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Around the NFL: Quarterback carousel

Power rankings

1. Packers 2. Patriots

3. Ravens 4. 49ers

5. Lions 6. Bills

Upset special

Panthers (1-5) over Redskins (3-2)

Quarterback Cam Newton sparks a fourth-quarter comeback to spoil Redskins quarterback John Beck's first start of the season.

Debut of the day?

The Raiders made huge news last week by acquiring quarterback Carson Palmer, a deal that could net the Bengals two first-round picks for a player who vowed to retire rather than play for them. Palmer, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, certainly bolsters the Raiders' playoff chances. But with reports surfacing Palmer could start today for the injured Jason Campbell after just three days of practice, San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy asks what that would say about the Raiders (notice "brilliant" is not an option):

A. Crazy B. Crazier than that C. Desperately premature D. Prematurely desperate E. Risking injury to their new most valuable asset F. Risking a greater chance of defeat, which ultimately trumps all of the above

Milestone watch

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez already has racked up many impressive numbers. And with four catches today, he would move into second in league history. Gonzalez ranks fourth with 1,099 catches and could pass Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102). But Gonzalez, 35, likely won't be able to catch Jerry Rice (1,549) before he hangs it up.

Times wires and contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at

They say the backup quarterback is the fans' favorite player. After all, it's easy to criticize the starting quarterback, the most-scrutinized and, arguably, most important player on a team. Several coaches already have used a quick hook this season. Previously, Kerry Collins was replaced by Curtis Painter in Indianapolis and fellow veteran Luke McCown by Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville. Today, three more veterans head to the bench.

Something to Ponder

Donovan McNabb's plan to resurrect his career hit a wall for the second straight season. After three years of trying to cull magic out of aging veterans (see: Brett Favre), Minnesota is giving the keys to 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder. He will be the first quarterback since the 49ers' Steve Spurrier in 1967 whose first start comes against an unbeaten team with six or more wins, according to Elias Sports Bureau. McNabb, who turns 35 on Nov. 25, had a 60.3 completion percentage and just two interceptions. But the Vikings blew double-digit leads in their first three games. "I have a lot of football left," he said. "At the end of the year, that will be something I look at and see what's next. The focus is now; how I can prepare myself and get ready as well as continue to get better."

Tebow Time

For all the drama and legend that has surrounded Tim Tebow during his career, today could be another storybook moment for the former Gators star. Tebow, a first-round pick in 2010, replaces Kyle Orton, who turns 29 on Nov. 14, for the Broncos. He has made for increased jersey sales and a large crowd in Miami, where he led Florida to a national title in January 2009. And with that Gators team set to be recognized at halftime, Tebow could steal the show with a great performance. And South Florida Sun-Sentinel writer Craig Davis points out it could be an embarrassment for the struggling Dolphins: "It could be the final dagger for the Tony Sparano/Jeff Ireland regime and cue the chorus of crickets at Sun Life for the remainder of the season."

Beck's Break

John Beck and Rex Grossman battled throughout Redskins training camp for the starting job with Grossman, 31, getting the nod. But as Beck says, "Things change in the blink of an eye." And with Grossman tossing nine interceptions over the first five games — tied for the NFL lead — coach Mike Shanahan made the switch to the 2007 second-round pick. Beck will make his first start since his rookie season with the Dolphins. "I have a lot of confidence in John Beck because he does have that mobility, that strong arm," Shanahan said. "I'm not going to be putting him in the Hall of Fame yet, but I really do believe he's got a lot of talent."

Around the NFL: Quarterback carousel 10/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 5:00pm]
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