Monday, April 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

As I sit here at the end of the day I got struck with inspiration, right from the goatee framed mouth of Mark Schlereth. You see with the recent lock out (No, I have no commentary on the forced mediation) we've had to endure what seems like more QB speculation than normal as teams start thinking that they MUST draft a QB as the NFL slowly forgets that runningback used to be a solo not a barbershop quartet. But I'm getting off track, teams need QB's it's the most important position bar none. Good running teams in the NFL used to make the playoffs even if their QB was only playing mediocre to average. Perfect example of how that's changed, two seasons ago the Titans had only the 6th 2000 yard runner ever in CHris Johnson they were getting iffy to acceptable play from QB Vince Young. So what happened to this speed driven offense with their quarterback who so often bailed Texas out by just taking over games? Surely when combined with an incredible talent like Johnson this dynamic duo shook up the world raising a Lombardi trophy bathed in the bright lights and blue-silver confetti of victory.
Nope! Not even close, actually they missed the playoffs. You see what I'm talking about the game is all about the quarterback position and what you;ve done there lately (just ask the NFC West). So in that spirit we have to talk about free agent QB's and I don't mean Bulger I'm talking about the only two QB's who I think have a chance at making a big difference in the team they go to next season. I'm speaking of course about Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb.
This time last year there was no lock out, people could've cared less about preseason, all people were worried about is that anticipation that one feels when the snow finally melts away from the football field and people might look in their stadiums or their living rooms for the unmistakable arc of a perfect spiral against a blue autumn sky. Hope springs eternal in the offseason and these two are a much needed booster shot if you put them in the right system.
I'm gonna start with McNabb, McNabb has recently come up in the conversation for the Minnesota Vikings. I'm being really flexible with how i use recently because really these rumors have been going on since last offseason while the whole of Viking nation sat with baited breath waiting for Brett Favre to come back to the dome. In reality it would have been a good choice to take Donovan but hindsight is 20/20. McNabb would fit well with the Vikings for a couple of the very same reasons that things didn't work out with the Redskins. The Vikings' window to claim the Lombardi trophy, and provide some vindication for robbing my friend Eli Leonard of all hope every year, is rapidly closing. Some think a young gun at QB is the answer and I can definitely see where fans of the Vikings would get that feeling. However there is a very solid argument that it would be best to put a band aid on it and make one last run.
McNabb could be that band aid. In Washington McNabb had one true receiver a tight end and a half and a running game that was spotty at best especially after Clinton Portis suffered a very painful sounding groin injury. In addition to all of that the Shanahans contributed next to nothing but a circus atmosphere and treated the future hall of famer like he was something they found at the bottom of their shoe. Does this sound like a formula for victory? Didn't think so. With the Vikings McNabb would find some younger more explosive weapons to take the weight off him (Harvin, Rice, Peterson) a better offensive line unit than where he was living previously. And I just get the feeling that Frazier will not abuse McNabb in the same inexcusable fashion that the Shanahans did.
Then of course there's Kolb, this time last year there was NO WAY, none, zilch, zero way that anyone could have predicted such an unfortunate change in fortune for Kolb. Last offseason McNabb was on the trade block with Mike Vick as the Eagles waited in vain for a QB market to open up for Vick. Rumors swirled, McNabb to Arizona, no Oakland, no Minnesota, Carolina? Washington? Nope that could never happen. Regardless the message was abundantly clear, Donovan was the past, Kevin the future. The storyline was perfect, a young smart QB with a very specific yet impressive stat to his name (first QB to ever throw back to back 300 yd games in his first two starts). A young core of skill players from human highlight reel DeSean Jackson to underestimated running back LeSean McCoy. Reid the Veteran coach hitting the reset button after being swept by the Cowboys. And then...Clay Matthews happened. A year later Kolb is the hottest commodity on the fictional free agent market (which is like being worth 20 million theoretical dollars on South Park). Kolb's young, reportedly commands respect and has a decent arm that could flourish given the chance in a west coast system predicated on short passes.
But obviously these two carry some problems, other wise they'd have contracts where they are now (unless of course you are McNabb in which case I'd just not come to Redskins camp just to see how many times Shanahan made me do the conditioning test before he realizes that he's lost the rest of the locker room). Well McNabb is getting along in years and closer by far to the end of his career than the beginning. He wasn't effective last year, missing easy throws and struggled throughout the season. Though in fairness there's really no reason to ever think that Rex Grossman was better than where you were. Kolb's record as a starter isn't all that impressive (I think it's 1-5) and there isn't a ton of film on him as a result. Also I do have my suspicions that Kolb may have his stats inflated thanks to DeSean and co.
Regardless those are my two impact free agent QB's. To those of you wondering where Palmer was on this list there's some reasons for this.
1. I do not do Palmer speculation, both the quarterback's I mentioned are for sure leaving their current teams. Palmer hasn't been traded and might retire just to escape the Bengals
2. Carson's not going to make a huge impact due to his injuries. He's not the same since 2005 when he suffered a truly awful knee injury.
Tomorrow: A look at the decline of the running back position and the rise of overly crowded backfields.

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