Franchise Quarterback Myth & AFC South Preview – NFL FootballThursday, August 29, 2013 20:03
Why franchise quarterbacks don’t exist–and 2013 AFC South preview.
FRANCHISE QUARTERBACKS—STILL A MYTH
I get so sick of the conventional clap-trap on the NFL Radio & TV Networks. Big, bad former jocks very seldom go against the tide of mundane bullshit parroted incessantly by the mainstream sports media.
A prime example: Thomas Dimitrovitch, Atlanta Falcons GM, is noted for saying “Until you find your quarterback, the search for him consumes you.”
As a writer who contends “franchise quarterbacks are a myth”…I once believed such thinking is a mistake.
I still do.
I believe if you put a “mistake prone” quarterback like Mark Sanchez or an “injury prone” quarterback like Michael Vick behind a line that consistently protects their passer like the Giants protect Eli Manning or the Broncos protect his older brother, any quarterback will make far fewer mistakes and miss many less games to injury.
For the record, I’m not minimizing the elder Manning’s talent or equating it with Sanchez’s or Vick’s; I’m only saying the fortunes of any quarterback hinge on the quality of the team around him.
You put Peyton Manning behind the young, awful line in Pittsburgh and he’d be in a hospital bed before mid-September
Aaron Rogers is widely considered to be the best QB in the league, yet the Niners trounced Green Bay in the playoffs because the Packer defense was inept and Rogers had no running game to lean on.
Ben Roethlisberger was mentioned in MVP discussions until his line allowed the Kansas City defense to barbecue the Pittsburgh quarterback’s ribs and shoulders.
Until last year when the Falcons had a bottom ten defense, Matt Ryan improved in almost direct correlation to his defense’s statistical improvement during his five years as a starter.
Look at the teams favored to hoist the Lombardi in 2013—Seattle, San Fran, Houston, Denver—they just happen to be the most balanced teams in the league.
What a shocker.
There are exceptions to every analysis. As long as Tom Brady plays, the Patriots have a shot—they might win a fourth Super Bowl with a decent defense and running game—if that day ever comes.
But, even if Brady doesn’t win another game, he still ranks amongst the top three quarterbacks in the 90+ year history of the NFL. AND..if you put Brady or Manning on the Jaguars, instead of being a 2-3 win team, the Jags would be a 4-6 win team, IF Brady or Manning last the full season.
Yes, the Arizona Cardinals plunged into the offensive abyss when Kurt Warner retired—quarterbacks like Kolb and Skelton were getting shellacked on a weekly basis, and Kolb’s career might now be over due to concussions—but remember Warner retired, in part, because the Cardinal’s offensive line was breaking down..
Warner did elevate the offensive talent around him akin to what Manning does for the Broncos.
Conversely, Trent Dilfer only had to minimize mistakes and let a legendary defense and power running game take the 2001 Ravens to the promised land—kind of like Jim McMahon in 1985 with Da Bears.
No one can argue that a quality NFL quarterback shouldn’t be every team’s highest priority—he handles 99% of all offensive snaps as the most important player on any team—but without solid play on both sides of the line, a good defense and effective special teams, even great QBs will fail miserably.
You only have to ask guys like Fran Tarkenton, Roman Gabriel, or Archie Manning why football is the ultimate team game.
2012 Record: 2 – 14
When you rank bottom three in the NFL on both sides of the ball in every important category and have to put tarp over 10,000 seats so you can avoid “black outs,” you better draft like the ’74 Steelers—or be prepared to bring the circus come Sundays
I thought the Jags were well on their way to respectability after snagging OT Like Joeckel with the second overall pick and the top-graded, stud safety out of FIU, John Cyprien—who has the strength of a linebacker and the agility of a Jaguar. (I can’t wait to watch Cyprien play.)
Then, the ‘Guars management showed why they have the league’s least talented squad by picking CB Dwayne Gratz in the third round and the diminutive WR from South Carolina, Ace Sanders.
Gratz was the strongest corner available, has decent ball skills, and isn’t afraid to destroy a ball carrier, but there were at least five corners I would have taken before him. Sanders weighs 173 pounds, and again, more talented receivers were on the board.
New GM Dave Caldwell and new HC Gus Bradley obviously have a plan and deserve the leeway to implement it. Bradley built the excellent Seahawk defense and has a keen eye for talent.
I’ll give the new management team their chance to make Jacksonville relevant. My main beef is Shahid Khan’s complete lack of business sense. If he was smart enough to recruit Caldwell from Atlanta’s front office, and the no-nonsense Bradley from Pete Carroll’s staff, why the hell not give Tebow—finally—a legit shot to show what he can do/
I don’t want to hear word one about Tebow’s mechanics; he’s a winner who has won a playoff game—ask the 2011 Steelers about Tebow’s ability.
Yeah, I know, with Tebow you always get a circus. Well, it’s better to have a circus where the elephants have diarrhea and tight-rope walkers have inner-ear infections than having to cover up seats to hide the fact fans don’t give a shit about your football team.
Major Story: After the Pats release Tebow, the Jags pick him up.
Predicted Finish: 5 – 11
2012 Record: 6 – 10
I thought the Titans had a hell of a draft. Chance Warmack, their behemoth guard, is making a difference for the ground game. 200 lb., 6’4” WR Justin Hunter is scoring touchdowns, and Blidi Reh Wilson will be a solid corner. He receives this year’s award for coolest name—“Bleedy Ray” Wilson
But, the steal of the draft might be the fourth round OLB Zaviar Gooden, who maxed out nearly every category at the combine—27 reps of 225 on the bench and, get this, 4.47 in the 40. I double checked. That’s approaching elite cornerback speed. Dee Milner, the drafts top corner, runs a 4.37.
Unfortunately the Titans run defense and pass defense are suspect and way too many ifs have to become facts if the Titans want to sniff the post season. I have a hunch Tennessee might surprise some people—even in their own division.
Head coach Mike Munchak better hope I’m right, or it could be his last year on the Titan sidelines.
Major Story: Chris Johnson starts out with a bang, Jake Locker doesn’t.
Predicted Finish: 7 – 9
2012 Record: 11 – 5
For the Colts the future is written—every other player, consideration, or problem is a mere planet, asteroid, or moon—Andrew Luck is the shining star that will blaze a path back to the playoffs.
Simply, Luck is a once every 20-30 year pick, like Manning or Brady, and the Colts—must be the horseshoe—had the good fortune to follow up the Peyton Manning era with the Age of Luck.
Chuck Pagano has most of America rooting for him and his team; count me in that group. Pagano is smart, savvy, and his work ethic is, well, in the Manning/Luck tradition.
The Horseshoes’ draft meant to accomplish the overriding goal of keeping Andrew Luck upright and healthy and to bolster a flawed defense. A unit that should improve with the addition of Bjorn Werner, a DE who has been dominating wherever he has played–the trouble is he’s only been playing organized football for a relatively few years
I think Indy accomplished their draft-day goals, but the Colts won’t be sneaking up on anyone and to project young players to overachieve two years in a row is tricky.
My gut tells me the Colts might not be as successful this year, but I’ll be rooting for them to prove me wrong.
Major Story: Andrew Luck shines; the Colts play everyone close.
Predicted Finish: 9 – 7
2012 Record: 12 – 4
People have been debating whether or not Matt Schaub is—you guessed it—a “franchise quarterback.”
How much you want to bet that debate will stop if first-round stud receiver DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson plays like the game changer he was in Death Valley?
The defense might play a little younger with the addition of SS DJ Swearinger and—a coup for the Texans—2nd-round defensive end Sam Montgomery. Apparently, the LSU product was so unimpressive during the interview process, a few teams took him off their boards, although he clearly graded out on the field as a legit high first- or second-rounder.
Gary Kubiak saved his head coach ass last year with the help of Wade Phillip’s excellent defensive schemes, but the Texans could manage only one playoff win against Cincy.
Until we read about Adrian Foster’s serious back issues, we believed Houston was ready to take their game to championship level.
We’re betting Matt Schaub will make up for any running game deficiency Foster’s back may portend—after all, that’s what we expect from a franchise quarterback.
Major Story: Matt Schaub puts the offense on his shoulders.
Predicted Finish: 11 – 5 Division Winner
UP NEXT: AFC EAST
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