Quarterback Potpourri … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

There’s one thing that never changes in the world of pro football, whether there’s a lockout or a strike, and whether it’s the off-season, pre-season, regular season or playoffs.

Always, there is talk of quarterbacks. It’s the No. 1 position in the game, making it the subject of 24/7/365 conversation, speculation and rumor.

The league may have locked the doors and the players may have legally disbanded their union, but the quarterbacks remain in the spotlight as the league gets ready to wrap up its annual March meetings in the Big Easy.

So let’s take a ride through the league and stop at the spots where quarterback is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

We start with the Chiefs.

 

LOOKING FOR CASSEL IMPROVEMENT

Tuesday morning was the coaches’ breakfast with the media at the league meeting. Remarkably, 31 of the 32 men in charge showed up at 7 a.m. for bacon, eggs and conversation with the media horde. Only Bill Belichick stayed away, and he blamed a faulty alarm clock.

Todd Haley was there and the Chiefs head coach talked about Matt Cassel and how important his team’s success in 2011 will be tied to the continued development and improvement of No. 7.

“I’ve said this a bunch of times but it has to be said: we have a relatively inexperienced quarterback,” Haley said. “He hasn’t played a lot of games. You take four years of college away from the guy and another chunk in the NFL not playing in a lot of games.

“Now he has almost three years under his belt, counting in New England. That’s just now where with a normal progression guy you’d be expecting great development. Matt is maybe ahead of where a young guy would be. I know he’s going to work and I know he’s going to do anything asked of him. That’s what’s exciting.”

CARSON PALMER AND CINCINNATI STANDOFF

Carson Palmer, the Bengals franchise quarterback, has had enough of football in the River City. He’s told Cincinnati ownership that he wants to be traded and if that doesn’t happen, he plans to retire.

Bengals owner-GM Mike Brown says he’s not trading Palmer. Brown doesn’t figure he’s going to get equal value for a seven-year starting quarterback, especially one that at times has thrown the ball with a great deal of skill and productivity.

“I haven’t talked to any other team about him and I have no plans to trade him,” Brown said in New Orleans at the league meetings. “I’ve seen any number of players who at one point did not want to re-enlist come back and be quite happy about it. As far as getting value, I don’t see any opportunity to get what I consider to be value.

“Having said that it doesn’t make sense to look to trade. It only makes sense to wait and hope Carson comes around.”

That has poor head coach Marvin Lewis stuck in limbo, something that happens quite frequently when you are coaching for the Brown family in Cincinnati.

“It’s going to be important not to spin our wheels worrying about it and being paralyzed by it, but to be proactive,” Lewis said in New Orleans.

Of course right now, there aren’t any talks between Palmer and the Bengals because those are not allowed given the lockout. It was early February the last time Lewis spoke with his quarterback.

Now, the Bengals sit with the fourth pick in the first round and they are forced to consider a quarterback with that choice. Mizzou’s Blaine Gabbert and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton are among the players Cincinnati is investigating in the days leading up to the NFL Draft.

“I believe we have to get the right value at that pick, if it’s a quarterback or another player,” Lewis said. “We’re going to do our due diligence because right now we’re going to take one of the first four players to come off the board.”

EAGLES LISTENING TO ALL OFFERS FOR KOLB

Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid admitted last week that the team was listening to trade offers for QB Kevin Kolb, the man who was once considered the franchise QB of the future who has lost his spot because of Michael Vick.

Speaking this week in New Orleans, Eagles officials have not denied published reports that the Eagles have already received an offer of a first-round pick for Kolb. Media speculation has that offer coming from the Seattle Seahawks.

Right now, there’s nothing that can be consummated between teams in a possible trade because of the lockout. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be discussions about the parameters of a deal.

It’s just another business matter that sits circling the airport, waiting for the lockout fog to lift before it can land.

“If people are interested, they’ll come to you,” said Reid. “Everything else from there is easy. I mean, this guy is a helluva football player.”

WILL A QB BE FIRST IN 2011 NFL DRAFT?

The Carolina Panthers have the first selection in the ’11 Draft and they’ve said publicly that the field of possible candidates has been whittled to eight players.

And that includes quarterbacks Gabbert, Newton and Ryan Mallett out of Arkansas. The Panthers will bring all eight players to Charlotte before the draft. But they’ve given the three quarterbacks a homework assignment. Each one was given a small piece of the Carolina offensive playbook and they will be tested on their understanding of the scheme when they make their visit.

Last week, GM Marty Hurney and new head coach Ron Rivera were in Columbia for several days, spending time with Gabbert. Rivera came away impressed.

“He had a pretty relaxed way about him,” said the coach. “He was confident; that was interesting. He was solid. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but he was good.”

While the Panthers have not named the eight players they are considering, it’s easy to round up the potential named after the three quarterbacks: CB Patrick Peterson, DT Marcel Darius, DT Nick Fairley, WR A.J. Green and DE D’Qwan Bowers.

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