The Daily Lives of Justin Herbert and Kirk Cousins

Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Walkthrough Presents: The Daily Lives of NFL Quarterbacks

NFL Week 13 - Daily Quarterbacks and Coordinators

In the Chargers quarterback room...

JUSTIN HERBERT (Internal monologue): I worry that my offensive coordinator has no idea what he is doing.

JOE LOMBARDI: This week's game plan is to dink, dunk, and dink some more. Forget about your strong arm and the downfield capabilities of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. My short-passing tactics worked wonders for Drew Brees, so…

HERBERT (Internal monologue): There he is, name-dropping Drew Brees again. This must be the way Adam Gase talked about Peyton Manning and Bill O'Brien talked about Tom Brady. These mediocre coaches glom onto already-excellent quarterbacks and ride their coattails to promotions.

LOMBARDI: Don't worry if a drive stalls. We can always rely on our field goal unit. Or you can try to move the chains on fourth-and-8. Why, when I was Matthew Stafford's offensive coordinator…

HERBERT (Internal monologue): Stafford? That's his other success story? The Lions finished 19th and 13th in offensive DVOA the two years he coached Stafford AND Calvin Johnson! When Jim Caldwell replaced him, Coach Lombardi ran right back to Brees and Sean Payton for another five years, then escaped before he could be held accountable for Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill!

LOMBARDI: So hey, if you lead the team in rushing for a third consecutive week, that's not that big a deal. Furthermore…

HERBERT (Internal monologue): This guy is holding me back, but he's going to get a head coaching job because I am skilled enough to make our statistics look good! I must confront him, no matter what the stakes.

(Out Loud): Coach…



LOMBARDI: Excellent!

HERBERT (Internal monologue): Sigh, this must be how Ryan Tannehill felt.

Daily Quarterbacks and Bloopers

After Sunday's Vikings-49ers game…

JIMMY GAROPPOLO: Hey Kirk, do you ever get embarrassed by a trending blooper?

KIRK COUSINS: You mean like this one?

Not at all.

GAROPPOLO: No, I mean like this one.

Lining up under the guard is just a silly thing that happens now and then, like not knowing the overtime rules or throwing out of bounds on fourth down. But missing a wide-open receiver for a two-point conversion and having him show you up? It really undercuts the theory that you provide some sort of heady situational brilliance or leadership. That has to be embarrassing.

COUSINS: Not at all. At a certain earning level, a quarterback becomes absolutely shameless. You have made a few bucks over the years: does it ever bother you that you would obviously devolve into Trevor Siemian if Deebo Samuel and George Kittle didn't break 200 tackles per game?

GAROPPOLO: Hmm. I see your point.

COUSINS: The only quarterbacks who need to be ashamed are the ones who produce lots of bloopers before they sign huge contracts.

(Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson walk past.)

GAROPPOLO: Shall we warn them?

COUSINS: Nah, let's go get ramen.

TankWatch: Detroit Lions

As the 2021 season draws toward its conclusion, TankWatch examines teams at the bottom of the standings and determines how they can claw back toward respectability over the next few weeks/months/years.

Lions Season in a Nutshell: They're 0-10-1 but 7-4 against the spread, which counts for something. (Specifically, it counts for money in Walkthrough's DraftKings account). The Lions are best thought of as wrasslin' jobbers who often get over thanks to strong play in the trenches and some spirited coaching by Dan Campbell and his staff.

Coaching Situation: Obligatory sentence acknowledging that Campbell is not really a braying lunatic and that the Lions do not appear to have quit on him.

Quarterback Situation: Jared Goff tastes like the broth he's cooked in. The Lions will need to replace him once they're serious about trying to contend.

Building Blocks: Penei Sewell, T.J. Hockenson, and D'Andre Swift are the best young players on the roster, and Swift will likely be worn down by the time the Lions are competitive. The Lions really needed an unknown wide receiver, edge rusher, or defensive back to make a splash this season, but none did. There's very little to show for the 2019-2020 drafts except Swift and Hockenson, which will only slow down the rebuilding project.

Future Assets: The Lions possess two first-round picks in both 2022 and 2023 as a result of the Goff-Matthew Stafford trade. They lack fourth- and fifth-round picks in 2022: another small problem for a team in need of a deep roster cleanse. They now have a 76.6% chance of selecting first overall in next year's draft.

The Lions possess a middle-of-the-pack $39.9 million in cap space for 2022, with no pricey in-house free agent priorities. There's a very low $62 million in available space on the books for 2023, but that figure will go up when cutting Goff and a few others becomes economically viable after next season.

Rebuilding Plan: It's all about leveraging those four first-round picks, including one likely first overall pick, over the next two years.

With no clear first overall-worthy quarterback likely to emerge in the 2022 draft, the Lions should neither select a quarterback nor assume some suitor will emerge willing to offer them a ransom for the top pick. So they should start with the best overall athlete, regardless of position (unless perhaps it's a left tackle, because you cannot build a whole team out of them). Their second pick is likely to be somewhere in the 20s; fishing for quarterbacks down there gets dicey (there are more Paxton Lynch-types than Lamar Jackson-types), so the Lions can look for an impact receiver, even if they drafted one first overall, or trade down to try to irrigate the whole roster.

The Lions should seek a veteran wide receiver to stabilize their passing game in free agency. Assuming Chris Godwin-tier targets are either off the board or sneer at them, the Lions can shop for Jamison Crowder- or Christian Kirk-types who can gobble up a half-dozen shallow crosses per game. Downfield speed must be sought in the draft.

As for quarterback, the Lions are best served feathering the nest for a 2023 solution. That's rarely the advisable course of action, but they won't be players in any theoretical Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, Jameis Winston-type solutions don't have a high enough risk-return rate, and any 2022 rookie would end up looking like weak-tea Justin Fields if the Lions cannot upgrade their receiving corps.

Final Prognosis: Get ready for another year of trying to undo the damage of the Bob Quinn/Matt Patricia administration, and also the decades of mismanagement which came before. Until then, keep on covering!

Walkthrough Returns You to: The Daily Lives of NFL Quarterbacks

Daily Quarterbacks and Benching

In the Panthers quarterback room…

P.J. WALKER: It seems as though you have gotten benched for me.

CAM NEWTON: Indubitably. After I got benched for you.

WALKER: After Sam Darnold got benched for me.

CAM: Say, have you noticed that Darnold doesn't appear in Walkthrough much anymore? Do you think it's because he's not an interesting character?

SAM DARNOLD (behind a table): Shhhh. I am hiding.

CAM AND WALKER: From whom?

MATT RHULE: Gentlemen, Christian McCaffrey is on IR. I don't know who our quarterback will be after the bye, and heaven knows I'm not going to schedule any situational drills to help us prepare better, but one of you will need to step up to salvage the season.

CAM: Clever, Sam. If you don't play anymore this season, you could latch on as a backup for a contender next year, something I am incapable of doing because of my aura.

DARNOLD: That's not who I am hiding from!

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOE BRADY: Gentleman, this week's game plan is to dink, dunk, and dink some more. I know none of you are cut out for this system, but it worked wonders for Drew Brees, so…


TebowMania Ten Years After: Tebow's Greatest Game

I wanted to believe. Or at the very least, I didn't want to disbelieve.

The 2011 Broncos were on a four-game winning streak when they faced a woeful Minnesota Vikings team led by Christian Ponder and (filling in for Adrian Peterson) plodding rusher Toby Gerhart on December 4. They had won their last three games by final scores of 17-10, 17-13, and 16-13. Tim Tebow completed a total of 20 passes across three games, ran for a total of 178 yards and two touchdowns, and was the biggest, dumbest story in the NFL by a wide margin.

It turned out that the Vikings could not make Tebow any more Tebow, but Tebow could make the Vikings extra Vikings. Substitute Kirk Cousins for Ponder and Justin Jefferson for Percy Harvin and this highlight reel of the 35-32 Broncos victory in 2011 could easily have come from this year's Vikings, right down to the heartbreaking end-of-game mistakes and opposing field goals.

Tebow's passing numbers were relatively normal: 10-of-15 passing for 202 yards and two touchdowns. I wasn't the only member of the Football Outsiders team that thought he might have been developing into more than a delusion, though it sounds like I was the biggest optimist among us.

Vince Verhei: Tim Tebow is not waiting for the fourth quarter this week. He has thrown a pair of touchdowns to Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter. One was a fade route in the end zone where it looked like the nearest defensive back was more concerned with an imaginary receiver running a skinny post. The other came when Tebow scrambled to the sideline, the defense came up to cover, and Tebow threw back to the middle to Thomas on a crossing route.

However, both touchdowns left the Broncos down by two points, and they opted to go for one each time. I know there's a whole quarter to go, and the Vikings haven't let you do much on the ground all day. Still, your quarterback is theoretically a great goal-line weapon, and it's better to be tied than to be behind. Anyone want to argue for taking the single point(s) there?

Aaron Schatz: Nope. I agree. I think it makes sense for Denver to always go for two. Probably Carolina as well.

Mike Tanier: The Broncos fail a lot in short yardage. Two fails would be a four-point swing. They tend to win by three, and they thrive on only having to drive for a field goal late in games.

Aaron Schatz: Denver in short-yardage situations before Tebow became the starter: 33% conversion rate.

Denver in short-yardage situations after Tebow became the starter: 67% conversion rate.

And as I type this, Denver scores a two-point conversion to tie the game. They scored on two plays. The first one was a long pass to a wide-open Thomas. Thomas sure has been wide open a lot today, but this wasn't a play that had broken down. This was just him beating Cedric Griffin straight out.

Vince Verhei: After Percy Harvin takes a 3-yard crossing route 48 yards for a touchdown, the Broncos drive down the field again and Willis McGahee scores from 24 yards out. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos finally go for two, and Tebow runs it in to tie the game. Harvin, by the way, has caught all seven passes thrown his way for 145 yards and two scores. This may be the best game for the Florida Gators all year.

Aaron Schatz: Ponder throws a pick in his own end and the Broncos are going to have it on the 20. They are going to win again in the fourth quarter, and we're going to hear about Tebow some more, apparently because he inspired Andre' Goodman to make that pick.

Mike Tanier: I guess one of us should point out that he looked real sharp much of the game and found a lot of open receivers. It might as well be me.

Aaron Schatz: Yes, Tebow definitely did look better as a passer today. It helped that the Vikings cornerbacks kept waiting for safety help that wasn't there, but Tebow did have to find those guys with accurate passes, and he did.

Vince Verhei: To be fair, Tebow made a lot of plays in the second half. Mostly because his receivers were wide-open, but he has missed a lot of wide-open receivers in recent weeks. Still, keep in mind how lousy the offense was in the first half: Seven drives, one first down, 45 yards, two lost fumbles, one safety given up.

Mike Tanier: But I remember a quarterback about 23 years ago ... great runner, technically very raw, had a great defense helping him, made two or three plays per game with his arm, and he led a team to a lot of 11-win seasons. Games like this are viable, when you are completing about 10 passes. All Tebow needs is a Gumby haircut and a return of The Arsenio Hall Show...

Vince Verhei: It's funny, because after charting Denver's game against Kansas City this weekend, I was ready to come on here and talk about what a guilty pleasure it was watching Denver's offense and their slavish dedication to the running game, full of triple-tight end sets, options, end arounds, and other creativity. But that's not really the offense we saw today, or at least not the offense that won the game. Denver only had six rushing first downs all game, and from what I saw it was your basic I-formation inside zone stuff. The big plays all came via the pass, and most of them with Tebow throwing out of the pocket.

Although I agree with Tanier that Tebow would be a lot more popular with a Gumby haircut.

Rivers McCown: Who wouldn't?

Mike Tanier: Vince's point about the Broncos offense is dead on. This is no longer wacky option stuff, this is just basic conservativism. And before my Tebow = Randall remark becomes a position statement, let me just say that I am drawing comparisons in the name of framing debate in a way that goes beyond Tebow Stinks and Tebow is Awesome, not suggesting that they will have the exact same career trajectory. Though I will say that I can now imagine the Broncos being exactly where the Jets now are in two years.

I had forgotten about the Vikings game before starting this Ten Years After series. I also forgot that I ever expressed any genuine optimism about Tebow's development. But I am glad I did. True skepticism requires the constant reevaluations of suppositions based on new evidence. The evidence on December 3, 2011, suggested that Tebow may have been improving as a pocket passer. In fact, the Vikings game points toward a road not traveled, a universe in which Tebow's decisiveness and accuracy improved just enough to make him a viable starter for a few seasons in a league that was rapidly becoming more open-minded about read-option tactics.

Tebow did not really improve, of course. He just took advantage of a terrible opponent that had no one who could cover Demaryius Thomas. The league was actually just about to figure out how to irrevocably shut Tebow down.

But first, Tebow would throw down the gauntlet against rational thinking with the most ridiculous victory of his career.

Next Week: PraterMania: Ten Years After.

Walkthrough Brings You the Thrilling Conclusion of: The Daily Lives of NFL Quarterbacks

Edge Rushers are Funky!

Wherever defensive players hang out…

JAMAL ADAMS: I am mad that quarterbacks got their own anime-inspired series in Walkthrough and we didn't!

MICAH PARSONS: So am I! Let's ask T.J. Watt how to take our aggressions out on quarterbacks without getting penalized.

T.J. WATT: Wait … are you two even edge rushers?

ADAMS: Of course! We each have many sacks! What else could we be?

WATT: I dunno … maybe a strong safety who couldn't cover a pot with a lid and a rookie linebacker on a poorly coached team?

PARSONS (Sweating profusely, grimacing): Ungh...

ADAMS (Sweating profusely, grimacing): Ungh...

WATT (Sweating profusely, grimacing): Poser! (Punches Adams in the stomach.) Pretender! (Knees Parsons in the privates, then exits).

PARSONS (Gasping in pain): Our plan worked. Watt—ouch—showed us exactly—ow—how to take out our aggressions on quarterbacks.

ADAMS: Next time—youch—we should ask Cam Heyward.

T.J. Watt entered COVID protocol after beating up Adams and Parsons, but this is all a skit, so everything turned out OK.

The End


33 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2021, 3:59pm

#1 by Scott P. // Dec 01, 2021 - 11:04am

Jared Goff tastes like the broth he's cooked in.

I think we've found his career after retirement:

Points: 0

#2 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 11:41am

 (there are more Paxton Lynch-types than Lamar Jackson-types)

Actually, no, there are like, no other Paxton Lynch types. Lynch was pretty epic-level bad. Even an absolute total disaster like Johnny Manziel has over twice the number of pass attempts Lynch had. I think you have to go back to Jim Druckenmiller to beat that, but even he's got more professional pass attempts (via the XFL) than Lynch currently has!

Not sure what the "most likely" number of NFL pass attempts is for a late 1st round pick, but it's probably around like 1000 (Brandon Weeden, JP Losman, Patrick Ramsey, etc.). Can't do average, obviously, since the distribution's got a crazy tail (Drew Brees blows the whole damn thing up), but that feels right.

So totally right idea, but hey, don't insult the ordinary late-round failures by comparing them to Paxton Lynch.

Points: 0

#3 by FanZed // Dec 01, 2021 - 1:04pm

I set the max at 64 games started for QBs picked between #20-32 overall since the 2000 draft year. Excluding the recent selections of Lamar Jackson and Jordan Love, the query returns 9 QB names, the most successful of whom is Teddy Bridgewater. 

And you are correct that Lynch was the worst of the worst, with only 4 career starts and 128 attempts on the books. Tim Tebow finished 6th. Writing as a Chiefs fan, the recurring futility of Broncos QB picks is a thing of beauty (and yes, I'd include Drew Lock in these failures, even though he was a second round pick).

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#4 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 1:10pm

Excluding the recent selections of Lamar Jackson and Jordan Love, the query returns 9 QB names, the most successful of whom is Teddy Bridgewater. 

You sure? I'm guessing something went wrong with that search, cuz I'm pretty darn sure the most successful QB to meet your criteria's one Drew Christopher Brees. Did you actually mean "1st round and 20-32 overall"? Those first two years in your search had less than 32 NFL teams. Although I'm not sure what you meant by "set the max of 64 games started"?

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#6 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 01, 2021 - 2:18pm

Although I'm not sure what you meant by "set the max of 64 games started"?

It means the search excluded QBs with >64 starts, four full seasons, which seems reasonable as guys who get that many chances are usually good enough to have earned them. It also excludes  Aaron Rodgers, for example..

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#7 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 2:27pm

Oh, so the idea is to look for the bad players to test my "Paxton Lynch is teh suck" assertion. That makes sense. Totally forgot about Rodgers hitting those criteria as well.

Actually, that makes me realize that Mike's original assertion ("there are more Paxton Lynch-types than Lamar Jackson-types") is definitely wrongEven if you go back to the 90s, you'd really only pick up Druckenmiller, Manziel, and Lynch (*) and on the other end you'd have Brees, Rodgers, and Jackson.

Not that you should be thrilled about landing JP Losman, obviously.

(*: I think there's a pretty huge gap between Manziel and the next biggest flop, which is probably Brady Quinn)

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#8 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 01, 2021 - 2:53pm

Actually, that makes me realize that Mike's original assertion ("there are more Paxton Lynch-types than Lamar Jackson-types") is definitely wrongEven if you go back to the 90s, you'd really only pick up Druckenmiller, Manziel, and Lynch (*) and on the other end you'd have Brees, Rodgers, and Jackson.

Being picked in the bottom 1/3rd of the 1st, especially in the rookie cap era, is a pretty solid indication that the player has valuable physical gifts but the league has serious concerns about their ability to succeed in the NFL. Down in those picks, I think it's a real "nature-vs-nurture" question as to whether Rodgers, Jackson, and Brees would still have succeeded if they were drafted near the top of the round. Rodgers was able to sit for years and correct his mechanics, Jackson landed on an extremely well-run franchise that molded their offense to him, and say what you will about the Chargers overall, but they have a good history of developing QBs.


Given that Mike's point is about the Lions...

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#9 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 3:07pm

Well, yeah, but if we're taking the fact that it's the Lions into account, there are more Paxton Lynches everywhere in the draft.

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#11 by Independent George // Dec 01, 2021 - 3:18pm

Being picked in the bottom 1/3rd of the 1st, especially in the rookie cap era, is a pretty solid indication that the player has valuable physical gifts but the league has serious concerns about their ability to succeed in the NFL.

And Brandon Weeden!

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#10 by Independent George // Dec 01, 2021 - 3:10pm

I have to admit - I completely forgot Paxton Lynch even existed.

The question I have, though, is whether he should be uniquely bad? Like... Brandon Weeden got to start 20 games over two seasons. Should Denver be faulted more for making a bad pick then cutting their losses more than Cleveland for picking a 29 year old rookie, then doubling down on him? Like... what was even Weeden's upside?

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#13 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 3:31pm

I think that's "results" vs "process" thinking. I mean, it's not that different than picking up a middling NFL vet and hoping it works out. It does happen, after all. Cleveland overdrafted Weeden (who was basically an average-ish backup) by probably about ~1-2 rounds: if he had been late 2nd/early 3rd,  that'd be a perfectly reasonable pick (you wouldn't want him, but at least the evaluation would've been right).

Lynch was overdrafted by like, 3-4 rounds, easily.

Actually, a better example for you would probably be DeShone Kizer (who's probably the third-worst, not Quinn) - if I have to rank Lynch, Manziel, and Kizer, is that the right order? That's a good question - Kizer really only racked up the attempts due to the Browns being idiots.

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#15 by Independent George // Dec 01, 2021 - 4:29pm

There you go making me search PFR again... It's not even like 0-16 was that long ago. I think my head just automatically thought of that season as belonging to QB Browns. At least Dan Orlovsky had a memorable moment for the Lions. Then again, looking at that PFR page, he [Kizer] probably was easily the best QB on their roster, and they [Browns] were quite obviously tanking. 

I can't really agree that Weeden is no different than signing a middling backup. I keep coming back to the fact that he was a 29 year old rookie. That's older than Jared Goff or Jameis Winston are today. Was there any indication back then that he had a bigger upside than Goff or Winston, except older? And then he was still their Week 1 starter the next season. I just... this wasn't a freakish athlete they hoped could they could develop. This wasn't a cagey veteran they signed cheap as a stopgap. This was a rookie whose physical ceiling was Kitna, and likely to start declining on day 1. It's not like there's a shortage of 30 year old journeyman QBs in the free agent market.

Edited for clarity

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#16 by Pat // Dec 01, 2021 - 7:22pm

I mean, teams signed Josh McCown to be their starter for years, and Weeden's like, cheaper or something? I dunno...

I need to stop here, I don't know how I suddenly got to be defending Brandon Weeden as a draft pick. One day I'm defending Mitch Trubisky, then Brandon Weeden. Dear God, what's next?

Points: 0

#17 by justanothersteve // Dec 01, 2021 - 8:39pm

The Lions weren't tanking. It was the last year of the Matt Millen experience, who didn't last that memorable, winless season. There may have been worse GMs, but none lasted as long. 

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#18 by Independent George // Dec 01, 2021 - 10:03pm

I meant the Browns were clearly tanking when they went 0-16 with DeShone Kizer as their starter, as he was clearly the best QB on their roster. The Lions were giving it their all, had Calvin Johnson, and generally weren't nearly as inept as the Browns, making their 0-16 season an even worse accomplishment in my opinion. 

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#19 by Pat // Dec 02, 2021 - 8:52am

I'm not exactly sure "tanking" is the right word there - it's more like they were content to be awful if Kizer didn't work out. As in, it was a win-win: if Kizer showed promise and won a few games, cool. If he looked like hot garbage, they'd have a high draft pick and move on.

It feels like the same thing the Jets are doing, except doing it with the #2 overall pick is wacko-stupid. 

Points: 0

#22 by Independent George // Dec 02, 2021 - 10:50am

I'm not exactly sure "tanking" is the right word there - it's more like they were content to be awful if Kizer didn't work out. As in, it was a win-win: if Kizer showed promise and won a few games, cool. If he looked like hot garbage, they'd have a high draft pick and move on.

Except the GM got (rightully) fired before the season ended, so their master plan kind of sucked even on a self-interested basis. Evidently, 4-12 is an acceptable level of tanking, but 1-31 over two seasons is a bridge too far.

I kind of want the NFL to reverse the draft order of the bottom 4-8 teams. You shouldn't be rewarded for going 1-15, and it's bad for the brand to have 1/8th of your league intentionally putting out a bad product and getting paid for it. It's one thing to clean up your cap and start a rebuild; it's another entirely to gut your roster and expect people to be grateful to host your lousy team in a taxpayer-subsidized stadium. 

Points: 0

#23 by Pat // Dec 02, 2021 - 12:46pm

I kind of want the NFL to reverse the draft order of the bottom 4-8 teams. You shouldn't be rewarded for going 1-15

I don't think something like that would work in the NFL. The order of the bottom teams is basically random: the Browns didn't go 0-16 because they tried. It took a lot of luck - they had multiple overtime losses, for instance, and Garrett's injury hurt a lot. And it's not like the teams aren't trying to win - you tank by not acquiring talent. And really, the difference between the #1 and #8 overall pick is not worth nearly as much as people think. It's maybe $10M or so.

Really, the thing to look at will be in the next few years, what happens to teams like the Saints and Eagles (and possibly Rams)? If they're able to remain competitive and then transition back to a top team by 2024 or so, then in my opinion, the problem isn't the draft order or tanking, it's just utter garbage organizations. But if those teams end up having to gut their rosters similarly and have a terrible year or two, the problem is more that you're allowing teams to borrow from the future way too much.

That's maybe way too vague to be understandable, so said simpler: my instinct is that fundamentally, the problem with godawful teams isn't intentional tanking, it's that they're godawful organizations (see: Browns, Texans). But the next few years will really test that.

Points: 0

#27 by justanothersteve // Dec 02, 2021 - 3:51pm

I think the NFL should try a lottery for the first round. Not for every team that didn't make the playoffs like the NBA does, just include the worst 4 or 5 teams. The drawing could be halftime in the Pro Bowl, giving fans at least one reason to watch that farce. It probably doesn't matter most years but it would reduce the Suck for Luck or Tank for Tua/Trevor talk we've seen lately. 

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#20 by Mike Tanier // Dec 02, 2021 - 8:53am

I probably should have clarified what I meant in that statement. I wasn't just referring to late-first round picks but players of that type who end up getting taken in the 2nd or 3rd round. The "eh, maybe we can develop one of these second tier guys" philosophy rarely works.

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#24 by Pat // Dec 02, 2021 - 12:55pm

 getting taken in the 2nd or 3rd round. The "eh, maybe we can develop one of these second tier guys" philosophy rarely works.

There's a huge difference between a 3rd round pick and Paxton Lynch, though. Even a mid to late second (like Kizer, who I again screwed up and thought he was earlier, so we're back to Quinn) is a huge difference.

If Lynch had been drafted in the 3rd round, he would've been a bad pick, sure, but a third-round QB is expected to fail as a starter. If you pick a 3rd round QB and toss all the other viable starters and go with him, yeah, that's never gonna work (see Kizer). But if you pick up a 3rd round QB and they end up topping out as a viable backup, that's fine. That's still a win. It's all about what your intentions are.

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#25 by Tracy // Dec 02, 2021 - 12:59pm

Here is the list of qbs currently providing competent play who were reasonably considered 2nd-tier prospects when they came out of the draft (excluded from the list are Brady and Heinicke, who were more like roster-filling fliers than legitimate prospects):

Rodgers (1-24, 2005)

Wilson (3, 2012)

Cousins (4, 2012)

Bridgewater (1-32, 2014)

Carr (2, 2014)

Garoppolo (2, 2014)

Prescott (4, 2016)

Jackson (1-32, 2018)

Hurts (2, 2020)

Nearly a third of NFL teams are getting quality play from a 2nd tier prospect, and you've got a hall-of-famer plus a couple of perennial pro-bowlers in the group. In all, about 20% of drafted tier-2 prospects produce something of value during their rookie contracts. That's a whole lot lower than the ~50% hit rate on the tier-1 prospects, but I think they hit too often to say that they "rarely" work out. Plus, these quarterbacks only hit in even years, so 2022 is the year to go get one!

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#26 by big10freak // Dec 02, 2021 - 2:16pm

I distinctly recall the initial reaction of one of the beat writers to the acquisition as 'GB considers him a project' and then after later in training camp the same writer stating on a podcast, "He's not a pro quarterback.  He will never be a pro level qb.  Rodgers better not get hurt."

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#29 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 02, 2021 - 6:00pm

I never knew why people looked at it as a trade for Kizer. Well I do actually, because the team was reportedly interested in him pre draft. They also liked Drew Lock. Yeah, not a great look for the similar big armed but inaccurate and questionable decision making Jordan Love. Either way, it should've been looked at as a trade to get rid of a disgruntled Damarious Randall (misused S playing CB) and/or to move up in a couple mid rounds (4th and 5th).

Either way, with some experience and a better team around him you'd expect him to be better in year 2. And when Rodgers went down in that classic Bears game week 1, oh boy was he bad. Finished the year 20/42 and 2 picks (Rodgers stupidly played week 17 and got hurt...again of which most of Kizers action came from against the also hapless Lions). Somehow worse (ratewise) than in CLE.

Combine that with the couple preseasons I say from him in GB and I'm thankful they moved on from him. Saw enough to know why the Browns moved down from 101 and 138 for 114 and 150 and a DB to get away from the former 2nd rounder. And he's yet to play an actual regular (or post) season snap since then. Makes sense to me. 

Points: 0

#5 by BroncFan07 // Dec 01, 2021 - 1:27pm

I'm glad to see that next week, Mike will be honoring the unsung hero of Tebowmania, Matt Prater. None of the fans who to this day think Tebow would have learned something by sitting behind Peyton Manning for four years will acknowledge the true hero of the 6 game winning streak, Matt Prater. Seriously, the Bears game will require its own column. It was that ridiculous. 

Points: 0

#12 by rpwong // Dec 01, 2021 - 3:30pm

HERBERT (Internal monologue): There he is, name-dropping Drew Brees again. This must be the way Adam Gase talked about Peyton Manning and Bill O'Brien talked about Tom Brady. These mediocre coaches glom onto already-excellent quarterbacks and ride their coattails to promotions.

This is how I feel about Louis Riddick and Brian Griese when I'm watching Monday Night Football (and there's no ManningCast). They love dropping the names of all the coaches and executives they've talked to while preparing for the game.

Other commentators do this as well, but it bothers me less. I suspect it's partially because there are two of them doing it, so we're getting twice as many name drops of special-teams coordinators, head trainers, and quality-control assistants. But I also think it's the way they do it. Often when there's a big play on the field, they lead with something like, "this is exactly what Coach X said they need to do when I talked to him earlier this week" or "that's why Assistant Deputy Head Coach in Charge of Players' Sleep Habits Johnson loves Player X".

It feels an awful lot like they're trying to sound impressive and knowledgeable so that they won't get replaced next season.

Points: 0

#14 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 01, 2021 - 4:05pm

I never thought an announcing team would make me look forward to Buck/Aikman, but...

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#21 by Mike Tanier // Dec 02, 2021 - 8:54am

Now, imagine a world where some of these assistant coaches actively cultivate relationships with media members, or have their agents do so, so they can become "hot up and comers" ... 

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#32 by rpwong // Dec 03, 2021 - 3:50pm

Well, now I can't un-imagine that. Thanks, Mike.

Personally, I think owners need to give more thought to whether or not coaches will be able to competently run whole teams, which is not proven by having one or two good seasons as a coordinator. In the non-football world, being good at your particular job does not immediately get you promoted to upper management.

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#33 by rpwong // Dec 03, 2021 - 3:59pm

I don't mind Buck/Aikman, but I get that others do. This season, it seems like Joe is taking more funny jabs at players/teams to get laughs. I'm down with that.

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#28 by liquidmuse3 // Dec 02, 2021 - 5:29pm

How did the league figure out how to shut Tebow down (other than never starting him after 2 playoff games). Against the #1 passing defense in his 15th start in a playoff game he passed for 316 yards. BILL BELICHICK then shut Tebow down the next game, but he did that Andrew Luck too. Tebow never had an off-season as the starter (the lockout before the playoff year killed that), so he was in my mind never developed, I’d argue because Tanier et al created the “Tebow is a distraction” phenomenon coaches hate. No, everybody weirdly prefers we keep running Kirk Cousins-types out there (professional passer!) instead of something unique & non-panicky like Tebow.

Points: 0

#30 by Independent George // Dec 02, 2021 - 7:51pm

In reply to by liquidmuse3

I think the problem is not the Kirk Cousins level QBs themselves, but the fact that Kirk Cousins now costs $30M/year. You can absolutely build a viable Super Bowl contender with Kirk Cousins at QB... as long as you're paying $8M, and the difference is spent on good talent in their prime. 

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#31 by Pat // Dec 03, 2021 - 10:25am

I don't actually think the problem is Cousins being paid $30M/yr. I mean, all vet long term starting QBs are basically being paid more than that (Cousins's cap number looks high because the Vikings are strangely unwilling to commit to him, and so aren't shoving money forward).

I think the problem is actually coming from rookie QBs, who are now so ridiculously underpaid that the gap between Cousins and a rookie QB is just massive. If every team had to commit similar-scale money to starting QBs, Cousins's pay would be fine. But, I mean, as bad as Jalen Hurts was this week, he's getting paid $1.3M. $28.7M, if spent well, covers up a lot of issues (see: New England Patriots).

Points: 0

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