Has good-bad gap with NFL QBs widened?

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm •  Published: December 3, 2013

Leslie Frazier shook his head and managed a slight smile when the question was posed.

How hard, the Minnesota Vikings coach was asked, has this been to have to decide so many different weeks in a season about who the starter will be at the sport's most important position?

"It's not a lot of fun," Frazier said recently. "You'd like to say that this is your quarterback for 16 weeks, but we haven't been in that situation."

This hardly brings solace for the head of a struggling team like Frazier, but the Vikings are far from the only bunch either sputtering along without a long-term solution or needing a stronger backup for a starter who's hurt. Minnesota is one of five teams that, for a variety of reasons, have started three different quarterbacks this year. That includes Green Bay, which has started four. Four!

Whether due to failures to successfully draft and develop the next championship-capable franchise leader or procure and produce a reliable second-stringer, the league this year has seen a clear shortage of quality quarterbacks.

"The supply and demand's kind of out of whack," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.

Injuries are, of course, a significant factor. The Packers have won a Super Bowl behind Aaron Rodgers, and they'll be set at quarterback as long as he continues his career. But since he broke his collarbone last month, the Packers have lost four games and tied the other.

Though not in that top tier like Rodgers, then there are quarterbacks who've shown promise such as Jay Cutler, Jake Locker and Sam Bradford but have been hurt often, beyond just this season.

"How many times do you keep saying on Sept. 1, 'OK, this is my guy,' and then he gets hurt again? Regardless of talent, work ethic, toughness," Mayock said. "When do you say enough is enough?"

Cleveland has started 20 different quarterbacks since their expansion rebirth in 1999, the most in the league. From Brandon Weeden to Brian Hoyer to Jason Campbell, this season has brought more instability.

The Browns have tried every avenue to find one, too, but despite a stockpile of draft picks for a well-regarded crop of 2014 quarterback prospects there's no guarantee the carousel will stop. Tim Couch, Brady Quinn and Weeden were all first-round picks who haven't panned out.

Christian Ponder fits in that category, the No. 12 selection by the Vikings in 2011. He went two spots after Blaine Gabbert, who has been even worse for Jacksonville. Both the Vikings and Jaguars are bound to be searching far and wide again for quarterbacks when the draft takes place next May, along with at least another half-dozen teams.

"There are about 15 quarterbacks in the league that have a chance to win a Super Bowl. Let's just tell it like it is. And then there is everybody else," NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth said on a recent episode of "Inside the NFL" on Showtime. "Now occasionally a Kurt Warner comes from nowhere and ends up being a guy you can count on."

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