No position in sports can ruin a coach’s career or kill a bettor’s bankroll as quickly as an NFL starting quarterback.
That’s why it’s important to know as much as possible about the 32 first-string QBs in the league and that’s why we decided to look at the handful of teams who’ve yet to announce who’ll be under center in September.
Here are four teams with QB position battles worthy of watching as training camps open this week:
Quarterbacks in contention for first-string duty: David Garrard, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +4500. Season win total: 7.5 (Over +149, Under -175)
Matt Moore’s got to be wondering if Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland has a grudge against him. The Fish went 4-3 over their final seven games last season and covered the spread in seven of their last eight. Moore finished the year with an 87.1 QB rating and a 60.5 percent pass completion rate. Not too shabby for an offense lacking receiving weapons.
But Ireland drafted Tannehill with his first round draft pick and signed veteran Garrard in the offseason. Garrard, by all accounts, is leading this position battle by a landslide and barring an injury or an awful preseason, he’ll be the starter in Week 1.
Remember he sat out all of the 2011 season after the Jacksonville Jaguars cut him in training camp. He’s made Pro Bowls in the past, but he’s 34 years old.
Sounds like Tannehill is locked in as the No. 3 QB this season. Don't feel bad for him. His wife is really hot.
Quarterbacks in contention for first-string duty: Kevin Kolb, John Skelton
Odds to win Super Bowl: +6300. Season win total: 7 (Over +126, Under -148)
This is a coin flip, plain and simple. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has been telling reporters that all offseason. He wants to give Kolb and Skelton an equal opportunity to win the job.
Give the slightest edge to Kolb just because of his contract and what the Cardinals had to trade to the Eagles to get him to the desert in the first place. The problem is that the team seems to respond better with Skelton under center.
Arizona went 5-2 in games Skelton started last season and 3-6 with Kolb at the helm. Still, it’s probably too early to bail on "Corn on Kolb" just yet. He’d help his case a lot more if he could stay healthy.
Quarterbacks in contention for first-string duty: Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +20,000. Season win total: 5.5 (Over +131, Under -154)
Unlike fellow first-round rookie Ryan Tannehill, it sounds like Brandon Weeden will get first crack as the starting QB for his team. Then again, Weeden isn’t like most NFL newbies. The former Oklahoma State star enters the pros as a 28-year-old rookie.
Weeden signed with the Browns Tuesday and head coach Pat Shurmur hinted, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he’d announce Weeden as his starting quarterback early in training camp.
You’ve got to figure McCoy lost his chance for the keys to the car after an underwhelming – and I think that’s being kind – campaign last year.
Quarterbacks in contention for first-string duty: Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, Russell Wilson
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +5300. Season win total: 7 (Over -154, Under +131)
Pete Carroll is the NFL’s new Jon Gruden. His quarterback crushes are more fickle than Madonna’s fads. He’s moved on from Charlie Whitehurst but he’s got three different signal callers fighting it out for his love this summer.
Flynn is the clubhouse leader but Jackson isn’t too far behind and Wilson, the rookie out of Wisconsin, definitely isn’t a distant third. And don’t think the position is settled as soon as Carroll announces the starter heading into the season. Carroll has shown he’s not afraid of making midseason switches under center.