Quarterbacks: The NFL's high-stakes poker
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Quarterback shuffle: Let's play quarterback poker
By Danny O'Neil | The Seattle Times
Caution, the comparisons you are about to read may be overly wrought. In the course of writing the weekly NFL column, I invoked poker as a figure of speech for describing NFL quarterbacks. Never someone to leave a half-good idea well enough alone, I decided to take out a sledgehammer so I could force each of the league's 32 quarterbacks to fit my literary device.
Complete? Yes. Torturous? Perhaps. Funny? I hope at least a little.
A made hand, one the player can be certain will win barring some sort of natural catastrophe. You don't think, you just bet. Again and again. As many times as it takes.
|Drew Brees, Saints||Tom Brady, Patriots||Aaron Rodgers, Packers|
|Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers|
Not quite the nuts, but close. A team can be reasonably certain piling a copious amount of chips behind them.
|Philip Rivers, Chargers||Eli Manning, Giants|
The ideal start. Now, things may change as the hand develops, but such a strong start makes it more than reasonable to bet big.
|Joe Flacco, Ravens||Mark Sanchez, Jets||Matt Ryan, Falcons|
|Sam Bradford, Rams|
Are they the best? No. Are they good enough to win the pot in a given game? Quite possibly.
|Matt Schaub, Texans||Tony Romo, Cowboys||Kyle Orton, Broncos|
|Colt McCoy, Browns|
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
|Matt Hasselbeck, Titans|
Too late to back out now. You made your bed with your big bet, big boy. Now there's nothing left to do, but keep calling and hope your hand holds up.
|Kevin Kolb, Cardinals||Matthew Stafford, Lions||Jay Cutler, Bears|
|Cam Newton, Panthers||Michael Vick, Eagles|
TRYING TO MAKE A HAND
This is like starting off with an eight and a 10, off suit. The bet is the table minimum, though. No big contracts here, just opportunity and the hope that the flop will change the donkey you're riding into a Cadillac.
|Charvaris Jackhurst, Seahawks||Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills||Jason Campbell, Raiders|
|Luke McCown, Jaguars|
Andy Dalton, Bengals
The hands really shouldn't be played. Ever. You certainly don't bet on them, and you shouldn't really call anyone's bet, either. It takes a great deal of moxie and cocksure discipline to make one of these pay off, and if you happen to win, and turn over your cards, the other men at the table will give incredulous stares: You played that?
|Alex Smith, 49ers||Rex Grossman, Washington||Chad Henne, Dolphins|
The bathroom switcheroo. The Colts were sitting at the table, holding the nuts. Seriously. They had Peyton Manning, but they had a few two many beverages, went to the bathroom and when they came back somebody had took their five cards and left them with the Old Maid aka Kerry Collins.
Biding time. This is the player at the table who has nothing better to do. He's at the table because he's procrastinating on work or doesn't want to go home or wants a couple of hours of conversation. Does he really think he'll win? Doesn't really matter. He's got nothing better at the moment, which is pretty much how the Vikings wound up with Donovan McNabb as their starting quarterback. Christian Ponder is this team's future, but the Vikings didn't want to start him Week 1, and instead went out and acquired McNabb who has now been mucked by a pair of Super Bowl coaches in two years. Does Minnesota expect something different? Not necessarily, but the Vikings have nothing better to do while Ponder matures, so why not play McNabb and see what happens?
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