Greetings Football Nation readers. Let me be the first to welcome you to my new column that I am calling Decision Time. Each week I will both look at decisions made by players or owners and how those decisions will affect their respective team, and I will finish each week by looking at future decisions bound to affect teams of the NFL.
This week I look at hold-outs from Maurice Jones-Drew and Mike Wallace, I examine Adrian Peterson’s decision of shooting for a return date of week one, I examine Ryan Kalil’s Super Bowl guarantee and I finish up looking at several teams experience quarterback battles in this year’s training camps.
Maurice Jones-Drew Holdout
Training camps are usually filled with players battling for the right to win the starting job at their position. However, in Jacksonville, running back Maurice Jones-Drew is not battling against other players but against his boss.
Jones-Drew who led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,616 yards, is unhappy with his current money situation and plans to not report to work until he gets a new contract. However, new Jacksonville owner Shad Khan and general manager Gene Smith say that they have no plans on giving Jones-Drew a new contract.
In this situation, I think that Khan and Smith are making the wrong decision.
In the long run I think that not giving Jones-Drew a new contract will cost the team more than if they do give him one. The biggest goal for an NFL franchise is to make money, however, the number of fans in the seats slowly declines when the team stinks and/or does not win games.
Last season on their way to a 5-11 record, Jacksonville recorded an average of 62,331 fans per home game in a stadium with a listed capacity of 67,246. Without Jones-Drew on the field this season I can see Jacksonville’s offense, their record, and their attendance get worse and worse.
Granted, having Jones-Drew playing this year is not going to make Jacksonville a Super Bowl contender, but it will go a long way keeping fans in the seats, and money coming into the organization.
Mike Wallace Holdout
After not making a move to another team this offseason, Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been told by the team that no long term contract talks will take place until Wallace signs his restricted free agent tender and reports to training camp. Wallace has decided to not report to training camp.
In this situation I think Wallace is making the wrong decision.
Unlike the situation in Jacksonville, the Pittsburgh Steelers are great team, that is full of talent, meaning Pittsburgh will finds ways to win whether Wallace is there or not.
Wallace needs to suck it up, sign his tender and play for the team this season in order to secure himself a future with the Steelers in the years to come. Wallace’s decision can only hurt himself.
Adrian Peterson Ready in Week 1?
On Christmas Eve 2011, Adrian Peterson endured a season ending injury that tore his ACL and MCL. Even though the injury was severe Peterson said then and continues to say that he will be ready to go in week one of the NFL season.
In this situation, Peterson is attempting to make the wrong decision.
The type of injury that Peterson sustained should take nine months or more to fully heal, and the end of July would be only eight months since his surgery. While Peterson looks to be ahead of schedule on his recovery, taking the field to soon may cause more injury and further damage.
If Peterson is on the field sooner than needed, he risks injury himself while running to fast, by making an awkward motion during a play, or the possibility of having another defender banging his helmet on Peterson’s weakened knee.
Despite Peterson’s eagerness to return to the field, Minnesota’s trainers and other personnel are being a bit more cautious. Although, Peterson was not happy about it, this week Minnesota placed Peterson on the active PUP (physically unable to perform) list meaning that for now Peterson will not be participating in practices or preseason games (if he is on the list that long).
Peterson can be taken off the list at anytime and return to practice. Depending on how long Peterson is unable to practice or not work with the team, the greater the possibility that this could be another factor in Peterson missing his week one deadline.
It will be interesting to see who wins out, Peterson who wants to play or the trainers and other Minnesota staff who think Peterson should put his return on hold. However, if Peterson gets hurt again, it will definitely set Minnesota back.
Ryan Kalil’s “Super” Guarantee
This past week Ryan Kalil, center for the Carolina Panthers, took out an full page advertisement in the Charlotte Observer guaranteeing that Carolina would win Super Bowl XLVII.
In this situation, I think Kalil made the wrong decision.
Whether he truly believes it or not, Kalil had his reasons for taking out the advertisement. However it does not change the fact that Carolina does not have the offensive or defensive ability to consistently win games and back up Kalil’s guarantee.
On offense, the team has no reliable second option for Steve Smith who himself is getting older and at times finds himself in double coverage. Additionally, DeAngelo Williams has seemed to lose a step over the past couple of seasons, and Jonathan Stewart may or may not be the best solution for running back in Carolina.
On defense, Carolina has lots of young players that gave up lots of yards and points in 2011.
In reality all Kalil’s guarantee does is give Carolina some publicity while also turning them into another joke of the league.
There are a number of full blown quarterback competitions in this year’s training camps.
Arizona: Kevin Kolb and John Skelton
Kevin Kolb was suppose to be the quarterback that would return the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl, but Kolb failed to impress in his first season in Arizona.
Kolb went 3-6 in his first season in Arizona throwing for 1,955 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions. His “backup” John Skelton went 5-2 as a starter, throwing for 1,913 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Skelton won the battle last year, so he should have a leg up in the competition this year in camp.
Miami: David Garrard, Matt Moore, and Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill is Miami’s quarterback of the future and in an effort to not rush his readiness, he should not play a big role in fighting for the starting quarterback job this year.
Despite not making a single start in 2011 David Garrard says he is ready to compete for Miami’s starting job. In nine seasons with Jacksonville, Garrard posted a 39-37 record as a starter, throwing for 16,003 yards, 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. Garrard also was 1-1, in playoff starts for Jacksonville.
After three seasons in Carolina from 2008-2010, Moore managed a 6-6 record as a starter last season for Miami. Moore threw for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Moore is getting the reps with the first team starting out in camp, so it will be interesting to see if Garrard has what it takes to become the starting quarterback.
Jacksonville: Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne
Blaine Gabbert was a rookie last season when get got the starting job over veteran David Garrard. Gabbert was less than impressive in his first season, as he went 4-10 as a starter, throwing for 2,214 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Chad Henne spent the past four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, racking up a 13-18 record as a starter, having passed for 7,114 yards, 31 touchdowns and 37 interceptions.
Tennessee: Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker
Matt Hasselbeck is the veteran and the man who led the team in 2011. In his first season with Tennessee, Hasselbeck led the team to a 9-7 record, while passing for 3,571 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions.
Locker is the second year man who saw a little bit of time last season, passing for 542 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Locker appears to be the quarterback of the future in Tennessee, but can he do enough to dethrone Hasselbeck as the starter in 2012?
Cleveland: Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy
Brandon Weeden is the rookie out of Oklahoma State who threw for 9,260 yards and 75 touchdowns over four seasons.
Colt McCoy has been with the Browns for two seasons amassing a starting record of 6-15, with 4,309 yards, 20 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Although head coach Pat Shurmur is side stepping questions about the quarterback position, Vic Carucci of the Browns blog says “Brandon Weeden continued to look like the best thrower of the Browns’ quarterbacks. There was almost no comparison between the velocity and accuracy of his passes and those of the only veterans participating in the rookie camp: Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, and Thaddeus Lewis.”*
If that assessment is true, this could be Weeden’s job to lose during training camp.
Connect up with me by leaving comments on this article or on Twitter: @danielfblnation. Let me know what you thought of the article and please let me know who you see winning each of the quarterback battles I mentioned above.