With the start of the 2013 NFL season just 143 days away and given the quarterback moves which have already taken place around the league, it might be time to look at the top ten quarterback questions surrounding the league for next season. Quarterback is arguably the most important position in professional football. Not every team has a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and that was illustrated in a flurry of moves that saw teams scramble for a stable of mediocre quarterbacks. The NFL world was spoiled last season with an incredible class of rookie quarterbacks, something we likely won’t see this year as reflected by the recent moves by Arizona, Buffalo and Oakland.
There will however be some very interesting storylines to watch around the league this year as several teams try to find answers and the position under center.
10- Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles– Vick agreed to a contract reduction in order to stay in Philadelphia. It is going to be interesting to watch the Eagles under rookie head coach Chip Kelly. How much of his high octane Oregon offense can he integrate into the NFL. How many games will Vick miss this season?
9- Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns– The Browns have a new owner, front office, offensive coordinator and head coach. The Browns were rumored to be interested in trading for New England Patriots backup Ryan Mallett this offseason as general manager Michael Lombardi is reportedly interested. Weeden will be pushed this offseason by Jason Campbell, who has more starting experience and a strong arm.
8- Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals– The turnstile keeps spinning in Arizona as the Cardinals continue to struggle to find a replacement for Kurt Warner. Palmer will be an improvement in the desert, but let’s be serious, how could the quarterback play get any worse? Arizona needs to improve their offensive line or Palmer is going to be seeing a lot of the turf at University of Phoenix Stadium. Cardinals continue their quarterback search in the 2013 draft.
7- Tim Tebow, New York Jets– What does the future hold for the most polarizing quarterback of the 2011 season? He’s done in New York. Will another team grab him when he’s released? Is he open to changing his position? Will he join the CFL in hopes of honing his skills?
6- Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers– The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week that 2013 might be Philip Rivers last audition with the team. Rivers was an ardent supporter of controversial head coach Norv Turner. His security blanket is gone and Rivers’ turnovers must stop. Rivers has accounted for 45 turnovers through interceptions and fumbles in the last two seasons. His offensive line hasn’t helped, allowing 79 sacks during that period, but the bottom line is that Rivers counts $17 million against the cap this season and has a $13.8 base salry in 2014.
5- Mark Sanchez, New York Jets– Interesting that two Jets quarterbacks make the list. Prior to the start of free agency, rumors circulated around the league that the Jets might be open to a trade for Sanchez. However, he is locked into a confiscatory contract, which was a horrible move by the front office. I would not be surprised to see free agent acquisition David Garrard beat Sanchez out of the starting job. If not in training camp, by October. Rex Ryan’s future in New York is riding on the team’s play in 2013.
4- Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs– First-year coach Andy Reid wasted little time in upgrading the quarterback position for the Chiefs. Faced with drafting first overall for the first time in franchise history, Reid went with a proven commodity while trading for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. Ws Smith’s solid play a result of the Niners system or has his career turned the corner? If Smith can continue to limit the turnovers, the Chiefs could be the most improved team in the NFL during the 2013 season.
3- Kevin Kolb, Buffalo Bills– Is Kolb over hyped or has his career just had a few tough breaks? Kolb struggled with injuries and turnovers in Arizona. Rookie head coach Doug Marrone wants to employ an up-tempo offense similar to what the Bills ran with Jim Kelly in the 1990’s. I believe Kolb struggles with this fast paced attack.
2- Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings– The Vikings qualified for post-season play in 2012 but that was due more to the legs of RB Adrian Peterson and not the arm of Christian Ponder. Minnesota finished the season ranked 31st in passing offense. The Vikings brought in free agent Matt Cassel via free agency and he could see some action if Ponder can’t take his development to the next level.
1- Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins– RG III was one of the phenomenal rookies in last year’s quarterback class. Griffin is rehabbing from yet another ACL surgery. Head coach Mike Shanahan was questioned for exposing Griffin during games and you have to wonder if his style of play will be dialed back in 2013.