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Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Hawks, Rams know early QB changes

Posted by's Mike Sando

NFL teams rarely lose their starting quarterback to a season-ending injury in the opener. That comes as no consolation to the Patriots as they move on without Tom Brady. But a couple of NFC West teams have changed starters after Week 1, with positive results.

The Rams benched two-time MVP Kurt Warner for Marc Bulger following the 2003 opener. Warner fumbled six times in Week 1. Bulger took over and kept the job. He finished that 2003 season with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions before becoming more efficient in subsequent seasons.

In 1997, the Seahawks lost starter John Friesz to a broken thumb during a 41-3 opening-week loss to the Jets. Warren Moon took over and passed for 3,678 yards with 25 touchdowns as Seattle finished the season ranked No. 1 in passing yards.

Current Seattle backup Charlie Frye started the 2007 opener for Cleveland, only to have the Browns trade him to the Seahawks. Derek Anderson took over for Cleveland and earned a spot on the AFC's Pro Bowl squad.

The Patriots will surely tumble in our upcoming power rankings, but it's premature to write them off. The next Bulger or Anderson could already be on their roster. Unfortunately for New England, there's only one Tom Brady.