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8 NFL QB's at career crossroads

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, May 22, 2014.

  1. Prime Time RODerator

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    Eight NFL quarterbacks at career crossroads
    By Vinnie Iyer @vinnieiyer

    1. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

    On the surface, Stafford seems to have it all: rocket arm, a pass-heavy offense, Megatron and a megacontract. But after Stafford’s 2011 41-touchdown, 5,038-yard breakthrough that pushed Detroit to the playoffs, the last two years have been rocky. The lousy record as a starter against above .500 teams (2-27) is well documented. The more disturbing development is how his turnovers went up (21, 23) while his TD totals (20, 29) shot down.

    Coach Jim Caldwell was hired to help make Stafford, 26, more accurate and efficient. The additions of wide receiver Golden Tate and tight end Eric Ebron are more means toward that goal. The targets are deeper, and the Lions’ line has improved in pass protection. There are no more excuses.

    2. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

    He has started every game in his three-year career and led Cincinnati to the playoffs in each of those years. So why is a guy who threw 33 TD passes in 2013 — behind only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees — getting so much heat?

    You know why: Three shaky performances in three playoff games, including the abysmal 27-10 home loss to San Diego (29-of-51, 334 yards, TD, 2 INTs) last postseason. Adding to the drama, the Bengals have not yet extended his rookie contract that expires after this year. They also just drafted a similar-styled QB, AJ McCarron, as insurance.

    Dalton has A.J. Green, several diverse weapons and a strong offensive line. He also has a new, run-oriented offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson. Relative to most other QBs with his experience, Dalton has a good resume (30-18 records, 85.7 passer rating), but it’s a critical time for him to show the Bengals if he can be great.

    3. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

    The Rams resisted taking Johnny Manziel in the 2014 Draft, but that doesn’t mean Sammy Football can feel comfortable with his starting position. He won’t get a big push from rookie Garrett Gilbert, but Bradford is down to his last make-or-break chance.

    He is owed about $27 million over the next two seasons before he becomes a free agent. He must prove capable of leading them longer-term by staying durable and taking advantage of his ever-improving supporting cast.

    Although the receivers still aren’t too exciting beyond Tavon Austin, the Rams have given Bradford a sturdier line (see Jake Long, now Greg Robinson), a power running game (see Zac Stacy, Tre Mason) and a mighty defense to ease his burden. St. Louis can’t afford to be lapped at QB again with the talent it’s building elsewhere.

    4. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

    RG3 didn’t have close to the worst sophomore slump of all time in 2013, but he faded in Year 2 compared to 2012 draft brethren Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. While Luck and Wilson’s teams upgraded to division champs and Super Bowl champs, respectively, Griffin and Washington freefell to the NFC East basement.

    Looking at the film, RG3 missed a lot of throws. There was a tendency for him to force things downfield. As a result, his efficiency and accuracy took big hits in his return from major knee surgery. To get right again in 2014, he has the added challenge of an offense in transition.

    Forming schematic and personal bonds with new coach Jay Gruden is vital, as those soured at the end with Mike Shanahan. As Gruden plans to go away from the zone-read wrinkles that helped RG3 early, Griffin will need to do it with his arm and not nearly as much with his feet. The pressure is on to take back control of his campaign as Washington’s QB savior.

    5. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

    There’s a lot to like about Tannehill, but he’s yet to produce the team and individual success of those in the 2012 class. In a twist, the Dolphins going away from the offensive coordination of his former Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman will benefit Tannehill.

    Enter Bill Lazor, fresh off thriving with Nick Foles and Chip Kelly’s staff in Philadelphia. Tannehill comes with some decent polish but can benefit from the Dolphins letting him loose with a more wide-open and creative passing game. There have been signs of Tannehill putting it all together. We’ll soon see if he’s ready to handle every aspect of the game in Year 3. It’s also key for Tannehill to emerge as the leader needed to get Miami into the playoffs.

    6. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

    Smith did what was expected of him in his first season in Kansas City: cleaned up the passing offense with steady, efficient play so their running game and defensive prowess could carry them into the playoffs.

    But even though the Chiefs were an easy wild-card team at 11-5, it still felt they were a distant second to division and AFC champion Denver. Despite Smith playing well overall, they lost six of their final eight games — to three of the four playoff teams they faced all season. To have a shot to stay with Peyton Manning the Broncos and navigate through a tougher schedule, Smith has to be exceptional to stay in KC after 2014.

    He earns a bargain $7.5 million this year, but wants a lot more soon. It will be difficult for the Chiefs to invest big in Smith (up to $17 million a season) unless they hit a higher offensive gear. Rookie Aaron Murray is a good fit for Andy Reid’s scheme, giving the team a fallback successor in ’15. Smith just turned 30, and it’s a big year toward his future as a top starter.

    7. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

    They have given him the perfect offense and a mega contract extension. Now it’s time for him to reward them with more durability and another playoff trip. Let’s remember before he got his $126.7 million deal in January, there was talk of whether he should have regained his job from supersub Josh McCown in December.

    The Bears have the right to expect huge things from Cutler, 31. He’s well settled in Chicago with Marc Trestman, and throws to the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. His line improved in 2013, too, with Jermon Bushrod, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.

    Just staying healthy would be a good place to start for Cutler after he’s missed a dozen games over the past three seasons. The next is being able to outduel Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers in key division games, critical to the Bears’ playoff chances. This has become an offense-first team, catering to all of the quarterback’s needs. Cutler needs to reach his elite potential, and it’s now or never.

    8. Eli Manning, New York Giants

    Unlike the other quarterbacks on this list, Manning, 33, doesn’t need to worry much about legacy with his two Super Bowl rings/MVPs. A couple years ago, following his second championship, it seemed Eli and “elite” was a slam-dunk combination.

    Look back on the big picture of the past five years, however, and the Giants have made the playoffs in only the championship season of 2011. In 2013, Manning looked more like his pre-ring self as his numbers (57.5 completion percentage, 18 TDs, career-high 27 INTs, 39 sacks taken) contributed to a rookie-like 69.4 passer rating.

    To help rejuvenate him for one more run comes new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, a smart hire to replace retired Kevin Gilbride. McAdoo just worked with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing game, and the concepts he brings are tailored toward making Manning more efficient.

    That means not forcing the ball downfield, throwing more short passes, and getting more targets involved (backs, tight ends). No. 2 wideout Hakeem Nicks is gone, but the Giants didn’t waste any time in using a first-rounder on speedy Odell Beckham Jr. to pair with Victor Cruz. If Manning can’t find close to his best again in 2014, it would mean little chance for ever getting that third ring.
     
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  2. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

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    This article is going to be very foolish after Bradford lights it up this year
     
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  3. fearsomefour Well-Known Member

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    I like how they list Cutler right after he signed a huge deal. The Bears already made their determination.
     
    #3
    Mojo Ram, Ramrasta and rhinobean like this.
  4. Stranger How big is infinity?

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    I am counting this post toward the over, @Prime Time :)
     
    #4
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  5. Rams and Gators Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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  6. laramsoriginal Well-Known Member

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    Wait and see
     
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  7. LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    There is no reason Dalton should be on that list. Yeah he's had three bad post season games but that shouldn't over rule the rest of what he has done IMO. Plenty of young QB's struggled in the post season early on and as far as the Bengals not redoing his deal early that's bad work by the reporter. First off why would the Bengals redo a deal too early and second I believe he was signed under the new CBA which means (if memory serves) they cannot redo his deal until a certain time.

    Anyway, Dalton isn't at a crossroads IMO.
     
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  8. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    At least there are some good QBs on this list. Truth be told, this article will rattle the collective cages of the Bradford haters because it's not Sam and 7 "other" scrubs!
     
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  9. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    You would be alone in these thoughts. Many people say if Dalton demands 17-18 mil he will be gone.

    I would LOVE to see Sam in Cincy next year!!!

     
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  10. Prime Time RODerator

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    Yeah I thought about that before posting it but it talks about career crossroads not dumping anyone. Nice try though. :cool:
     
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  11. BigRamFan Living the life Jimmy Buffett only sang about.

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    Why on earth would you want that?
     
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  12. rhinobean Well-Known Member

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    Are you switching allegiance to the Bengals? Since Sam's going to be here for years to come, I wouldn't!
     
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  13. flv 

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    I'd hate to see Dalton in St. Louis, unless he's a cheap back-up.
     
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  14. LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    Who said he is going to demnand that? I've read nothing about it, but if he is offered 12 mil that's fair and I bet he would take it.

    Why would you love to see Bradford in Cincy next year? Do you want him to fail in STL and get cut?
     
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  15. Zaphod Well-Known Member

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    I know where you are going with that, and it is just so wrong, at least from this Rams fan's perspective.
     
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  16. HometownBoy STL sports aficionado

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    I'm thinking he means he'd love to see Sam with the type of weapons that the Bengals have, and he just happened to word it poorly.

    At least that's what I hope he's saying.
     
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  17. rhinobean Well-Known Member

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    I think he still has problems sitting down! :sneaky:
     
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  18. ZigZagRam Well-Known Member

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    Why? What did they write about Bradford that any logical football mind wouldn't agree with?
     
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  19. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    I've heard Kirwan talk about Dalton's contract many times and he believes those are the numbers Dalton's camp wants.

    Come on Les, we both know how this ends for Sam in St Louis. The mob has gathered, only thing left us the lynching at this point.

     
    #19
  20. RFIP Well-Known Member

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    I really don't think you do my friend.
     
    #20
    Zaphod likes this.