With the NFL season right around the corner, a handful of teams still haven’t decided on a week one starter at quarterback. The quarterback is the most integral member of the football team, so let’s take a look at who these teams should turn to at QB come week one:
Patriots: Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones
Throughout the first two weeks of preseason both the rookie and the vet have looked sharp. In the Patriots 35-0 win over the Eagles, Newton looked much more like Panthers Cam Newton than he did all of last season. Newton went 8-9 with 103 yards and a TD, but what impressed me most was his athleticism in the pocket. He showed good command of the offense and threw the ball accurately to receivers. However, the rookie came in and had a very impressive showing in this game also. Jones threw for 146 yards on 13 completions on 19 attempts. His statline should’ve been stronger too had it not been for multiple drops by Pats receivers. Jones looked comfortable in an NFL setting, which is a great sign for Pats fans moving forward. That being said, I’d still give week one and the majority of this season to veteran leader Cam Newton. He’s had a year to learn the system, and he actually gets OTAs and a preseason this year to fine tune the offense before the regular season. I think the feeling in Foxborough should be that Cam is the guy for this season but Mac Jones is the Quarterback of the future. Let Newton mentor Jones for a season, let Jones develop for a year and see what Cam can do for another season. ‘
49ers: Trey Lance vs. Jimmy Garrapolo
Of all the QB battles in this list, this one is the easiest decision in my opinion. The Niners should start Jimmy G and groom rookie Trey Lance for at least one season. One of the main reasons the Niners traded up and drafted Lance had a lot to do with the health of Garoppolo. When Jimmy G is healthy, the Niners have shown they are a very competitive football team. Many forget that Jimmy G led the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance just two seasons ago. The Niners led in the 4th quarter of that Super Bowl, so Jimmy G has already proven he can win with this team and this coaching staff. On the other side of the coin, Trey Lance hasn’t played football in over a year. His last season at North Dakota State was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although it’s no secret Trey Lance has immense raw talent, the kid needs more reps to become truly NFL ready. The Niners should look to keep the starting job with Jimmy G until he gives them a reason to take it away from him.
Bears: Justin Fields vs. Andy Dalton
The Bears surprised some people by moving up in the first round of the draft to get Quarterback Justin Fields, but I think this was the perfect move for Chicago. Their QB room has been a revolving door for years now. So they got aggressive and went out and got a hard working midwest kid that fits Chicago’s culture perfectly. Fields was a stud at Ohio State, and Bears fans are praying that his raw talent will translate to the pros. So the question is do they start Fields immediately, or let him develop for a season under Andy Dalton? In most cases, I would side with letting the Rookie develop under the veteran QB, but this Bears situation is a little different. Andy Dalton is in the twilight of his career, and he hasn’t shown much through two preseason games that shows he really belongs as a starter in this league. We saw this last season in Dalton’s time with the Cowboys too. He was put at the helm of that loaded Cowboys offense and still couldn’t produce results. Another thing working in Fields’ favor is the showing that the Rookie put on in his first preseason game versus Miami. Fields’ stat line was very solid going 14/20 for 142 yards and a TD through the air to go along with 5 rushes for 33 yards and a TD on the ground. His playmaking ability was evident in this game, while Andy Dalton looked old and weary. Dalton’s time in this league is quickly coming to a close, while Fields is eager to prove he shouldn’t have fallen out of the top ten picks. It seems that Fields already gives Chicago the best chance to win games right now. Not to mention the fans have already started calling for Fields to be the starter. Both football wise and brand wise Fields is the answer this season for Chicago. Start the kid week 1!
Broncos: Teddy Bridgewater vs. Drew Lock
Denver brought in veteran QTeddy Bridgewater to create some very real QB competition for Drew Lock. There’s also been many rumors floating around about a possible Aaron Rodgers trade. I don’t buy into those too much, as it seems Green Bay is sticking with Rodgers for this season at least. With the Rodgers rumors squashed, this makes for a very interesting competition in Denver. Especially interesting because Lock looked better in preseason week one, while Bridgewater looked better than Lock in week two. Both have shown they can play in this league, but neither have taken the step to the next level. With all of that considered, expect the job to be initially given to Lock. It simply comes down to one thing: potential. Lock is entering his third season in the NFL. A third season for a Quarterback is looked at by many as a “prove-it” year. That’s exactly what the Broncos and Drew Lock are looking at this season. In his first two seasons, Lock has shown flashes of greatness, but hasn’t been able to put it all together. By about 8-10 games into the season, the Broncos should know whether or not Lock is the guy. If Lock fails to meet expectations early in the season it will be clear for Denver that it’s time to move on from Lock. The Broncos drafted Drew Lock, they should see it through for one more season. However, adding proven veteran Teddy Bridgewater to the QB room definitely adds even more pressure to 3rd year QB Drew Lock. That pressure is very necessary though, expect Lock to have a very short leash with Denver this season.
Saints: Jameis Winston vs. Taysom Hill
If Winston didn’t already have the job, he definitely proved he deserved it in his showing Monday night versus the Jaguars. Jameis solidified his role as starter by throwing two beautiful bombs to Marquez Callaway for TDs in the first quarter of this contest. Then Taysom Hill came into the game and the Saints offense struggled to move the ball. However, this doesn’t mean Taysom won’t see the field this season. Saints coach Sean Payton should continue to spot Hill in certain situations like he’s done for the past few seasons. Hill does his best work when he can catch the defense off guard, but when Hill comes in as a traditional every down quarterback the defense can do more to prepare. Jameis Winston gets the starting job, but Hill is definitely still an important member of this Saints offense.