QB controversies already brewing

Posted Sept. 20, 2010 @ 2:19 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

The season is just two weeks young, but QB controversies are already beginning to brew for nearly one-third of the teams.

With the pressure to win now in today's NFL so immense, several teams who had high hopes but have gotten off to slow starts could be looking to make changes at the most crucial position on the field in the coming weeks in a desperate effort to salvage their season.

PFW's editors analyze each of these unsettled QB situations and let you know when, or if, a change might occur. (Teams are listed in alphabetical order):

Arizona

The skinny: Derek Anderson is looking very much like he did the previous two seasons in Cleveland. He has thrown only one TD pass the first two games, he has a very mediocre 54.2 completion percentage and he has no touch whatsoever on his passes. It appears fan favorite Max Hall is definitely looking over Anderson's shoulder, and it would not be a total shock if head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who doesn't have much patience, makes another change, especially if Anderson continues to look as bad as he did in Week Two against Atlanta  

Our call: Anderson's leash grows shorter with every bad outing. He could use a strong performance this Sunday very badly.

Baltimore

The skinny: QB Joe Flacco threw four interceptions in Baltimore's 15-10 loss at Cincinnati in Week Two, and he has committed six turnovers (five picks, one fumble) in two games thus far. Overall, the Ravens have scored just 20 points in two games. Backup Marc Bulger signed a rich contract for a reserve in June and had success as a starter in St. Louis.

Our call: The Ravens are likely to stick with Flacco, but Bulger is a very good backup, and Baltimore is clearly in win-now mode. If the Ravens disappoint, a QB change can't be ruled out.

Buffalo

The skinny: On Sunday in Green Bay, Bills QB Trent Edwards had an afternoon to forget, throwing for only 102 yards while being picked off twice and sacked four times. His week didn't get much better on Monday, when head coach Chan Gailey announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start in Week Three. The Bills' stagnant offense falls mainly on the running game, which was expected to be Buffalo's most effective way of moving the chains.

Our call: Fitzpatrick, who started eight games for the team last season, is the starter for now, but with the Patriots and Jets on the schedule the next two weeks, Edwards could be back under center soon.

Carolina

The skinny: The Panthers replaced starter Matt Moore with Jimmy Clausen in the fourth quarter of their loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday, and on Monday, head coach John Fox named Clausen the Week Three starter. Clausen, the team's top pick in this year's draft, completed six passes — the same number Moore had for the game — on his first drive vs. Tampa Bay and finished 7-for-13 passing for 59 yards with an interception. Moore was downright awful this season (40.8 percent completions, four interceptions, eight sacks) before his benching.

Our call: Fox didn't say the move was permanent, but Clausen likely would have to be terrible for the Panthers to turn things over to Moore again. 

Cleveland

The skinny: QB Jake Delhomme missed the Week Two home loss to Kansas City with an ankle injury. His replacement, Seneca Wallace, threw a 65-yard TD pass to Joshua Cribbs and completed 16-of-31 passes for 229 yards overall. However, he threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown — the Chiefs' only TD of the game.

Our call: Delhomme figures to remain the starter when he's healthy enough to return to the lineup. Both QBs have made costly mistakes early this season.

Jacksonville

The skinny: One week after posting the highest QB rating of his career, David Garrard was benched after throwing four picks in San Diego. His replacement, Luke McCown, was 11-for-20 passing for 120 yards before leaving with a knee injury.

Our call: McCown was scheduled for an MRI on his knee Monday, but even if the injury isn't serious, Garrard will remain the starter as long as the picks don't become a trend. 

Kansas City

The skinny: Matt Cassel's play has been far from stellar thus far — 52 percent completions, two interceptions — but his job is secure as long as the Chiefs are winning games. After signing a huge extension prior to last season, Cassel would have to become a turnover machine for the 2-0 Chiefs to bench him for Brodie Croyle, a guy viewed as nothing more than a quality backup.

Our call: Cassel will not lose the starting job.

Oakland

The skinny: After just 1½ games as Oakland's starter, Jason Campbell was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, who led the offense on three scoring drives in a come-from-behind 16-14 win over the Rams. There is speculation that some inside the organization are putting pressure on head coach Tom Cable to continue starting Campbell, but Cable may be inclined to give Gradkowski a shot to keep the job.

Our call: Campbell will start in Week Three. He's on a short leash, though.

Philadelphia

The skinny: Michael Vick now has played six good quarters in Kevin Kolb's place, and Sunday's 35-32 win over the Lions was perhaps his best performance in the pocket since early in the 2006 season. Head coach Andy Reid handed the keys to Kolb this offseason after the trade of Donovan McNabb, but he reversed course on Tuesday, announcing that Vick would start in Week Three. 

Our call: Reid opted to go with the hot hand, sticking with Vick after the superathletic passer has helped lead the Eagles to a 2-0 start.

Seattle

The skinny: Veteran starter Matt Hasselbeck had a solid season opener and looked to be in total command of new coordinator Jeremy Bates' new offense. But it was a much different story in Denver, as he hurled three interceptions, including two inside the Broncos' 10-yard line. He said he was having a problem gripping the ball, and it says here that he still has a pretty solid grip on the starting job after what was just a bad day at the office.

Our call: Hasselbeck is going to get at least half the season to sink or swim before Pete Carroll considers high-priced offseason trade acquisition Charlie Whitehurst as an alternative.

Tennessee

The skinny: Vince Young was pulled in a 19-11 loss to Pittsburgh in Week Two after he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Young's replacement, Kerry Collins, completed 17-of-25 passes for 149 yards with one TD and one interception. Afterward, Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said, "Vince (Young) is still our starter. He will start next week against the Giants. There is no quarterback controversy. I just needed to make that decision. I know it was the best decision for the team."

Our call:  Young is likely to remain the Titans' starter.