Ready or Not

By Zack Cimini

As the season winds down, front offices and coaches are quietly already evaluating the team for the off season. Winning is every goal of an organization and when you?re missing out on January, something is wrong. A coach isn?t going to wait for development, when the front office and media are down their throats. Great play all starts from the quarterback position, and there are plenty of quarterbacks with asterisks hanging next to their name for next season. Adjustments at quarterback are becoming like an annual renewal trip as a free agent. If you take a look at a lot of the starters two years ago, they?re either backup quarterbacks or out of the league now. breaks down the top ten-quarterback question marks heading into the off-season that fantasy owners should keep an eye on.

1. Steve McNair-
All eyebrows have been raised with the play of Billy Volek. If it weren?t for their defense giving up big plays and Chris Brown being hurt, we would have seen a strong finish from the Titans. He has started only six games for the Titans this year but is statistically ahead of many starting quarterbacks with 17 touchdowns. Just imagine what he can do with an improved defense, and a full season. It?s going to be hard to part ways with McNair, but it is not only a benefit for the Titans but for McNair?s health.

2. Vinny Testaverde
Ughh, this scenario is shaping up to be like the last days of Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino. Bill Parcells for some reason doesn?t like Drew Henson, and obviously the fans of Dallas and Jerry Jones want him in there. I wouldn?t be shocked to see Parcells make an abrupt exit from the game with Testaverde retiring. Henson is going to be raw two to three year project, and Parcell?s doesn?t have the patience to wait that long. Sure he always had a five-year plan in New York and with New England, but he wanted to do that with a nucleus of players. If he were to stay in Dallas, it would be his third different starting quarterback going into the season.

3. Joey Harrington
Harrington?s early season success rose expectations for the Lions fans too quickly. There time will come sooner than thought but not this season. Many people feel Harrington isn?t the answer, and that McMahon is. It?d be a mistake if the Lions didn?t give Harrington one more year to shine, with Kevin Jones and stud receivers Roy Williams and a healthy returning Charles Rogers.

4. Jeff Garcia
It seems like Garcia has been in the league for more than six years, but he is just in the beginning stages of a veteran quarterback. Garcia is a short quarterback at 6?1, and has struggled this year in the Browns offense. He has more interceptions than touchdowns, and besides a game against Cincinnati he hasn?t had a game with more than one touchdown. At least he knows that he is light years ahead of Luke McCown, who played horrific in his first start.

5. Josh McCown
The Cardinals would have been number one on this list for a quarterback change, if it weren?t for McCown?s sudden improvement. This is the type of play Dennis Green expected when he was bragging in front of the media during mini camps. Just like Harrington, McCown deserves at least one more year to actually show his worth through an entire season.

6. Tim Rattay
Rattay is another short quarterback at 6?0, but possesses a strong arm and okay mobility to move around the pocket. For the second straight season though he couldn?t stay away from injuries, and that?s a bad sign for a prospective future signal caller. The 49ers might have no choice but to go with Rattay, because of the hole they dug themselves in with poor free agent moves over the last five years.

7. Patrick Ramsey
Gibbs has already ?claimed? that Ramsey is the starter next season, but when haven?t we heard a coach do something similar to that? A coach is always trying to play a mind game with his players to show trust, but deep down they are cringing at the thought of another bad year by that quarterback. So expect Washington to sign or draft somebody, that?ll immediately be shot down by Gibbs and company as just a secure backup. Then if and when Ramsey starts off the year bad, it?ll be an easy copout to put in the backup. If Ramsey plays well, Gibbs looks like a genius for saying what he did now, when everyone else thinks he is out of his mind. Either way it ends up, it?s a public relation move that goes on every year with numerous teams.

8. AJ Feeley
Feeley?s problem has never been with his toughness or ability to make throws His play sort of reminds me of a pitcher in baseball. He can look great for four or five innings, but then he just goes into stretches where he gives up home runs (interceptions) that destroy a team?s mentality and focus. The last two to three weeks he has calmed his tendencies to force the ball, and it has the Dolphins playing well. Miami is a 3-11 team that could easily be .500 if Feeley would have stayed away from costly mistakes. So the high draft pick Miami ends up with, logically ends up a pick they would have wanted to trade up for if they finished .500. Overall Feeley should be even better with an improved offensive line, and Miami deciding on whether to give the starting job to Sammy Morris or use their draft picks on one.

9. Aaron Brooks
There comes a time when a player and team just reach the end of trying to build success, and New Orleans has been over the edge for sometime. Brooks erratic play has never stopped, and the question is will it? This team has too much talent to be average every year, and the only way I see Brooks and Haslett coming back is if the Saints get in at 8-8. If they can get in, the Saints pose threat to any team in the NFC. They?re the worst team in the league at losing games themselves by folding for stretches in games.

10. Jake Plummer
Mike Shanahan isn?t afraid to make decisive quick decisions, and Plummer?s play as of late is going to put that to attest. Who can forget how quickly Shanahan jumped off the Brian Griese bandwagon, and what he has done with his running backs? Plummer has played ugly for the majority of the year, and is bringing up the thought that his play in Arizona wasn?t just a fluke because of the team he was on.


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