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Old 12-17-2006, 03:03 AM   #1
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Default It has been a long, troubling year for QBs

Sunday, December 17, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



It's the Year of the Quarterback in the NFL, and not the kind many of them want to celebrate. It was kicked off by Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle mishap in June and has gone pretty much downhill since.

He's not the only quarterback who had his share of misery this year. Indeed, for all that happened to Roethlisberger, he's at least still standing, and in the pocket, too, as he prepares to try to help his team avoid a losing season when the Steelers play the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. today.

"For whatever reasons, things just haven't gone as smoothly as we wanted them to and he's endured all that," teammate Hines Ward said. "This year will only make him stronger. When you're almost close to losing your life, it can really make this a humbling experience."

At least Roethlisberger is a football survivor. That can't be said for fellow members of the quarterback club, many of whom have lost their jobs and one who also almost lost his life on the field of play. This has been a leap year for them because they've either hurdled so many problems or had their positions as starters yanked out from under them.

Look at Jake Delhomme of the Panthers -- one of the unlucky four quarterbacks from football's final four last season. He could miss a second consecutive game today with a thumb injury, and he also has been a target of irate Carolina fans who believe he's most responsible for the team's 6-7 record.

Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck missed four games with a knee injury and Denver's Jake Plummer played so poorly he was benched with a 7-4 record for rookie Jay Cutler.

Take the first two quarterbacks the Steelers faced this season. Daunte Culpepper was supposed to lead Miami into the playoffs after a trade from Minnesota. Instead, he has been replaced by Joey Harrington and put on injured reserve because of his previous ACL surgery. Jacksonville's Byron Leftwich, thought to be the long-term starter, beat the Steelers, then had an ankle injury and was benched and may never play for the Jaguars again.

Kansas City's Trent Green missed eight games -- including a 45-7 loss in Heinz Field -- after a severe concussion in the opener, but has since returned as the Chiefs' starter.

Cleveland's injured Charlie Frye missed the recent game against the Steelers and probably won't play today against the Ravens as Derek Anderson auditions for his job.

Aaron Brooks began the season as Oakland's starter, missed seven games and has since returned, but the 2-11 Raiders' aren't sure they want him for 2007.

Tampa Bay's Chris Simms lost his spleen after a rough loss to Carolina in the third game and was placed on injured reserve. Drew Bledsoe lost his starting job in Dallas to Tony Romo at mid-season.

Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb was lost to yet another injury.

Rookies Matt Leinart in Arizona and Vince Young in Tennessee replaced veterans who started the season. Second-year man Jason Campbell bumped veteran Mark Brunell as Washington's quarterback during the season. There's unrest in Chicago over Rex Grossman, in Atlanta with Michael Vick, in New York with Eli Manning and there should be in Green Bay with Brett Favre, who waited forever before deciding not to retire before this season.

Injuries, lack of patience and the emergence of young players have made this a season of upheaval for NFL quarterbacks.

"Some of it is they just are not satisfied with what their starting quarterback has given them and they're trying to find a better option," said former Steelers and Bills personnel boss Tom Donahoe. "But no question some is impatience. Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll wouldn't make it today. The fans always like the No. 2 quarterback, whoever it is -- until you have to play him."

Said Steelers coach Bill Cowher, "The bottom line is doing what you think gives you the best chance to win week to week."

The Steelers have one of the more stable quarterback positions in the game today. Roethlisberger, 24, has endured an appendectomy that kept him out of the opener, a concussion at midseason and more interceptions than anyone would like. But his coaches and teammates believe going through this season could benefit his future play.

"I would judge him based on the two years he had before this," offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "People are quick to judge him based on one year where he's had some setbacks, but the one thing he hasn't done is gone into a shell. He certainly hasn't let it affect him from the standpoint of how he works on the field and how he works in the game. I think that's going to make him better in the long run."

Said Ward, "As a teammate, you appreciate what he's been through. He's been a stand-up guy and never deterred from that. He's our quarterback, and he's a leader of this team. Other guys have to rally around you; we're all in this together. It's only going to help him and us as a team grow and get better."
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Old 12-17-2006, 03:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: It has been a long, troubling year for QBs

Some dude named C. Lemon was the Dolphins QB today! Who the hell is he???
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: It has been a long, troubling year for QBs

Some guy named T. Rattay lead a great comback against the bears today with 3 TDs in the 4th quarter but lost in overtime.
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: It has been a long, troubling year for QBs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillers43 View Post
Some dude named C. Lemon was the Dolphins QB today! Who the hell is he???
Cleo Lemon is a really solid backup QB. The Dolphins got him from the Chargers last year.

And it hasn't been a bad year for all QB's, just the veterens pretty much.
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