SCOUT'S HONOR: NFL quarterback quandries

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Three weeks into the NFL season, there are already several quarterback controversies around the league — some legitimate and some that need to be ended quickly.


The ¿ troubles can¿t be pinpointed at Matthews. Matthews certainly isn¿t the long-term answer. His numbers aren¿t bad. But the offensive line has been erratic and their receivers haven¿t been able to get open and make plays. But his lack of arm strength limits the passing game since their receivers are having trouble getting open. His arm simply lacks the zip to hit those tight spaces.

I wouldn¿t rush Ramsey into the lineup right now. The offense could use his strong arm, but Steve Spurrier must make sure Ramsey can handle his rookie struggles. Ramsey will be intriguing because he does have a pocket presence and poise. Spurrier must get Ramsay enough snaps this year, but also make sure not to pressure him into thinking he¿s the sole solution for the .

I'd like to root for Gus because he generally is a good character guy and teammate (especially when he's not head-butting any walls), but Frerotte¿s been erratic his whole career and struggles when he¿s named as the starter out of the gate. Plus the combination of a new quarterback and young receivers sure doesn¿t help either. But Frerotte clearly isn¿t the answer to lift the from lethargy. And we know what is all about.

I have believed for weeks the should start . What do the have to lose? They spent a first-round pick on him. It doesn¿t hurt to get a final look at what they have, especially since Cincy isn¿t going anywhere this season. Smith could provide a spark. He¿s determined to prove he can be a starting QB in the NFL. He displayed improvement at the end of last year and into training camp. But Smith must prove he can make good decisions and show poise on the field.

McMahon knew his days were numbered, and worse than that the rest of the knew it. He¿s just too erratic, too much of a project to build around and his college background makes it difficult to believe in McMahon.

The made the right choice to go with Harrington. Yes, he¿s going to make mistakes, but the key is that he isn¿t afraid to fail. He¿s displaying confidence, and the players will rally around his charisma. Harrington will be a winner and leader in Detroit if they can surround him with any talent.

The prototypical backup, Holcomb provided a spark during the first two games. And that¿s what makes him the perfect backup. He¿s smart and knows how to execute well enough to keep his team afloat for a few games. That¿s what a backup quarterback is all about. He¿s fresh and not carrying the pressure Couch has been under. And that helps someone like Holcomb remain upbeat and unrestrained.

Couch has had a rough development through the growing pains of horrible talent surrounding him. It¿s put some mental strain on Couch and leaves him open to critics. But Couch has shown he can play in this league. The offense just needs time to come together. The skill players are young and inexperienced. The offensive line needs to stabilize. And Couch is the guy they must remain committed towards building around.

The problems the are having can¿t fall on just . Every unit of this football team is struggling, and badly. But in all honesty, Testaverde simply looks old. He¿s not in sync with offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. And the are in a very deep hole at 0-3 in a tough AFC East division.

It's time to move in the direction of Pennington. He needs snaps to develop an innate feel of the passing game at this level, and that won't happen holding the clipboard any longer. He¿s a better fit in Paul Hackett¿s scheme. The have to start looking ahead, but must ensure Pennington doesn¿t pressure himself into thinking he must be the savior.
Other QB controversies simmering
Denver : isn¿t on a big leash with Mike Shanahan. He feels is a safe insurance policy if Griese has another stretch of erratic play. Mike Shanahan wants another Super Bowl ring ¿ now. Baltimore : will undergo a lot of growing pains as he has thus far. Brian Billick is committed to Redman as long as his struggles don¿t become detrimental to his development. Veteran is lurking in the background. But playing Blake does very little for the future of this franchise. Dallas: Expect to remain erratic. At least his attitude and confidence are intact. But if Carter doesn¿t show any kind of improvement ¿ the will look at . Some members within the Dallas organization would like to see Hutchinson in the lineup now. His physical tools are intriguing. Tampa Bay: is the man right now and hasn¿t played poorly. But it¿s clear he¿s not the perfect fit in Jon Gruden¿s offense. I don¿t expect a change this season, but who knows what happens if the fall into funk later this season. Carolina: I believe the organization made up its mind regarding ¿s future. John Fox will ride until he becomes ineffective or suffers an injury. And both of those factors are strong possibilities considering Peete¿s track record. He¿s efficient and gives Carolina a chance to remain in games. Rookie could see playing time later this season. He¿s raw, but the are excited over his natural athletic tools.

Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Formerly a consultant with, and currently a contributor for Pro Football, Brian heads into his third season with providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft.

Tagged: Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Jets, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Ravens, Shane Matthews, Akili Smith, Gus Frerotte, Brian Griese, Mike McMahon, Jeff Blake, Chad Pennington, Chris Redman, Patrick Ramsey, Chad Hutchinson

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