As NFL training camps continue to move on, the battles for key starting spots around the league continue to heat up between veterans and rookies on each team.
The veterans may be the favorites heading into camp but any given day the lead in a position battle can flip. It could come down to a bad decision after a play or even committing the same mistake over and over. No starting position in the NFL is safe as teams look to get younger and faster each off-season.
While many of the different position battles are fun to watch the one that gets the most attention around the league is the battle for starting quarterback position. Multiple teams drafted quarterbacks in this year’s draft to find the next Russell Wilson. This time last year, Wilson was fighting for the starting spot for the Seattle Seahawks against another quarterback the Seahawks traded for, in Matt Flynn.
This year, at least five teams in the NFL have quarterback battles going on, while three of the five include rookie quarterbacks. These teams include the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. All three of these teams drafted quarterbacks this off-season.
The front runner of the three for a starting spot for the Buffalo Bills roster is E.J. Manuel. The Bills drafted Manuel in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, making him the only quarterback drafted in the first round. This pick doesn’t guarantee the starting job as the team also acquired veteran quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Kolb has spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals. Manuel possesses the size and the arm that is required to be a starter in the NFL. It is hard to imagine Manuel sitting to start the season after we saw Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick all dominate with an option style offense last season.
Now this doesn’t take anything away from the other two quarterbacks but both of them are in similar situations making it difficult to overtake the starting spot. In New York, the Jets have a battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith with the slight edge going to Sanchez. Although Smith will be given a chance to win the starting spot, all the signs point to the veteran quarterback in this battle. The main reason may not be what happens on the field but the financial commitment made in the previous seasons.
In Philly, the Eagles have three quarterbacks fighting for the starting spot including rookie quarterback Matt Barkley competing against veteran quarterback Michael Vick and second-year quarterback Nick Foles. The front runner is Michael Vick with his running ability that gives head coach Chip Kelly a dual threat at the position. Both Vick and Foles have been sharing the first team reps in training camp leaving fewer attempts for Barkley. Barkley’s vision is good and he also has patience as a quarterback but his arm strength is his biggest concern.