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Veteran QBs show they're not done yet

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Posted: Thursday September 10, 1998 09:41 AM


You could stir up quite an argument trying to determine who the NFL's best QB is. Ninety suited up last week -- three per team. Trying to pick No. 1 could get a guy in a lot of trouble, but last week, some of our old heroes shined as bright as ever.

Seattle's Warren Moon, who was supposed to be over the hill 10 years ago, looked as good as he did 20 years ago. Counting the six CFL and 16 NFL seasons he has logged, no man has passed for more yardage than Moon. OK, some guy in the Central Park touch league may be close, but he doesn't count.

The NFL's all-time passing leader in just about everything, Miami's Dan Marino, took Peyton Manning to school in Week 1. Fellow rookie Ryan Leaf won his debut, but the Chargers quarterback still has a couple of weeks to go before we say, "Who's Dan Fouts?"

Steve DeBerg got all the attention in preseason, but he's not the only veteran quarterback making a solid comeback. Hooray for Doug Flutie, who made it back and nearly rallied the Bills to victory. And San Francisco's Steve Young was supposed to have retired early last season when he was knocked silly for the 62nd time (there's my McGwire reference). All Young did in 1997 was lead the NFL in QB ratings.

Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has done a good job in shaking off the dust of Barry Switzer and looking like the Troy of Super Bowls past. John Elway finally has a supporting cast to keep up with his rocket arm and bionic legs. Oops, almost forgot about back-to-back-to-back MVP Brett Favre.

There's no question it would be hard to pick the league's No. 1 quarterback. But if there are 90 on opening-day rosters, who's No. 90? Submitted for your approval, wearing jersey No. 10 for the Washington Redskins, former No. 3 quarterback Trent Green.

Until Sunday, Green was No. 3 -- and No. 90 -- and had the numbers to back it up. In the five previous seasons, one of which he spent at home on the couch, Green had attempted one pass, which went incomplete, of course. Five seasons and one pass. Just one play! Hey, at least he came in slinging.

Normally, we're enthralled with the backup QB. Green leaped over an injured former Super Bowl winner in Jeff Hostetler and a wounded Gus Fereotte into the NFL spotlight. Green threw 25 times trying to rally the dissident Redskins, and completed 17 passes with two TDs.

If you aren't the Redskins beat reporter, you'd have a hard time identifying Green in a crowded locker room. Trent Green football cards? I think not. Trent Green on any fantasy football teams last week? I don't think so.

Green has been named the starter for the Redskins for Monday's game against the 49ers. He's the Skins' new No. 1, and now we have the tough task of finding the next No. 90 in the NFL QB debate.

James Lofton, whose 14,004 receiving yards rank second behind only Jerry Rice, is an NFL analyst for CNN/SI. His weekly column will appear Thursdays exclusively on  

Related information
Inside the NFL with James Lofton: Sad to see Bills' Thomas on bench
Inside the NFL with David Fleming: Norv or never for Redskins offense
Inside the NFL with Gary Horton: Quarterbacks on the endangered list
Peter King's Monday Morning QB: Chiefs dominating, so it must be September
Week 2 NFL Preview
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