Re: Positional Power Rankings: QB packages
The good thing about a quarterback competition? Plenty of depth. The bad thing: No true No. 1 guy. Granted, Derek Anderson did lead the Browns to the playoff doorstep with a wildly successful 2007, but failed so much last year that most local fans and media expect former first-round pick Brady Quinn to win the gig this fall. If Quinn fulfills his hype, the Browns have a strong group of passers along with prospect Brett Ratliff, a Mangini favorite from his stint with the Jets. But if not, the Browns have to go QB hunting in next year's draft.
While it's tough to judge a rookie QB before he takes a big-league snap, Matt Stafford's presence is giving lots of Lions fans some real hope. Just don't hope for much THIS season. That said, if Daunte Culpepper is in much better shape (as he appeared to be in minicamps) and has his head back on straight, Detroit should win a few games this season ... which for them ain't too shabby. He can keep the seat warm until "The Franchise" is ready to take over.
Call the Jets' QB race "Young and Younger." Kellen Clemens has his chance to win the starting gig and is currently atop the team depth chart, but frankly, it's probably the best chance he'll ever have. Realistically he needs to light up the Jets' practice field this summer to have a shot at starting, judging from the buzz around New York's glamour rookie Sanchez. While the road may be rugged in '08, at least Rex Ryan and the Jets seemingly have their franchise quarterback.
For a team that hasn't yet decided on a starting QB, Tampa Bay sure does have plenty of interesting choices. They have three veterans gunning for the top spot in McCown, Leftwich and Griese (though Griese's absence at team OTAs may point to an eventual release). Behind them are two greenies — the Bucs' former hot QB prospect (Johnson) and current (Freeman, the team's first-round pick from April). With so many arms, has QB addict former head coach Jon Gruden really been fired?
The Raiders lead the league in recognizable names at quarterback. Other than that, this group leads in nothing but question marks. The jury is WAY out on former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell "getting it" this season. Walter has never been good enough to get his shot by the Bay, and both Gradkowski and Frye flamed out in prior, brief stints as NFL starters. Give Al Davis credit for a smart move in bringing in feisty veteran Jeff Garcia this offseason, even though he seems a poor fit for the owner's "Mad Bomber" philosophy.
John David Booty
As of this writing, this ranking does not include a certain veteran from Mississippi. So judging the quarterbacks currently on the roster, it's clear why coach Brad Childress is entertaining Brett Favre — even at his age and physical condition. You can argue that Favre's been wrong in how he's handled all of his retirement drama the past few years, but not the reason for his current summer fling — the Vikings are one QB from a Super Bowl run. Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson would be hoped simply not to screw it up as a starter.
There's a big battle going on for the Niners' top spot, but a battle of mediocrity considering past NFL experience. Hill is the incumbent, who put up surprising decent numbers last season (62.8% completed, 13 TDs, 8 INT). Mr. Smith is healed both mentally and physically, and OTA reports are grading him well. Huard is a solid veteran to help guide the youngsters. For a rebuilding team with no true bonafide franchise stud, at least the 49ers have some options .... even if they're not Joe Montana or Steve Young.
Well, Josh McDaniels, you'd better be right about Kyle Orton. Denver fans will not react well if Orton fails to lead Denver to the postseason, and especially if the Broncos' ex Jay Cutler gets to play deep into January. While Orton is 21-12 as an NFL starter and nearly pushed Chicago to the playoffs a year ago, he lacks the elite skillset of a Cutler. Some around Denver wonder if Orton will even beat out Chris Simms for the starting job. For reference, Simms' last starting experience came in 2006 in Tampa, where he went 0-3 with 1 TD and 7 INTs ... and somewhere, Broncos fans moan.
by Adrian Hasenmayer, FOXSports.com
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