We’ve all seen how second year players can suffer from the infamous "sophomore slump", and with three starting quarterbacks entering their second season, the questions that remains is which one will falter in 2010?
Last season, we witnessed two sophomore quarterbacks (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco) avoid the devastation of the sophomore slump, although Ryan was unable to guide the Falcons into the playoffs. But in terms of numbers, both Ryan and Flacco had solid seasons.
Now with the 2010 season nearly upon us, the 2009 rookies will all be embarking on their second season, but even though Stafford, Sanchez, and Freeman all arguably had good seasons for the situations that they were placed in, it’s time for them to take the "next" step in the competitive world of the NFL.
Mark Sanchez has the better weapons of the three. With Santonio Holmes joining Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery out wide, the former USC gunslinger has three reliable options. Even tight end Dustin Keller is a rising star in this league. The Jets also went out and gave Sanchez some help in the backfield with longtime Pro Bowler, LaDanian Tomlinson. With dreams of clinching a berth in the Super Bowl for New York, Sanchez will be the most relied upon out of the three sophomore quarterbacks.
Former Georgia Bulldog, Matthew Stafford, returns the same weapon(s), most notably Calvin Johnson. Nate Burleson will look to aid Stafford in his second season, and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (also entering his second season) hopes to provide Stafford with a big targer over the middle. The Lions added California rookie running back Jahvid Best with their first round pick in hope that he will take some carries away from third year man Kevin Smith.
Tampa’s Josh Freeman has a lot of new faces on offense, mainly at the receiver position. Two rookies appear to be earning their way to starting spots (Mike Willliams and Arrelious Benn), while former Philadelphia Eagle Reggie Brown looks to man the slot role. However, Freeman does return his favorite weapon, Kellen Winslow, who will continue to be his main target in the 2010 season.
So which one of these guys will hit a wall in 2010, and who will continue to flourish in their sophomore season?
I believe Sanchez and Freeman will continue to elevate their level of play, while Stafford will take a slight step back. The Jets will be battling all season for the AFC East division lead with New England, and will most likely be the lone sophomore quarterback in the playoffs. Freeman, with the help of all his new weapons at receiver, will see a boost to his numbers and overall performance of the entire unit as a whole. Stafford has the best receiver out of the three in Calvin Johnson, but other then him, he has a bunch of "hit-and-miss" type of players.
How do you see this situation playing out for the three quarterbacks?