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Who’s the QB?

The Spokesman-Review

Here’s a look at each of the NFL teams’ quarterback situation.

AFC

Baltimore: Untested Kyle Boller is the starter, with mediocre backups. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Ravens bring in a veteran, but coach Brian Billick says Boller is his guy.

Buffalo: Drew Bledsoe comes off an awful season and must show he is not done. First-round pick J.P. Losman is the future, but this team needs an experienced No. 2.

Cincinnati: Jon Kitna couldn’t keep the job despite a career-best season in helping the Bengals turn around. He’s playing the loyal team guy as Carson Palmer takes over. Will Palmer be on a short leash for a team expecting to contend?

Cleveland: Jeff Garcia moves in for a few years, which is good because the offensive line is bad and Garcia is mobile. Fourth-round pick Luke McCown can learn behind Garcia and Kelly Holcomb. Tim Couch is history here.

Denver: Jake Plummer showed in his first season as a Bronco that he’s a winner. Veteran backup Steve Beuerlein was released, but would be welcomed back if he doesn’t retire. With Jarious Jackson moving to safety, Danny Kanell is the second-stringer – for now, not likely for long.

Houston: All David Carr. Tony Banks was effective enough when Carr was hurt, but this team won’t win without Carr behind center. No. 3 Dave Ragone will challenge Banks this year.

Indianapolis: Peyton Manning, the league’s co-MVP, is heading into his prime, is durable and has more firepower around him than just about anyone. His backup is raw Cory Sauter. Does it really matter?

Jacksonville: Byron Leftwich played well sporadically as a rookie and has a bright future if the Jaguars add strong enough personnel around him. Backup David Garrard has Crohn’s disease, so inconsistent Doug Johnson was signed.

Kansas City: Trent Green had a huge season and is comfortable running the Chiefs, but he’ll be 34. Todd Collins has hung on for a decade without any particular skills, but without Green, the Chiefs will be lost. They need a young QB.

Miami: Confusion. Jay Fiedler gets them victories, if not into the playoffs. But the Dolphins brought in A.J. Feeley, who is having trouble with the playbook. Looks like Ricky Williams will get plenty of carries again.

New England: Tom Brady has won two Super Bowls in three years as a starter. Nobody has such a resume, and Brady is at his best in the clutch. Rohan Davey, playing in NFL Europe, probably will be No. 2.

N.Y. Jets: Chad Pennington’s 2003 season was delayed by a broken wrist and he pressed when he returned. He’s smart, decisive and a good leader, and he’d better stay healthy with untested Brooks Bollinger behind him.

Oakland: If Rich Gannon returns from shoulder surgery and a lost season, Oakland will be OK. If not, owner Al Davis could look at Kurt Warner or Kerry Collins rather than backup Marques Tuiasosopo.

Pittsburgh: Tommy Maddox is a very shaky incumbent and wasn’t thrilled when the Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger. Charlie Batch is a nonfactor and if Maddox struggles again, look for the rookie.

San Diego: As bad as the Chargers have been, why not just let Philip Rivers, the No. 4 overall pick, take charge now rather than wait a year? Drew Brees and Doug Flutie have proven little in San Diego.

Tennessee: Steve McNair, the other co-MVP, could use more help. Nobody is more effective when less than 100 percent, but the Titans must find a running game and stronger receiving. Billy Volek is a quality backup.

NFC

Arizona: New coach Dennis Green proclaims his faith in unproven Josh McCown. We’ll see. Shaun King is the veteran backup. The seventh-round pick was spent on Michigan’s John Navarre.

Atlanta: Michael Vick is key to everything for the Falcons. They plummeted when he was hurt a year ago. He should be a difference maker if healthy. Otherwise, it’s immobile Ty Detmer and rookie Matt Schaub – and trouble.

Carolina: If Jake Delhomme continues where he left off, the Panthers need not worry about their quarterbacking. Or that Rodney Peete and Chris Weinke are below-average subs. Delhomme had the look of a star in the playoffs.

Chicago: While rumors swirl that Warner or Collins or Couch will be signed to support Rex Grossman, the Bears appear committed to the youngster. For now, Jonathan Quinn is No. 2.

Dallas: Quincy Carter has been Jerry Jones’ guy and he helped Bill Parcells take the Cowboys to the playoffs a year ago. But Dallas has showed interest in Vinny Testaverde and traded for Drew Henson, who probably needs a year of watching.

Detroit: Joey Harrington is the clear No. 1 and Mike McMahon is a feisty No. 2. With all the weapons Detroit has added, Harrington had better be special this year, or McMahon could steal the job.

Green Bay: No, Brett Favre won’t start every Packers game into the next century. Maybe into the next decade, though. Seriously, while Favre still is top-notch, this team must find a youngster to develop. Craig Nall?

Minnesota: The Vikings couldn’t have come closer without making the playoffs, and Daunte Culpepper was a big reason. He’s solidly entrenched, with Gus Frerotte a decent backup.

New Orleans: Aaron Brooks hasn’t been real consistent, but neither have his receivers nor his line. Even if he struggles, he doesn’t figure to get pushed by Todd Bouman. The Saints are high on J.T. O’Sullivan.

N.Y. Giants: Eli Manning will get tested under fire and eventually should prosper under new coach Tom Coughlin. Warner could be headed to New York.

Philadelphia: Donovan McNabb is tough, versatile and smart. He’s also entering his prime, and could be an MVP favorite this year. Koy Detmer and Andy Hall will watch.

St. Louis: From the best situation two years ago to major questions. Marc Bulger is the starter, but coach Mike Martz showed little confidence in him in the playoffs. Warner appears gone, with Chris Chandler a shaky, aging backup.

San Francisco: A mess. Jeff Garcia was released and his successor, Tim Rattay, tore his groin and will miss the preseason. Ken Dorsey takes over, but a veteran (Couch?) almost certainly will be signed.

Seattle: Matt Hasselbeck looked like an All-Pro in the playoff loss to Green Bay. He’s gained confidence and understands coach Mike Holmgren’s QB-friendly system. Trent Dilfer is a quality backup.

Tampa Bay: Whispers that coach Jon Gruden is ready to dump Brad Johnson have been vehemently denied in Tampa. But he is collecting QBs: Brian Griese, Jason Garrett and likely future starter – but not this year – Chris Simms.

Washington: Joe Gibbs wanted a veteran starter, so the Redskins signed Mark Brunell, who lost his job in Jacksonville last season. That also annoyed incumbent Patrick Ramsey. If Brunell has anything left, Gibbs will start him.

– Barry Wilner, Associated Press

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