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"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
LEFTWICH’S PARTING GIFT TO JACKSONVILLE?
Some people were surprised when the Jacksonville Jaguars parted with Byron Leftwich without getting something for their four–year starting QB and former No.1 pick. In a circuitous way, his departure might grant the Jags a shot at exactly what coach Jack Del Rio seeks: a franchise QB.
No, don’t go looking at David Garrard – he has ‘stop–gap’ written all over him. Look instead to the University of Louisville and to Brian Brohm, the consensus no.1 choice at quarterback for the 2008 draft. The Jaguars passed over Brady Quinn in April, a decision Jack Del Rio wasn’t entirely comfortable with, and following the departure of Leftwich, a future high pick at QB would seem an inevitability.
The Jaguars’ most probable draft–day rival for the acquisition of Brian Brohm was, until noon today, the Atlanta Falcons, whose new head coach, Bobby Petrino, was Brohm’s head coach at Louisville. With the loss of Michael Vick, most observers had the Falcons down for a rough ride in 2007, almost certainly placing them ahead of Jacksonville in the race for Brohm. The signing of Leftwich to a two–year contract (reportedly worth $6–7 million) throws that into doubt.
Present Falcons starter Joey Harrington was meant to be a replacement for departed back–up Matt Schaub in Atlanta, not Vick, and based on his performance so far, it may be assumed that Leftwich arrives with every opportunity to unseat Harrington. If – no scratch that, WHEN –he does so, Leftwich’s incentive to win will be the fact that if he doesn’t summon up some wins for Atlanta, they might still end up with a worse record than the Jaguars.
If that’s the case, Leftwich may yet serve the second year of his contract with Brian Brohm warming up on the Atlanta sideline.
Boos cruise And with the subject of quarterbacks on our minds, now seems like a good time to take our first look around the NFL for the QB starters in jeopardy. I had promised we’d do this after maybe 3 weeks of the season, giving the boo–birds a chance to find their voices, but after only one week the Browns had already pre–empted me, jettisoning starter Charlie Frye, not just to a back–up role, but to the no.3 position... on a different team. Wow, talk about a bad week at the office.
No surprises as to who’s top of this list. He was already penciled in when the day started, and things haven’t gotten any better since then.
1. Joey Harrington (Atlanta Falcons). Somehow Harrington never seems to land in the right situation. After an 0–2 start for the Falcons, including no TDs for Harrington (save for the two he threw to the opposition), it was probably only a matter of time before back–up Chris Redman was breathing down his neck. Now it’ll be Byron Leftwich instead. However, there’s no guarantee Leftwich is going to step in and have more success than Harrington. This is a team that is used to having a mobile run–threat QB, and Leftwich is comparatively static.
2. Damon Huard (Kansas City Chiefs). Huard is a career backup who looked fine coming off the bench for Trent Green last year (11 TDs, 1 int), but looks like a backup whenever he’s the longer–term starter. There was literally a flipped coin between Huard and Brodie Croyle during preseason – and the Chiefs are still playing like it’s preseason, thanks at least in part to a line that has already allowed 7 sacks.
3. Derek Anderson (Cleveland Browns). Anderson took up the reins from Charlie Frye, and although heir–inevitable Brady Quinn is waiting in the wings, Anderson’s 5 TDs this past week probably extended his tenure as starter by at least a month.
4. Rex Grossman (Chicago Bears). The Bears have been doggedly loyal to their QB, but there’s only so much ‘Wrecks’ Grossman they can weather between the ‘Sexy Rexy’ moments. Back–ups Brian Griese and Kyle Orton are both winners; for only as long as Grossman is, he’ll remain.
5. Trent Green (Miami Dolphins). He still heard some boos this week when the ’Fins played the ’Boys. Four interceptions will do that for you. Green is the man as long as the Fish contend, which may not be long. Don’t be surprised if John Beck gets crowned in London.
6. Tarvaris Jackson (Minnesota Vikings). The Vikes are prepared to go through some growing pains with Jackson (1 TD, 5 ints), and he has time while Brooks Bollinger and Kelly Holcomb debate the backup role. Jackson might still be given some late–season relief though, if only for his own good.
7. Chad Pennington (New York Jets). It is the brittleness of Pennington, not his play, that may test the patience of the Jets. But head–to–head Pennington is still the obvious choice when healthy.
8. J P Losman (Buffalo Bills). Loss–man? Lose–man? Yeah, but cheap jokes aside, if Losman continues his progress from his 3000–yard, 19 TD, 14 int 2006 season, he’ll continue to be the starter.
9. David Garrard (Jacksonville Jaguars). Regardless of Leftwich’s departure, Garrard is probably on his final audition. Quinn Gray may get a look–in before they turn to the draft.
10. Daunte Culpepper (Oakland Raiders). Ironically, Culpepper is probably safer than he’s been in a couple of seasons. With Josh McCown pushed into the back–up role, and JaMarcus Russell a year away, the job is Culpepper’s to lose for at least the next 10 games.
Not appearing on this list: The new winningest QB of all time, Brett Favre. You move over whenever you’re good and ready, Mr Favre.