Who needs to make a change at QB?
We are almost at the halfway mark of the 2009 NFL season, and some of the quarterback play around the league has been atrocious. Let’s look at five teams where a permanent change needs to be made.
1. Carolina Panthers
The NFP’s Michael Lombardi mentioned this in today’s Diner Morning News, and after yet another turnover-laden performance by Jake Delhomme in Carolina, head coach John Fox has to give him the hook. Steve Smith hasn’t produced enough this year and the Panthers can’t score enough points to win. Yes, they are a running football team, but you still need to produce explosive plays in the passing game to win in the NFL. Delhomme and his 13 interceptions need to go. Matt Moore and A.J. Feeley can do more than just call in plays from the sideline.
2. Oakland Raiders
This move could have been made weeks ago, and even though I agree with Lombardi that backup Bruce Gradkowski doesn’t give the Raiders more ability off of the bench, the amount of times that Russell turns the ball over is unacceptable for a starting QB in the NFL. Is it too early to call him a bust in this league? Not quite sure, as he doesn’t have much to work with, but what else can you really call him at this point in his career? He has taken steps back from last year, and if I am the Raiders, I sit him for awhile.
3. Cleveland Browns
We know that Brady Quinn isn’t the long-term solution in Cleveland, but backup Derek Anderson is clearly not the solution either. Both QBs have shown that they can’t put points on the scoreboard, and the Browns’ only win came in a 6-3 victory over the Bills. Anderson has thrown two TDs along with seven interceptions and has a QB rating hovering around 40—not good. It doesn’t help that Eric Mangini traded away the only playmaker on this offense in WR Braylon Edwards, but that doesn’t hide the fact that neither Quinn nor Anderson is going to win games for the Browns this season. Time to give third-stringer Brett Ratliff a shot?
4. San Francisco 49ers
I was so impressed with Alex Smith’s play yesterday and how the Niners shifted their game plan focus once he got into the game. Instead of leaning on the running game to find an explosive play, the Niners got creative on offense, and Smith almost brought them back on the road, going 15 of 22 for 206 yards and 3 TDs. Smith gives them an added dimension down the field, and if I am Mike Singletary, I keep him in the lineup for the remainder of the season. The Niners need a QB who can get the eighth defender out of the box, and Smith can do that over Shaun Hill.
5. Buffalo Bills
This may surprise some people, but I like the Buffalo offense more when Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the game. He came in last week to beat the Jets, and he won another game yesterday on the road in Carolina. His numbers aren’t pretty, but he is looking down the field to his playmakers—Lee Evans and Terrell Owens—who should see enough balls throughout the course of the game to allow them the opportunity to make plays. If I am Dick Jauron, I keep Fitzpatrick in the lineup even when Edwards is cleared to play.
Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41