What in the name of Gary Kubiak is going on around this league? Not the Kubiak who's now coaching the Houston Texans, but the guy who for years held a clipboard as the backup to Denver quarterback John Elway. Namely, we can think of at least three cities in which former Broncos signal-callers find themselves front and center in full-blown QB controversies. A look at each head-spinning situation:
KANSAS CITY No. 1, for now: Matt Cassel. Of the Chiefs’ 15 turnovers this season, Cassel has been responsible for 10 (seven INTs, three lost fumbles). That 2010 Pro Bowl season seems like a long, long, LONG time ago. Closing fast: Brady Quinn. Has yet to play this season, or since 2009, or, well, AT ALL during his two years in Denver. He’s 184 of 353 for 1,902 through 14 games across five pro seasons, with 10 TDs and nine interceptions. Career passer rating is a queasy 66.8. Two-minute drill: Cassel’s three interceptions in the first half against the Chargers on Sunday weren’t enough to get him benched, but a similar outing could be. For the first time, head coach Romeo Crennel talked this week about what kind of circumstances might prompt him to yank Cassel and send in Quinn: “(B)eing inept, constantly making poor decisions, bad choices” Check, check, check. Problem is, Quinn’s never been all that great himself.
DALLAS No. 1, for now: Tony Romo. Forget the stats. After all these years as The Man, he still has just one playoff victory to his credit. That burns Cowboys fans somethin’ fierce. Closing fast: Kyle Orton. Since breaking into the NFL in 2005 with Chicago, he has passed for 14,621 yards, 81 TDs and 57 interceptions. But in Kansas City, he’ll forever be remembered as the guy who ended the Green Bay Packers’ winning streak at 19 games and got defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel the Chiefs’ head coaching job. Two-minute drill: Romo might be the only guy who can stake a claim to being worse than Cassel in week four. His five interceptions during Monday night’s home loss to the Chicago Bears were a ticket to the pine late in the game. Enter Orton, who promptly drove the Cowboys down the field for a touchdown. One year after being acquired by the Chiefs after Cassel broke his hand early in the season, Orton is looking like Dallas’ new darling.
NEW YORK JETS No. 1, for now: Mark Sanchez. His run in New York got off to a rocky start during his rookie season in 2009, when he passed for more interceptions (20) than TDs (12). He passed for career highs in yardage (3,474), completion percentage (56.7) and TDs (26) last season, but at 8-8, the Jets failed to reach the playoffs. And now it’s three straight games and counting in which he has failed to complete at least half his passes. Closing fast: Tim Tebow. Ostensibly brought in to run the wildcat and nothing more, he might soon get the nod. In his weekly news conference on Monday, head coach Rex Ryan sounded less than convincing in stating that Sanchez still gives his team the best chance to win. Tebow’s take? “I'll just be a good teammate, encourage guys and, when given opportunities, just try and make the most of them." Two-minute drill: Sanchez’s fate was sealed when his front office traded for the guy Peyton Manning displaced in the Mile High City (Elway was never a Tebow fan). Trust us on this one: the Jets’ sharing a piece of the early AFC East lead despite a 2-2 record and Sunday’s 34-0 skunking by the 49ers isn’t the only divine intervention New Yorkers will see this season.