Favorite: Chris Redman
Contenders: Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright
Last year, quarterbacks Jeff Blake and Chris Redman combined
for 3,118 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. While not
particularly exciting, most would agree that the Ravens
are team on the rise – particularly from an offensive
standpoint. The presence of Jamal Lewis will continue
to take pressure off whichever QB wins the starting job.
More importantly, the Ravens have quietly built a respectable
group of receivers, including Travis Taylor, Todd Heap
(TE), Frank Sanders and Marcus Robinson.
Even with all the positives, the winner of this quarterback
race probably isn’t worth anything more than a late-round,
sleeper pick in re-draft leagues. However, in dynasty and
deep keeper leagues, Boller is worth an early look, as
he has the tools to be a star on what could turn out to
be a high-flying offense in a couple years.
Head Coach Brian Billick has indicated this is a wide open
competition. At this point, consider Redman to be the
favorite based on his experience. The Baltimore media
is reporting that Redman seems to have fully recovered
from back surgery and is throwing the ball with more
authority. Boller has been equally impressive in mini-camps,
wowing Billick and the Ravens staff with his cannon arm,
intelligence and athleticism. Even so, the coach says
his rookie protégé has “a long, long
way to go.” Meanwhile, dark-horse candidate Anthony
Wright also has drawn praise with a keen understanding
of the offense and a strong arm.
(Added July 30, 2003)
Favorite: Rodney Peete
Contenders: Jake Delhomme
and Chris Weinke
With Stephen Davis expected to receive 25-30 carries per game, the Panthers’ focus
is clearly on establishing the run. This type of conservative, ball-control
offense rarely spawns quarterbacks who lead fantasy football teams to championships.
Even so, don’t dismiss the Panther passing game altogether. Last year,
starter Rodney Peete was a model of consistency, passing for at least one touchdown
in 12 of his 14 starts. A steady performance like this makes Carolina’s
starting quarterback an adequate bye week or injury replacement.
As the incumbent, Peete is clearly the favorite to win the starting job. The
Charlotte Observer reports that the 15-year veteran showed up to camp in
great shape. Peete isn’t spectacular, but he is a strong leader who
doesn’t make many mistakes – critical in an offense that is expected
to rely heavily on the running game. Meanwhile, free agent acquisition Jake
Delhomme and 2001 starter Chris Weinke have each shown glimpses of brilliance.
However, Delhomme will need to get more comfortable in the offense before
he has a shot to win the starting job, and Weinke will likely not start unless
both Delhomme and Peete falter badly.
Favorite: Tim Couch
Contenders: Kelly Holcomb
In 2002, Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch combined to throw
26 touchdowns. To put this figure in perspective, it’s
just one less than the likes of Peyton Manning and Brett
Favre. With two talented running backs and so much explosiveness
at receiver, the winner of this position battle could
emerge as a weekly fantasy football starter in 2003.
If you decide to delay drafting a quarterback until the
middle rounds of your draft, Holcomb or Couch will provide
good insurance in case your top QB selection turns out
to be a bust.
Tim Couch appears to be the early favorite in what promises
to be the most intriguing offseason position battle.
In fact, Head Coach Butch Davis stated in early June
that, despite opening some eyes, Holcomb would have to
prove that he is clearly superior to Couch before he
wins the job. Even so, Holcomb seems to have the city
of Cleveland (and many of his teammates) in his corner,
so look for this position battle to heat up come July
Favorite: Up for Grabs
Contenders: Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback situation should be monitored
for enjoyment purposes only. While the team has a decent
group of receivers and a proven, new head coach in Bill
Parcells, neither quarterback deserves a roster spot
in typical leagues until we see that the offense can
actually score points.
Although Hutchinson supplanted Carter as the team’s
starting quarterback around the midway point in 2002, the “Big
Tuna” has declared the position is up for grabs.
At this point Parcells has it in his head that one of these
guys can be effective in 2003. Don’t be shocked if
he changes his mind once training camp starts and brings
in a veteran free agent.