QB Comparison - By Glenn T. Altergott
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|I'm sure you've heard the phrase before--the phrase describing a team with a pair of starter-worthy quarterbacks and the potential for coaching nightmares worse than having a star wide receiver play basketball during the off-season. "Quarterback controversy." A coach would probably rather grow plump around his midsection than have two good quarterbacks on their roster. At first it doesn't sound very logical--wouldn't any coach love to have two solid quarterbacks on their roster, but the downside is obvious. The coach has to pick the better of the two, and look like an idiot or genius from the result of it. Marty Schottenheimer had the problem last year when Doug My Last Name would make a good Cereal Flute and Drew Brees were fighting for the number 1 spot. How did Marty handle it? The way it should have been handled. He gave the job to the young guy early, and now they have a young quarterback with some experience under his belly button. It seems like a fairly common enough phenomenon to preview some possible quarterback controversies that might come up during training camp or during the season, or both.
Chicago Bears: Kordell Stewart vs. Rex Grossman
If this situation worked out for the Bears the way they want it to, Kordell would probably give them 1-2 solid seasons, enough to put the Bears in the playoffs, and then leave Chicago after his 2-year contract is up and let Rex take over for the next ten years. But there are a number of ways this could turn out.
First, the Bears don't adapt their offense to fit Kordell's mobile infantry skills, and his play suffers. The fans cry for Grossman, who comes in three games late (because of the slow trigger finger of Dick Jauron), shows promise for a rookie, but the Bears are out of it already, and they're somewhere around 8-8. Everyone's fired and there's a controversy left over for next year, too.
Second, Kordell could play like the phenomenon he was in 2001, and bring the Bears back their winning ways that they had in the same season. Grossman, the rookie, would be the odd man out but the Bears wouldn't want to give up on their investment, and this angers Kordell, who has a terrible 2004 and Grossman is the man.
Third, Grossman becomes the stud, and Kordell is out of Chicago quickly.
Overall, it seems to me that someone is going to suffer because of this situation.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Tommy Maddox vs. Charlie Batch
I thought the Steelers got a bargain when they signed Charlie Batch to be a backup. He seemed to me to be a respectable if not all-star quarterback who probably has some ability left. Tommy Maddox was last year's Kurt Warner, but it was to a lesser extent, which is why we have a possible battle here.
Maddox is keeping his contract from being changed until after this season, which is a gutsy move. If he shows the promise of last year, he'll probably have a good multi-year deal on his hands. If he's not that good, you get the picture.
For the sake of continuity, I'd make sure everyone knew the job was Maddox's to lose. After Kordell Stewart's fluctuations (see above), they could use a guy who has similar stats over two years. They're already a playoff-caliber team.
St. Louis Rams - Kurt Warner vs. Marc Bulger
Eh, there's not much of a controversy here in my mind unless the Rams get off to another slow start. In training camp it will probably be all Kurt Warner, and the same with the pre-season. They're so solid on offense these days that it should be relatively easy for him to saddle up again, even if Bulger's pass rating last year looked like a European speed-limit sign.
With all the surrounding talent arguments that always float around the Rams QB's these days, I'd really like to see Joe Smoe from Kalamazoo step in and play a game or two in a real game situation. But then his stats would be something like 23-28, 315 yards, 4 TD's, in a blowout and we find out the ball is corked. What?
Cleveland Browns - Tim Couch vs. Kelly Holcomb
Tim Couch has been so mediocre over his career compared to the investment that the Browns have made in him that part of me wants Butch Davis put the pedal to the medal and pass every single down with the man named Kelly. Just pass, pass, pass, for the fun of it. Why should they stick to a mild bust like Couch?
Of course, the other part of me would like to see Couch finally blossom into the near Pro-Bowler he probably could be and have Holcomb exposed for the conniving fraud that he is.
Either way, the Browns finally have something now, and if William Green plays like he can, they should be in the race. The race for what, I don't know.
Atlanta Falcons - Michael Vick vs. Doug Johnson
Jacksonville Jaguars - Mark Brunell vs. Byron Leftwich
This is more of a hypothetical controversy, ala the Rams, but if Brunell shows signs of aging, there might be a classic fan outcry to put in the big man. Jack Del Rio should probably handle it well, though. They should start Brunell and let Byron learn how NOT to pass out of the shotgun.
The thing they have going for them is Fred Taylor. What a stud he can be when he wants to. It's definitely a benefit to any quarterback to be handing it off to him when he's healthy, and if they ride that offense along with the Del Rio D-train, more good can come out of something that could be bad.