Thursday, August 23, 2012

Musings from Chicago

Today is day four of my week of football posts, in anticipation of the beginning of football season. Today's post makes a shift from college football to the NFL, and is written by fellow sports maven and hockey expert Susan Crosby.

I’ve been agonizing over this article for weeks. I’ve just had one of those summers that kicked the NFL off my radar. Between the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup, the St. Louis Cardinals defending their status as MLB Champs and the media circus that has become Notre Dame Football, the NFL just fell to the wayside.

I figured if I was in that boat, there were probably some others sitting in the same predicament. So, I did some research. Come to find out that the biggest question mark in the NFL sits at quarterback. Here is a run-down of some of the more interesting story lines to keep an eye on. You can thank me later…

Eli is champ, Peyton is in Denver, New York is about to be Tebow’d and the Colts are hoping they’ve lucked out (I know, I know). Truthfully, I wish Andrew Luck was in New York. How much fun would that be? J-E-T-S SU.. I mean LUCK! LUCK! LUCK! Then again the New York Post and Daily News trying to find back page headlines for Tim the golden boy could also prove interesting.

Andrew Luck has all the tools to become another
Cardinal legend at QB. (Photo:
Meanwhile, as insufferable as anyone thinks Peyton Manning is you have to admit he lived his own personal nightmare last season. First, he has to give in on the season due to a neck injury while concussion syndrome rumors run rampant. Then he has to watch his younger brother win the Super Bowl and then the Indianapolis Colts decide to permanently sideline his career when they drafted Andrew Luck. Now, hoping to resurrect his career (he was a Colt now he’s a Bronco ... there is a joke in there somewhere) without permanently damaging his health, Peyton is going to be in thin air with the Denver Broncos hoping that the Colts stroke of luck also rubs off on them. The Tebow faithful will say no way, because Tebow single-handedly ran the Broncos into the playoffs. General Manager John Elway knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, though and he decided to send Tebow packing. You have to wonder what Elway knows that we don’t?

And what about Andrew Luck? Expectations are too high. Former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener is just a rookie himself. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne just isn’t enough to boost this sub-par offense. Quarterback has the longest development continuum of any NFL position and Luck will need that time to learn more complicated schemes, deal with faster and nastier defenses, and handle the pressure that the pros bring. Don’t expect any miracles in Indianapolis. Not this year.

Tim Tebow (Photo: Mark Seliger/GQ)
The Colts may have started the dominoes falling by drafting Andrew Luck but Tim Tebow was the last to feel the fall. And fall he did, from Denver to New York. What happens first? New York decides his good boy, high ethics, religious morals and high-standards are too good … or even too boring for them? Or does Tim Tebow get corrupted by the Big Apple? Oh and let’s not forget what actually happens on the field. And how much will Mark Sanchez have to say about all of it? Surprisingly, a lot. With a new deal in his back pocket, Sanchez won’t bow out quietly or gracefully to Tebow. There might just be a QB fight brewing with the Jets. After starting hot and then collapsing to a .500 season last year, this could prove the final nail in their coffin or the fight that keeps them from folding like a card table.

Pssst … speaking of quarterbacks … Robert Griffin III … heard of him? He’s that great type of quarterback. Runs. Throws. As the NFL slips further and further into becoming the No Fun League and offenses trying to find new ways to put points up, the NFL needs him to explode. Desperately.

As much as I think expectations are too high for Luck, I wonder if RGIII can live up to the expectations set for him? Arguably, the last quarterback to come into the NFL with his dual talents was Michael Vick. In Vick’s first season he played in 8 games and amassed a whopping two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdowns and six fumbles. However, in Vick’s sophomore year, he played in fifteen games with sixteen passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns, leading the Falcons to the NFC Title Game. I think RGIII comes closer to Vick’s sophomore season, especially with Mike Shanahan starting to feel a bit of heat in D.C.

Whatever team, position or story line you plan on eyeing this season, quarterbacks are going to provide some much needed fodder. Unless, of course you are a fan of one of the teams affected. In which case, you might want to go by stock in Mylanta.

A big thank you goes out to Susan Crosby for stopping by the blog for Football Week 2012. If you want to follow more of her sports musings, you can catch her on Twitter at @RuffStough.

Until tomorrow ... Cheers!

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