In the wake of the Dallas Cowboys surprisingly dominating victory over the Carolina Panthers, I have given some thought to which teams need to make permanent quarterback changes at this juncture of the season – before all is lost with their current starters.
Some teams have absolutely nothing to lose by making a change at this point while others just appear to operate more efficiently under their respective backups, and should take this opportunity to see if their backups have what it takes to be starters. Here are the quarterback changes I’d immediately make if I were the head coach of these teams.
Charlie Batch for Ben Roethlisberger
While Roethlisberger is undoubtedly still the future for the Steelers at quarterback, it has been painfully obvious since Roethlisberger’s first start of the season in week two that something has been glaringly off kilter with their Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
Roethlisberger has had to recover from a serious offseason motorcycle injury, an emergency surgery and a mild concussion, which, to be honest about it, would be a lot for Superman himself to bounce back from.
The Steelers medical staff and Roethlisberger himself say that nothing physically is wrong with the young quarterback, which leads me to believe all of his problems this season may be between his ears (although I suspect he still isn’t 100 percent physically).
For head coach Bill Cowher to star Roethlisberger one week after suffering a concussion on a fairly vicious hit, was totally ridiculous even if he was cleared medically, especially when you have a veteran backup like Batch who can – and has – gotten the job done twice this season when called upon.
Anybody in their right mind can see the Steelers have just operated better under Batch this season – and that something is clearly wrong with Roethlisberger. This change is a no-brainer if you ask me.
David Garrard for Byron Leftwich
I know Leftwich is injured at the moment, but if you ask me, I just think the Jaguars operate better offensively under Garrard than they do under Leftwich – and I told my good friend Matthew Ross, the host of BetUSradio.com’s daily internet-based radio show, just that before this season ever started.
Leftwich has all the mobility of Drew Bledsoe (which is to say he’s basically a statue in the pocket) and has one of the slowest deliveries in the game (although I will say he does have some serious arm strength). Garrard went 4-1 down the stretch last season for Jacksonville and made every correct play he needed to make against the Eagles this Sunday, many with his feet, adding a new dimension to Jacksonville’s offense.
I hate to say it, because I really do like Leftwich, but the Jaguars offense just looks infinitely better under Garrard and if I’m head coach Jack Del Rio, I make the switch until Garrard proves he can’t win in this league.
Besides, Leftwich would bring back some serious quality in a trade with a team that needs a quarterback (Hello, Houston or Detroit).
Sage Rosenfelds for David Carr
This week’s benching of Carr may be a precursor of things to come for the Texans, who re-signed Carr to a long-term deal just this past offseason. I don’t necessarily think that Rosenfelds has what it takes to be a starter in this league, but at this point, what would it hurt to take a look see?
I know Carr is very gifted athletically, but he may have a permanent case of deer-in-the-headlights syndrome at this point in his career. And who can blame the young man? I mean really, Carr has eaten more turf in his career than many of the cows I see grazing in the open fields of Missouri’s major agricultural industry.
Tony Romo for Drew Bledsoe
I know this switch has already been made, I just wanted to say that, after much debate all week, it is quite clear that, at this point, Romo is a much better quarterback than Bledsoe and his ability to make plays with his feet, which gives the Cowboys, who don’t have the best offensive line in the league, a much better chance at winning than the statuesque Bledsoe. To put it mildly, Romo was nothing short of spectacular against the Panthers, who annually field one of the best defenses in league.
Eric Williams for Peyton Manning
If it were up to me, I’d bench Manning right now in favor of Williams, who still has plenty of mobility if not quite the arm strength (or IQ) of Manning. Okay, okay, I just had to close this column out with a joke.
Really though, is there a better quarterback in the game than Manning? I think not. His performance in the final quarter against the Denver Broncos – and their very good defense – was absolutely astounding!
Personally, I think the officials who run the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, should just create his bust right now and put it in storage until he retires, he’s that good.