Starting NFL Quarterbacks Caught in a Downward Spiral

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Which starting QBs are headed down a dark path in 2012?

Rivers
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The ebb and flow of the NFL season is a mysterious thing that takes victims and lifts others at every turn.

Of the aforementioned victims, several of them this season have been some of the league’s most well-known starting quarterbacks. These prominent passers, who have had their fair share of success in recent years, are suffering from a down year as the 2012 campaign rolls along.

Whether it’s an unflattering amount of turnovers or an inability to perform in the clutch, these once-heralded quarterbacks have failed to live up to their names as some of the best arms that the NFL has to offer. Unfortunately, these weekly setbacks have forced some questions about their standing as “starting-caliber quarterbacks” to arise.

As their struggles continue, their futures as starters for their respective teams will begin to come into question. Whether this is their first year of hardship or their fifth, it’s becoming obvious that there’s a need for change; either a change in effectiveness or a depth chart change.

Especially in a pass-happy modern NFL, the quarterback position has become a revolving door for teams that fail to find that consistent production from their No. 1 gunslinger. When the notches in the loss column start to stack up, the seat starts to heat up in a big hurry for these quarterbacks.

Here’s a look at four of the prominent passers in the NFL whose struggles through the first half of the 2012 season could lead to their eventual benching, either during the current campaign or by 2013.

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Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Romo
Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

The inconsistency that engulfs Tony Romo’s game has become overwhelming for the Dallas Cowboys, who watch blindly as their quarterback fails to take advantage of their roster’s talent. Even with his elite passing abilities, Romo chokes under pressure and turns in expectedly horrid games all too often. Sooner or later, the Cowboys will stop pointing fingers and realize that Romo is the reason they continue to fall short of expectations each season.

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Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

Vick
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

As rookie quarterback Nick Foles nips at his heels, Michael Vick is stumbling to maintain his standing as one of the NFL’s most electrifying gunslingers. When he isn’t throwing an interception or putting the ball on the turf, Vick is having a tough time getting the pigskin into his receivers’ hands. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Vick is no longer the dynamic passer he once was, and the Philadelphia Eagles are feeling the effects.

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Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Cutler
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Despite their 4-1 start, the Chicago Bears have been depending largely on their defense to carry them to the finish line while Jay Cutler and the offense have suffered from inefficiency. As usual, Cutler shuts down when the going gets tough and puts on his infamous “I hate my life” face on a weekly basis. Even when the wins keep coming, Cutler still seems like he’d rather be fishing or hitting the links. His poor attitude is bad for morale and the Bears know it won’t work for much longer.

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Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Rivers
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

A few years ago, Philip Rivers was the reason that the San Diego Chargers were considered an annual contender. His performance on Monday night, however, has proven that it’s time for the Bolts to start scoping out other options at quarterback. For the last two seasons, Rivers has struggled to avoid turnovers and seems incapable of maintaining a lead. If the losses keep piling up for the Chargers, a Top 10 pick could land them Rivers’ replacement during the 2013 NFL Draft.

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The Other Guys…

Sanchez
Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

The following quarterbacks are starters who were never high enough in the NFL pecking order to find themselves in a downward spiral, yet are doing whatever they can to lose their starting spots this season.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

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