With the preseason already coming to a close and the regular season of NFL action soon to fulfill the anticipation carried over from last year, football fans are starting to go crazy for some on-field action. While NFL tickets are being sold left and right, especially online, there have been some last-minute shake-ups, injuries and trades that are sure to affect fantasy football play and team loyalties, most notably with the coveted position of quarterback. When it comes to starting and backup QBs in the NFL, here’s the latest news on the shakiest teams of the league.
Detroit Lions: Currently housing five quarterbacks on the team’s roster, the Lions have all but named rookie Matthew Stafford the starting QB for the ’09 season, albeit against the better judgment of the coaches, say some football analysts. Stafford may not be ready to join the NFL as a starter, but veteran QB Daunte Culpepper, who has been vying for the starting position with Stafford, suffered a toe injury over the weekend that resulted in eight stitches, leaving him an iffy candidate for the job in Detroit’s season opener. Drew Stanton, Detroit’s No. 3 QB, is also out with a knee injury, leaving the newly-signed Brooks Bollinger and former Patriots QB (released just this week) Kevin O’Connell to play backup.
Philadelphia Eagles: The acquisition of Michael Vick threw off the balance in Philly, and it looks like it’s No. 3 QB A.J. Feeley who’s going to be short-changed here. Donovan McNabb is the undisputed starter for the Eagles and Kevin Kolb is secure at No. 2, but with the addition of Vick the team may no longer need Feeley once Vick’s suspension is up. It’s been rumored that New England is courting A.J. Feeley, and a deal could be worked out soon for the nine-year veteran.
Denver Broncos: A dislocated finger wasn’t exactly what Kyle Orton expected during the Broncos’ third preseason game against his old Chicago Bears, but that’s what he wound up with. On top of this, backup Chris Simms has been out with a left ankle sprain also suffered in the preseason, leaving rookie Tom Brandstater to take the snaps in Denver’s final preseason game, even questionable as a starter for the regular season’s first game if Orton and Simms haven’t healed by then. Brandstater hasn’t gotten much attention so far in the offseason and has a long way to go before he’s groomed for Kyle Orton’s job, but Simms should be back in action by Sept. 13, when the Broncos open their regular season at Cincinnati.
Houston Texans: It’s nothing major as far as catastrophes go, but QB Matt Schaub sprained his ankle in a preseason game against the Vikings, leaving Dan Orlovsky to take over the reins at starting quarterback. Schaub is expected to return for the start of the regular season.
New England Patriots: The Patriots had a scare in their third exhibition game against the Washington Redskins when the 300-pound Albert Haynesworth sacked Tom Brady, who then fell hard on his throwing shoulder, but both Brady and coach Bill Belichick have stated it’s nothing more than a sore shoulder, and Brady will start in the season opener. As for backups, former Raiders QB Andrew Walter and undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer will now vie to be the next Matt Cassel now that Kevin O’Connell has been released and picked up by the Detroit Lions, though the Patriots are said to be scouring the market for another veteran (perhaps Philly’s A.J. Feeley?).