How do I get a franchise quarterback? This is the nonstop question every NFL team must ask if they don’t believe their signal caller can win it all. In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, senior writer Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) examines the most prized currency in the league and explores… “When do you cut loose a quarterback and start over?” (PAGE 47)
Bill Polian, former Vice Chairman and General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts says,
“You never forget what it feels like to not have a quarterback…It’s an ongoing thing. Every single minute you don’t have that guy, you think about it” (PAGE 46)
The pressure intensified for General Manager’s in 2013 because of the immediate success of rookie QB’s Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and second –year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl this season. Because of their instant success this season, front offices and fan bases hope the draft can now help them find the next great quarterback who can succeed right away.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) complements the article by listing five current quarterbacks in which he feel’s won enough to tease and lost enough to have their G.M.’s consider change: Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills), Tony Romo (Cowboys), Matt Cassel (Chiefs), Josh Freeman (Buccaneers), and Mark Sanchez (Jets).
If the Colts are a model of QB consistency, what does that make Cleveland?
If Andrew Luck’s metaphorical challenge with the Colts is to fill some huge shoes, Brandon Weeden’s challenge with the Browns is to step into a decent pair of cleats from a closet overflowing with smelly sneakers. The 11th opening day starter in 14 years for the current iteration of the Browns, Mark Bechtel writes that Cleveland’s front office is wondering: Can a 29-year-old rookie revive the team?
Weeden is not far from Peyton Manning’s spot on the rookie learning curve, having a similar record, completion percentage and total passing yards as Manning did in 1998. He has looked lost at times and is still getting the hang of the West Coast offense, which is different from what he played in college, saying: “The under-center stuff wasn’t [a difficult adjustment] at all, but the tempo was. Slowing down, getting in the huddle, verbally communicating …. If you take my offense at Oklahoma State and compare it with what I do now, there are no similarities (page 41).”
For his Point After column on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, senior writer Phil Taylor talked to another former Heisman Trophy winner who many experts believed would never be successful in the NFL, Doug Flutie. According to Flutie, the skepticism about unorthodox quarterbacks is just as strong as it was 25 years ago. Among the quotes Taylor collected from Flutie, in addition to those used in his column:
“Everybody wants to tell you what Tebow can’t do, instead of looking at all the things he can. It’s ridiculous. The Colts were 3-13 in Peyton Manning’s first year, but they gave him time to develop. Tebow won’t get that time. Lots of quarterbacks struggle early in their careers, but people make a final judgment on guys like him much earlier. They’re just looking for a reason to dismiss him and say, ‘He can’t play.’ ”