NFC West: Steve Young on QBs

FORT WORTH, Texas -- For the fourth time, a big thanks goes to Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young for taking time Friday morning to discuss quarterback situations for each NFC West team.

I'm breaking out his thoughts and adding my own, continuing with a look at the situation in Seattle, where Matt Hasselbeck can become a free agent after following a poor regular season with a productive postseason.

Steve Young: Matt Leinart just didn't pan out. That is a disaster for a team. A first-round draft choice -- like with Alex Smith, they are both very similar. If you are going to take that first pick and he does not pan out, it is devastating because inevitably you are going to give them three or four years. For the Cardinals, that is brutal and I don't know if they really have a good plan. Those veteran guys who have been around and have played some football are really valuable guys.

My thoughts: The Cardinals thought they were signing such a player when they added Derek Anderson last offseason. They would be better off signing the quarterback they reportedly wanted to add over Anderson last offseason, provided Marc Bulger becomes available, as expected. Bulger hasn't been productive since the 2006 season, but the Rams' problems went far beyond the quarterback situation. Perhaps one season as a backup in Baltimore can help restore him physically and from a confidence standpoint. Arizona holds the fifth overall draft choice, putting the Cardinals in position to consider drafting a quarterback early. Adding the right quarterback in the first round and signing Bulger would upgrade the position. But if the Cardinals go into next season with John Skelton and Max Hall in prominent positions once again, they could be in for a repeat of the 2010 season.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- For the third time, a big thanks goes to Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young for taking time Friday morning to discuss quarterback situations for each NFC West team.

I'm breaking out his thoughts and adding my own, continuing with a look at the situation in Seattle, where Matt Hasselbeck can become a free agent after following a poor regular season with a productive postseason.

Steve Young: I could not figure out why a guy who knows so much about the offense he is running was not getting more out of it. I was excited to see Matt toward the end of the season. When guys have been around and had success, there are so few guys like that. He is real marketable. I think the 49ers would like to have him, to be honest with you. So, I think whatever needs to be fixed, fix it. If it's health, get healthy. If it's the offensive line, get it figured out. Because Matt should be more productive than he has been.

My thoughts: The Seahawks face a bit of a dilemma. Ideally, they would consider trading for a younger quarterback they felt fit their system, whether it's Kevin Kolb or someone else. They would then re-sign Hasselbeck if doing so wound up being their best option. Realistically, the team has pledged to deal honestly and openly with Hasselbeck. Letting him hit the market would carry risk, particularly if Young is right in saying a division rival might want to sign him. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they went through Pete Carroll's first season without getting an extended look at Charlie Whitehurst. It would be tough heading into the season banking on him as the starter. The offensive line needs upgrading. The Seahawks addressed the position in the first round of the draft last year. They'll need to keep addressing it in the 2011 draft and with whatever free agency offers this offseason. Upgrading the line will give Hasselbeck or any quarterback a better chance to benefit from offensive balance. But the position remains unsettled long term.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- For the second time, a big thanks goes to Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young for taking time Friday morning to discuss quarterback situations for each NFC West team.

I'm breaking out his thoughts and adding my own, continuing with a look at the situation in San Francisco, where coach Jim Harbaugh is installing a new offense.

Steve Young: They have a decent team and they have some great offensive weapons. I think you would be tempted to find somebody -- let's just say Kyle Orton or Matt Hasselbeck. Not that they are available, not that that is necessarily possible, but just guys with the kind of experience I am talking about that can come in with an offensive-minded coach, they can work together, they can get him protected, which I think they will do at San Francisco. To me, you could get decent pretty fast offensively. In the background, you have to find the answer for the long term. But there are teams that have been trying to do that for 35 years. I do not think there is really a secret there. Hopefully, there's a diamond in the rough. What we have now in San Francisco for the first time in a decade is a system in place, a coach in place, that can actually take a young player and develop him and actually get the most out of him, instead of the least. I think that we got the least out of Alex [Smith], and I do not think that is all Alex's fault.

My thoughts: Amen to that. The 49ers are a competent veteran quarterback away from becoming a team that wins some of the close games it has lost so excruciatingly in recent seasons. We're largely past assigning blame for what went wrong during Smith's tenure as quarterback. We know he wasn't ideally suited for a pro offense, at least initially. We know he's had injuries. We know the 49ers have mishandled him. We know the team has run through multiple coordinators. The forensic evidence has been examined and reexamined, but it only matters this offseason if Harbaugh cannot find anyone better for the short term. Bringing back Smith could conceivably become an option under such a circumstance. I just think the 49ers are in position to part with a draft choice or draft choices to acquire a quarterback and start getting more from their offense.

Steve Young: State of Rams' QB situation

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
12:52
PM ET
FORT WORTH, Texas -- A big thanks goes to Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young for taking time Friday morning to discuss quarterback situations for each NFC West team.

I'll break out his thoughts and add my own, beginning with a look at the situation in St. Louis, where Sam Bradford will be entering his second season.

Steve Young: You have seen Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and now Sam break down the barriers of really taking on teams that were flat on their back -- Joe, not so much -- and succeeding right away. The year the Falcons chose Matt, they were coming off a disastrous season. They were flat on their back with so much upheavel, and he and a coach righted it. I haven't seen that since Dan Marino, but even then, it wasn't like Marino had to turn them completely around. I thought it was unprecedented what Matt Ryan did. And what Sam did, playing winning football out of nowhere. Hearing him talk, the way he speaks, the way he plays, he is a really heady guy who is going to do very good. You can see that. You get players like that and you know you are going to have them for 15 years. There is nothing more valuable by extreme measurement to a franchise. For St. Louis, it is a big, big deal. They took a risk. I can't imagine as a rookie actually playing good football. I went through it.

My thoughts: Expectations could get out of control a little bit this offseason. As well as Bradford played, 24 qualifying quarterbacks had higher passer ratings this season. Bradford will take an initial step backward this offseason while learning a new offensive system. The Rams need to upgrade their receivers, find another starting guard, get their tight ends healthy and consider adding a change-of-pace running back. They do not need a quarterback, however, and those other holes can be filled without great difficulty. Bradford does appear to have the right makeup and physical ability to be the franchise quarterback the Rams sought when they made him the first player chosen in the 2010 NFL draft.

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