Cardinals, Seahawks, Titans, Redskins Facing Disaster Without Legitimate Proving Starting Quarterbacks

Cardinals, Seahawks, Titans, Redskins Facing Disaster Without Legitimate Proving Starting Quarterbacks

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By Kelso Sturgeon

The National Football League lockout/strike/insanity-whatever you want to call it-should be over this week and it will then be two weeks of chaos as teams work 24/7 doing all the things it takes to get a team ready for a season that begins in six weeks-things such as doing battle in the world of 
free agency, signing rookies, cutting players they no longer want and preparing for the pre-season. Six months work must be completed in two weeks and it won't be easy.

The rush job to prepare for the season will be easy for some teams, a little bit tougher for others and downright terrifying for the eight teams that as of right now do not have a starting quarterback that can play at the level required in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins top that list.

Arizona went 5-11 last season as it went through four quarterbacks trying to replace the very talented and reliable Kurt Warner who retired. Veteran Derek Anderson was a bust as a starter, throwing for 2,965 yards, with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In the end, second-year man Josh Skelton (Fordham) started the last four games and ended up with 662 yards passing, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

In other words, there was a reason the Cardinals were ranked last of 32 teams in passing offense, averaging 182.6 yards per game.

Interestingly, Arizona did not draft a quarterback and that means they are going to have to obtain one from the free-agency list and they, like the Seahawks, Titans and Redskins, will try to outbid the aforementioned for Cincinnati's Carson Palmer or Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb. Do the math. No less that two teams won't have either of them.

Seahawks, Titans Facing Big Trouble At QB

Seattle is in the same situation as is Arizona. Long-time starter Matt Hasselbeck, a 13-year veteran out of Boston College, is a free agent and is a longshot to return. This means the Seahawks (9-9) will go with former Clemson star and last year's back-up Charlie Whitehurst who was 1-1 as a starter for Seattle last season.

Whitehurst, son of former Green Bay quarterback David Whitehurst, was a third-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2006 and in his limited NFL career has completed 57-of-99 passes for 507 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a lifetime NFL quarterback rating of 65.5.

He may make it, but it is a risky call for the Seahawks and second-year head coach Pete Carroll.

Tennessee is one giant mess. The Titans have a new head coach and no legitimate quarterback, unless one believes rookie Jake Locker, a first-round draft pick out of Washington, can step right in and play.

Kerry Collins was the starter most of last season and was expected to start this season-at least until Locker figured out the time of day-but he recently announced after 17 years of the battle he was retiring. Vince Carter also started several games last year but will be let go as soon as the new collective bargaining contract is signed this week. Carter, a former first-round draft choice, has become a head job the Titans no longer care to deal with.

This leaves Locker, Brett Ratliff, Chris Simms and Rusty Smith available to start. In other words, there is not much with which to work, especially with a new coach who is yet to install his offense.

Now, to those once-proud Washington Redskins.

Redskins One Giant Shanahan-Driven Mess

Washington owner Dan Snyder and whichever incompetent "yes man" he can put in charge of the operation, will go down in history as the individual who spent more money to build a loser than any  owner in NFL history-and the beat goes on.

After blowing $90 million on defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth-a physically-talented but air-headed, ego-driven bozo-in another of Snyder's big money mistakes, the owner may well of made the biggest bad step of all, even though it is costing him just $7 million a year, when he signed former Denver coach Mike Shanahan as head coach.

As a side thought, having Haynesworth and Shanahan on the same playing field was the most predictable football disaster in recent memory. Both know everything and will not listen to anyone, most of all those who disagree even a little bit with them. It's my way, or my way, or my way.

But that aside, Shanahan, as I predicted, contrary to all the accolades and feelings of hope others said he brought to the franchise, delivered in his first season an unexpectedly bad 6-10 mark. Your friendly local drunk could have done just as well.

Nothing illustrates the outright stupidity of one of the most over-rated coaches in NFL history than Shanahan's handling of quarterback Donovan McNabb.  With the help of his offensive coordinator son, Kyle, he benched McNabb in the eighth game of the season and in game 15 for good. The two disagreed on the offense and, as men who know it all and then some, the Shanahan's wanted no more idle conversation from this troublemaker. It was again my way, my way or my way.

Thus, McNabb, a six-time pro-bowler who has passed for 36,250 yards and 230 touchdowns, plus another 28 on the ground, was cast aside like dirty underwear, completely disrespected and degraded, and this for a quarterback with a life-time passing efficiency rating of 85.7.

It is a non-issue that McNabb is not as good as he once was. He brought experience and leadership to a team that needed it and he most certainly could have been a great mentor for any new quarterback.

Screw you, Donovan. It's my way, my way or my way. Your opinion has no value and I do not want to hear it.

Bottom Line On King For Life Shanahan

It may come as a surprise to those who believe Shanahan is worth the $7 million Snyder is paying him-a figure that is the equal of New England's Bill Belichick-that I say is merely an average coach who won two Super Bowls (1997-98) in Denver on the back of John Elway, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Elway retired after the 1998 Super Bowl win and Denver, with Shanahan in charge, sans Elway,  went 6-10 the following season. Shanahan and Elway went 46-9 together in the latter's three break-out NFL seasons (1996-98). Shanahan was 92-71 in all other games he coached at Denver and led the Broncos to the playoffs four times in the next 10 years and lost each of those games in the first round.

The Denver brass finally figured out what it was all about when Shanahan went 24-24 in his last three seasons and failed to make the playoffs and they fired him.

But Snyder was waiting, having bought into all the positive media promotion of this press-anointed genius, and hired him for top dollar.

If you think last year's Redskins were dreadful, wait until this season is over. No coach and no quarterback spells disaster.

While I have focused on four teams here, the Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals and, to a certain extent, the San Francisco 49ers, are at this point in time quarterback-challenged and we will address them later in the week.

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