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 All starts under center (Harrington benched by week 3) 
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All Starts Under Center
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By Jeff Moore

Shakespeare once wrote, "The play's the thing." In the NFL, it is more like, "The play of the QB is the thing."

NFL training camps open in around six weeks. Most teams have completed a majority of their planning for the 2005 season. Free agency, the draft, and the odd trade all are designed to bring in the best prospects that can be found in order that they compete against each other and yield the best team possible that will then play towards the ultimate goal of an NFL championship.

How well these teams will do is of course unknown, right? After all, this is the salary cap era of NFL football and anyone can beat anyone on any given Sunday, right?

Don't think so. After all the talk of parity and salary cap and draft picks the NFL more than ever boils down to the play of the man who touches the ball on every offensive snap, the quarterback.

The NFL is a passing league. While it has a way to go in order to catch up with the Canadian Football League (CFL) where the top QB passes for 6,000 yards (not meters), make no mistake the so-called "smash-mouth football" is a thing of the past. Lost in the dust kicked up by Jim Brown and Larry Csonka all those years ago.

Colleges are now turning out pro-caliber QBs who play in pass-oriented offenses and these guys are the ones who are winning Heisman trophies (no Heisman trophy this decade has gone to a RB). These QBs don't get drafted in the first round so they can turn around and hand the ball off. So, pass or perish.

Need more proof? Look at the playoff teams last year and their starting QB:

Patriots: Tom Brady
Jets: Chad Pennington
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger
Colts: Peyton Manning
Chargers: Drew Brees
Broncos: Jake Plummer
Eagles:Donovan McNabb
Packers: Brett Favre
Vikings: Daunte Culpepper
Falcons: Mike Vick
Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck
Rams: Marc Bulger

Maybe you aren't convinced that Hasselbeck or Bulger should be on list. Ask yourself this question: who is a better QB in the NFC than these two guys? Rex Grossman? Aaron Brooks?

Like it or not, the trend is clear. The best QB play gets your team into the playoffs. If your QB is going to play at the level of the bottom third of your conference, then your team stays home in January.

The recent "emphasis" on calling illegal contact on a receiver, the banning of the horse-collar tackle and the pass interference call that goes to point of the foul, all these rules are designed to encourage the passing game and discourage defenses from making too many plays on the wideouts.

Two years ago, no playoff team had a RB in the top 10 in rushing. While last year's playoff teams could run the football, the quality QB remains the common factor.

Before camps open, the playoff teams are almost decided. The teams who had a good QB held onto him and those teams who didn't have a good signal-caller couldn't find one.

The biggest QB move this offseason was Drew Bledsoe moving from the Buffalo Bills to the Dallas Cowboys. What kind of improvement is this? Bledsoe is being replaced by second-year man J.P. Losman. It is difficult to call Losman a second-year player since his leg was broken in the preseason last year and Losman missed 12 games and never started.

In fact, Losman threw only five passes in 2004 and one of them was intercepted. This is the man who replaces a 12-year veteran after the first winning season in three years?

The Bills have not made any strides with Losman. He will struggle as a rookie QB would and finding the playoffs in the AFC East will be impossible.

As for Dallas, Bledsoe may be re-united with Bill Parcells, but so was Vinny Testaverde, the guy he is replacing. There isn't much to choose from these two guys. They are the same player ? immobile and past their time. Dallas won't get a sniff of the playoffs.

The biggest QB noise this offseason was not the sound of cameras at a big press conference as the high-profile QB moved to a new team. It was the sound of cash registers ringing as teams locked up their QB so they wouldn't go anywhere.

Tom Brady signed his deal, Drew Brees was franchised, and Brett Favre was coached back from the brink of retirement. Last year, Manning and Vick signed their huge deals.

The bad news here is that all the teams who didn't have a decent QB last year didn't do anything to get one this year.

Buffalo Bills: Losman is really a rookie and he will show that often this season.

Miami Dolphins: How about this depth chart? A.J. Feely, Gus Frerotte, and Sage Rosenfels. Dolphin fans, you better hope Ricky Williams comes back and that he brings his good stuff with him to help you forget how bad your QB situation is. (And I don't mean Ricky's running talents.)

Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Boller? How can Brian Billick be a genius by sticking with this guy? Remember, Billick is an offense guy and the Ravens haven't had an offense since ... nevermore.

Cincinnati Bengals: I like Marvin Lewis as much as the next guy (as a coach). Too bad he can't throw. David Klingler, Akili Smith, Carson Palmer. High pick, low return, no playoffs.

Cleveland Browns: Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, and some guy named Josh Harris. Why do people still live in Cleveland? No, really.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Does anyone really believe that Byron Leftwich is on the verge of a breakthrough season? These must be the same people who believe that Mike Tyson is just starting his comeback.

Houston Texans: I had a great deal of respect for David Carr when he was sacked over 50 times in his rookie season. I respected the fact that he got up every time and went back to the huddle. This guy threw for over 3,500 yards last year and who knows it? That's because he throws it between the 20s and then can't find anyone. No points for yards, only TDs.

Tennessee Titans: Steve McNair was one of the best in the NFL, but he can't stay healthy for a season and the Titans can't get past the Colts or the Jags with Billy Volek. Unless the Titans encase McNair in steel, he won't make it through the year and the Titans will continue their downward spiral into salary cap purgatory.

Kansas City Chiefs: This team is the exception. QB Trent Green is a player although he was a very slow starter last year. He threw for 27 TDs last year and most likely it was the defense that kept the Chiefs out of the playoffs. Green's success is also a mystery when you look at the Chiefs WR depth chart. There is no one to throw the ball to and yet Green puts up 4,500 yards. Okay, this one doesn't count. Maybe Green could play defense, too.

Oakland Raiders: Rich Gannon will most likely retire because of injury leaving the team solely in the hands of Kerry Collins. Sure, he can throw the deep ball and that's what Al Davis wants. That's Raider football and so is underachieving. If Collins was the answer, the Giants wouldn't have jettisoned him for Kurt Warner and then-rookie Eli Manning.

New York Giants: Not yet, Eli. You are still the little brother.

Dallas Cowboys: Statues with the Star.

Washington Redskins: QB depth chart is Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, and Jason Campbell. What, no Danny Wuerffel or Babe Laufenberg? Has Steve Spurrier really left town?

Detroit Lions: Joey Harrington will be benched by Week 3 for Jeff Garcia. But Garcia fell apart in Cleveland and the Motor City doesn't settle for re-builds.

Chicago Bears: When a team brings in Jeff George, you know that the panic button has just been pushed.

New Orleans Saints: Aaron Brooks and Kordell Stewart are the same guy. They keep turning corners in their career, but after you turn four corners, you are right back to where you started.

Carolina Panthers: Jake Delhomme, Stefan LeFors, and Chris Weinke. Weren't these guys the Three Musketeers? They aren't NFL QBs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There was a time when Griese in Florida meant success. We call it the 1970s.

Arizona Cardinals: Do I have to say anything? Why is this team considered an NFL franchise? These guys are so bad the league shipped one of their home games to Mexico. Really, the NFL is trying to use NAFTA to rid themselves of these guys.

San Francisco 49ers: Guess who Arizona's opponent is when they play their "home" game in Mexico? If the Minuteman are still patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border, they may not allow either team to return as their play is "un-American."

So, there you have it. After each team has played their 16-game season, we will have the same playoff teams as last year. The Q-factor will be too much to overcome this year and the best QB play will get their team into the playoffs.


June 22nd, 2005, 12:48 am
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If Joey is benched by game 3, then he and Mooch (along with his 5 mil/yr contract) should be on the next Greyhound.

Joey had good numbers last year save the win column. What were Mooch's numbers?

With a full arsenal Joey will bloom and it won't be because Mooch is a great coach. It will be because the kid finally has some toys to play with.

Joe Montana or Joe Thiesman would have been average QB's in Detroit.

Daute Culpepper or Donavan McNabb's careers would have been over by now.

Give the man a fighting chance, he will prove worthy.


June 22nd, 2005, 1:13 am
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Wow, that's pretty harsh, especially on Zona. He doesn't give credit where credit is due. Warner is decent, definately not great. He's been there, done that; he knows how to get it done.

Why would Joey be benched by week 3? How can he do that bad against GB, Chi, and a BYE week??? I mean, I know Joey isn't a stud, but how can he do bad on a BYE week? He'll make it at least through GB, Chi, TB, and possibly pulled against a ferocious Baltimore secondary.

I'm going to expect Joey to dominate up until W5 when they play Baltimore, that's when he'll get destroyed by McAlister, Deion, Rolle, Lewis, Reed, Suggs, and possibly Cody. That's 6 potential perennial PBers (leaving Cody out, but I expect him to get around 9 sacks this year).


June 22nd, 2005, 7:54 am
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I expect Joey to shine againist Baltimore, this will be his break out game. it could be the key game for Detoit this season.

If those receivers can't get open this week, then we will see the Ravens in the Superbowl.

Honey, hand me another Bud, please.


June 22nd, 2005, 8:01 am
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Post Re: All starts under center (Harrington benched by week 3)
The Jackass who wrote this article wrote:
Like it or not, the trend is clear. The best QB play gets your team into the playoffs. If your QB is going to play at the level of the bottom third of your conference, then your team stays home in January.


Which is exactly how I determined my Power Rankings laughing7.gif

The Jackass who wrote this article wrote:
Arizona Cardinals: Do I have to say anything? Why is this team considered an NFL franchise? These guys are so bad the league shipped one of their home games to Mexico. Really, the NFL is trying to use NAFTA to rid themselves of these guys.


SCREW YOU! :finger: :finger: :finger:

I don't even think he was aware of the Kurt Warner signing.

What team is he a fan of? I'm willing to bet the Cardinals have a better season than his team.


June 22nd, 2005, 12:13 pm
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Gosh, I have more bashing to do.

He wasn't aware of the Warner signing... I really don't think he was... he never once mentioned it, and said that the Bledsoe signing was the biggest...

Quote:
Cincinnati Bengals: I like Marvin Lewis as much as the next guy (as a coach). Too bad he can't throw. David Klingler, Akili Smith, Carson Palmer. High pick, low return, no playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Does anyone really believe that Byron Leftwich is on the verge of a breakthrough season? These must be the same people who believe that Mike Tyson is just starting his comeback.

Carolina Panthers: Jake Delhomme, Stefan LeFors, and Chris Weinke. Weren't these guys the Three Musketeers? They aren't NFL QBs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There was a time when Griese in Florida meant success. We call it the 1970s.


Top 12 quarterbacks in the NFL per QB rating last season:
1. Peyton Manning 121.1
2. Daunte Culpepper 110.9
3. Drew Brees 104.8
4. Donovan McNabb 104.7
5. Ben Roethlisberger 98.1
6. Brian Griese 97.5
7. Trent Green 95.2
8. Marc Bulger 93.7
9. Tom Brady 92.6
10. Brett Favre 92.4
11. Chad Pennington 91.0
12. Jake Delhomme 87.3

Where is Vick? 78.1. Wow.
Where is Hasselbeck? 83.1. Behind Warner, behind Carr, and barely ahead of Leftwich (82.2)
Where is Plummer? Behind Warner and Billy Volek (whom I won't argue for)

And you can't use that reasoning for Leftwich. That's just terrible. He was .9 points behind Hasselbeck last season. Yet Hasselbeck is a fine quarterback in the playoffs.

Palmer could easily break out this season, with the targets he has, a year under his belt, yet he draws Akili Smith comparisons.

Just, Wow.


June 22nd, 2005, 12:22 pm
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Quote:
Chicago Bears: When a team brings in Jeff George, you know that the panic button has just been pushed.
Now, if only the Bear fans would admit it........... :D

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June 22nd, 2005, 12:43 pm
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Post Re: All starts under center (Harrington benched by week 3)
Brian wrote:
The Jackass who wrote this article wrote:
Arizona Cardinals: Do I have to say anything? Why is this team considered an NFL franchise? These guys are so bad the league shipped one of their home games to Mexico. Really, the NFL is trying to use NAFTA to rid themselves of these guys.


SCREW YOU! :finger: :finger: :finger:

I don't even think he was aware of the Kurt Warner signing.

What team is he a fan of? I'm willing to bet the Cardinals have a better season than his team.


Brian, in all fairness, you can't honestly expect the Cards to make a deep run into the playoffs with Warner as the QB, do you? Granted, the guy isn't Bledsoe or Testaverde, but he's in no way capable of leading such a young team to the holy grail. Not to mention, what will they do next year? Try to take a run at Brees? Sell the farm to get Leinart or Young? Once again let McCown take over? Sign Warner long term???

Zona might have a good year this year, I'm not doubting that, 9-7 is my prediction, but they need a solution. Detroit's in the same solution...except if Joey doesn't pull top 10 QB stats this year, the Lions will be looking for 2 QBs!!!

Warner isn't the answer, just like Garcia isn't the answer.


June 22nd, 2005, 12:56 pm
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Post Re: All starts under center (Harrington benched by week 3)
conversion02 wrote:
Brian, in all fairness, you can't honestly expect the Cards to make a deep run into the playoffs with Warner as the QB, do you? Granted, the guy isn't Bledsoe or Testaverde, but he's in no way capable of leading such a young team to the holy grail. Not to mention, what will they do next year? Try to take a run at Brees? Sell the farm to get Leinart or Young? Once again let McCown take over? Sign Warner long term???

Zona might have a good year this year, I'm not doubting that, 9-7 is my prediction, but they need a solution. Detroit's in the same solution...except if Joey doesn't pull top 10 QB stats this year, the Lions will be looking for 2 QBs!!!

Warner isn't the answer, just like Garcia isn't the answer.


I fully expect the Cardinals to win the NFC West and go to the playoffs. They are the best team in the NFC West, and would have won it last season if they weren't complete idiots against the 49ers.

Do I expect them to go to the conference championship or even win a playoff game? No.

Kurt Warner is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league. Look at his statistics last season, better than Hasselbeck. He's the second best QB in the NFC West.

Why not re-sign Warner? Sure, they could use someone behind him, but if Warner has a great season, wouldn't he be a solution to the quarterback problems Arizona has had the past decade?

Arizona is looking at winning NOW. Not taking a young quarterback and grooming him for the future. That's not how Denny operates. They aren't going to go after Brees because he doesn't have a strong arm. That's vital to the vertical Cardinals offense.

Warner >>>>>>>>> Garcia


June 22nd, 2005, 3:13 pm
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Whoa Brian, lay off the kool-aid. They're in the same division as Seattle, right? I still think that Seattle is the team to beat in that division. IF they make the playoffs I think it would be as the Wild Card

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June 22nd, 2005, 3:49 pm
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TheRealWags wrote:
Whoa Brian, lay off the kool-aid. They're in the same division as Seattle, right? I still think that Seattle is the team to beat in that division. IF they make the playoffs I think it would be as the Wild Card


Shaun Alexander may not even report to camp. He's dead-set on a contract extention.

They lost all their starting linebackers (Orlando Huff, Anthony Simmons, Chad Brown), a starting CB (Ken Lucas), as well as a starting DE (Chike Okeafor).

Arizona took two of these players; Huff and Okeafor, which his killing two birds with one stone.

Is it asking way too much for a 9-7 team to go down one game with the off-season they had?


June 22nd, 2005, 8:18 pm
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Brian wrote:
Is it asking way too much for a 9-7 team to go down one game with the off-season they had?
No I don't think it is asking too much, but it may be asking too much of a 6-10 team with 2nd year HC and a lot of new players to improve 2 games.... Actually I think that 9-7 may win that division again, I just don't see the Cards winning 9 games. I think St. Louis will surprise a lot of people this year in that division.

My prediction for that division:

Rams 9-7
Seattle 9-7
Cards 7-9
49ers 4-12

But what the hell do I know :lol:

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June 23rd, 2005, 9:29 am
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TheRealWags wrote:
My prediction for that division:

Rams 9-7
Seattle 9-7
Cards 7-9
49ers 4-12

But what the hell do I know :lol:


Wags, I like your predictions. I think St. Louis will be the team to beat in this year in the NFCW. The Rams offense is extremely explosive with some of the best receivers and RBs in the game (Faulk is a solid pass catcher and 3rd down back and Jackson is emerging as a solid starting back), not to mention a very efficient and accurate QB. They've added a lot of new players to their D, upgrading it, but not not taking it to that serious playoff caliber D. Rams could go 10-6 IMO. Seattle and Zona are a wash IMO. 9-7 or 8-8.


June 23rd, 2005, 9:59 am
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Cardinals 2005 Schedule:

@ NY Giants - W (Beat them last season, why not again this year?)
St. Louis - W (KILLED them last year, will do it again)
@ Seattle - L (Division Champs @ Home? Uh ohhh)
San Francisco - W (It's the Niners)
Carolina - L (Panthers are a good team, thromped us last year)
Tennessee - W (Chow can't work miracles)
@ Dallas - One of the three hard games to call
Seattle - W (Beat em last year, can do it again)
@ Detroit - L (Detroit's got us the last 2 times)
@ St. Louis - W (Lost by a TD last year, when we threw a pick and fumbled in the end zone)
Jacksonville - One of the three hard games to call
@ San Francisco - W (It's the Niners)
Washington - W (It's the Redskins...)
@ Houston - One of the three hard games to call
Philadelphia - W (they won't play McNabb and Owens this late)
@ Indianapolis - W (all their starters will be resting at this point)

So I see us at worst 10-6, at best 13-3

10-6 is my prediction.


June 23rd, 2005, 11:34 am
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Brian, by your optimistic predictions, the Cards will be 11-3 going into Philly. Now, wouldn't Denny rest his "stars" against these two teams since 11 wins means winning the division and locking up a playoff spot? If that's the case, I think Philly and Indy both have the better teams. I'm sure Denny would rather finish 11-5 and have a good chance at winning a playoff game rather than finishing 13-3, drafting higher, and playing a playoff game with tired players.

By your normal predictions though, the Cards HAVE to beat both Philly and Indy to get playoff spots (unless they get in at 9-7 and the NFC sucks like last year). Either way, those last two games are critical and Indy and Philly might not be posting amazing records and could use a win to get home field advantage.

Beating St. Louis twice? Wow. They've improved their LBers a bit and their O is awesome. Warner won't beat his old team.

Terry Fair - 4 picks this year >>> Cards beating St. Louis twice.


June 23rd, 2005, 12:04 pm
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