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NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Quarterbacks Who Must Come Up Big in 2013

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5 Quarterbacks Who Must Come Up Big in 2013

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

In this offensively-driven NFL, it is said that quarterback is the most important position. Given that information, a constant pressure to improve exists. With only 32 teams, openings are difficult to find. The incumbent will do almost anything possible to stay on top of their team’s depth chart. Challengers appear several different ways.

Dissatisfaction from the front office could either lead to free agency, via trade, or the NFL Draft. Players that are in trouble face different circumstances where they are led to uncertainty. Either a new regime arrives with their team bringing in a new general manager, or their contract will expire in an upcoming season. Teams are then forced to create a new plan of action by making one of these three possible transactions. Quarterbacks are facing these situations right now.

Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faces a precarious situation. As a first-round selection in the 2009 Draft, Freeman immediately was placed under a microscope. Results were mixed as the surrounding cast really lacked initially. He has a big arm as well as all of the physical traits necessary to succeed. Another signal caller faces uncertainty.

Brandon Weeden was supposed to be the future of the Cleveland Browns. However, he proved to be more of an enigma last year when it came to gauging his potential. It is widely known that he spent multiple years playing baseball in the Minor Leagues. There was a negative perception of his production during the past season. Jason Campbell signed as a free agent to push him. Three more players have their future at stake.

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Christian Ponder

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Eyebrows were raised when Christian Ponder was taken 12th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 Draft. While he enjoyed a solid collegiate career at Florida State, Ponder simply does not wow with his abilities. Matt Cassel serves as the backup. However, he is waiting in the wings. Coming off a surprising 10-6 record and Playoff appearance, Ponder will be counted on to take Minnesota to the next level.

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Matt Schaub

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Here is an interesting player when it comes to determining a future. Matt Schaub has been a solid quarterback for the Houston Texans who has delivered positive statics. Schaub’s passer rating has been at least 92 for the past five seasons. At the same time, the highest amount of touchdowns he threw during this span is 29. This is a solid number, but it does not reach the elite status of someone like Tom Brady. While an alternative may not be on their roster, Houston may find a long-term solution if they do not make a deep run, and he does not take his play to the next level.

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Brandon Weeden

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Breaking down Weeden proves to be a difficult task. He struggled in terms of the standard touchdown-passes-to-interception ratio and decision making seemed to be an issue. Despite a strong arm, Weeden will likely have a tough time impressing new general manager Michael Lombardi. Lombardi is known to have a critical view of his new quarterback and he showed it while he was a member of the NFL Network.

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Jay Cutler

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Upon a 2009 trade with the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler was seen as a savior for the Chicago Bears. Cutler guided Chicago to an NFC Championship game appearance in 2011. There has been an inconsistency lately. Cutler is turnover-prone. If he does not improve on ball security, a chance exists that his contract might not be extended following this season.

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Josh Freeman

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The writing may be on the wall for Freeman. In his second season, he threw for 25 touchdowns. This signified that improvement may be looming. In three of his four years though, he had more than 17 interceptions. Second-round draft pick Mike Glennon from NC State could be next in line if Freeman falters.