READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
The quarterback feeding frenzy that started during the April draft — with six being taken in the first 36 picks — is only being compounded now that we have veteran player movement generated in part by the teams that started this phenomenon during the draft.
The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings have made moves to add veterans Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb, respectively, to shepherd first-round rookie quarterbacks Jake Locker and Christian Ponder up to and maybe through the season. That was just the start. The past couple days have provided clarity to cloudy quarterback situations across the league. Let’s examine:
The Vikings just went through two seasons of a quarterback at the end of his career trying to salvage one last shot at glory. Thing is, Brett Favre didn’t have a first-round draft pick waiting in the wings. Favre was the solution.
McNabb’s chances to have a Favre-like finish are about 50-50, especially if you factor in perception. Favre got paid $20 million — some of it bonus money to entice him back to the field after he became a grandfather — to flounder last season after a brilliant 2009.
Minnesota only has to part with two sixth-round draft picks and a few million dollars for McNabb.
Coach Leslie Frazier feels Minnesota has the ability to make a playoff run, and McNabb certainly has the experience to bolster such a push. The Vikings have to temper expectations, though. If McNabb doesn’t play well — or even if he does — and the team is below .500 at the midway point, it could be Ponder time. If McNabb does play well, Vikings fans won’t mind Ponder sitting for a season if it means another taste of postseason play.
This is a solid move that doesn’t have much downside for the Vikings. It might for McNabb because if Ponder ends up playing, then it means McNabb got hurt or things didn’t work out.
This is a great fit and a great move. Hasselbeck will embrace the role of “nursemaid” that now-retired Kerry Collins didn’t want. Although Hasselbeck is a competitor, if there is a point in the season where new coach Mike Munchak asks him to cede the starting job to rookie Jake Locker, Hasselbeck will do so with grace — and then turn into an ideal backup.
Locker has been in the same city as Hasselbeck for the past few seasons in Washington, so he knows Hasselbeck’s reputation, work ethic and that he’s played in the biggest games, including a Super Bowl. Tennessee has done a good job in its history of having veterans in place to help upstarts, and this is another example.
Hasselbeck will be very good for Locker’s development.