A quick glance at the Super Bowl futures board is enough to cement the general consensus that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league.
The Green Bay Packers, led by Aaron Rogers, are this season’s Super Bowl favorite at +550 while Tom Brady’s Patriots are right on their heels at +650.
But good quarterbacks and Super Bowl favorites are a topic for another day. At this time in the offseason, with minicamps over and the first preseason games closing in on a month away, there’s a lot more drama going on with the teams who are making their QB coaches earn every penny of their salaries.
Of course, it’s no shocker that most of these teams own the longest odds to raise the Lombardi Trophy.
With the Colts praying that Andrew Luck might turn out to be the second coming of Peyton Manning and the Redskins hoping RGIII is the final stop on their quarterback carousel, I’m going to give those two clubs a pass – for now.
Outside of those two clubs, here’s a look at the six teams with the NFL's worst quarterbacking situations. All odds courtesy SportsInteraction.com.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Super Bowl odds: +17500
Like so many rookie quarterbacks before him, Blaine Gabbert experienced some major growing pains last year, completing only 50.8 of his passes with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. While he now has a full season under his belt, he has to get used to a new offense, with new targets, and a new offensive coordinator. Plus, MJD’s status is still up in the air. That’s a lot of question marks surrounding a second-year signal caller.
Cleveland Browns – Super Bowl odds: +17500
So what did the Browns think of Colt McCoy’s performance last season? Not much, according to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, who is reporting the club is actively shopping McCoy and looking for “minimal compensation.” Word has it they tried to move him at the draft and couldn’t find a dancing partner after he completed 57.2 percent of his passes last year with 14 touchdowns and 11 picks. Rookie Brandon Weeden looks poised to start with Seneca Wallace as his backup if McCoy is traded or released.
Minnesota Vikings – Super Bowl odds: +12500
Christian Ponder had major problems getting possessions started off on the right foot for the Vikings last year, completing only 50.9 percent of his first-down passes. The funny thing about Ponder situation is that probably his best asset – his speed – is what the team is trying to contain. The Vikings want him to stick-and-move in the pocket more this season instead of abandoning downfield passing opportunities so early. Ponder completed 54.3 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last year to go along with 219 rushing yards.
Miami Dolphins – Super Bowl odds: +4500
The Dolphins hope veteran David Garrard can step into the starting role even though he missed all of last season with a back injury after being released by Jacksonville. Maybe he can, but that’s probably more to do with what they have in the stable (Matt Moore and rookie Ryan Tannehill) than anything else. Garrard can’t be thrilled with his receiving options considering Chad Ochocinco is getting a long look at wideout. On the plus side, there isn’t going to be any shortage of camp drama for Hard Knocks
junkies.Arizona Cardinals – Super Bowl odds: +4000
Kevin Kolb was supposed to take Arizona’s offense to the next level. Instead, John Skelton might end up snatching the Week 1 starting call. The Cardinals have had four starting quarterbacks since Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season and it doesn’t look like the team has a clear-cut decision this year. Kolb only had four weeks to study the playbook last year and was banged up with injuries, while Skelton threw multiple interceptions in five games. Kansas City Chiefs – Super Bowl odds: +4000
While his past resume looks pretty good, Matt Cassel has some questions to answer this season. He fired 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions before breaking his hand and missing the final seven games last year. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski is the latest critic to pile on Cassel, questioning his arm strength and suggesting his past success was directly tied to strong running games – not Cassel’s talent. There might be some truth to that, but I still think he’ll put up some numbers with his supporting staff returning from injury.