August 19, 2012 2:46 AM EST
5 NFL QB Battles to Watch, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Bucs, Miami Dolphins
Today's NFL is a passing game, and even if a team decides to primarily run the signal caller's role will not diminish.
Quarterback competitions can bring out the best or worst in NFL teams, but coaches need to know who can instill confidence and lead their team the best.
Check out five intriguing quarterback battles that could change the trajectory of each team as the 2012 season plays out.
Oakland Raiders QB Carson Palmer
The Oakland Raiders gave up a 2012 first round pick a conditional second-round pick in 2013 that could become another first rounder if Oakland in the next two seasons, just to land Carson Palmer. Thus far Palmer has not lived up to such a heavy price tag, hurling 16 interceptions to 13 touchdowns in 2011. Former first-round pick Matt Leinart took his lumps in Arizona and then turned things around in Houston for an injured Matt Schaub before suffering his own injury. Leinart his breathing down Palmer’s back. Late Oakland owner Al Davis instilled a win now mentality that will never leave the organization.
Arizona QB Kevin Kolb
Another quarterback who has to live up to an expensive trade is Kevin Kolb. Ever since his days under Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, Kolb was heralded as potential a Pro-Bowler based on talent alone. He has never lived up to the hype in Arizona. Kolb began 2011 with a 1-6 record, and lost his job to John Skelton who went 6-2, including impressive showings against Philadelphia and San Francisco. The battle is currently up in the air with two more preseason games remaining.
Tampa Bucs QB Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman enters his third season and has much to prove in order to keep his starting job. Veteran Dan Orlovsky has been impressive, and can help complement a two-headed running attack of LeGarrette Blount and rookie Doug Martin. The Bucs splurged in free agency and landed receiver Vincent Jackson, giving Freeman a proven veteran target, and also removing any excuses.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill
Miami finished 6-3 after an abysmal seven game losing streak to start 2011. Matt Moore started 13 games last season and did rally the Dolphins, but Miami has been looking for consistency at QB since Dan Marino retired and have had no luck. Enter Tannehill, a wide receiver turned quarterback with only 19 college starts under center. The Dolphins took him the eighth overall pick in June, which means they expect big things from him. Especially if Moore can’t cut it in the first few weeks of the season.
New York Jets QBs Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow
The New York Jets insist Tim Tebow was brought in to diversify the offense, and point to the extension they gave Mark Sanchez as a reason for his job security. Some have called it a publicity stunt, or the Jets attempt to cash-in on Tebowmania. No matter the excuse, Sanchez must feel the pressure. While he did throw for a career best 3,474 yards and 26 touchdowns, Sanchez tossed three interceptions in the 19-17 loss to Miami that cut the Jets from the playoff picture in 2011. Tebow’s throwing mechanics and overall play may not impress critics, but he led Denver to a playoff victory and woke up a Broncos fan base that was desperate for some inspiration. If Sanchez struggles, don’t be surprised if Tebow gets the call from upstairs.