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NFL Report: The Year of the Quarterback

This will be an interesting couple of weeks in the National Football League. The pre-season starts Sunday with the Hall of Fame game and even in a game that is a full four weeks away from the start of the season, all the talk will centre on the quarterbacks.

Will John Skelton or Kevin Kolb win the starting job in Arizona (after a week of training camp, neither has distinguished himself)? Will Drew Brees and his $100 million light it up in New Orleans?

Without fear of argument, this is the year of the quarterback in the NFL.

Peyton Manning

After all, Peyton Manning is wowing them in Denver; Tim Tebow is now the drive finisher in New York; RG3 needs to be allowed to run in Washington; Cam Newton is maturing quickly in Carolina and Matthew Stafford is still in love with his right arm in Detroit.

The NFL is loaded with exciting quarterbacks this year. New and old. There is Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Matt Flynn and Ben Roethlisberger and Christian Ponder. There is the new breed and the not so new and because there are so many good quarterbacks in The League this season.

Let’s see what happened in the world of NFL quarterbacks this week:

(1) In New York, the Jets have decided to let Mark Sanchez run the offence and have Tim Tebow take over deep in the red zone. Very deep in the red zone. When Sanchez talked about it with the New York Post, he didn’t seem to mind at all.

“We’ve got to get in the end zone. I don’t care,” Sanchez told the Post. “Whatever we have to do and coach (offensive coordinator Tony) Sparano is going to be the judge there on what exactly he wants. But if that’s what he wants and that’s what puts it in the end zone, fine. We’ll drive it 99 yards and he can run it in. It doesn’t matter.

“All over the field, but goal line especially (Tebow’s a weapon),” said Sanchez. “If it’s him one-on-one with a defender and a tackler, my money’s on Tim. He can really run the ball. He’s got great vision. He’s got this will about him to put it in the end zone.”

Tim Tebow.

Both Tebow and Sanchez had six rushing touchdowns in 2011. Sounds to me like Sparano is just trying to find a way to use Tebow, but that could be me.

(2) Jake Locker is the likely starting QB in Tennessee, but Matt Hasselbeck has had a couple of tremendous practices this week and is certainly making Locker work for the starting job.

After ripping it up (17-for-22) on Thursday, Hasselbeck told the Tennessean that he was approaching every work out as if he were the starter. And he also believes he will get better.

“I could do better,” Hasselbeck told the Nashville paper. “I could definitely do better.”

“Calling the plays better, new concepts … and then obviously making better decisions and better throws.”

Haseelbeck is 13-year veteran who didn’t get a starting job until he was 26. He’s not going to give the job to Locker without at least an argument.

(3) Robert Griffin III was drafted No 2 overall and handed the starting QB’s job with the Washington Redskins. One problem, the Redskins couldn’t give RG3 an offensive line to play behind.

Starters Jammal Brown and Kory Lichtensteiger are injured and won’t be back for awhile and the replacements might not be ready for Prime Time.

Still, Griffin III told Associated Press that he didn’t care who was in front of him.

“If you think you have a banged-up line or a bad line, then you’ll play scared,” Griffin III said. “The one thing I don’t want those guys to think is that I don’t trust them. So I definitely trust whoever’s out there with me.”

Ahh, sweet youth. RG3 has big cojones. He’s fast, smart and tough. Having no fear might be what helps Griffin III make chicken salad out of chicken…

(4) Hey, fantasy fans, here are two names that should intrigue you this season: Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Decker and Thomas are receivers with the Denver Broncos and they have been the favorite targets of Peyton Manning at Broncos training camp.

“Well, I think Demaryius has had a really good camp even when Eric’s been practicing,” Manning told ESPN. “Demaryius is a guy that we are going to feature. His size and strength and speed just allows you to do certain things with him that other players just can’t do. And so, Eric’s had a really good camp. He’s just got a little tweak, hopefully he’ll be back this afternoon or tomorrow.

“But I thought Demaryius these last two days has really made some big plays, he’s done some good things with the ball after the catch, which is what we’re going to need.”

A week ago, I wasn’t thinking about drafting Thomas or Decker. Now I am.

Matt Stafford

(5) Matthew Stafford loves to throw the football. Last season, the Detroit Lions quarterback might have been the best all-around QB in the league. He finished in the Top 5 in half a dozen statistical categories and became just the fourth quarterback in history to throw for 5,000 yards (actually 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns).

The man with the golden arm is not concerned about his numbers. At least that what he says. He told the Detroit News that the only thing matters is…

“Wins,” Stafford said. “It’s wins. And making sure that I’m staying consistent, doing the little things right all the time. That’s going to translate into big things.”

I love Peyton and Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. But now that he’s 24, he might be preparing to take his position as the best quarterback in the game.

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