Kurt Warner will be the NY Giants’ starting quarterback when the season begins. Not so much because he has earned the job over #1 overall pick Eli Manning, but to protect Eli. Week 1, the Giants head into Lincoln Financial Field to play the eager Eagles and their bruising defense. Not to mention, this is the Eagles MUST season…and you know they are ready to get going. This isn’t to say Eli cannot handle it, but it will be easier to throw Warner out there and get knocked around…..then say, “well, let’s start Eli Manning” in the Giants home opener against the Redskins in Week 2.
If Eli is the starter in Week 1…then they may as well just release Warner. Yeah, they only have Jesse Palmer and Ryan Van Dyke as backups…..but if you wanna ride with Eli…then go for broke.
Upstate, you have one of the classic battles in the NFL. The Bills starting running back job. Both Travis Henry and Willis MaGahee have stated that if they aren’t the starter they want to be traded. I can see where Henry can be miffed. He’s only rushed for over 3400 yards in his first 3 NFL seasons….including almost 1300 yards last year. Now, MaGahee hasn’t played a down in the NFL. The reason is his horrific knee injury suffered in his final collegiate game against Ohio State in 2003. Knowing that he most likely wouldn’t play…the Bills still made him a first round pick and worked with him to get back to health. Now, before his first NFL game…..he wants out if he doesn’t get what he wants??? I know there is no loyalty in the NFL…..but this is where a player at least needs to prove something before making demands. WHATCHA TALKING ABOUT, WILLIS!?!??!
There are two more very interesting QB battles involving a rookie coming in to try to steal an incumbent’s job. In Pittsburgh, Ben Rothlesberger could very well own Tommy Maddox’s job if he keeps performing well in preseason. Maddox should still be the starter on opening day….but he may have a short leash. The other battle is in San Diego….but not as fierce. Drew Brees used this camp to really buckle down and make significant strides in running the offense. Rivers may have scared him straight. Of course, Philip Rivers isn’t too much of a worry right now. Being the final first rounder to sign, Rivers has put himself at an obvious learning disadvantage [of course, how hard will it be to turn around at hand it to Tomlinson?]. NFL teams do not go back over things….so Rivers must put in a ton of work on his own. And the shame is that he WOULD have been a starter if he came into camp on time.
Now, Rich Gannon or Kerry Collins?? Tough one, since Gannon was the 2002 NFL MVP before being sidelined much of last year. Collins also played horribly in a Super Bowl against a great defense…but he may have what the new coach Norv Turner wants, a guy who can get the ball down the field. There are also interesting battles in the Browns backfield [Green or Suggs], Miami [Fiedler or Feely] and Washington [Brunell or Ramsey].