NFC West: Ty Detmer
That will change when Kerry Collins replaces an injured Manning in the Colts' lineup for Week 1.
The first preseason game I covered as an NFL beat reporter featured Manning making his first start against the Seattle Seahawks in the Kingdome. His very first pass found Marvin Harrison for a 49-yard touchdown. Preseason games are generally without much meaning, but could there have been a more fitting beginning for Manning?
For a fuller appreciation of Manning's durability and consistency in starting 227 consecutive games, I went through Pro Football Reference counting how many quarterbacks had started for current NFC West teams since Manning made his regular-season debut. There have been 48. That figure includes 14 for the St. Louis Rams, 13 for the 49ers, 11 for the Arizona Cardinals and 10 for the Seahawks.
A few notes on the 48 players to start for current NFC West teams since 1998:
- There have been two Brocks (Berlin, Huard), two Charlies (Frye, Whitehurst), two named Chris (Chandler, Weinke), two Jeffs (Plummer, Martin), three Johns (Friesz, Navarre, Skelton), one Jon (Kitna), two Matts (Hasselbeck, Leinart), two Shauns (Hill, King), three Steves (Young, Bono, Stenstrom) and two Trents (Dilfer, Green).
- Two, Young and Warren Moon, have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame since Manning's streak began.
- Dilfer and Warner started for more than one current NFC West team since Manning's streak began. Warner started 57 games for Arizona and 50 for St. Louis. Dilfer started 12 for Seattle and six for San Francisco.
- Hasselbeck has the most total starts for current NFC West teams with 131, followed by Marc Bulger (95 for St. Louis), Jake Plummer (73 for the Cardinals) and Jeff Garcia (71 for the 49ers).
- Smith -- Alex, not Troy -- owns the most starts among current NFC West players with 50, all for San Francisco.
- Eight of the 48 were one-and-done as starters: Berlin, Scott Covington, Ty Detmer, Glenn Foley, Friesz, Frye, Navarre and Weinke. Nineteen have made at least 10 starts.
The NFC West will have two starters new to the division in Week 1: Tarvaris Jackson and Kevin Kolb.
The chart shows start totals by team for the 48. The NFC West changed membership with realignment in 2002. I'm going back to 1998 for the four teams currently in the division.
Thoughts and highlights:
- Schneider favors taller cornerbacks to combat the growing number of large receivers in the NFL. This was the approach Seattle took when Schneider and one of his mentors, Ted Thompson, were with the Seahawks several years ago. Ken Lucas and Ike Charlton are among the taller corners Seattle selected under that mindset.
- Schneider favors bigger receivers. Schneider said it's a "big man's league" and this has "more to do with corner and receiver than any other position."
- Finding linebackers, running backs, defensive linemen and offensive linemen is more about finding people to fit schemes. Seattle will pursue offensive linemen and running backs to fit the zone blocking scheme, for example.
- The Seahawks could draft quarterbacks regularly, independent of perceived need. Another mentor for Schneider, Ron Wolf, believed in drafting quarterbacks frequently, developing them and then deciding whether to promote them or trade them. Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck were examples from Schneider's early years in Green Bay.
- Carroll cleared up confusion over whether the Seahawks were considering incorporating 3-4 principles on defense, something Carroll alluded to during the news conference to introduce Schneider. The team will run a 4-3 scheme. The team might deploy its 4-3 defense with some personnel that might project more naturally in a 3-4 alignment. Hence references to "elephant" linebackers such as Brian Cushing, formerly of USC and now with the Texans. Background info here.
A scenario to consider for when the 49ers are on the clock with the 10th overall choice in the 2009 draft: Four offensive tackles are off the board, the top two pass rushers are gone, nose tackle B.J. Raji is gone and quarterback Mark Sanchez remains available.
Short of trading down, would there be a realistic option for the 49ers drafting someone other than the quarterback? I discussed the matter earlier Tuesday with Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. He thinks the 49ers should draft Sanchez, if available, even if tackle Michael Oher and pass rushers Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown remained available.
Muench: "They missed on Alex Smith with the first overall pick in 2005, but they can't let that prevent them from making the right call now. Sanchez is a different quarterback from more of a pro-style offense. They need a quarterback now."
How the 49ers perceive their quarterback situation probably differs from how most outsiders view the situation. This is fairly typical. I think the Seahawks view their quarterback situation differently than people following the team from afar view it. The Cardinals appear to view their needs on the offensive line -- specifically at center -- differently than others view the situation. The Rams have lots of holes, but general manager Billy Devaney rejected the idea that St. Louis has enough needs to justify practically any selection.
With those things in mind, I'll take a look at 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan and the quarterbacks his teams have drafted since 1994.