Written by Kevin Skiver at CBS Sports.com
After Week 1 of the NFL season, there are always some teams that just didn’t look right. However, 2017 saw several teams in truly horrific quarterback positions. Some were expected, some weren’t, but several were on projected playoff teams. If they can’t pull it together or make a change soon, then it could be a long season for these teams, as quarterback play has become essential to succeed in today’s NFL.
Here are the eight most worrisome QB situations heading into Week 2.
New York Jets
This is hardly surprising, as the Jets clearly had no intention of fixing their quarterback situation heading into the season. Josh McCown went 26-for-39 for only 187 yards and two interceptions. That was just the tip of the iceberg for the Jets’ poor play, but against a Bills secondary that is also embracing a rebuild, it isn’t promising. If fans start speaking too much, then the Jets may turn to… Christian Hackenberg. So their quarterback situation is a bit of a mess from top to bottom.
Obviously, the Jets aren’t playing for much this year, much has been made of that fact. But the last thing that a team wants to do is anger its fan base, and Jets fans aren’t going tolerate watching an entire season of this. They’ll either speak with their boos or their wallets and based on the reports around Hackenberg all offseason, that’s when things would really get interesting. The Jets must really hope that Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield is the answer because they’re subjecting themselves to a tough season with the current roster.
Yes, a win is a win is a win, but Blake Bortles contributed very little to that win, and the Jaguars are still committed to their 2014 first-round pick. After a brief Chad Henneappearance in the preseason, Bortles was named the starter again, and now the Jaguars are saddled up with Bortles to ride out 2017 against the seemingly weak AFC South. The Jaguars rode their defense to a 29-7 victory, where Bortles completed just over 52 percent of his passes and threw for 125 yards. He finished 11-for-21 in the game and hardly seemed comfortable being back on the field.
The injury to Allen Robinson will limit Bortles even further. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory may be able to shoulder a certain amount of work for Bortles, but there will be times that Jaguars will trail in games this year. If Bortles can’t move the ball down the field in the air then the Jaguars will be in serious trouble. Coming back in the NFL is hard enough — coming back without any type of passing game is next to impossible. The Jaguars showed that they have the potential to be competitive with a stifling front four (albeit against a terrible Texans line), but they’ll need better play from Bortles if they’re going to win close games.
And on the other side of the same game, there are the Texans. Projected to be competitors in the AFC South — if not the AFC — in 2017, the Texans after Week 1 are already looking bruised and battered.on Thursday Night Football against the Bengals, but outside of his one touchdown drive he didn’t light up the scoreboard. The Texans’ offensive line didn’t do any favors, as 10 sacks will attest, but Tom Savage looked generally awful against the Jaguars on Sunday.
Houston obviously couldn’t just pull a good quarterback out of thin air, andto save them Sunday. Savage went 7-for-13 in the first half for 62 yards, while Watson ended 12-for-23 for 102 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Hype for Watson aside, the Texans are allegedly a playoff team, and if they can’t protect Watson then there’s no way that he’ll do well throughout his rookie season. The Bengals will be a good test for Watson, but the real battle to look for will be in the trenches: Can the line keep the Bengals off of Watson? Because if he ends up getting hurt early in the year and the Texans end up with a full season of Savage, that puts a huge damper on their AFC South hopes. Being forced to start a rookie after one-half is hardly promising to begin with.
Chalk this one up to, but a completion percentage of 56.25 percent and three interceptions doesn’t bode well for a 37-year-old quarterback. Peyton Manning’s horrific 2015 season reminded everyone that every quarterback is human, so every bad performance from quarterbacks over 36 is going to be chalked up to hitting the wall. Palmer went up against a decent Detroit Lions secondary, threw the ball 48 times, and went for only 269 yards.
The Cardinals have to be good. They just have to. No one wants to see another Seahawks cakewalk to win the NFC West (sorry Los Angeles, we have to see more than Scott Tolzien). But with David Johnsonthe running and receiving games may take a huge hit. Larry Fitzgerald hardly looked like himself Sunday, and without those weapons, Palmer will only struggle further. This is the kind of pick that can get laughed at, but the Cardinals’ backups are Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton. The defense is still promising, as Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu can carry a unit, but this may mark the second year in a row that the Cardinals underperform since their 2015 NFC Championship Game appearance.
Andy Dalton is the personification of room temperature water. He’ll get you where you want to go, nothing more nothing less. At least, he was. The “Andy Dalton Line,” a play on baseball’s “Mendoza Line,” was jokingly referred to as the exact spot of a mediocre quarterback. On Sunday, however, he looked absolutely horrific. Not to take away from Baltimore’s defense, which absolutely flew to the ball, but Dalton dipped below the Andy Dalton Line and maybe even the Ryan Lindley playoff line. Dalton went 16-of-31 against the Ravens for 170 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Bengals are playing in the ever-competitive AFC North against some truly great pass rushers. If Dalton continues to take abuse, he’ll only continue to trend down. Perhaps once the Bengals have worked out the kinks with the Joe Mixon offense it will benefit Dalton, but as their offense stands they may have a long season. With a vertical threat like John Ross — who’s expected to miss the first two games of the season — things often take a while to click, and Dalton has the arm to get to him. The question is whether or not he’ll have the time, and against a Texans defense that got its feelings hurt in Week 1 Dalton will have to prove himself.