Quarterback carousel hits full speed
With the mid-way point of the season just around the corner, teams that have come out of the gate struggling have started to look towards the future of their quarterback position. Other teams have been forced to make moves due to injury, but either way, the quarterback carousel is revving up to full speed this weekend. Three weeks ago, only one team (Jacksonville) had made a switch at quarterback, but heading into week 7, as many as eight teams will be starting a different quarterback than started the season for them. Most surprisingly, the 49ers and Alex Smith are not included. Wonders never cease. A rundown of the teams starting new quarterbacks this weekend, after the jump.
Rex Grossman has thrown his way out of the starting lineup, getting benched last week during his 4-interception performance against Philadelphia. John Beck, who battled for and nearly won the starting job during the preseason, will take over for the 2nd-place Redskins against the Carolina Panthers. Beck and Grossman have similar physical tools, but Mike Shanahan and the Redskins are hoping that Beck makes better decisions with the football. His almost-rally last week secured the job this week, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two quarterbacks change back and forth down the stretch this season.
The Tebow era has begun, and the gospel of Tebow is already being written. Denver has struggled in a lot of areas this season, and Kyle Orton’s lifeless performance last week against San Diego at home earned him a spot on the bench. Tim Tebow replaced him at halftime and seemed to give the offense a bit of a spark, so the position is his the rest of the way. He’s had two weeks now, with the bye week, of first team reps and the Broncos travel to Miami, where the Dolphins are hosting a “Gator Day” and celebrating Tim Tebow’s national championship while he was a Florida Gator, so prepare yourself for the deluge of Tebow-love that will be flooding your television screens this weekend. The timing is so perfect, it’s almost as if it were fate or some divine power was behind it. Barring injury, Tebow is the quarterback the rest of the way, and he’ll be playing for his position as the quarterback of Denver’s future.
Donovan McNabb has skipped his last pass in Minnesota. Christian Ponder replaced McNabb in the 4th quarter of the embarrassing defeat suffered by the Vikings last Sunday against the rival Chicago Bears, and looked decent enough to not get sent back to the bench. He was drafted to be the future of the franchise, and at 1-5, there is no better time than now to see what the future holds. He’ll be making his first start against the defending Super Bowl champion and last undefeated team of the NFL Green Bay Packers, so congratulations? Dom Capers should give him plenty to think about this Sunday.
Just when Jason Campbell was looking like a decent starting quarterback, he goes and breaks his collar bone, possibly ending his season. The Raiders, who treat the Al Davis adage “Just win baby” as gospel, traded away two draft picks to bring Carson Palmer off Cincinnati’s shelf and into the silver and black of Oakland. With less than a week of practice under his belt, Palmer will be the starter for the Raiders against the Chiefs this weekend, as his offensive coordinator stated: “If he’s breathing, he’s starting.” That’s got to make Kyle Boller feel good. Just when he gets a chance to maybe start a few games for a playoff contender, they mortgage their future to bring in a guy who hasn’t taken a snap all season and name him the starter unless he dies. Find some joy in holding that clipboard, Kyle, cause it’s the best you’re likely to do.
These teams join Jacksonville, Miami and Indianapolis in changing their quarterback. The Jaguars handed the reigns over to rookie Blaine Gabbert sooner than expected once the team realized Luke McCown was David Garrard’s backup for a reason. The Dolphins lost their starter to a shoulder injury as the ghost of Chad Pennington took down Chad Henne, leaving Miami in Matt Moore’s hands, but if Moore continues to struggle, Dolphin fans can look forward to Sage Rosenfels calling the plays. Colts perennial All-World quarterback Peyton Manning has been out the entire year due to a neck injury and his replacement Kerry Collins was terrible and then got a concussion, so the backup to Peyton last year, Curtis Painter, has been doing his best to hold onto his sweet clipboard holding job once Peyton comes back. The rest of the league should be set at quarterback barring any injuries, but watch this weekend as these stand-ins try to make people forget why they were buried on the depth chart when the season began.