Five quarterbacks who should be benched

Every NFL season features quarterbacks getting benched and, ultimately, coaches getting fired.

As training camp approaches and with every team in the valley of 0-0 and having a one-in-four chance (in theory) of winning the division and hosting a playoff game, optimism causes many fans to believe that their quarterback can — and will — not only survive but even thrive.

In some cities, the handwriting is already on the wall, plain to see for anyone who cares to notice. Let’s look at where the powers-that-be should pull the trigger now instead of later on benching their starting quarterbacks.

Jake Delhomme, Browns

Coach Eric Mangini recently said the starting job in Cleveland is Delhomme’s to lose. The sooner he does lose it, the better off the team will be.

Delhomme lost his fastball at some point during the 13 days between Week 17 of the 2008 regular season and the divisional round of the playoffs. Though the Browns regard it as an aberration, it’s unlikely that a guy would simply fall off the horse at an advanced stage of his career then find the stirrups again.

Of course, the Browns can’t simply bench Delhomme after signing him in the offseason and paying him $7 million. Maybe they just shouldn’t have signed him.

David Garrard doesn't have much support from the Jaguars after two seasons with 15 TD passes and double-digit interceptions.
David Garrard doesn’t have much support from the Jaguars after two seasons with 15 TD passes and double-digit interceptions.

David Garrard, Jaguars

The coach doesn’t really believe in him. The owner doesn’t really believe in him. So why in the heck is Garrard the Jaguars’ starting quarterback?

Of course, Garrard might be better than Luke McCown. But even if Garrard remains at the top of the depth chart, he should be on a short leash for 2010.

In turn, the Jaguars should have found a better option in the offseason. They clearly don’t love the guy. It makes no sense to keep him around.

Kyle Orton, Broncos

The decision to trade for Brady Quinn and to draft Tim Tebow hardly represents a vote of confidence for Orton, whose contract-year performance was rewarded with only a first-round restricted free-agent tender.

So why do the Broncos insist on keeping him at the top of the depth chart? If, somehow, he plays well in 2010, it’ll be harder to move on in 2011. The better move would be to get Tebow ready and get him on the field.

If the Broncos thought enough of Tebow to trade back into Round 1 to draft him, they simply should get him on the field.

Matt Moore, Panthers

After cutting Delhomme, the Panthers handed the ball to Moore. Then the Panthers drafted a QB in Round 2 prepared to step in and play right away.

So why not just give Jimmy Clausen the ball right now?

If coach John Fox wants to stick around after 2010, he must show that Clausen can be the long-term answer at quarterback.

Matt Leinart, Cardinals

A top-10 pick in ’06, Leinart hasn’t been able to win and hold the job. Injured in ’07 after routinely being yanked for Kurt Warner when the going got tough, Leinart surprisingly landed on the bench shortly before the ’08 season. He then watched Warner cement his Hall of Fame credentials.

So it’s unclear why the team still has faith in Leinart. The best argument for keeping him on the field flows from the fact that the only other viable option is Derek Anderson.

The Cardinals should have aggressively pursued other options in the offseason, whether Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger. Either way, Leinart isn’t the answer; the sooner the Cardinals figure that out, the better off they’ll be.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

Every NFL season features quarterbacks getting benched and, ultimately, coaches getting fired.

As training camp approaches and with every team in the valley of 0-0 and having a one-in-four chance (in theory) of winning the division and hosting a playoff game, optimism causes many fans to believe that their quarterback can — and will — not only survive but even thrive.

In some cities, the handwriting is already on the wall, plain to see for anyone who cares to notice. Let’s look at where the powers-that-be should pull the trigger now instead of later on benching their starting quarterbacks.

Jake Delhomme, Browns

Coach Eric Mangini recently said the starting job in Cleveland is Delhomme’s to lose. The sooner he does lose it, the better off the team will be.

Delhomme lost his fastball at some point during the 13 days between Week 17 of the 2008 regular season and the divisional round of the playoffs. Though the Browns regard it as an aberration, it’s unlikely that a guy would simply fall off the horse at an advanced stage of his career then find the stirrups again.

Of course, the Browns can’t simply bench Delhomme after signing him in the offseason and paying him $7 million. Maybe they just shouldn’t have signed him.

David Garrard doesn't have much support from the Jaguars after two seasons with 15 TD passes and double-digit interceptions.
David Garrard doesn’t have much support from the Jaguars after two seasons with 15 TD passes and double-digit interceptions.

David Garrard, Jaguars

The coach doesn’t really believe in him. The owner doesn’t really believe in him. So why in the heck is Garrard the Jaguars’ starting quarterback?

Of course, Garrard might be better than Luke McCown. But even if Garrard remains at the top of the depth chart, he should be on a short leash for 2010.

In turn, the Jaguars should have found a better option in the offseason. They clearly don’t love the guy. It makes no sense to keep him around.

Kyle Orton, Broncos

The decision to trade for Brady Quinn and to draft Tim Tebow hardly represents a vote of confidence for Orton, whose contract-year performance was rewarded with only a first-round restricted free-agent tender.

So why do the Broncos insist on keeping him at the top of the depth chart? If, somehow, he plays well in 2010, it’ll be harder to move on in 2011. The better move would be to get Tebow ready and get him on the field.

If the Broncos thought enough of Tebow to trade back into Round 1 to draft him, they simply should get him on the field.

Matt Moore, Panthers

After cutting Delhomme, the Panthers handed the ball to Moore. Then the Panthers drafted a QB in Round 2 prepared to step in and play right away.

So why not just give Jimmy Clausen the ball right now?

If coach John Fox wants to stick around after 2010, he must show that Clausen can be the long-term answer at quarterback.

Matt Leinart, Cardinals

A top-10 pick in ’06, Leinart hasn’t been able to win and hold the job. Injured in ’07 after routinely being yanked for Kurt Warner when the going got tough, Leinart surprisingly landed on the bench shortly before the ’08 season. He then watched Warner cement his Hall of Fame credentials.

So it’s unclear why the team still has faith in Leinart. The best argument for keeping him on the field flows from the fact that the only other viable option is Derek Anderson.

The Cardinals should have aggressively pursued other options in the offseason, whether Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger. Either way, Leinart isn’t the answer; the sooner the Cardinals figure that out, the better off they’ll be.

Mike Florio writes and edits ProFootballTalk.com and is a regular contributor to Sporting News. Check out PFT for up-to-the minute NFL news.

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