With the start of training camp on the horizon, several NFL teams will have some important decisions to make. The quarterback position is arguably the most vital to a team’s success, and some teams need time to name their starter. Here are the teams that have quarterback competitions from now and potentially throughout the season (ranked in order of competition level):
Buffalo Bills: Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor
Of all the quarterback battles, the Bills have the least foresight into who will be starting game one of the season. When the Bills traded for Cassel, it looked as if he would be the leading candidate for the job. Manuel was benched after an uninspiring start for Kyle Orton, who retired after the offseason. The battle so open that even free agent acquisition Tyrod Taylor has a good chance to start. Taylor has never started an NFL game in his career and has attempted just 35 passes in his four-year career. It’s really to soon to pick a favorite, but Cassel was a huge disappointment in OTAs and minicamp.
Houston Texans: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
When the Patriots drafted Ryan Mallett, there was some speculation that he might one day follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps. Mallett replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Texans starting quarterback, but he succumbed to a season-ending injury during his second start. Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer started most of last season for the Browns and actually won over half his games. However, neither of them really shined long enough to create a standout choice. Hoyer should be the favorite early on because he has more experience and consistency.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez
The Eagles gave up a lot to bring in Sam Bradford with the idea that he will be the team’s starter. But there have to be a lot of questions about whether or not Bradford is the right quarterback, especially with his injury history. In five NFL seasons, Bradford has only completed a full season twice. Two ACL tears in the past two years have to be extremely concerning. However, his upside his certainly much higher than Mark Sanchez, and he has been very good in the games he has played. Meanwhile, Sanchez played pretty well in half a season last year, putting up some of the best numbers of his career. A healthy Bradford takes the battle, but that’s assuming he’s 100% good to go.
New York Jets: Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jets fans, like all New York fans, are tough. Geno Smith’s career has been very erratic, with ups and downs scattered throughout. Very much of the same can be said about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career. Geno Smith is certainly the favorite and should be in line to start the season. But there has to be a lot of concern over his ability to play consistently for a full 16-game stretch. If the Jets struggle early on, when will they make a switch at quarterback?
Cleveland Browns: Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel
Maybe this will develop into a quarterback battle, but as of now, the focus is on giving Josh McCown the job and letting Manziel mature some more. McCown will start week one, but when will Manziel come in to play? He has never played a full season, so Manziel starting some games in inevitable. The question therefore isn’t “if”, it’s “when”. This isn’t a battle in training camp; rather, it’s a full season competition.