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» 2017 Adjusted Games Lost

Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

04 Oct 2017

Scramble for the Ball: Mikey Glennon's Last Dance

by Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter

Bryan: Welcome back to Scramble for the Ball, where this week, we're hoping young rookie quarterbacks won't break our hearts.

John Fox has finally admitted that they've given up, Mike Glennon; please admit it's all over and don't come around here no more. There ain't no sense in pretending; your eyes give you away -- specifically, your habit of staring down receivers and throwing the ball to the other team, leading to a couple of major Bears breakdowns.

When you've got a highly-drafted quarterback sitting on the bench, the waiting is the hardest part. With the exception of the few rookies who get handed the reins from Day 1, there's a ticking clock in the back of every fan's mind, especially because it normally goes hand-in-hand with a history of losing. Well, even the losers get lucky sometimes. Bears fans are hoping Mitchell Trubisky is their new … American Girl.

OK, I ran out of steam there at the end, but you see what I'm saying.

Andrew: It's time to move on, time to get going / What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing / But under my feet, baby, grass is growing / It's time to move on, it's time to get going.

Or do you mean you expect Mitchell Trubisky to be a heartbreaker?

Bryan: It often seems that way, doesn't it? Since the 2002 NFL realignment, there has been exactly one time a rookie has come off the bench and led his team to the playoffs -- Ben Roethlisberger replacing an injured Tommy Maddox in 2004. Every other rookie who started the season as a backup has fallen short.

Andrew: Of course, there are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, if the rookie is coming in for reasons other than injury, it's probably because the team is losing. It's a brave coach who switches his starting quarterback for performance reasons on a winning team. Heck, I remember the questioning Lovie Smith endured just for going BACK to his preseason starter Rex Grossman when rookie Kyle Orton -- whose -33.5% DVOA and -585 DYAR were not at all good -- had the Bears at 11-5.

Orton is only one of a few quarterbacks who narrowly escape your criteria for Big Ben. Orton started in Week 1, despite being the team's backup quarterback, because Grossman broke his ankle against the Rams in the preseason. There are a couple of other examples, perhaps most famously Dak Prescott just last year. Prescott was intended to be the backup in Dallas, but Tony Romo suffered a(nother) fracture in his back and missed the first part of the year. By then, Prescott was playing so well that the team couldn't well go back to their aging and injury-prone veteran.

Bryan: Yeah, there's a clear difference between Week 1 starters like Andrew Luck (here's the keys to the franchise, kid, try not to wreck it!) and Prescott (oh geez, uh-oh, uh, shoot, go for it kid!). Prescott should get grouped in with Roethlisberger, in that neither was planned to be a starter that early in their careers, but they ended up providing the spark -- or quality play, if you want actual "measurables" and "things that are real" -- that allowed their teams to get over the hump. That's what every fan hopes for in an emergency quarterback switch; the backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town when your team is losing. It just doesn't usually work out.

Andrew: Which, to be fair, is true of most quarterbacks generally. Unless the new guy is backing up a true superstar (Hi there, Mr. Rodgers! Yeah, you too, Philip.), he will usually either win the job in an open competition in preseason (Russell Wilson)...

Bryan: Objection! Drew Brees was not a superstar when Philip Rivers came to town!

Andrew: Drew Brees was not yet widely recognized to be a superstar-caliber quarterback when Philip Rivers was on the bench behind him. Brees was very good in both 2004 and 2005, before his injury led to his release as the team took the chance to go with Rivers.

Bryan: Objection withdrawn.

Andrew: As I was saying, yer honor, if the quarterback doesn't win the job in preseason, and the guy in front of him is not a top-tier quarterback, the track record is much less encouraging. Of the 38 quarterbacks since 2002 who played at least eight games in their rookie season, only 17 did not start in Week 1.

Bryan: It's ... not a stellar list.

Rookie QBs, 8-plus Starts, Did Not Start Week 1, 2002-2016
Player Year Team GS 1st Start DVOA Rk DYAR Rk Career DYAR
Ben Roethlisberger 2004 PIT 13 Wk 3 31.7% 3 908 11 11,311
Byron Leftwich 2003 JAC 13 Wk 3 5.5% 16 470 13 1,546
Matt Leinart 2006 ARI 11 Wk 5 0.0% 17 277 19 194
Colt McCoy 2010 CLE 8 Wk 6 -1.9% 25 146 27 19
Vince Young 2006 TEN 13 Wk 4 -6.3% 25 114 23 596
Cody Kessler 2016 CLE 8 Wk 3 -7.6% 22 50 24 50
Mike Glennon 2013 TB 13 Wk 4 -7.7% 26 99 22 271
Trent Edwards 2007 BUF 9 Wk 4 -11.0% 30 3 30 -396
Teddy Bridgewater 2014 MIN 12 Wk 4 -16.9% 37 -159 38 28
Joey Harrington 2002 DET 12 Wk 3 -20.9% 42 -279 43 -638
Josh Freeman 2009 TB 9 Wk 8 -31.1% 39 -392 40 201
Bruce Gradkowski 2006 TB 11 Wk 4 -31.5% 43 -452 45 -825
Christian Ponder 2011 MIN 10 Wk 7 -31.5% 43 -404 45 -418
Blake Bortles 2014 JAC 13 Wk 4 -40.7% 43 -849 44 -797
Blaine Gabbert 2011 JAC 14 Wk 3 -46.5% 46 -1,009 47 -1,928
Jimmy Clausen 2010 CAR 10 Wk 3 -48.0% 44 -749 46 -759
Chad Hutchinson 2002 DAL 9 Wk 8 -48.1% 47 -595 46 -969

Andrew: One of these players is not like the others.

Bryan: To be fair, Leftwich had a solid career in Jacksonville, and Bridgewater was trending positively before his disastrous injury.

Andrew: That's true, and the book is far from closed on Bridgewater even despite that injury. I'm focused more on the bottom half of the table, the players at or below replacement level (approximately -17.0% DVOA). There, we see two different Vikings rookies, both first-round picks. Two for the Jaguars, both TOP-TEN picks. Then there's the Buccaneers, whose fans surely have suffered enough. The Buccaneers have still never signed a true franchise quarterback to a contract extension.

At the top, Roethlisberger is clearly the pick of the bunch, and there's nothing outside that top three. Whereas the list of rookies who started on opening day includes two recent league MVPs (Cam Newton and Matt Ryan), two Super Bowl winners (Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson), outstanding rookie seasons (Robert Griffin and Dak Prescott), and established multi-year starters (Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, Kyle Orton, Ryan Tannehill, and -- whatever you may think of him -- Andy Dalton). That's close to a who's who of franchise quarterbacks (or would-be franchise quarterbacks) drafted in the past ten years. Some of that is due to draft position, but definitely not all of it.

Bryan: Cream rises to the top, I suppose. Of course, that's assuming that the coaching staffs are acting rationally. Because there will almost certainly be a new name or two on this list next year, and maybe some of them shouldn't be. Can you tell me a rational reason Bill O'Brien did not have Deshaun Watson as his opening day starter? Especially considering that a) he was willing to pull Tom Savage halfway through one game, and ii) his opening day quarterback was Tom Savage?

Andrew: You're asking me to apply rational thinking to the AFC South. There has been nothing rational about the AFC South since Peyton Manning left it.

Bryan: With Marcus Mariota hurt and the rest of the division being as ... well, AFC South-ish as usual, there's every reason to believe Watson is going to join Roethlisberger as a playoff rookie who wasn't trusted as the opening day starter. That's remarkably impressive for a quarterback many people were lukewarm with at the beginning of the season.

On the other hand, I think I can tell you exactly why John Fox waited until Week 5 to start his rookie quarterback. The Bears, upset win over the Steelers or not, are bad. If they had started the season with Trubisky and been bad, then Fox would have just been in trouble and on the hot seat. Now, he gets to pull the "hey! Look! A shiny new quarterback!" card, and get at least a few weeks of "be patient, he's a rookie learning how to play in the NFL" before the flames start creeping down his neck again.

Andrew: Ah, self-preservation. That most basic of all basic instincts.

Bryan: The Bears, at least, are still alive thanks to that weird upset over Pittsburgh. I suppose we could see two new quarterbacks joining Roethlisberger this year. I mean, theoretically. It's ... it's possible. Right? Bear Down?

Andrew: In a division with Aaron Rodgers and the Vikings and Lions? Put me down for the under. Wait, we're not doing those articles anymore, are we? Let's just be polite and say it would be a surprise.

Bryan: And Patrick Mahomes has to be cursing his luck that he's sitting on the bench of the best team in football. "Look at him," he thinks, watching Alex Smith leading another 15-play field goal drive and handing the ball off to Kareem Hunt. "I could do that. I bet they'd appreciate me in Miami."

Andrew: Field goals? Pah! Alex Smith is joint third in the league in passing touchdowns, behind only Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, despite the fewest passing attempts of anybody in the top five.

Bryan: I know, and it's great. Remember, I've had to watch him since 2005 in San Francisco, and he's had so, so much crud dumped on him over the years. The 49ers were terrible, and it wasn't all his fault. He was benched for David Carr! And just when the 49ers got good, they went out and drafted a quarterback behind him. And now, just as it looks like the Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders, they've got another young rookie nipping at his heels. I am fully on the Alex Smith Redemption Super Bowl Victory bandwagon here. And I STILL think he's the best quarterback in the AFC West. It just sucks to be Mahomes, sitting and watching despite being the 10th overall pick

Andrew: He will have his day. And if it doesn't happen this year, he can look to Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers as examples of why that's not necessarily a bad thing. (Or, uh, Jake Locker as a counter-example.)

Bryan: And who knows? Maybe C.J. Beathard in San Francisco or Davis Webb in New York will step in and totally salvage those seasons, as well! A rookie renaissance!

Andrew: What's he that wishes so?
My cousin, Francisco? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to lose, we are enow
To do our teammates loss; and if to win,
The fewer wins, the greater share of honour.

Loser League Update

Quarterback: DeShone Kizer was benched late in the Browns' loss to Cincinnati, as his off-target and late throws became too much for Hue Jackson to take. He remains the starter for now over Kevin Hogan, but a few more days like his 16-for-34, 118-yard, one-interception performance might see that change. He ended the day with 4 points, a fairly run-of-the-mill bad score.

Running Back: We have a three-way tie, as three backs ended up with fewer than 20 yards on nine carries this week: Paul Perkins, Matt Breida, and Marshawn Lynch all end up with 1 point. After a strong showing in Week 1, Lynch has looked more like a 31-year-old back who took a year off in recent weeks, and will need to bounce back if the Raiders hope to make noise this season. The Giants and 49ers will not be making any noise this season.

Wide Receiver: Seven members of the Goose Egg Brigade to induct this week. Taylor Gabriel went without a reception -- more on that later -- while Amari Cooper, Torrey Smith, Mohamed Sanu, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken, and Markus Wheaton were all held to single-digit yards.

Kicker: Three different kickers hit negative points this week! While Kai Forbath's and Zane Gonzalez's missed field goals hurt, the winner was pretty clearly Nick Folk, who compounded Tampa Bay's recent special teams woes by missing two field goals and an extra point. At least he made the field goal when it really counted at the end of the game, but they wouldn't have needed that game-winning field goal had he been more accurate the rest of the day. -2 points for that inaccuracy.


Keep Choppin' Wood: Defeats don't get much more demoralizing than a shutout loss against the New Orleans Saints. The egg on the scoreboard doesn't tell the full story, however. The Dolphins took the opening kickoff and drove the length of the field with minimal effort. From the 5-yard line, on first down, Jay Cutler threw a fade to tight end Julius Thomas, split wide against cornerback Ken Crawley. Unfortunately, Cutler was falling down as he threw, and so lofted the ball straight to Crawley instead. Cutler made headlines later in the game for his, erm, meandering body language on a Wildcat play, and managed to trip up Jay Ajayi on a key fourth-down handoff to boot. The Dolphins never again came close to a touchdown, and became the first team ever to be shut out in the London series.

John Fox Award for Conservatism: The Chicago Bears received a Mason Crosby kickoff for a touchback with six seconds expired in the fourth quarter, trailing 35-7. They then held possession of the ball for more than 12-and-a-half of the game's remaining 15 minutes, including killing 8:53 on one, count it, one drive. The Bears, trailing by 28 points, ran the ball on nine of their first 10 plays, including eight straight runs for Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Though the Bears did eventually score a touchdown, they did so with the longest drive since 1999 of any team trailing by 28 points or more in the second half. We point to the Super Bowl as an example that there is not really any such thing as "garbage time" in the modern NFL, but that depends heavily on a team's mentality -- and on that of their coach. It is only appropriate that we reward John Fox for this masterful display of conservatism beyond the call of duty.

Jeff Fisher Award for Confusing Coaching: You could write a small novella about the coaching decisions in the Jaguars-Jets game. The Jaguars punting on fourth-and-3 from the Jets 43 in overtime? The Jets' screen pass on third-and-18 with three minutes left in overtime? The Jets' fake punt on fourth-and-21 when they threw short of the sticks? Some very, very odd coaching decisions -- but mostly ordinarily bad ones, as opposed to particularly eye-raising ones. But the Jets' last offensive play really was a headscratcher.

With 34 seconds left in the game, and both teams out of timeouts, Todd Bowles had Josh McCown ... spike the ball. Stopping the clock. The reasoning, one would assume, would be to avoid the rush of getting their kicking unit out onto the field for game-winning field goal attempt -- but would it really be that much harder to lineup during the 34 seconds or so after a kneel than a 40-second play clock? All the spike did was give the Jaguars a chance had the field goal been missed to win the game. 25 seconds and no timeouts? Difficult, but not impossible -- the Eagles did it just last week against the Giants. The only effect of the spike was to increase the odds of the Jacksonville comeback.

'Running Backs are Fungible' Fantasy Player of the Week: Elijah McGuire was a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, and was expected to be the third back for the Jets this year behind Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. Funny thing about that, though; the last time both of those guys were healthy for an entire year was 2013, so you'd have to expect McGuire would get his shot eventually. With Forte on the shelf with an injured toe, McGuire has been getting more opportunities -- and it paid off against Jacksonville. McGuire had 10 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown, and added 38 more yards on a couple receptions. He outgained first-round rookie Leonard Fournette on half the carries. You can find quality runners late!

Blake Bortles Garbage-Time Performer of the Week: At least one group of people benefited from the Foxian lack of urgency at the end of the Bears game: Jordan Howard's fantasy owners! Howard had five carries for 21 yards and a touchdown on that drive, with a reception to boot. Those eight or so fantasy points swung quite a few fantasy matchups this week, including one for yours truly. So, thank you for that, John Fox.

'Comfort in Sadness' Stat of the Week: Oh, Cleveland. As if losing to a bad and winless Colts team wasn't enough, the Browns only got blown out at home by possibly the worst Bengals squad since the beginning of the decade. One more loss will see the Browns hit a crazy landmark: back-to-back stretches with a 1-15 record, spanning portions of three seasons. Fortunately, they play the Jets this weekend. Less fortunately, the Jets are 2-2 and much better than many people expected.

The closest thing Cleveland has to a bright spot on offense is the performance of running back Duke Johnson. Not content with leading the team's backs in both yards per carry and touchdowns, Johnson also leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, lining up as a slot receiver more often than he does as a traditional running back. His 35 receiving DYAR ranked eighth among qualifying backs as of Week 3. Johnson is one of the few Browns players who is playing well, and is even under contract in Cleveland for another year before the Patriots can snaffle him and turn him into Kevin Faulk version 5.0.

Game-Changing Play of the Week: You live by the game-changing play, you die by the game-changing play. Last week, the Falcons escaped Detroit with a win thanks to the Lions coming up short on their final 1-yard attempt. This week, they fell against Buffalo thanks to their own 1-yard-to-go scenario.

Taylor Gabriel not only didn't catch any of his five targets, but he didn't catch those targets at really important times. On the Falcons' last drive of the game, with under a minute to go and trailing 23-17, Gabriel came up smallest. The Falcons were on the Buffalo 10, facing third-and-1. With Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu out due to injury, the Falcons' other receivers had to step up. On two consecutive plays, Matt Ryan targeted Gabriel. On two consecutive plays, Gabriel couldn't come up with a reception. Credit the Bills with providing some strong coverage, but also blame the Falcons. On fourth down, the Bills lined up with only 10 defenders.

The 4-2-4 fell out of style in soccer in the 1970s, but the Lorenzo Alexander-less Bills defense decided to give it a shot anyway. Gabriel was blanketed in coverage, and Ryan's desperation force fell incomplete. A huge win for the 3-1 Bills, as the Falcons' high-wire act of close finishes this year finally went against them. Coupled with Carolina's big win in New England, it dropped Atlanta's chance of winning the division by 19.9 percent.

Three-Eyed Raven Lock of the Week

All picks are made without reference to FO's Premium picks, while all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing.

Andrew: Tampa Bay (plus-6) versus New England. If the Patriots defense couldn't handle Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess on Sunday with a week to prepare, how are they going to handle DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans with only three days of preparation on Thursday night? O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate both had receiving touchdowns against the Giants, suggesting that the Buccaneers are already making good use of their receiving options. While the Buccaneers have defensive issues of their own, a shootout could easily go either way, and this one may simply come down to whoever has the ball last with a chance to drive for the win.

Bryan: Dang it, I was going to do that. Well, for the sake of variety, I'll go elsewhere on the board and take Pittsburgh (minus-8.5) versus Jacksonville. This is a really tough week, with a lot of small lines and a lot of close matchups. When in doubt, fade the Jaguars -- their first win came against Houston pre-Watson and in all the aftermath of Harvey. Their second win came in London, where logic goes to die. Pittsburgh was my preseason Super Bowl pick (not my current one, though -- I jumped to the Chiefs at just about the time Jordan Howard was leaving his bootprint in Pittsburgh's behind), and I have to think they beat a questionable Jacksonville team at home by double digits.

Records to date:
Bryan: 2-1
Andrew: 2-1

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Posted by: Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter on 04 Oct 2017

36 comments, Last at 09 Oct 2017, 1:03am by Raiderjoe


by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:24pm

will anouicne lock of wrek later ion week.

am 4-0 on season thuis far. made some of these on twiiter and oen was just textedt o friend. rest of weeks will post in this article thread in future.

as for fantasy, tema is 4-00 but first four pciks were david Johnson, marcus mariota, dalvin cook,. allen robinson. so, injuries galore.

10 team league
8 starters, 6 bench spots
no kickers
no defense
QB, WR, WR, RB, TE and three flex slots one which is super flex (qb/rb/wr/te)- majority of time people start two QBs

probably can go 5-5 rest fo reg season and still win divuision. by pklayoff time, david Johnson might be back in action

veryh fun and weird now as have lost some of top weapons

by andrew :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:40pm

Making fun of a guy who just lost his job is just petty.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:43pm

Yeah, so the guy can't break down coverage, but he's really just a refugee from Tampa at this point, and, really, you don't know how it feels to be him.

Also, "Time To Move On" is a phenomenally underrated tune from Petty's best album (Wildflowers), so high five for quoting it.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:08pm

I am kicking myself for missing the Don't Fade On Me reference for Ken Crawley's interception.

by Dan :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:45pm

It's got to hurt his pride, with the Bears in the public eye giving someone else a try. All of a sudden it's Mike on the outside.

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:22pm

Is Alex Smith better than Carr? I guess there's an argument but I think the general consensus is no.

by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:44pm

He's certainly better at the moment due to having a more intact back!

by ChrisS :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 1:58pm

I think given a choice between the two as my starting QB for the season I would choose Smith. This is only for one season (Carr certainly has way more future potential) and ignores Carr's health. I prefer a QB with a longer consistent positive record and I think Smith's numbers are depressed by the KC offensive system. But I think it is close and in the long run Carr is the way to go.

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:03pm

I see it in the opposite fashion - the chiefs offense accentuates all of smith's abilities while hiding his weaknesses. Remember when the chiefs went an eon without a wide receiver touchdown? The chiefs tailored their offense to the tight end, scatback receiver, and lots of screens and misdirection.

I hate saying this - but thats clever scheming around your qbs weaknesses. It makes me wonder what happens if you pair a smart schemers with a talented qb. Oh wait - you get Tom Brady.

by ChrisS :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 2:17pm

I can certainly see your point. But I think this season (albeit only 4 games) Smith has had more opportunity and success on longer throws.

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:24pm

Sure, but the talent around him is about as good as its ever been. The o line is a good unit, Kelsie at this point might be the best tight end in football. Tyreke hill is the pre-eminent wildcard joker receiver and kareem hunt is an mvp candidate.

Smith has played well, no doubt, but this feels like something way beyond his natural level of play and I have a hard time this Alex Smith will be the same a year from now vs the guy we've known about for years.

Btw - assessing Alex Smith's play in a vacuum is difficult. I've seen him when the talent and scheme weren't so good and he was terrible. I've seen other qbs who have been in situations like that and they are thrown to the wolves, but alex smith gets the proverbial, "context" adjustment. We seem to never do that for Cutler, Carr the elder or whoevers the qb of the browns.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:38pm

he is not

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 7:36pm

Way better than David Carr.

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 7:54pm

I believe 49er fans felt different...

In all seriousness, I remember that game and while I was indifferent to Alex Smith at that time, I felt bad for him. The 49ers were losing but he wasn't the reason why. Ok he had a dumb fumble that led to a td, but he was the only one doing anything on their offense. He was moving the ball and playing well but everything around him was failing him(in retrospect, not a surprise given Singletary was the coach).

by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 1:37pm

We have a piece planned for later in the season for best coach switches, in case the Rams keep doing well. Mike Singletary's name MAY appear in that list. Just possibly.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:30pm

Better is a hugely subjective term. Is Smith a better pure passer? Maybe not. Is Smith a better leader? Maybe. Does Smith read defenses better? He ought to, after all this time.

As a non-football complaint: I tried to respond to this post three times, and each time I got redirected to an Amazon pop up advertisement. It's not the first time, and I have made a complaint to the business staff. It's getting very irritating.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:00pm

Bryan: Objection! Drew Brees was not a superstar when Philip Rivers came to town!

Andrew: Drew Brees was not yet widely recognized to be a superstar-caliber quarterback when Philip Rivers was on the bench behind him. Brees was very good in both 2004 and 2005, before his injury led to his release as the team took the chance to go with Rivers.

Brees wasn't recognized as such because, well, he wasn't. Especially not when Rivers was drafted in the spring of 2004.

In 2002 and 2003, Brees played in 27 games, threw for 5400 yards with 60% completion percentage, 28 TD, and 31 interceptions.

At that point, the Chargers clearly didn't see him as a franchise quarterback (no one really did), so they drafted Rivers, expecting Brees to be a placeholder. But in 2004, Brees exploded for almost 3200 yards, over 65% completion percentage, 27 TD, and only 7 interceptions. In 2005, he was better yardage-wise (almost 3600), but had a 24/15 TD/INT ratio. He also hurt his shoulder, prompting the Chargers to roll with Rivers.

I can't think of any other similar situations. A guy who looked like a placeholder through two seasons who then exploded when the team drafted a replacement, but then was let go for fairly legitimate reasons, and became a no-doubt Hall of Famer.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:16pm

Technically they traded for Rivers.

They drafted someone else with #1 overall who didn't want to be there.

by Travis :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:43pm

They drafted someone else with #1 overall who didn't want to be there.

As it turned out, neither did the Chargers.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:53pm

Fantastic :-D

by James-London :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 6:12am


Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by xydux :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 6:25pm

Off topic, but you should probably update your signature line.

by Mike B. In Va :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:42am

Well done.

I wonder if Rivers would have preferred NY?

by theslothook :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:20pm

Yeah, Brees was a bit of a wildcard at that point in his career. I think most regarded him as a Chad Pennington level qb(if not in style).

That he exploded to what he became was as much a surprise as anything.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:20pm

It's a fairly unique situation, for sure. I think hindsight in this instance lets us see that Brees was a better quarterback than we thought at the time -- though yes, nowhere near the level he has since attained -- and it's clear now that Rivers being stuck behind him was no slight on Rivers' own ability, which is the main point I was trying to get at there. It would have been much more worrying if he was stuck behind somebody who was playing like Mike Glennon. Interestingly, Patrick Mahomes' situation this season might turn out to be a reasonably close comparable, with Alex Smith playing the incumbent who is widely thought of as a placeholder, but who explodes for his best season immediately after the team drafts his supposed future replacement.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:28pm

This article from 2010 after Brees won the SB recounts what happened in San Diego.


"In 2003, he started 11 games, benched for five games at midseason in favor of 39-year-old Doug Flutie. San Diego’s record under Brees was 2-9. He passed for 2,108 yards. His completion percentage was 57.6. He threw 11 touchdown passes against 15 interceptions. His passer rating was 67.5. To be kind, he stunk."

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:42pm

Alex Smith is an example of Alex Smith.

He was a middling three-year starter who suddenly became current Alex Smith when Kaepernick was drafted. He then went 19-5-1 for San Francisco, followed by 45-20 for KC, with 114-38 TD/INT, with an AY/A of about 7.5.

Before that, he was 19-31, with a 51-53 TD/INT ratio and an AY/A of about 5.5.

Now, this also corresponds to going from Nolan/Singletary/Tomsula to Harbaugh/Reid.

Kaepernick turned back into a pumpkin when those guys left.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 3:20pm

Would like to point out that among the rookies taking over from starters ...

Jay Cutler took over from Jake Plummer with the team at 7-5 and they proceeded to miss the playoffs at 9-7.

Admittedly Denver were already slumping from 7-2 but a win in the final game against the 49ers would have been enough. Instead they lost in OT.

by intel_chris :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 9:57am

Yes, that's one of those cases where the fans regret and remember the decision. He had been a great coach, but Shannahan's ego was getting away from him at the time. I'm pretty sure that that decision was important in his later leaving the team.

by Mike B. In Va :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:49am

Wouldn't the Manning/Warner situation for the Giants qualify, as well?

by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 1:47pm

Manning started just seven games for the Giants as a rookie, which leaves him juuust off the cut-off point for the table. We wanted to avoid rookies who just came in as an injury replacement or for a short run at the end of the season, so we had to stick a (somewhat arbitrary) cutoff somewhere. We also had to manually check whether each QB started in Week 1 or not, so a cutoff that limited it to 20 or so players was useful for our purposes ;)

Stretching it out to six or seven starts would include Manning, Alex Smith, Nick Foles, Matt McGloin, Zach Mettenberger and Jared Goff.

Stretching it out to four or five starts also adds Patrick Ramsey, Craig Krenzel, Luke McCown, Charlie Frye, Jay Cutler, John Beck, Keith Null, John Skelton, T.J. Yates and Ryan Lindley.

by garion333 :: Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:44pm

Thank you for reminding me of Rex Grossman. That really made my day. ;)

by schmoker :: Sat, 10/07/2017 - 8:07pm

I'm not sure I've ever felt the need to defend John Fox, but I found his willingness to accept the loss and take the opportunity to have his team run against a passing defense to be very smart. He gave an important part of his team the chance to have some success on a day that was otherwise a disaster. His only other option was to let Glennon throw picks or go three and out. Instead he opted to give his running personnel the chance to scrimmage against high level competition at full game speed, and maybe build some confidence that will be important once the rookie starts.

While watching all of that, I couldn't help but wish Hue Jackson had made the same decision these past few weeks.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 10/08/2017 - 12:20pm

Pick of weekk- Bengals -3 vs Bjlls

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/08/2017 - 1:01pm

Just to clarify ... is that the Buffalo Bills football team or the Buffalo Jills cheerleader squad or a combined team? :-D

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/09/2017 - 1:03am

Could be combined tge whole buff bills and jills