WAC a big win over the Pac 10.

Michigan 42, Massachusetts 37
Holy shit, Michigan. I don't remember the last time a college team was so utterly dependent on their quarterback playing ludicrously well in order to be even remotely competitive. That Michigan defense is really going to have trouble during Big Ten season. They'll probably cost Robinson a Heisman even if he keeps at his ungodly pace.

Arkansas 31, Georgia 24
Arkansas isn't as bad off as Michigan, but this game was further proof that they go as far as Ryan Mallett will take them Georgia hasn't fielded a competent offense since Matt Stafford left and yet they very nearly upset an Arkansas team that looked unstoppable in the first half. Mallett and his armcock saved the day, however. We'll see if he can finally punch a hole in the Alabama defense.

Oklahoma 27, Air Force 24
The Big 12 South, folks. They don't need no stinkin' defense.

Wisconsin 20, Arizona State 19
This was a fun game to watch. That's really all I have to add.

USC 32, Minnesota 21
USC is not good, people. Minnesota may actually have had a shot at the upset if Tim Brewster had attempted the forward pass on anything other than 3rd downs. Keep it up, Brew. You're the only thing keeping the "arguably" in front of Ron Zook's title of The Worst Coach in the Big Ten.

Nebraska 56, Washington 21
Holy hell, Jake Locker. 4-20 passing. That'll hurt the old draft stock a bit. Hopefully he recovers in time to be the sacrificial lamb that keeps Ryan Mallett from having to play in Buffalo. Oh, and Nebraska is good. I love seeing them run the option again. F*%k you, Bill Callahan.

Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Those were the ugliest 31 points Florida has ever put up. It's really going to take a small miracle to keep them from being destroyed by Alabama if their offensive malaise continues. The South Carolina game is also looking rather dangerous as well.

TCU 45, Baylor 10
Posted merely for the stupidity of my prediction that Baylor would give them a scare.

Oregon 69, Portland State 0
I know they haven't played anybody, but Oregon is averaging over a point per minute. Good lord.

Auburn 17, Clemson 14
Pick against Clemson=Profit.

Texas 24, Texas Tech 14
F*&k you, Texas Tech.

UCLA 31, Houston 13
It saddens me that college football has now lost Case Keenum. He ran the run'n'shoot better than anyone since Houston's glory days with Ware and Klingler. Tough break, kid.

Michigan State 34, Notre Dame 31
All I saw of this game was the Fake FG TD. Apparently that gave Mark Dantonio a heart attack. That sums it up nicely, actually.

Arizona 34, Iowa 26
This was truly surprising. Perhaps it shouldn't have been. I'm still trying to get over the unthinkable sight of a Kirk Ferentz-built offensive line getting absolutely shit upon by a bloodthirsty defense. I have no doubt that Iowa will recover from this and compete for the Big Ten title, but damn, that was a bloodbath for Ricky Stanzi.

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State?
3-25: Flotsam.

Tune in Wednesday for the NCAA edition of this week's Prognostication Bukakke.


It's Packer week, assholes. After last year's unfortunate sweep by Green Bay, the Bears now stand at just 7-5 against the Packers in the Lovie Era, with Monday night's game being perhaps the most important matchup the two teams have had in this decade. What's that call for? Blind, unadulterated, unmitigated hatred, of course.

I like your style, George.

The Packers are everyone's preseason favorite to win the Superbowl, and, unlike the offseason darling that the Bears demolished yesterday, they're actually living up to the hype so far. They're struggling in the run game without Ryan Grant, but Aaron Rodgers is more than capable of compensating.

This game is going to be decided by whichever defense hits the opposing quarterback more. It's that simple. Green Bay's offensive line is looking as iffy as ever, and we've seen live just how shaky Chicago's can be. Will it be Clay Matthews or Julius Peppers running off the field in triumph? I don't know.

All I know is that the Bears, so far, have done all the things I thought they'd need to do to win games this year. I have faith that Mike Martz can find the holes in Green Bay's defense. I can only hope that the Bears front seven will continue to annihilate the run and pressure Rodgers into getting rid of the ball before he can find Jennings or Driver deep in what's still a pretty sketchy secondary.

I honestly can't even venture a guess as to what's going to happen on Monday. But I have legitimate hope that the Bears can win this game. I'll take that for now. ON WITH THE HATRED!