After looking at three potential impact rookies, the time has come to look at three quarterbacks that changed teams and measure their potential impact. In most off-seasons, we do not see the type of movement we saw this year. Certainly draft picks come and go, but the volume of transactions makes the upcoming training camps decidedly interesting.
The change of scenario for Matt Flynn immediately thrusts him into the light of a likely starter out in Seattle. In Denver, Peyton Manning gives the Denver offense a decidedly different look than it had last year with the multitude of players that were under center. And there is no doubt that the addition of Tim Tebow will make more than just training camp in New York interesting this season.
Flynn is one of the more interesting moves because of the unproven nature of the transaction. Flynn has largely played two entire games in his NFL career and both have been impressive. He was able to perform well on the road two years ago against New England and last year stepped in to beat the Lions on New Yearâ€™s Day with a 480 yard, six touchdown performance. But what does that all mean?
Detroit was far from a complete team during the final week and Flynn has been seen far more in a baseball hat than a helmet. The same was true for Aaron Rodgers prior to his debut, but this is asking lightning to strike twice. In addition, this is not a clear-cut win for Flynn. Rather than selecting Miami and being a prohibitive favorite to start, Flynn will continue to battle incumbent Tarvaris Jackson as well as rookie Russell Wilson.
Jackson has largely been a disappointment as an NFL quarterback. Last season he had just two 300-yard passing games and only three multi-touchdown gamesâ€¦none after Thanksgiving. Wilson certainly can throw and added a different dimension to the Wisconsin offense last season. Asking him to do the same in Seattle immediately will be pushing the envelope.
That leaves Flynn. The receivers are there with Doug Baldwin being matched with Golden Tate and, potentially, a healthy Sidney Rice. The running game could be a question as the NFL will need to make a decision regarding Marshawn Lynch. Adding Kellen Winslow certainly provides a strong passing dimension on the end and over the middle.
Flynn first needs to win the job. Expecting him to be a top-ten quarterback will be pushing it. He has the ability, but there are plenty of questions. His ability to learn the offense as well as potentially throw the ball with a limited running attack will be a challenge. This is not a team that threw last season and Flynn will need to change that.
We all know what Manning is capable of doing. There is no denying his skillâ€¦when he was healthy. But what are we going to get now? Is this the same Manning of 2010 that threw for nearly 5,000 yards or is he going to be a shell of himself?
Denver made the playoffs last season without really having a strong signal caller. Tebow threw, but not well. Kyle Orton is more game-manager than quarterback. But they all knew how to use a decent core of receivers. Eric Decker emerged as a strong slot threat for fantasy owners as Demaryius Thomas proved himself a valuable weapon on the outside. Brandon Stokley and Andre Caldwell bring depth while Jason Hill can certainly be a burner on the opposite side of Thomas in four-receiver sets.
The running game may need more youth, but Willis McGahee is still serviceable and will be a weapon out of the backfield. Knowshon Moreno needs to get his act together, but the talent is there. Manning made Dallas Clarkâ€™s career and he has worked with Joel Dreessen in the past. The Tight End position has been key in the past and Dreessen has the pass-catching ability to be an effective weapon with Manning running the show.
That leaves the quarterback. If the reports are accurate, Manning will be a top-10 quarterback. His arm strength is there and he will be dictating the offense (definitely not the other way around). Manning will have a major impact for fantasy owners at the quarterback spot, just back him up with a reasonable option. His skill will also push the value of Thomas and Decker up the chain. Watch for them to have far better years than they did last year in Denver.
My mother always told me if you canâ€™t say anything nice, donâ€™t say anything at all. Soâ€¦I like Tebowâ€™s t-shirt ads.
In all seriousness, this situation has to be the most volatile. The Jets are talking about a two-quarterback system while at the same time running Tebow out on special teams. Mark Sanchez had as many or more interceptions as touchdowns in eight games last season and passed 300 yards on just two occasions. In fact, eight times he threw for less than 200 yards. His 55 career touchdowns are nearly offset by 51 interceptions.
Basically, the opportunity is there, but it has to be taken and earned. Sanchez has shown that he can struggle. The Jets simply need to understand what Tebow will bring to the table. He certainly can run the ball and will help in the â€œground and poundâ€ style the Jets have typically wanted to run. The additions to the running game will take pressure off either quarterback.
Tebowâ€™s impact is likely more to be in that running game than not. He will be able to run the option and provide a different dimension for the Jets while still being able to drop back and keep the defense honest. The first sign of struggle likely opens the door for Tebow if the Jets are willing to make that type of change. The fans will be clamoring as they have already vented frustration towards Sanchez in the past.
Call it minimal overall as the time share makes his ability to change the course of the offense moot. That said, if he wins the job, his presence will help the rest of the running attack while taking away from the outside receivers not named Santonio Holmes.