Injuries take toll on NFL starting QBs

This is the sixth consecutive NFL season in which there have been at least 50 different starting quarterbacks. The high turnover is mostly injury-related and performance- related; on occasion, it is simply Carolina Panthers-related.

Couch Slouch’s “I Team” – that’s me; Toni, a.k.a. She Is The One (And Then Some); my step kids Isaiah and Mia; and our intrepid rescue dog Sapphire, who is by my side for most NFL action (though she won’t watch NFL Network games) – has identified several intriguing quarterback storylines.

Note: This is a Brett Favre-free column.

I must first apologize to Jets pretty boy/ hunkaholic Mark Sanchez. I had loudly proclaimed the Lions were better off drafting Matthew Stafford than Sanchez. Stafford might one day be great, but so far in his injury-riddled career, he’s won all of three games; Sanchez won two playoff games his rookie year, and every time I wait for him to make a big mistake, he ends up making a big play. So maybe Turnpike Mark is the next Broadway Joe.

I also must apologize – gulp – to the man I love to malign, Jay Cutler. Cutler is to the 21st century what Jeff George was to the 20th century, and he still might revert to his pouting, punk-like, pass-the-buck-and- throw-a-pick habits, but at the moment his Bears are in first place and I am in my PBR cellar drowning in stupidity and sorrow. P.S. This apology will be retracted at the earliest possible opportunity.

Donovan McNabb has started every Redskins game, though he did sit out the final two minutes of one contest for cardiovascular reasons. I mention this because many of my Washington friends seem to think coach Mike Shanahan is the cure to the team’s perpetual ills. Well, the “I Team” did some digging and discovered that since John Elway’s retirement in 1998, Shanahan has won exactly one playoff game. Heck, even Norv Turner’s won four in that time.

(Column Intermission: For the second time in three years, my Team of Destiny seems to have a date with destiny. Who among us had the 2008 Arizona Cardinals going to the Super Bowl? I did. And who among us had this year’s Philadelphia Eagles in first place after 12 games? I did. After Andy Reid dumped McNabb, the Eagles were dissed and discounted; in many national polls, they were running behind Parker-Spitzer. But I had vision, I had conviction and, without knowing it, I had Michael Vick. On occasion, my friends, I impress myself like no other.)

Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees all have a remote chance to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing-yardage record of 5,084. This doesn’t seem possible to me – you essentially have to average 325 yards a game over 16 games. In Rivers’ case, I suspect the Chargers, who play just beyond the glare of the national spotlight most weeks, might be using a Canadian-style 110-yard football field in San Diego.

The following are names of actual NFL starting quarterbacks this year, many of whom you would not recognize even if you were a member of their immediate family. Bruce Gradkowski, Max Hall, Shaun Hill, Brian St. Pierre, Drew Stanton, Charlie Whitehurst.

No, I was not making up the name of Brian St. Pierre in the previous item. He started a game for the Panthers two weeks ago. The team’s personnel director apparently went to Radio Shack just before kickoff and pulled the third person out of line.

Among starting quarterbacks this season are two Mannings (Peyton and Eli), two Chads (Henne and Pennington) and THREE Smiths. Somewhat improbably, Alex Smith, Troy Smith and Rusty Smith are among the 53 men who have been an NFL starting QB in 2010. Then again, Smith is a common surname in the U.S., like Constantinescu in Romania.

We will end with an ode to Todd Bouman. Perhaps you have never heard of Todd Bouman, who started for the Jaguars on Oct. 24. He deserves your respect. Because if you attended St. Cloud State University and were signed as an undrafted free agent in 1997, to still be strapping it up behind center at age 38 is life-affirming. Bouman’s played for six NFL teams, and, before getting cut on Nov. 10, was on his fifth tour of duty with the Jaguars. Would you stick with the same line of work if it kept taking you back to Jacksonville?

Ask The Slouch


Q. Cam Newton’s father wanted $180,000 from Mississippi State for his son’s letter of intent. What did your parents ask from the University of Maryland so that you would matriculate there? (Bill Lehky; Strongsville, Ohio)

A. Just that they wouldn’t send me back home after graduation.

Q. What will happen to America if there is no football or basketball next year? (Lenny Freed; Lyndhurst, Ohio)

A. I believe the 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution calls for the dissolution of the Union.

Q. If the newly enacted NBA prohibition against disgusted expression had been in effect during your previous marriages, how many technical fouls might your ex-wives have amassed? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Norman Chad is a syndicated columnist. You can enter his $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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