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10.06.2014 03:17
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level QB play more vital than ever

During the regular season, an NFL team carries 53 players on its roster. There are 22 players on the field for each play, 11 on defense and 11 more on offense.

Football requires precise cohesion between individuals in a team effort to be successful. The sheer numbers that make up a team would lead one to believe no single player can make that big a difference in determining a team's prospects for success or failure.

But in today's pass happy NFL, the quarterback is like the conductor of the symphony he makes the whole team sing. The position more than any other impacts the win loss fate of the team.

We saw it in 2008 when New England quarterback Tom Brady suffered a season ending knee injury in the opener at Kansas City. The Patriots went from undefeated in 2007 to 11 5 and out of the playoffs under backup quarterback Matt Cassel in '08.

Obviously, the Pats had great talent surrounding Brady in 2007, and most of it remained in place the following season. Those 2008 Patriots are an anomaly when it comes to teams winning without their starting quarterback in today's NFL.

The 2011 Indianapolis Colts were coming off nine straight playoff appearances, seven AFC South titles, three AFC Championship Game appearances, two Super Bowls and a championship following the 2006 campaign.

Prior to the 2011 campaign, quarterback Peyton Manning was declared out for the season due to a neck injury. Without Manning, the Colts slid from 10 6 in '10 to 2 14, the worst record in the league, earning them the right to make the first pick in the draft.

In 2011, the defending NFC North champion Chicago Bears were 7 3 and coming off a 31 20 victory over the San Diego Chargers. But in that game, quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb, and the Bears under Caleb Hanie and later Josh McCown lost five in a row. They finished 8 8 that season.

This season, with Cutler missing most of the last six games, the Bears are 2 4 with McCown at the helm, even though his numbers are better than Cutler's.

The quarterback, who touches the ball on virtually every offensive snap, is more important than he's ever been.

This level would include Philip Rivers (San Diego), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh), Tony Romo (Dallas) and Eli Manning (New York Giants).

Leading this group are Russell Wilson (Seattle), Cam Newton (Carolina), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), Robert Griffin III (Washington), Matthew Stafford (Detroit) and Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco).

Solid veteran starters: Joe Flacco (Baltimore), Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Jay Cutler (Chicago) and Alex Smith (Kansas City).

There are 32 clubs in the NFL, and I count 18 good to great signal callers. That tells you right away there aren't enough quality starters to go around, much less enough quality backups. In this league, if your backup quarterback is as good as your starter, you don't have a good enough starting quarterback. Maybe that's Chicago this season.

In the free agency, draft driven, salary cap governed NFL, it is no easy task to build quality depth at any position. If an NFL team has a quality quarterback, the personnel department spends all of its available resources building the best team it can www.brownsnflofficialonline.com/Justin_Gilbert_Jersey_Browns around that player.

It builds a defense that will turn the ball over www.texansofficialnflproshop.com/Tom_Savage_Jersey_Texans to that quarterback on a regular basis, because in today's NFL your defense is better when its offense plays with the lead.

The Packers have survived more than their share of injuries, from the 2010 Super Bowl season through Game 7 of this campaign. They put 16 players on the injured reserve list, including six opening day starters, yet won a Super Bowl three seasons ago. They lost all pro pass rusher Clay Matthews and went 3 1 earlier this season.

This is a testament to Justin Gilbert Browns Jersey the kind of depth the Green Bay personnel department has built over the past seven years. Conventional wisdom was: "The Packers can survive any player injury, as long as No. 12 stayed upright."

Heading into their eighth game of the season on a Monday night in Lambeau Field against the Bears, the Packers were 5 2 and in control of the NFC North. On the first drive of that game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went out with a broken collarbone. The Tom Savage Texans Jersey Packers haven't won since his injury (0 4 1).

When a quarterback, especially a Brady, Manning or Rodgers, goes down, the quality of the rest of the roster is exposed one way or the other. Because that quarterback transcends not just the position he plays, not just the offense, but defense and special teams feel his impact, as well.

When he's there, his presence elevates the confidence of every man on that roster, making everyone better.

So when it comes to losing your franchise quarterback, you can take that old coaching clich "next man up" and throw it out the window. Because unless the next man up is named Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers or maybe even Cutler, chances are that next man ain't good enough.

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