With the NFL season approaching, ESPN Experts and NFL Insiders are voicing their opinions on who should start, what teams look the best in training camp and the preseason, and some are so ambitions to name a team who will win it all.
This off-season has been especially intriguing in terms of the quarterback position, and I have no doubt that this intrigue will continue throughout 2014. I looked at the plethora of these captivating quarterback stories and compiled a list of my top three. Without further ado, here are my top three most fascinating quarterback stories of 2014.
1. Johnny Football
- Although it’s been talked about, analyzed, and looked into incessantly by insiders and fans, I would be kidding myself – not to mention anyone who is even remotely associated with football – if I left this gem off the list. Will Mr. Football be Mr. Bust? Or will he be the first stepping stone in the Brown’s attempt to regain some glory? The hype around Johnny Manziel is captivation to say the least, perhaps more so at Avonworth considering the fact that the Brown’s first game will be in Pittsburgh. Even though Hoyer has been named the started for week one, I would not be surprised if Manziel takes the field. I expect Hoyer to struggle mightily in this season opener.
I don’t expect Manziel to do much either, however – especially against Dick Lebeau who is notorious for clamping down on rookie quarterbacks with a 16-2 record against them. However, the Steelers did prove to be vulnerable against running quarterbacks last year when they allowed a 95 yard touchdown run by Terrell Pryor early in the season. This story is certain to be a very intriguing one to say the least, and it may get more exciting as the season progresses.
2. Tony Romo returns from back surgery
- In my opinion, Tony Romo is one of the most looked down upon players in the game today. Certainly, experts and analysts recognize that Romo is a player capable of big plays, but so much of the time they zero in on his late-game screw-ups, while ignoring the fact that the man has a career passer rating higher than that of Tom Brady. In my opinion, the only factors that are keeping Romo from “elite” status are his lack of playoff experience, and because of that, his lack of Super Bowl appearances.
The situation here, however, is not about Romo’s past. It is about his future in the NFL after coming off of season ending back-surgery. Jeff Miller, contributing editor of bleacherreport.com, recently wrote an article titled, “Could This Be Tony Romo’s Last Stand?” that addresses this issue. This is one of those intricate, complicated, and mind boggling “I don’t know” stories. The likes of which we saw in 2011 with Peyton Manning coming off of season ending surgery. Ultimately, we found out in an emphatic way what would come of Manning’s career, but now we must wait and see if Romo can resurrect his career against substantial odds, or if this will truly be “Romo’s Last Stand.”
3. Geno Smith and Michael Vick compete for the job as New York Jets starting quarterback
- Second year quarterback Geno Smith has won the starting Job over veteran Michael Vick – for now. If he continues to play in the same form we saw last season, I have no doubt that Rex Ryan will not hesitate to allow the versatile Vick to take his place. Last year, Smith’s touchdown to interception ratio was an ugly 12:21, and I have no doubt that if there was a more reliable, backup at Ryan’s disposal, he would have made the change last year as well – despite Smith’s five game-winning drives.
NFL Media Analyst Bucky Brooks recently wrote in and article, “Smith’s alarming turnover total in 2013… put a damper on a somewhat-solid rookie campaign in which he led five game-winning drives despite a conspicuous lack of star power on the perimeter.” This year though, a “somewhat-solid” campaign will not suffice. With Rex Ryan under enormous pressure to coach his team to a successful season, it will take strong, solid performances to maintain the starting job in New York, and I would not be surprised at all if I see Vick on the field – and Smith on the sideline – at some point this season. –Andrew Domencic