The football season is not that far off. In about a month, preseason is up and running and in less than two the 2007 season will begin. Here are four QBâ€™s that could lead their teams to the Super Bowl.Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts): Manning has amazing talent. The guy has got a quick release, can audible and/or makes quick play decisions better than anyone else and is a real field general. His ability to read defensive schemes is second to none. Last season while leading the Colts to the championship, Manning threw 31 TDs and 9 INTs. He compiled 4,397 yards with a 65% COMP rate. His rating was 101.0. But Manningâ€™s post-season was not as spectacular. Although his completion rate was 63.4%, he threw only 3 TDs while tossing 7 INTs and getting sacked 6 times! In the end, it was the Colt â€œDâ€? and running game that saved the day. Also, Manning managed to come through when necessary and also kept his wits about him. His two problems have been mobility when under pressure and his tendency, if he does get confused, to hold the ball for too long or make the bad play. Heâ€™s improved in these areas, which is good news.
Tom Brady (New England Patriots): Brady has led the Pats to three Super Bowls and has earned the reputation of being able to get the job done. Heâ€™s managed in his short careerâ€”six years as a starterâ€”to do a lot with very little. No one is better in the pocket than Brady. Last season he made 61.8% of his passes, throwing for 3.064 yards and 24 TDs. He suffered 26 sacks last season and earned a QB rating of 87.9. He threw 12 INTs. In the playoffs, he had a terrible game versus the Chargers (52.9% COMP, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 57.6 RAT), but the team survived winning 24- 21. He had a good game against the Colts but lost 38- 34. Brady uses all of his receivers and with the addition of Randy Moss should finally have a go-to guy again. Brady is rough and tough and his team will go the limit for the guy.
Marc Bulger (St. Louis Rams): Bulger may not be your normal pick. Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb and Carson Palmer are considered by many to be better. But Bulger under new coach Scott Linehan and his conservative offense really found himself. Bulger has always had good physical attributes and sound skills. Last season, his fifth, the QB matured greatly, really improving his ability to read and react to defenses. He sported a 92.9% rating and completed 62.9% of his passes. He threw 24 TDs and 8 INTs. But, he was sacked 49 times! Thatâ€™s his next goalâ€”to react to pressure better by harmlessly throwing the ball away. Heâ€™s got some good receivers to throw to and is better able to audible than ever before. This could be a real break through year for this QB and his team.
Phillip Rivers (San Diego Chargers): In his first full season behind center, QB Rivers did better than anyone expected. He had a rating of 92.0 and completed 61.7% of his passes. He threw 22 TDs and 9 INTs while being sacked 27 times. In the post-season, he had a terrible game versus the Pats, completing only 43.8% of his throws with 1 INT and no touchdowns. Overall, Rivers showed that he could make fast decisions as he read complex defenses. Heâ€™s a fine match with the Chargers that look to use a lot of timing routes and require extremely accurate throws. Heâ€™s always well prepared, is smart and can learn quickly. This could be a break through year, much as Pittsburghâ€™s Roethlisberger had two seasons ago and Brady had a few more seasons before that. Watch out, if Rivers can keep it together and continue to mature, the Chargers could go deep into the playoffs.
Big question marks at quarterback include Daman Huard (Kansas City Chiefs with Trent Green is now in Miami); youngsters Vince Young (Tennessee Titans), Jason Campbell (Washington Redskins) and Tarvaris Jackson (Minnesota Vikings) and former Atlanta second-stringer Matt Schaub (Houston Texans). Can any of these guys lead their teams to the Promised Land? If they can, it will be a storybook season for the franchise.