Game of Throws: How are the NFL QB Battles Shaping Up?
A quick glance at the some of the contested pursuits under center in the NFL…
Trevor Siemian vs Paxton Lynch
In one of the truly more up for grabs contests at the QB position, Siemian, incumbent and most of 2016 starter, faces off against Lynch, who is in his sophomore year. Siemian seemed poised to safely assume the role of starter this offseason, but Lynch came on strong during the last two weeks of OTAs, showing less apprehension in the pocket and just playing the game instead overanalyzing everything – he appears to have finally “gotten” the role of NFL QB. Siemian already “gets” it though, and he has been more consistent overall, though he doesn’t have the size or the arm strength of the 6’7’’ Lynch. Siemian comes off as a game manager, whereas Lynch can be the type of guy who commands an offense, but the Broncos win and lose based on their defense. I imagine they’ll go with the guy who makes the least mistakes, and that looks like Siemian, for now. We’ll have the RW Training Camp Tour go through Denver to get our own final take on this one.
Josh McCown vs Christian Hackenberg vs Bryce Petty
This may seem like a race to become Mr. Irrelevant as the Jets starting QB, but New York has plenty of budding talent in their receiving corps – it’s just that none of those guys have become household names yet. McCown could almost be the father to Hackenberg or Petty, he’s 38 while the other two are 22 and 26 comparatively, but he’s the clear forerunner as neither Hackenberg or Petty has shown that they are worthy of usurping the old man, yet. It has been said that Hackenberg looked better than many expected at OTAs, and McCown was rustier than usual, but that just leaves them both in a stew of mediocrity. If I’m forced to eat one of two dirt sandwiches, I guess I’ll take the one from the guy who’s been making them longer.
Cody Kessler vs Deshone Kizer vs Brock Osweiler
The best chance for a rookie QB to see significant time under center this season comes in the form of DeShone Kizer. The former Notre Dame standout is quickly closing the gap on the underwhelming Kessler, showing improved accuracy and mechanics in addition to being a good three inches taller than Kessler, who struggled with having his passes batted down in OTAs. Osweiler is bigger than both of those guys by a lot, but he somehow possesses the arm and decision making ability of a cautious adolescent stumbling through puberty. If the Browns have to resort to him, all is lost for the Browns offense. My hope is that Kizer can keep making gains in the pocket and win this thing outright before the season starts. It seems inevitable, and the more time he sees under center this preseason, the better chance he has at succeeding when things get real.
Mike Glennon vs Mitch Tribusky
Glennon got his feelings hurt when the Bears picked up Tribusky with their first pick – one they traded up to get no less. It’s hard to blame him, once you realize that Chicago is paying Glennon 16 million this year – I’d probably assume I was the guy too with that kind of payday. In all honesty, Glennon should go hide that money under a tree in his backyard because he’ll never see a windfall like that again in his life. He’s been Jameis Winston’s backup for two years prior in Tampa, and he deserves nothing he hasn’t earned. He’s going to have to suck it up and work for his job in Chicago, which might not be all that hard since Trubisky only started 13 games in college. The Bears undoubtedly expect Trubisky to take the mantle from Glennon sooner or later, but it’s unlikely the kid can take the job by force this season. With a team that is in a rebuilding phase, he’ll have the luxury of being able to come along slowly.
Deshaun Watson vs Tom Savage
The Texans were basically one half away from beating the Patriots in the playoffs last year with an incompetent Brock Osweiler at the helm, due to a strong defense and solid running game, so it seems unlikely that they’ll stray from the yeomanlike Savage unless they absolutely have to. That being said, Watson rarely makes the same mistake at practice thus far, and Savage has yet to throw a touchdown in 5 games over his two year career. It’s actually Savage’s health that has been his biggest hindrance thus far, which explains why he couldn’t beat out Osweiler in 2016- well, that or the enormous crow Rick Smith would have to gag on after paying Osweiler a fortune to come to Houston just to sit on the bench. The path seems virtually clear for Watson to win the job just by staying on his feet, but unless the Texans are losing consistently, they’ll probably be fine sticking with Savage. After all, he can’t be worse than Brock, can he? Watson may be best served on dynasty squads for now.