That is an introduction that doesn’t look likely to happen.  Without a first-rounder, the QB starved Cats will be hoping that there is abundance of QB talent and someone slips to the second. Clausen is an underclassman, but expect Jimmy Clausen to exit South Bend in favour of the NFL and there is no place in as much need as Carolina, who suffered through another woeful Jake Delhomme performance, but unless they find a way to get back in the first…

With his job in jeopardy and having been forced to bench junior QB and son Cody Hawkins, Colorado HC Dan Hawkins has come out suggesting he put his son in an unfair position by recruiting him. Read the full story here.

Florida QB Tim Tebow and Texas gunslinger Colt McCoy join Alabama RB Mark Ingram as finalists for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s best College Football player. Neither Tebow or McCoy have matched their numbers from last year, but their importance to their team and strong second half to the season have them poised to give Ingram, the favourite, a real battle. McCoy and Tebow are joined by Houston’s Case Keenum (pictured) as the three finalists for the Davey O’Brien Award, recognising the best Quarterbacks in the country. On paper, Keenum’s  numbers far outweigh the other two more highly touted players, but we all know that these awards serve primarily as a popularity contest.

TOP QBS BACK IN ACTION

November 24, 2009

Oklahoma State Quarterback Zac Robinson resumed throwing this week and is considered a chance of getting back on the field ahead of the Stillwater Classic against Oklahoma. A win by the Cowboys would give them a credible shot of an at-large bid to a BCS game. In my eyes Robinson and OK State offer a better team than the Iowa Hawkeyes who serve as they prime competition as a fellow 2 loss BCS at-large.

Cincinnati will hope to remain undefeated against Illinois this week, with starting QB Tony Pike back from injury to replace Zach Collaros. Collaros has performed admirably in keeping the Bearcats undefeated, but the intangibles that Pike brings to the tables are understated.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees has put up huge numbers over the past few years, but has always been overshadowed by the wealth of top passers across the league. But now, with the New Orleans Saints at 9-0, finally his team’s success is allowing him the recognition deserved. This recognition should lead to a deserving acknowledgement at season’s end as League Most Valuable Player.  Brees is the 2nd highest rated Quarterback with a 105.8 passer rating. He is ranked 5th in the NFL with 2746 yards passing but leads the league with 22 passing touchdowns.  When considering MVP voting, naturally statistics are a part, but the key word is valuable, and no player has been more valuable to his team’s success than Brees.

High Praise for Luck

November 21, 2009

It’s not luck that the Stanford Cardinal are one of the big surprise packets in the Pac 10 this season, but Luck had plenty to do with it. Andrew Luck that is, freshman QB for Jim Harbaugh’s troops. A couple of weeks back Harbaugh proclaimed Luck the best QB in the nation, and his protege hasn’t let him down, clearly outgunning the more touted Matt Barkley in their big win over USC and continuing to wow all who see him.

The Bleacher Report goes as far as suggesting he is the best NFL prospect at QB since Peyton Manning. Read that article here.

No doubt Luck is an outstanding talent, with a perfect mix of skillset and intangibles. Kudos must of course go to Stanford’s supporting cast including Heisman candidate RB Toby Gerhart. I am sure Luck will be playing on Sundays, and if they can keep Harbaugh in Palo Alto and continue to recruit well, don’t be surprise to see Luck carrying some Heisman hardware of his own in years to come.

RUSSELL ON ROAD OUT

November 17, 2009

When Raiders Tom Cable benched former #1 Overall Pick Jamarcus Russell in favour of Bruce Gradkowski, finally we saw evidence that the Raiders might be ready to wash their hands of the QB most of us will soon refer to as the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf, or Akili Smith. Russell (shown here in a sweater almost as bad as his play) has made backwards strides this season and looks in no way ready to lead his Raiders out of the doom and gloom. Admittedly, his receiving corps have not helped the situation, far too many dropped catches on their hands, but Russell’s decision making and poise were woeful as he compiled season stats of 2 TDs, 9 INTs and a 47.7 passer rating. With an exciting crop of QBs due out next year, expect Al Davis to look in the direction of Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen.

At midway through this NFL season NFL quarterback play has received mix reviews. Here is a breakdown of performances for the year.

 

Elite QBs confirming their status:

–          Peyton Manning. Manning is still Manning and he has set himself as the benchmark.

–          Drew Brees. Brees has often been overlooked among the top QBs, but his standout season to lead the Saints to a 7-0 start is a clear indicator

–          Tom Brady: It took a few weeks to shake off the rust and regain the confidence following his injury, but he is now back on top.

–          Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has always been under appreciated, but there wouldn’t be many other QBs you would rather have under centre.

 

Back on Top of their game:

–          Carson Palmer. After a couple of uneven seasons, Bengals QB Carson Palmer is playing like the star QB of years gone by and when on, is among the top passers.

–          Matt Hasselbeck. After coming back from injury, Hasselbeck looks refreshed and is playing great football.

 

Young Stars:

–          Joe Flacco. His rookie season earned him this tag, but nothing has changed this year for the Ravens QB who is set to position himself among the elite.

–          Matt Ryan. Perhaps the Falcons record isn’t as good, but Ryan continues to show he has top level skills and leadership.

–          Mark Sanchez. Definitely some rookie struggles, but he has the moxie and skills to become one of the league’s best.

–          Chad Henne. It took injury for him to get his shot, but now Henne appears the Dolphins clearcut future.

 

Dear Oh Dear:

–          Jamarcus Russell. A bust quite clearly at this point in his career, Russell needs a lot of help, and there is not much in sight in Oakland.

–          Kerry Collins. Not to be blame for the Titans poor start, but his career is almost certainly over after being benched for Vince Young. Back to retirement I guess.

–          Derek Anderson. A Pro-Bowler 2 Years ago, Anderson looks like he is a rookie, although playing with a less than stellar cast.

 

Fading Figures:

–          Jake Delhomme. Delhomme can’t escape his woeful playoff performance last year and hasn’t been pretty this year. Panthers will definitely need to look to the rookie draft class next yeat.

–          Kurt Warner. He got the Cardinals to the Superbowl last year and has been sharp at times this year, but inconsistency is plaguing him.

–          Mark Bulger. Who is next in line for the Rams. If they are going to rebuild, they should rebuild everywhere.

–          Kerry Collins. Consider him faded.

 

Stop Gap Solutions In Need of Permanent Fix:

–          Shaun Hill/Alex Smith. Hill was benched, despite a positive start for the Niners, and the former #1 pick Smith gets a shot. He has looked ok, but does he have what it takes to win games.

 

Under Evaluation:

–          David Garrard. The Jaguars have been down the past 2 years and Garrard has borne the criticism of many fans and media. Without a dominating ground game and flimsy pass protection (as a result of 2 rookie tackles), it is hard to lay it squarely on Garrard. But, needless to say, drafting a QB could be on the agenda for Jacksonville.

–          Matt Cassel. Is he the franchise QB the Chiefs hoped he was, or did he benefit from the Patriots aura last year?

 

Proving his worth:

–          Kyle Orton. The Bear wanted Jay Cutler, so shipped off Orton in return. Orton has proven to be the better QB this year, helping Denver to a great start to the year.

 

Middle of the Road:

–          Phillip Rivers. A clutch player for the Chargers and possibly hard-done-by in this category, but not yet an elite player.

–          Jay Cutler. Streaky and potentially game-breaking, but too inconsistent and risky.

–          Matt Schaub: When healthy he is a clear franchise QB for the Texans. Unfortunately, this isn’t often enough.

At the start of the season QBs Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow were at the top of the Heisman Trophy predictions, but now, 8 games in, it is another signal-caller, Houston’s Case Keenum, who is a likely Top 5 finisher, and the other more touted trio look to be merely observers come awards time. Keenum has had a standout season in a Heisman race that has made more remove themselves as candidates than truly claim it. Alabama running back Mark Ingram looks the favourite at this point, but expect to see Keenum, with a good finish, to be among the top votegetters. Fellow QB, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen could also be a contender, particularly if he can navigate the Irish undefeated through the rest of their schedule, although he may be competing with his teammate Golden Tate. Perhaps this year may be the end of the run of QB winners.