With teams picking up free agents to bolster their rosters along with new coaches and offensive coordinators taking over, some quarterbacks find themselves sitting on the hot seat entering the 2013 season.
Three quarterbacks immediately come to mind: San Diego Chargers Phillip Rivers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman and New York Jets Mark Sanchez .
Phillip Rivers (HOT SEAT)
Rivers is the veteran at age 31 and overall, he has had a successful NFL career sans the last two seasons (47 turnovers during this time and 2012’s 7-9 record) and three straight years without the playoffs. Rivers appears to have lost strength while game tape shows a lot of missed throws last season.
But this quarterback is getting somewhat of a second chance with a new coach who knows quarterbacks, Mike McCoy from the Denver Broncos and new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The team opened up minicamp this week with the new regime and a new system.
So far, so good.
River hasn’t lost his confidence said via NFL.com, “As far as whatever the numbers say over the last few years, and I say this humbly and respectfully, I played in 110 straight games or more, and have thrown a bunch of touchdowns, and over a seven-year period the ratio of touchdowns and interceptions is pretty dang good.”
The bigger question may be, how can Rivers adapt to change?
Josh Freeman (VERY HOT SEAT)
Freeman is playing out the final year of his rookie contract (2009) and is coming off 2012’s season with moments of inconsistency. He had 4,065 passing yards (54.8 completion percentage–his lowest since his rookie year), 27 touchdowns and 19 turnovers.
This performance set club records for single-season passing yards and touchdowns but came on a 7-9 season with 10 interceptions over three games.
Freeman has the support of his coach, Greg Schiano. Well, kind of.
Schiano said of Freeman in March, “I’ve said I believe we can win and achieve all the goals we want with Josh Freeman as our quarterback. But to say you’re married, well, nobody is married to anyone in this game. The reality is this is a performance-based game. You’ve got to win. They’re not married to me. You’ve got to win or I’m not going to be the coach. Everybody in this game gets that.”
Freeman doesn’t have any quarterback competition as he’ll be playing with his usual back up Dan Orlovsky. The team is rumored to have their draft sights on defensive players and a tight end, so the signs point to Freeman as this year’s starting quarterback.
Mark Sanchez (EXTREMELY HOT SEAT)
Sanchez entered the league in 2009 with high expectations and found some early success with two AFC Championship game visits. But he’s been declining and in 2012, his season ended with a Dec. 23 benching as the league’s second-worst passer rating (66.9) with 13 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions.
Change is coming this season as Sanchez has a new general manager and offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg. He knows he’s on the hot seat and has received tutoring by former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia for Mornhinweg’s West Coast system.
After the failed Tim Tebow experiment, the team has again signed a quarterback to give Sanchez some competition, David Gerrard. He has been open about his desire to compete for the starting role.
At some point the team needs to stop worrying about Sanchez’s psyche and cut their losses if he doesn’t perform even with a contract that runs to 2016.