Friday, October 28, 2011

Answering NFL QB Questions

How will Tim Tebow do for the rest of the season?

His magic act--engineering miraculous comebacks--won't work consistently. The real Tebow isn't a Magic Man but a running back masquerading as a QB. In the first 54 minutes of the Miami game, his stats were appalling--4 for 14 for 40 yards with 6 sacks, including some bone-crunching safety blitzes. In the closing minutes, though, he morphed into Mr. Clutch, passing for two TDs and running for a two-point conversion, leading the Broncos to a 18-15 OT victory.

But remember who he was struggling against--the pitiful, winless Miami Dolphins. If he could be corraled by that crew of lightweight defenders for most of the game, imagine what a tough, savvy defense would do to him. Smart bettors put money on whoever Tebow is playing against. Once in a while you get the Tebow magic, but more often, he'll break your heart.

What's going to happen to Carson Palmer in Oakland?

No question Kyle Boller--cannon arm, zero touch--isn't the answer.  His jittery, three-pick performance in the first half of the 28-0 Kansas City rout, which earned him a 17.3 passer rating, made that perfectly clear. But the savior isn't former Bengal Carson Palmer either. Trading two premium draft picks for a QB on the downside of his career was a moronic move--something Al Davis would do. Maybe taking Palmer off the Bengals' hands was a homage to the late Davis--a final boneheaded trade like the ones he routinely made.

Could be Palmer's second half against Kansas City--three picks, weak-armed throws, overall rust--is a preview of what the Raiders will get. Still, it's possible that when the rust wears off and he adjusts to his receivers and the limits of his offensive line, Palmer will be as good as he was back in the middle of the last decade.  But don't count on it. By the time he rounds into shape--if he ever does--the season will be over.

What's going to happen with Matthew Stafford in Detroit?

Probably nothing good. In the last two games--both losses--he's regressed, passing for only three TDs.  His mechanics are breaking down. At times he's been throwing with an awkward sidearm motion, which could be a consequence of his January shoulder surgery. In addition, he's now looking tentative in the pocket. Could be his spotty pass protection is giving him the jitters. His hookups with wide receiver Calvin Johnson fueled the Lions' 5-0 start. Partly because the running game is hurting and requires less attention, defenses have been able to focus more on clamping down on Johnson. Even worse, Stafford will be dodging defenders in Denver this Sunday on a bum ankle. If they don't stem the slide this week, the Lions could be sliding back into that familiar loser persona.

It'll be Tebow vs. Stafford, with Detroit a slight favorite. The Lions are shaky but the Broncos are shakier. Look for Tebow to run out of miracles and for Stafford and Co. to prevail.

Will John Beck make Redskin fans forget Rex Grossman?

That shouldn't be too difficult. Grossman is a turnover waiting to happen. In that 33-20 loss to the Panthers, Beck sure seemed like an upgrade, posting respectable numbers--22 for 37 for 275 yards and a TD, rushing for another. Though Beck blundered twice--a fumble and a INT--he takes better care of the ball than Grossman and is a stronger, more confident presence in the pocket.

But even if Beck gives the Skins a slight boost at QB, the team is springing leaks elsewhere, with five signfiicant injuries, including RB Tim Hightower gone for the season and receiver Santana Moss lost for at least five weeks. Weakened Washington should be bowled over by Buffalo, a 6-point favorite that's considerably more talented, this Sunday in Toronto