Where NFC West quarterbacks stand so far

No one even remotely in touch with what matters in this world would track snap counts during an NFL preseason.

For the rest of us, I've put together an updated chart showing how much NFC West quarterbacks have played through the first two weeks. First, a few observations:

  • The St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford is the only starter to lead a touchdown drive. He has been the quarterback of record for three of them. The other starters have come oh-so-close. Arizona's Kevin Kolb led the Cardinals to the Oakland 1-yard line without finding the end zone. San Francisco's Alex Smith led drives to the Oakland 2 and 5 without getting touchdowns. Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson was the quarterback of record when the Seahawks stalled at the Minnesota 1. Every starting quarterback in the division has guided an extended drive at some point.

  • We should expect starters to play longer in the games this weekend. Teams generally like to take longer looks at their starters in the third preseason game. Every offense in the division has a new quarterback, new offensive coordinator or both. These teams' starters need the reps on offense. Bradford wasn't happy with the Rams' performance against Tennessee following an 83-yard touchdown pass to open the game.

  • Seattle has the closest thing to a quarterback competition in the division, but Jackson is the starter. Coming into camp, the team felt as though Jackson would benefit from stability and support. His career had hit bumps in Minnesota as the team continually courted Brett Favre. Jackson hadn't shown much improvement. The Seahawks thought he had potential to grow as a quarterback in the right environment. They don't want to jerk him around this early in the process even though Charlie Whitehurst has made strides. Jackson could use better pass protection as much as anything right now.

  • The 49ers appear to be in little rush to move rookie Colin Kaepernick into the starting lineup. They might as well see what Smith offers in a new offense, letting him absorb whatever rough spots await. The team can always turn to Kaepernick if necessary, when there won't be much pressure on him.

  • The high-ankle sprain John Skelton suffered in the Cardinals' preseason game at Green Bay opens the door for Richard Bartel to get valuable experience. Bartel jumped past the since-waived Max Hall for the third spot. As Kent Somers noted, this week will mark the first time Bartel has played in a third preseason game. I've seen no indication the team sees Bartel as a future No. 2 quarterback, but if we've learned anything about coach Ken Whisenhunt and quarterbacks, it's that he's not afraid to shake up a depth chart. The No. 1 job was set once Kolb signed a lucrative long-term deal. Kolb gives Whisenhunt his own hand-picked starting quarterback for the first time in Arizona.

OK, time to go. Need to crunch some numbers on preseason kick-coverage team lineups.

2011 NFC West Starting QBs: Preseason Participation