September 28, 2015

SCAZZERO | Quarterback Breakdown

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We are just past the second week of NFL football and things have already started to get interesting. One of the most notable story lines and usually the most influential position for a  team’s playoff chances is the starting quarterback. Even though it is still early in the season, there have already been some change-ups in starting quarterbacks for a lot of teams, some out of necessity due to injuries and some as a result of coaching decisions that have caused a few raised eyebrows.

As always, some quarterbacks have already shown their strengths early and have their fans safely convinced that they’ll go far this season, while others have had disappointing starts and are starting to lose confidence from the fans. Here’s a brief look at how some of the quarterbacks are faring so far this season.

The quarterbacks that already look strong for the season are not surprising. Tom Brady, for one, coming off of the Patriots’ Super Bowl win this past winter, is looking as good as ever and is one touchdown pass away from 400 for his career. On the opposite spectrum, rookie Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans threw  four touchdowns and no interceptions in his first game in the NFL against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week one.

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was as solid as ever and currently ranks No. 4 in the NFL for touchdowns and second for completion percentage. One quarterback that was looking decent heading into week two, but faltered, is Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. He unfortunately just racked up the worst start of his NFL career. The Colts are currently 0-2 and Luck leads the NFL with six turnovers. He has only a 54.7 percentage completion on his passes, and his quarterback ranking, 58.9, is dead last in the league. Luck acknowledged his rough start, speaking to the press on Wednesday about his need for improvement.

Another surprise this week has been the Cleveland Browns’ decision to bench Johnny Manziel for week three. Manziel had a good win this last week, throwing two long touchdown passes to help the Browns beat Tennessee, 28-14. However, in an interview with ESPN on Wednesday, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said Manziel is “making great strides” but he wanted to see Josh McCown out on the field this yesterday against the Raiders. McCown was just cleared this week after passing the NFL’s concussion protocol, and Pettine said that he has “earned the right to be our starting quarterback.”

There are also a slew of quarterbacks currently out due to injuries. Because of Tony Romo’s collarbone injury last game, the Cowboys picked up back-up quarterback Matt Cassel in a trade from the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday. However, Brandon Weeden, the backup that the Cowboys already had in place, was set to start in yesterday’s game against the Falcons. Weedon has only has one career starting game, (a loss last year).

The Bears are also dealing with an injury to their quarterback, with Jay Cutler out for a hamstring and the bears having to now rely on backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen. With the Bears at 0-2 and facing the Seahawks (although they just suffered a loss against the Packers), they really could be in trouble. Clausen has a record of 1-10 as a starter in the NFL, and finished his 2010 rookie year with a 52.5 completion percentage and only three touchdowns and nine interceptions. His only game with the Bears was last year in week 16 and he made two touchdowns, but the Bears still suffered a loss.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is also out after injuring his shoulder last week, with Luke McCown filling in for him against the Carolina Panthers yesterday. Despite his last NFL start, including six completions and four interceptions in a loss against the Jets in 2011, he has had substantial time to learn and grow with the team and might actually give the Saints a shot at winning.

All in all, there have been plenty of shake-ups in these first weeks and it looks to be another exciting season in the NFL (even if the Bears are probably doomed).