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- Why Did the Jets Need Kevin Barlow?

Chris Pokorny August 20, 2006
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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Last week, the New York Jets traded cornerback Derrick Strait to the Cleveland Browns for running back Lee Suggs. However, the trade was revoked after Suggs had failed the Jets' physical. The Jets were concerned with the minor arthroscopic knee surgery that Suggs had done in January, despite him performing well throughout training camp with the Browns. Less than a week later, the Jets traded an undisclosed draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers for running back Kevin Barlow. Frank Gore had taken over the starting job at the position for the 49ers, as Barlow struggled to perform well ever since Garrison Hearst left. Of course, the deal is still pending on Barlow passing his physical.

Veteran running back Curtis Martin is still on the physically-unable-to-perform list, meaning the Jets are now down to Barlow, Derrick Blaylock, Cedric Houston, and rookie Leon Washington as their primary running backs. Although Barlow has had a decent career, he has struggled consistently over the past few years, averaging 3.4 yards-per-carry in 2004, and only 3.3 yards-per-carry in 2005. Granted, the 49ers had the worst offense in the league and Barlow was behind a poor offensive line, but the Jets have had problems of their own. Suggs, although he's been injured throughout his career, ran for 100 yards per game with the Browns when he was a healthy starter, and that's back when the Browns also had a horrible offensive line. Despite Suggs failing his physical, Suggs was in uniform for the Browns the following preseason game, showing great vision and breaking tackles against second-stringers.

Can the Jets just hand the starting job to Barlow now? They may have complicated things even more, due to Barlow's lack of success the past few years. Blaylock always ran the ball well with the Kansas City Chiefs, and has shown potential when he receives a chance. Last year, Houston also turned heads as a rookie when Martin went down. The Jets have added youngsters to their offensive line, but with only a couple of preseason games remaining, will Barlow find himself in the same position he would have with the 49ers: a backup?

Two interesting quarterback battles have started in the NFC, and both moves would shake up the teams tremendously. For the Chicago Bears, Brian Griese has had a better camp than Rex Grossman. Not only that, but Griese has been better throughout his career than Grossman, even though the youngster has been injured numerous times. Griese turned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers around twice, before eventually having to hand the job to Chris Simms due to an injury. Some may even claim that Griese would still be better suited as the Buccaneers' starting quarterback, but due to Simms' maturity, the team didn't need a controversy. By the Bears even signing Griese in the first place, they weren't searching for an adequate backup. After all, we saw how "unimportant" a quarterback was to the Bears at time for Kyle Orton to leads the Bears to a winning record last year. Orton probably won't have a chance to start ever again in his career, but he'll always have a winning record.

Last week against the 49ers, Grossman was 3-of-11 and looked very shaky. He looked better this past week against the San Diego Chargers, but right when he started to roll, he was picked off trying to throw into the end zone. Griese entered the game in the second half against the Chargers and was 2-of-4 with a touchdown - the team's only score. The main thing Grossman has on his side is that he has not been given a solid chance as a starter yet due to his injuries, and in the end, the Bears will let him play at least half a season before they even consider a change.

The other quarterback issue, which was brought up by Peter King on Sunday night, is the fact that Tony Romo may be being groomed as the new starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. That would be a huge slap in the face to Drew Bledsoe, after he was brought in last season and had a successful year overall. However, the Cowboys know that Bledsoe is as immobile as you can get for a quarterback, which can cost them games if an offensive lineman blows an assignment and he can't react in time. That's why he fumbles so much in his career, leading to touchdowns going the other way.

The move is far too risky this season. Bledsoe is entering his second year in the system, and although people want to blame him for a few of the losses last year, he was a major upgrade from their previous quarterbacking unit. Parcells is preparing Romo in case something happens to Bledsoe, so that he'll have a quarterback comfortable enough to run the offense for an extended period of time. We saw Kyle Orton, Charlie Batch, and David Garrard do it last year, and if the Cowboys are prepared for the same thing, it could be the difference between that extra win or two that are needed to reach the postseason.

Here are some quick hitters:

  1. Kamerion Wimbley and Jerome Harrison will be outstanding rookies for the Browns. Wimbley will become the only pass rush the Browns have had since their return to the league, and Harrison could potentially have the most production out of all the rookie running backs this year - despite being selected in the 5th round.

  2. With the offensive system the Bengals have, Anthony Wright looks solid in the starting role. Imagine how much better they'll look when Carson Palmer steps onto the field. Of course, there's still a concern that he'll be too worried about someone blind sighting him.

  3. Much like Romo is being utilized with the Cowboys in the preseason, the Patriots are doing the same with Matt Cassell. And you must say, Cassell seems to share some similar qualities to Tom Brady.

  4. Jay Cutler has looked outstanding in the preseason. Vince Young has not looked too great throwing the football. That won't matter though - unless an injury occurs, Young will get the chance to shine at some point this year, while Cutler will be on the bench for a few more seasons. Whenever Young gets his first start, it'll be a game everyone wants to see.

  5. Go on Brett Favre, silence those critics. It's only the preseason, but for those of you bashing Favre, there's no way he needs to hang it up yet. No one's doubting he's past his prime, but he's still worthy of being an NFL quarterback that's a blast to watch.

  6. The Cardinals can't be too pleased with their offensive showing against the New England Patriots. Despite missing a few contributors, they made the Patriots defense look as dangerous as it was in its' prime when they were healthy a couple of years ago.

  7. Michael Koenan kicked a 51-yard field goal again this week. Triple duty should have been started by more teams earlier; they can keep someone on their practice squad if they really need to. Someone like, Matt Prater from the Detroit Lions.

That's it for today's thoughts. Remember, if you'd like to sign up for PFCritics Pick'em(free to enter) and win prizes, check it out. And, if you'd like to leave a comment, please do so by using the form field at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

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