The Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars announced starting quarterbacks recently, leaving just three teams without a defined starter heading into the final preseason game. Quarterback competitions will continue in New York and Oakland while Buffalo may turn to an undrafted rookie free agent due to injuries.
Let's take a closer look at the latest in New York, Oakland and Buffalo.
New York Jets: Smith struggles, Sanchez injured
The Jets gave Geno Smith an opportunity to earn the starting job, playing the rookie three quarters in the third preseason game. Smith, however, failed to impress -- he threw three interceptions while accidentally stepping out of bounds for a safety during the fourth quarter.
Smith may still end up as the starter, thanks to a shoulder injury Mark Sanchez suffered in the fourth quarter. Sanchez relieved Smith and completed 5-of-6 passes for 72 yards, but sprained his shoulder. His status for the start of the season is now a question mark.
Rex Ryan remained noncommittal following the game, declining to answer the question of whether Sanchez still has a chance to be named the starter. Ryan doesn't exactly have a lot of options, as Gang Green Nation wrote:
As much as certain writers have made his injury out to be as devastating as Aaron Rodgers going down for the Packers, this ship was going down faster than the Titanic anyway if success depended on Sanchez playing well.
I think the questions are really about Geno Smith. We saw last night a guy who didn't play well and frankly looked like he still has to learn in order to be productive in the NFL. There were some positives and some things to build upon, but him playing this year is likely to bring moments where he destroys this team, perhaps too many to have any chance at a winning season.
Oakland Raiders: With Flynn out due to injury, Pryor gets his chance
At the start of training camp, it appeared all Matt Flynn needed to do to become the Raiders' starting quarterback was not get injured and show signs of being able to move the offense. He struggled to do either in the third preseason game, opening the door for Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor played well in relief of Flynn, and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said the team needed to "look" at the quarterback competition.
"I think obviously we have to look at it," Allen said, via the team website. "I think when you look at it I don't think Matt [Flynn] played well in this game. Obviously, I thought Terrelle [Pryor] came in and gave us a spark. I thought he played well in the game. I think that's something that we have to go and look at it. I'm not going to make any decisions on anything, obviously, tonight. I want to get a chance to go back and look at the tape and see how things went. But it was obvious that Terrelle gave us a little bit of a spark tonight."
That was before Allen announced Flynn would sit out the final preseason game because of arm tendonitis. Pryor looked good against Chicago and a similar performance against Seattle could go a long way to him winning the starting job.
Buffalo Bills: Tuel time in Buffalo?
E.J. Manuel was on his way to locking down the starting role in Buffalo before a knee injury put his status in doubt. Kevin Kolb took over, but a concussion in the third preseason game sidelined him for the foreseeable future. Enter Jeff Tuel, the undrafted rookie free agent from Washington State.
On Monday, Bills head coach Doug Marrone said the plan is for Tuel to start Week 1, unless Manuel is healthy enough to play. Tuel has played well at times this preseason and showed flashes at WSU. Still, he would be in rare company with no undrafted rookie starting the season opener in more than 60 years.
The job will be Manuel's when he's able to play, but for now Tuel is the starter in Buffalo.