Nov 10, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen (50) during the first half at LP Field. The Jaguars beat the Titans 29-27. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of untimely losses and victories spelled out bad news for big name quarterbacks around the NFL. Which of those names might feel the seat under them getting a little hotter looking ahead to next off-season?
Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys – Seat: Warm
Certainly the defense will draw most of the ire for the Dallas Cowboys after once again getting dismantled, this time by Drew Brees and the Saints. Giving up 49 points makes it easy to overlook how grossly ineffective Tony Romo was on offense. He completed under half of his passes for just 128 yards and one touchdown. Like it or not, it was another forgettable performance in a big game against a good team. That won’t do anything for his standing amongst the media and maybe even the locker room.
Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – Seat: Hot
Arm strength is usually the calling card for Jay Cutler, but fans and experts have learned he doesn’t lack for guts or toughness either. Otherwise he would’ve left the Detroit Lions game after the first half when he apparently suffered a high ankle sprain. While his willingness to play was admirable, his performance was not. On top of that Chicago lost the game, putting them in a difficult spot trying to make the playoffs at 5-4. Questions about Culter’s heart aren’t in question. His inability to stay healthy and ongoing inconsistency are.
Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams – Seat: Warm
Kellen Clemens is not going to replace Sam Bradford as quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. However, his ability to elevate the offense despite being a backup is not a good sign for Bradford’s leverage heading into next year. His contract is becoming more of a financial problem and team has two first round picks in the 2014 draft. They could easily use them to go after a replacement either by trading up or using one of them. Bradford hasn’t done enough to show he is a franchise quarterback. A few more wins without him might prove it.
Terrelle Pryor – Oakland Raiders – Seat: Warm
It was a nice story for awhile and he did have some solid moments but it’s not hard to see the facts. For all his athletic ability, Terrelle Pryor is not a quarterback. At least not one who is going to win a team a championship. He has just seven total touchdowns on the season to 11 turnovers. Three of his games finished under 130 yards passing. That is not the mark of a true starting quarterback, even one who can move like Pryor. Does he deserve more time and a better cast around him? Maybe. That doesn’t mean the Oakland Raiders will wait.
Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans – Seat: Hot
The only thing that can lose a quarterback his NFL job almost as fast as inept play is injuries. The fact Jake Locker has gone through stretches of both pretty much says it all. After overcoming a couple of difficult seasons, it looked like he was gaining mastery of the Tennessee Titans offense. Then he hurt his hip. He fought back to return earlier than many expected, but it didn’t help. After two mediocre games his season came to an end against Jacksonville thanks to a foot injury. Unless Mike Munchak survives this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, both he and Locker could be out in 2014.
Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings – Seat: Hot
The same goes for Christian Ponder. Though his play helped the Minnesota Vikings hold off the Washington Redskins, it’s clear Ponder can’t handle the physical and mental demands of a starting quarterback in the NFL. His teammates still believe in him, but it’s clear despite obvious upgrades at receiver that the 2011 first round pick isn’t going to work out. Given how high the Vikings should draft, they are in prime position to find a replacement.