One common topic of conversation that we often hear about during the offseason is the who-is-better-talk. Most of it can be taken with a grain of salt, but it's the offseason, and that's what it's all about. We all like to think our team can beat "their" team and so on and so forth. Are we right? Are they right? Most of these questions can't be answered until the 2010 season is over, but there isn't much fun in that. Until that time, I'll do my best to rank each starting position out of all four NFC West teams, beginning with the starting quarterbacks. I'm not taking depth into hand, but I will look at the supporting casts.
- Matt Hasselbeck - Although it's easy to look over the accomplishments of Matt Hasselbeck since he and the Seahawks have experienced minimal success lately, don't write him off just yet. He's been injury-riddled the last two seasons and has played behind an offensive line that's been a revolving door as of late. Hasselbeck will seemingly get another year to show that he still has more gas in the tank; otherwise, the team may look towards drafting a quarterback next offseason. Nevertheless, he's the most experienced, successful quarterback in the division until someone else proves otherwise.
- Alex Smith - Cardinal fans may hate me for this, but Smith has shown more in the present than Leinart has. Smith is riding in a similar boat to Hasselbeck, in that he also has this year to prove that he can be the quarterback the 49ers hoped he would have been in 2005. Smith possesses the quickness and arm-strength to lead the Niners offense, and with playmakers like Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree, he's finally been gifted with a talented supporting cast. It's a matter of if he can get his head on straight and handle the pressure of leading the 49ers back to the playoffs.
- Matt Leinart - The former Heisman winner will finally take over the offense he once ran just three seasons ago. With Kurt Warner finally retired, Matt Leinart doesn't have to worry about losing his job - or so it seems. The Cardinals added former pro bowl-er Derek Anderson through free agency this year and also drafted highly-regarded college quarterback John Skelton. It seems the path through the NFL will never be easy for Leinart, but if he can take advantage of having the best wideout in the game and an improved offensive line on his side, he should experience success next season.
- Sam Bradford - The rookie rounds out the list based onn pure experience. It's something he doesn't and won't have over the others until he plays his first season in the NFL. Bradford also has the unfortunate task of playing on one of the worst teams in the league with few or no playmakers on offense. Be that as it may, Bradford's 1st-round pick status is captivating and many eyes will be on rookie when he takes the field come August.
I have to admit the race of the NFC West quarterbacks is closer than any other position, even with Bradford in the hunt. Hasselbeck has ahold of the top spot for now, but at season's end we could be looking at the clear-cut best quarterback in the division - and oh yeah, it better be Matt Leinart. What are your rankings among NFC West quarterbacks?