By Zack Cimini
It happens every five years or so, but this year has been more evident then ever. The young quarterbacks are taking over in the NFL, and they?ve done it quickly. It goes to show how coaching is improving, because player development is vastly improving from year to year. The quarterbacks coaches are really working hard on getting their young quarterbacks to understand the game, and make sure their mechanics are down.
Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, David Carr, Ben Roeslinberger, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Michael Vick, Josh McCown, and Joey Harrington are all great young quarterbacks that have their teams headed in the right direction. In fact besides Palmer, all of the other quarterbacks have their teams in position to contend for a division title.
Out of all the young quarterbacks though, Leftwich has been the most impressive. The passes he has been able to make and the way he reads defenses is astonishing. Last week during their win over the Colts the announcers were ecstatic over the type of plays he was making. He doesn?t even have a great receiving corp, which is led by aged veteran Jimmy Smith. Leftwich has grown each and every week with the Jaguars close victories. The rest of the AFC should be scared, including the Patriots if they have to face this team in the playoffs.
It?s sad to say if Tommy Maddox wouldn?t have got hurt that the Steelers would probably be a .500 team. Maddox is an average quarterback at best, that was hurting the Steelers like Miami?s quarterbacks do with turnovers. Roeslinberger has stepped in and snatched the job like a hungry backup should. This is a rookie though, and could be the new reason why Bill Cowher may want to be a Steeler head coach for life. Have you ever thought that Don Shula was ready to retire in the mid 80?s or go onto another team, and then Dan Marino came along and changed his thoughts quickly? That?s the type of career Ben is headed onto having, because no one in the history of the NFL has started off a rookie year like him.
The New York Giants and San Diego Chargers may look back on the last draft, and kill themselves. They both drafted quarterbacks, and right now it is looking like a bonehead decision. But of course they?ll tell you that they drafted for the future, and didn?t want their young prospects to start this year. Drew Brees showed enough in the past that he is a capable franchise player, and now he has proved it. No one thought the Chargers would do this well, and his maturity is one of the major reasons. In New York we all know what is going on with Kurt Warner, and you have to feel great for the former MVP.
Joey Harrington and Mike Vick came into the league with high expectations, but it?s often hard to live up to that hype. Vick has been doing it since day one, but Harrington had a rough start with a weak supporting cast. Now he has one of the best receivers in the league, and maybe another if Charles Rogers can be healthy for a season. Regardless the Lions weren?t supposed to be able to compete with the Vikings and Packers this year. They?ve done more than compete, and should vie for a playoff spot if they stay focused.