Who's left in Free Agency: Quarterbacks

On of the Ravens' biggest needs is a veteran QB to back up the struggling Kyle Boller and maybe compete for the starting spot. We look at the top three free agents still available.

Kerry Collins (Oakland): Kerry Collins possesses the big-arm coveted by many evaluators at the professional level. Having big-game experience, Collins is an ample quarterback which should provide a team in need with a viable option at this important position.

A quarterback deficient team such as the Baltimore Ravens could make a play for the veteran. Collins was the starting quarterback for New York Giants when current Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel was the head coach.

While Collins' career has been productive, he has shown the tendency for inconsistency. At times, he will force the ball, due to his arm strength and can be pressured into making mistakes. Collins displays average agility and pocket awareness, and he will be caught holding the ball too long, which has resulted in unnecessary sacks and turnovers.

All being said, Collins remains a starting quality quarterback which placed in a system conducive to his talents could excel at a high level.

In Baltimore, the Ravens seek a quarterback to lead the offense, manage the game, and minimize mistakes, giving the team an opportunity to win. Collins has the experience and ability to fill this role in Baltimore.

Aaron Brooks (New Orleans): Aaron Brooks a couple seasons ago could have been regarded as one of the up-and-coming players are the quarterback position. Since his rise to potential stardom, Brooks has struggled through what is known as the under-achieving New Orleans Saints.

A gifted athlete, Brooks over the past couple seasons has gotten away from the strength of his game. His athleticism.

When playing to his ability, Brooks is elusive. He can move away from the pass rush, set and throw the ball downfield with accuracy, and raise the level of play around him. Never displaying the patience to be a true pocket-passer, Brooks would often force himself to stay in the pocket, and then utilize his speed and quickness to make plays.

The issue with Brooks has been he hasn't played with consistency. Rather than set and throw, Brooks is often throwing on the run, which has led to an increased number of poor decisions and turnovers. His athleticism, an asset earlier in his career has become a deterrent, as the quarterback will quickly escape the pocket and throw into coverage, rather than let the play develop.'

Some of the issue surrounding Brooks decline as a top-quality quarterback can be attributed to the situation within the New Orleans organization and New Orleans itself. The troubles and turmoil in New Orleans played on Brooks, with a change of scenery being a very good opportunity for him.

Looking for a starting quality quarterback, the Oakland Raiders could be a solid-match for Brooks. The Raiders are a vertical offensive team and Brooks can throw the ball downfield. Oakland head coach Art Shell is a players-type coach, which should fit well into the make-up of Brooks.

Brian Griese (Tampa Bay): Brian Griese was playing as well as he has in career when going down with a knee injury in the 2005 season. Displaying the ability to play at a high level, Griese was running the Jon Gruden offense in Tampa Bay efficiently.

The Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Chicago Bears have shown an interest in Griese in recent days, with the Bears reportedly on the verge of offering the veteran a contract.

In Chicago, the Bears were a highly successful team in the 2005 season, in spite of their issues at the quarterback position. Rookie Kyle Orton and oft-injured Rex Grossman led the team into the playoffs, but it was the Bears defense that should be recognized for the success.

The Chicago front office is not comfortable heading into the 2006 season with the same cast at quarterback. Looking to add a veteran presence, which has displayed the ability to lead a team, Griese has become a hot commodity for the team.

Griese can occasionally throw the long-ball, but his intermediate passing prowess has developed into one of the best in the game. When pressured, Griese will throw the ball up at times, which has led to inconsistency and turnovers, but his overall game has improved in the Gruden-style West Coast offense in Tampa.

Under Gruden's tutelage, Griese improved his field-awareness and his check-down process was strong. Playing at the same level as he did in his early days in Denver, Griese had displayed the ability to be an effective and efficient signal-caller, when the talent surrounding him is average or better.

Coming off another knee injury, Griese's limited mobility should not improve. A strong offensive line would be beneficial for a quarterback such as Griese to maximize his ability.


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