In the NFL, it's been widely proven by now, if your team doesn't have a quarterback, then you really don't have a team. Sure, you can cobble together a couple of 9-7 seasons, maybe even win a division
before getting your ass kicked 30-0 at home in the playoffs, but there will be no Lombardi trophies without a franchise quarterback.
Now, you have to take the good with the bad, and with the franchise quarterback there can also be drama. Sometimes lots of drama. And as with any other position in the NFL, we all — teams, fans, media — need to ask the question "Are they worth it?" In other words, "Are you, Mr. Franchise QB, worth the soap opera that you bring to the table?"
To be very clear, if a quarterback is a truly elite franchise QB, then he could tweet out a nightly sex tape and run a meth ring as his side business, and he would still be worth the drama. The position is that important, and honestly, having some degree of storyline attached to you is almost a rite of passage to being an elite quarterback. Name any elite quarterback, and at some point they've had issues with the league, issues with the media, issues with substance abuse, issues with relationships, lots of issues.
Bringing it all back around to Houston — there was once a debate about the near eliteness of Matt Schaub. Is he a top 10 quarterback? (I swear, this was a thing. I'm not lying. Like around 2010 or so.) Well, what drama did Matt Schaub ever have attached to him that didn't involve a pick-six?
None. None is the answer. Matt Schaub had no drama.
No drama, no game — that's my motto.
We will find out in due time if Brock Osweiler causes enough off-the-field kerfuffles to crack the "Are you worth the soap opera?" barrier (TMZ video from the week before he signed here indicates that he has potential!). For now, we are left chowing down on some other juicy tidbits about other teams' signal callers.
So, without further ado, and like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our quarterbacks....
TOM BRADY, New England Patriots:
On Monday, Brady and the NFLPA filed their appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with the hope that it will overturn his four-game suspension for his involvement in deflating footballs before the AFC Title Game all the way back in the 2014 season. The suspension was reinstated by a three-judge panel several weeks ago. I want one of two things to happen here — either they announce they are keeping the suspension in place immediately (SIDEBAR: The Texans play the Patriots in Week 3, but I swear I'm unbiased!), OR we just keep flip-flopping back and forth between suspension-on and suspension-off forever, and make it an annual tradition. It's better than the Pro Bowl!
SAM BRADFORD, Philadelphia Eagles:
Sam Bradford is back in Eagles camp, with a vote of confidence from his head coach, Doug Pederson, who said recently that Sam is his starter...because Sam is very fragile and needs positive reinforcement. (I actually added that last phrase about Bradford's fragility as my opinion; Pederson didn't say that part.) There's only one problem — apparently, Pederson never told his coordinators about Sam's being anointed as the starter. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich (remember him, Houston?) said this when asked about the Eagles' crowded QB depth chart:
"I've been around this business a long time as a player and as a coach," Reich said, "and one of the things I've really come to appreciate is it's not a contradiction to say you've got to have order. Because if you don't have order, it's chaos. So if you're the head coach, you've got to come in and you've got to establish order. There has to be organization, there has to be order.
"But the other thing that — as coaches — that you've got to establish is a culture of competition. This is one of the most competitive industries in the world and so, to say that there's not competition, that's just the furthest thing from the truth.
"So I don't see the problem with creating order and competition at the same time, personally. Every one of us as a coach and a player, you're working hard to get better, but in that process you have to establish order and things have a way of working themselves out."
Somewhere, Sam Bradford weeps.
TONY ROMO, Dallas Cowboys:
Tony Romo's contract runs through the 2019 season, and despite the fact that the past few years of long-term deals in the NFL are there mostly for cosmetic reasons with no guarantees, Romo insists he plans on playing out his contract, which would take him to age 40. It's an interesting stance, considering Romo has dealt with more physical ailments than the dude on the Operation! game board over the past two seasons.
DREW BREES, New Orleans Saints:
For the past few years, the storm clouds brewing for the New Orleans Saints have been the past couple of years of Drew Brees's contract, in which he carries a $30 million cap figure for this season. Also, as of right now, Brees would become a free agent after the 2016 season. The Saints want to remedy both of those issues — reducing Brees's cap figure this season and getting him locked in for another year or two as a Saint after 2016. Well, Brees has set a deadline on these talks, indicating this week that he doesn't want contract talks to drag into the season and distract him or the team from their on-field goals. This one could get interesting...
RYAN FITZPATRICK, New York Jets:
Texans fans, remember Ryan Fitzpatrick? The guy who got beaten out by Ryan Mallett midway through his one season here? Well, now there's an actual boycott going on by players who want the team to cave and re-sign Fitzy! Yes.... FITZY!!!
Hell, you want QB drama? We even have little sidebar storylines with retired quarterbacks!
PEYTON MANNING, Quarterback Emeritus:
Around five months ago, Manning was accused by Al Jazeera of using HGH. At the time, Manning was defiant and threatened to sue the outlet. However, after assessing the time and money and energy needed to go through litigation, Manning has backed off that stance. Perhaps Manning realized that he could have trotted onto the field with a dozen syringes hanging off his ass and nobody would've cared.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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