will be key in 2001
Fred McNair is
back. The Cobras ensured this by quickly re-signing the star free
agent, who reinvigorated the entire franchise when he was acquired from
Florida mid-season in 2000. With McNair comes his 39 touchdowns,
1,958 yards passing and 112.94 QB rating, his pocket presence and AFL smarts.
But securing McNair's return early in the free agency period also meant
that the Cobras could devote their full attention to building the supporting
cast he needs -- and not searching for his replacement.
support could be the biggest factor in improvement from McNair himself
this season. Additionally, he'll have an entire training camp to
learn the Cobras system and work out the kinks, a luxury he didn't have
last season when he was thrown into action and expected to work miracles.
The Cobras needed
to keep an eye toward the future as well, though, because McNair won't
be around forever. They did just that, signing rookie Brandon
Streeter, an ex-Clemson Tiger, and veteran AFL backup Lance
Funderburk, from Doug Kay's old stomping grounds in
Arizona. Also inked was Wally Richardson, currently
with the XFL's New York-New Jersey Hitmen.
was signed, Kay seemed high on Streeter, telling the Gettysburg Times
that "Brandon will be playing right away in the exhibition games."
His plusses, as enumerated by Kay, are his size (6-2, 215), his quick release
and his scrambling ability. Streeter's chief shortcoming is his history
of injuries, including a broken collarbone and ankle.
is the type of capable pro with AFL experience that can step into the number
two job if Streeter takes time to develop. A two-year veteran, Funderburk
got his first start for the Rattlers in a first round playoff game in 1999,
and led Arizona to a win over Nashville. If nothing else, he'll be
able to spend time teaching Streeter the intricacies of the indoor game
while McNair and the coaching staff focus on preparing for the season.
While the addition
of an af2 star at quarterback -- perhaps Augusta's Aaron Sparrow,
who played last year under new offensive coordinator Mike Neu
-- might have more ideal, the Cobras are better of with McNair, Streeter
and Funderburk than they were mid-season in 2000 with McNair and Carlos
Garay (who was not re-signed). And, certainly, the quality
of the players at the quarterback position has improved dramatically since
Jim Arellanes, Michael Thomas and Garay were
on the roster to start last year.
improvement on the line and elsewhere, the Cobras' chances this season
rest on the tattooed arm of McNair. You can't win in the AFL without
a quarterback... and the Cobras won't go to the playoffs without Freddie
THE BOTTOM LINE
sure McNair will be calling the shots for the 2001 Cobras
Worst move: Not a
big gripe, but an af2 quarterback would have had a shorter learning curve
than Streeter faces
Keep your eye on:
Who gets more preseason snaps: Funderburk or Streeter?
QB Brandon Streeter will try to win a job as Fred McNair's backup.
(rookie), Lance Funderburk (trade from Arizona)
|Carlos Garay (FA
|Wally Richardson (XFL)
Brian's Depth Chart
|1. Fred McNair
|2. Lance Funderburk
|3. Brandon Streeter
What do you think?
Discuss the Cobras' situation at
QB in the Rating
the Roster thread of the CZ Forum.