Since tonight's game may actually be a good one seeing as how the Giants play up/down to their competition, I considered saving this until tomorrow.
But I had enough things I wanted to talk about even without it, so here we are again this week.
1.) Backup QBs are Important
I can't stress this one enough. For starters, I'll direct your attention back to something I wrote prior to the season here: http://draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=48309
(Certain sections highlighted for emphasis)
The topics of ranking starting QBs and looking at QB competitions get beat to death around this time every year, but if you think about it, only a select few teams each season seem to get a full 16 starts out of their QB. And just those one or two starts missed here or there can make the difference between, say, earning a bye week or being a wild card team...or making the playoffs vs. not making them at all...
Criteria #1: If the team has an established starter, and that starter misses 1-4 games, could the backup go about .500 in those games?
Now, I think it's unrealistic to expect your backup to come in and win every game. It almost never happens and in most cases, your lucky if he does anything positive at all. I also picked a span of 1-4 games because for most teams, if their starter misses any more than that, their season is likely going to be lost. If the Packers were to lose Aaron Rodgers for longer than that, or the Saints were to lose Drew Brees, both of those teams would likely struggle for the rest of the season no matter how good their backups are. Also, I defined "established starter" as a QB who, barring injury or sudden extreme poor performance, would be his team's starter for all 16 games.
The league currently features two situations in which likely playoff teams are currently sporting their backup and even their 3rd string QB. Both the Bears and the Texans, owing mostly to easy schedules the rest of the way and solid-to-great supporting casts can still make the playoffs with backups at QB.
Like I said before the season, I think teams need to have a backup that they feel can go at least .500 in any starts he may have to make. One or two losses can completely change the season. For instance, last year, the Bears went 11-5 and were the #2 seed in the NFC earning a bye week. The Giants and Bucs were left out of the playoffs completely at 10-6...just a ONE GAME DIFFERENCE between the #2 seed and sitting at home in January.
So, with that all said, why don't teams have more respect for the backup QB position?
Ideally, this is a guy who will never see the field. But rarely is that the case unless you've got a guy named Favre or Manning. As I've pointed out several times, it's unrealistic to expect every backup QB to be the next Kurt Warner, or even Matt Cassel, but I don't think it's unrealistic to have a guy who can keep your team afloat.
So why do teams seem to constantly ignore the position before the season? In some cases, I understand why team went out to find a veteran backup, such as the Bears and Texans. Both had rookie 3rd stringers who likely weren't up to the task of becoming the new backup.
But for the Raiders, what is the excuse? They had all preseason to see Kyle Boller play and decided that he must have been good enough to be the backup QB then. Jason Campbell gets hurt, and then the team panics throwing quality draft picks out for a veteran. Yes, Kyle Boller sucks, but why didn't the team have a better backup plan before the season even started?
Similar arguments could be made for the Colts and Chiefs. Even someone as durable as Peyton Manning was bound to miss time eventually. But the team stuck with the completely unproven Curtis Painter as the backup...up until Peyton actually began to miss time. Then they suddenly panicked and overpaid Kerry Collins to bring him out of retirement for a game. Similarly, the Chiefs, with playoff aspirations, had no quarrel going with Tyler Palko as Matt Cassel's backup, but as soon as he struggled in his first start, they panicked and brought in Kyle Orton who will likely be starting sooner rather than later with no experience in the system. ("Knows the system" is typically overrated in my opinion and Todd Collins is a great example of that, but signing a guy to start for your team in the middle of season is one case where that guy better be familiar with the system.)
In all of these cases, I feel that the team could have done a better job filling the backup QB position. In my opinion, teams should look at the backup QB as a guy who is likely to see action. If they don't feel he can keep them afloat if the starter goes down, they should find someone else who they think can.
Now, you could very well be sitting there saying "BeerBaron, there aren't even enough quality QBs to fill 32 starter slots, much less backups!" And you may be correct. But here is a list of current backup QBs I like and who I would have offered mid-round picks to acquire if necessary:
- Billy Volek (was a free agent prior to this season)
- Seneca Wallace (would have offered a 5th, up to a 3rd if really desperate)
- Vince Young (was a free agent prior to this season)
- Matt Moore (was a free agent prior to this season)
- Bruce Gradkowski (was a free agent prior to this season)
And that's just ones I can think of offhand. And most, I could have signed as free agents. I'd trust any one of those guys to keep a team afloat in 1-4 starts if pressed into duty. Or at least I'd trust them more than Curtis Painter, Kyle Boller, Tyler Palko......
Finally, you may argue expense. None of those guys are on particularly large salaries. I'd gladly pay an extra million if it meant staying alive while your starting QB is out.
2.) What to make of the Texans
It just keeps getting worse while the team manages to keep on winning. Given the supporting cast, it's likely that any available QB could probably pilot the Texans to the playoffs still. The defense is smothering, Foster and the o-line are humming, and all you need to do is hock up a pass towards Andre every once in a while to keep the defense honest.
But any team who could draw the Texans in the first round of the playoffs would have to be salivating. Kellen Clemons or TJ Yates? In the playoffs? The Texans are doomed.
Looking at the veteran ranks doesn't turn up much. A case could be made for the Texans to try picking at the carcasses of Daunte Culpepper or Jeff Garcia. Hell, Jake Plummer isn't doing anything nowadays. Give him a call. I think he played in Kubiak's offense. There's also Favre which....well, suffice it to say we should all pray that doesn't happen.
PFT suggested something today which could be up the Texans' alley. If Kyle Orton could get his release in Denver by simply asking, Donovan McNabb should try the same thing. As bad as he's been these last two years, he's still probably a better option than rookie Yates or street FA Clemons.
This team should still make the playoffs, but anything beyond a one-and-done would come as an absolute shock to me.
3.) QBs I don't like update 3.0
- Well, this is just getting sad. Granted, I had no real faith in the Chargers but that's a whole 'nother story. Playing games this close is akin to playing with fire and eventually, they're going to get burned.
I also like how the Tebow story has completely overshadowed Von Miller's impact on the team. He's playing out of his mind right now and, like I said last week, is a bigger reason for the team's success than Tebow. I didn't see Tebow making the tackle for a loss to knock the Chargers into worse FG range for their OT miss. I haven't seen Tebow rack up 4 sacks in their last 3 games, all wins.
But, no one cares about that. Even Football Night in America, when talking about the highlights of the game, started off saying "Tim Tebow beats the Chargers." Not the Broncos. Tim Tebow, alone and by himself, beat the San Diego Chargers. Apparently.
- I've gotten first hand looks at Palmer for the past several weeks now, and my opinion stays the same. He's making a few plays, but he was so close to pissing that Bears game away on several occasions. The Bears dropped several would-be interceptions and if not for throwing to the FB, who the Bears apparently could not or would not cover, Palmer's stay line would be even more mediocre. The Raiders got away with this one, but I can't see Palmer taking this team anywhere beyond a one-and-done int he playoffs.
- He's ******* terrible. Absolutely terrible. I'll admit to being a QB prospect elitist, but my dislike of Gabbert last year was shared by surprisingly many and for good reason. We're being proven right in this one. The guy has just awful accuracy and his pocket presence is one of the worst I've ever, ever seen. As soon as an 11th defender sets foot on the field, he panics. Bust bust bust. What's that you say, give him more time? He's just a rookie? No. Bust. The team may be required by draft law to give him more than one year, but I'm not. Bust.
4.) Bears Corner
It would have been nice to come away with that ugly win yesterday, but it's not the end of the world.
Caleb Hanie struggled badly early on, but by the 2nd half, played better than the stats would otherwise indicate. Mike Martz's playcalling in the first half didn't help matters. He got away from the rollouts and quicker passes that were working with Cutler, but got back to using them in the 2nd half where Hanie improved. Particularly egregious playcalling was evident on that late first half interception that was nearly returned for a TD. While Hanie should have known better than to throw it and deserves some blame, there was no reason to do anything but be conservative there. That play was basically a 6 point swing...it took a likely FG off the board for the Bears while handing a FG (and nearly a TD) to the Raiders.
The defense played lights out other than a couple of big plays by Marcel Reece of all people. They clamped down in the redzone despite being dealt a bad hand repeatedly by the offense struggling and turning the ball over.
This game could have been a lot worse than the final score turned out to be, and scarily, the Bears were in it right to the end.
Not a pretty game at all, and there is no such thing as a good loss, but hopefully we learned from it and can improve with a weak schedule coming up.
5.) Hot Seat Watch
- Norv Turner
- He's done. I don't even know if he lasts the year at this point. He should make for a hell of an offensive coordinator free agent though.
- Andy Reid
- I still maintain that he'll resign. If he doesn't, the Eagles should fire him. He's had a good run, but sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take two forward. The team may need to be blown up as well. It's sad because talent is there, but it's a dysfunctional mess.Take your chances with someone else, because Andy Reid with this group isn't going to win you a Superbowl.
- Bill Polian
- I keep pleading with Indy to get rid of this clown. Rebuild with Luck! No one, not one GM or head coach in this league should ever be allowed to keep his job after a potentially winless season. This goes beyond Peyton's injury to a poorly built team. His system is flawed and does not build anything but regular season champions at best.
6.) End Suh's Season
I think it's the only message the league can send that he may actually receive. The fines he's been getting are nothing more than pocket change to the former #2 overall pick pre-rookie cap.
A game or two suspension might wake him up a little, but send the absolute strongest message possible and end his season. I guarantee he changes starting next year after that.
Additionally, no matter how long he's suspended, the Lions should still sit him during any appeal. If he appeals and is allowed to play this week, it's a travesty. To quote Mike Periera, "he's not dirty, he's filthy."
If the league wants it's efforts to protect the players to be taken seriously, they need to be protected from themselves. Suspending Suh for the year would send a message to absolutely everyone that this behavior will not be tolerated.
The league won't. But they should. If I were the commish (and everyone should be thankful that I am not,) the banhammer would be out in full force on this one.
That's all I've got for this week. There may be some other stuff but this is what I came up with offhand. If you want to ask me something else, feel free to do so in the thread. If I think of anything or something crazy happens in tonight's game, I'll update this later.