It was a fairly slow NFL news day today with a slew of exhibition games being played this weekend. The most interesting notes of the day deal with two coaches’ hesitancy to name a winner in two uninteresting QB battles.
The TB QB battle rages on. Head coach Raheem Morris has yet to name the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback, and the battle between Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown may rage past Thursday’s exhibition against the Dolphins. McCown leads all TB quarterbacks in preseason play with a 107.5 rating, but Leftwich barely outpaces him with a 4.8 YPA. Note the small sample size for each player, so the team’s coaching staff will probably base their decision on “intangibles.” Counting numbers may be hard to come by in the regular season too, as the team offense will probably be run-first minded, and Josh Freeman may take over mid-season. Morris said the loser of this battle is not guaranteed to win a roster spot, as Josh Johnson and Freeman have impressed the coaches enough to be the backups.
Same deal in San Francisco. Head coach Mike Singletary is also not ready to name his Opening Day QB. He said neither Alex Smith nor Shaun Hill impressed him in the team’s Saturday exhibition game, and neither quarterback has put up any statistics of note through the preseason. Smith suffered a minor thumb injury in the game, but it should not have too much of a bearing on his standing in the competition. Like the situation in Tampa, San Francisco should be home to a run-first offense, and Michael Crabtree’s hold out makes the receiving group look less attractive.