It’s a given that for a team to make the postseason and contend for a championship, it’s an absolute necessity that they have a quarterback who’s efficient, relatively talented and perhaps most importantly, a leader. There are only so many of those individuals to go around, and once a team uncovers a Manning, a Rodgers, a Brady or a Brees, they have an advantage over those teams that are without that elite signal-caller.
At least half-a-dozen teams are going into 2013 with new quarterbacks, with fierce competition underway in the hopes of latching on to one of those coveted 32 starting slots.
For several seasons Buffalo has made do with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. New head coach Doug Marrone and staff have chosen to go in a different direction, acquiring journeyman Kevin Kolb from Arizona and drafting Florida State’s E.J. Manuel to try and lead Buffalo to the postseason for the first time since 1999,the longest current streak in the NFL.
Jacksonville has been at or near the bottom of the AFC South for several seasons, and a big reason has been the lack of a competent quarterback. Blaine Gabbard has been the de facto field general, but he’s getting some competition from Chad Henne. New head coach Gus Bradley is watching closely for one of the pair to step up and seize the reins.
Alex Smith was unseated by Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco late last season, and gets a new start in Kansas City under new coach Andy Reid. Smith will never dazzle with athleticism, but he’s an above-average field general and an accurate passer. Expect the Chiefs to be vastly improved this season.
2012’s Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow soap opera proved to be a disaster, and now with Tebow gone, Sanchez has rookie Geno Smith to contend with. Sanchez should begin as the starter, but Jets coach Rex Ryan won’t hesitate to replace him with Smith if the offense sputters again.
Matt Flynn’s brief residency in Seattle was waylaid by rookie Russell Wilson’s brilliance in 2012. Now Flynn is in Oakland, and appears to be the leader, with Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson as backups.
Finding an adequate QB has been an on-going quest in Arizona ever since Kurt Warner retired. The latest contender is veteran Carson Palmer, most recently with Oakland. Palmer had some decent seasons with Cincinnati, but overall, he’s only enjoyed two winning seasons over his nine-year career.
With a new coach (Chip Kelly), Philadelphia undergoes a radical change in philosophy in 2013. Michael Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley are contending for the QB position, with each offering different skill sets. Vick appears to be the early leader, but with his history of injuries, it’s always beneficial to have adequate replacements available.