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    • michael89156

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      New to the job: Ranking new starting QBs and their potential for successBY DON BANKS    SI.comSep. 1, 2015fenn_zpsyxztckl1.jpgNow that Washington’s Kirk Cousins and Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor have been named starters, that makes nine NFL teams that will open the season with a different quarterback atop the depth chart than the one that was considered the No. 1 at the close of the 2014 season. That number does not include either Tom Brady’s life in legal limbo in New England, or Carson Palmer’s return to health in Arizona after his season-ending knee injury last year, since neither situation represents a true change at the position. But the spinning of the quarterback carousel for these nine teams, none of whom made the playoffs last year, is standard operating procedure. In 2014, all of them featured multiple starters at the game’s most pivotal position, with almost half of the list—four out of nine—slogging their way through the season with three different starting quarterbacks. So Week 1 assignments aside, no promises or projections should be made beyond mid-September.Taking stock of the nine new No. 1’s, here’s our ranking of them in terms of the potential for their 2015 success—or lack thereof:1. Sam Bradford, PhiladelphiaSo much for the oft-repeated theory that Bradford is at best a curious, and perhaps laughable, fit for Chip Kelly’s furiously-up-tempo offense. This season, Bradford has looked as if he’s been playing for Kelly since his Pop Warner days, with all four of the drives he led in August producing Eagles touchdowns. Bradford’s 10-of-10, 121 yard, three-touchdown showing against Green Bay on Saturday night—preseason or not—was the perfect sedative for all those jittery non-believers out there in Philly Nation. If he stays healthy, and we know that’s the biggest 'if' in the league this year, Bradford is going to be roll up some gaudy statistics and be the league’s slam-dunk Comeback Player of the Year in 2015.• What’s on the way? A division title and a legitimate playoff run for the Bradford-led Eagles.2. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee ?Mariota’s impressive preseason showing has quieted a lot of the noise surrounding him as well. The issue of how he’ll transition from Oregon’s spread offense to Ken Whisenhunt’s pro style attack doesn’t seem quite as high a mountain to surmount these days, does it? He has been up the task in almost every way, sees the field very well, and has rarely looked like a rookie quarterback with the weight of a struggling franchise placed on his shoulders. This kid is the real deal and he’ll quickly become one of the stories of the young season when he and the Titans (spoiler alert!) go into Tampa Bay in Week 1 and out-play and out-point Jameis Winston and the Bucs. You heard it here first. I’m not predicting a Titans playoff run or anything crazy like that, but Mariota is my pick for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.• What’s on the way? With a strong first year from Mariota, the Titans find their franchise quarterback and everybody knows it.3. Tyrod Taylor, BuffaloWith his zero career starts and just 35 pass attempts in four NFL seasons (all spent behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore), Taylor is easily the riskiest pick among the nine new starting quarterbacks. But the Bills went with him over the more experienced Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel because they’re focused on the potential reward. They see in Taylor a gifted athlete who can make creative plays outside the pocket and challenge a defense with his legs in ways Cassel and Manuel can’t. But if the Bills think they have the next Russell Wilson on their hands, they’re probably setting themselves up for a letdown. The defense and running game components in Buffalo might match Seattle’s blueprint, but we have no way of knowing yet if Taylor can take care of the football and make the necessary critical third down conversions when they arise.• What’s on the way? Some thrills and highlight reel plays from Taylor, but some killer mistakes, too. Buffalo will keep Cassel loose in the bullpen at all times.4. Nick Foles, St. Louis If I had to choose between his mind-boggling success of that breakthrough 2013 season in Philadelphia (27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions) and the underwhelming and injury-shortened follow-up act with last year’s Eagles, I’d confidently predict the Rams are in line for more of the latter than the former. But Philadelphia did average almost 30 points per game last season and the Eagles were 6–2 in Foles’ eight starts, and those numbers would get a statue built in your honor in offensively-challenged St. Louis. Foles alone isn’t going turn the Rams into a juggernaut, but he’s a tough-minded player who will keep coming at you, and he’ll fare well enough to pass as a first-year success in the rugged NFC West. If the running game and defense provide what Jeff Fisher thinks they will provide, Foles will only have to do his part to keep the chains moving.• What’s on the way? The Rams will flirt with .500 all season as Foles gives them their steadiest, most reliable starter since the end of the Marc Bulger era.5. Brian Hoyer, HoustonI’m in the minority on this one, but I see Hoyer as an underrated talent who has better play-making, mobility and leadership skills than is widely recognized. I know the bottom dropped out on him in Cleveland last year in late November, but the Browns started 7–4 with him in the lineup and I’m not sneezing at any quarterback who can help deliver seven wins for the NFL’s most snake-bitten franchise. Like dog years, seven wins in Cleveland is worth 11 or 12 in almost any other league market. I don’t think Hoyer has enough weapons around him this year in Houston to do a lot of damage in the AFC South, especially without Texans running back Arian Foster to start the season, but with that defense as the team’s strength, Hoyer will play smartly enough to keep Bill O’Brien’s team in almost every game.• What’s on the way? Hoyer gives the Texans a chance for competent season-long quarterbacking, but he won’t elevate them to playoff material this year.6. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets Pun intended, it was a break for the Jets when Geno Smith had his jaw cracked by then-teammate IK Enemkpali early last month. Because Fitzpatrick was going to wind up playing ahead of Smith at some point anyway this season, due to injury or ineffectiveness, so you might as well cut to the chase and see what the veteran can do for Gang Green. In reality though, I feel like we all know by now exactly what Fitzpatrick brings to a team. He’ll be solid. Occasionally superb. Sometimes sloppy. But overall, solid. And with a Jets team that hopes to beat teams up on defense and out-execute them on a Chan Gailey-coordinated offense, that might be just enough to muster something close to a .500 season.• What’s on the way? The Jets are better off with the journeyman Fitzpatrick than riding the Geno-coaster, but not by that much.7. Josh McCown, ClevelandThe Browns are convinced they’re getting more of the McCown circa 2013 in Chicago than 2014 in Tampa Bay, and I don’t disagree. The Bucs were a disaster on offense last year for the most part, but plenty of that was due to losing coordinator Jeff Tedford to a health issue just before the season started, with unproven quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo being asked to take over the play-calling. McCown, at 36, isn’t going to conjure up memories of Randall Cunningham’s late-career renaissance of 1998, but as the Bucs themselves just found out last weekend in Tampa, he can still play very efficiently, as his 17-of-23, 117-yard, two-touchdown performance in a Browns’ rout proved.• What’s on the way? Much as they were for most of last season with Hoyer at quarterback, the Browns won’t be a pushover with McCown under center. Alas, they won’t be a playoff team either, but reside somewhere in the NFL’s murky in between.8. Jameis Winston, Tampa BayAdmittedly I might be letting Winston’s uneven preseason color my projection of his rookie season a bit too much. But every time I hear someone rave about how high Winston’s football IQ is, I keep coming back to the question of whether he will learn to take care of the football and make sound decisions, because if there’s anything that can make a young quarterback look dumb, it’s turnovers. Winston adds excitement and electricity to the game, and he’ll sparkle at times this season with his penchant for swinging for the fences. But if he doesn’t have enough early success playing that style of game, that tendency to alternate big plays and big mistakes can really wear poorly on a team, and frustrate his teammates and the fans. The best thing the Bucs could see out of Winston this season is a steady improvement and his learning what not to do to get you beat in the NFL. • What’s on the way? The much more typical ups and downs and growing pains experienced by a rookie quarterback, in comparison to Winston’s quarterback classmate, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota. Five wins sound about right in Tampa Bay.9. Kirk Cousins, WashingtonI’m fairly convinced Washington could be the league’s worst team this season, so I’m not giving Cousins much of a chance to avert the train wreck that appears to be on its way in our nation’s capital. Cousins has some skills, a nice passing touch and a pretty good grasp on Jay Gruden’s offense and where the plays are to be made in it. But his history is to get careless and start turning the ball over at times, and he won’t have this job for long if he throws interceptions as often as he did last year (nine in 204 attempts, for a dismal 4.4 INT rate). Cousins won’t be the biggest reason Washington struggles once again this season, and he is the best of Gruden’s three quarterback options at the moment. But would it surprise anyone if both Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III each get starting shots again this season, as all three quarterbacks did in 2014?• What’s on the way? It’s football season in D.C., and that means the forecast calls for steady doom and gloom, with intermittent false hope.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      Put a buffalo qb in the top part of a chart = lose all credibility.

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    • billym

      Participant
      Post count: 3348

      Hopefully a few of those qbs fall flat on there face opening day. Then they will be dialing up the bucs to see about Glennon.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      Hopefully a few of those qbs fall flat on there face opening day. Then they will be dialing up the bucs to see about Glennon.

      Calling it now, the bills

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Put a buffalo qb in the top part of a chart = lose all credibility.

      I agree. Taylor is still unproven in most ways.I also don't get how they can put Mariota at #2, above QBs who have shown success in the NFL in past seasons. I could be wrong, he could blow everyone away, but I'm still not sure I put a rookie at the second position.**He also lost credibility by having Cousins on the list. (I mean, yeah, technically, he's the starter, but this isn't his first time with the team, and he's mainly in due to RG3 being injured and the ensuing battle that is most likely happening between Snyder and Gruden. To claim that he will not be the worst part of the Redskins is laughable. The guy is bad.) I've read more articles referring to him as a mediocre back-up than I have claiming he's going to be a success. Granted, Washington has fielded some below average QBs in the past and been successful; however, that was with Joe Gibbs and 21 other players that were all high quality at their position.***I wonder if Washington has rung us up to trade RG3 for Glennon yet? :)

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Hopefully a few of those qbs fall flat on there face opening day. Then they will be dialing up the bucs to see about Glennon.

      Redskins should have the Bucs on speed dial. :)

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    • ZMan08151992

      Member
      Post count: 268

      Oh look a mariota fan dissing winston……i would like to come back to this article after week 1

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Oh look a mariota fan dissing winston......i would like to come back to this article after week 1

      I'm not really familiar with the writer; however, it does look like he might burn some incense burning at a small deskside Mariota shrine.I'm not sure which preseason games he watched. Mariota, imho, really only stood out in game two. Weeks one and three were just so-so.I just want to see Mariota get Kwon'ed a couple of times and see if he boucnes back up after the hits. :)

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    • ZMan08151992

      Member
      Post count: 268

      Oh look a mariota fan dissing winston......i would like to come back to this article after week 1

      I'm not really familiar with the writer; however, it does look like he might burn some incense burning at a small deskside Mariota shrine.I'm not sure which preseason games he watched. Mariota, imho, really only stood out in game two. Weeks one and three were just so-so.I just want to see Mariota get Kwon'ed a couple of times and see if he boucnes back up after the hits. :)

      Most of the media don't like winston....and they want him to fail so they can pounce on him...that's why i have never seen so many articles written about a rookie in the preseason...

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Oh look a mariota fan dissing winston......i would like to come back to this article after week 1

      I'm not really familiar with the writer; however, it does look like he might burn some incense burning at a small deskside Mariota shrine.I'm not sure which preseason games he watched. Mariota, imho, really only stood out in game two. Weeks one and three were just so-so.I just want to see Mariota get Kwon'ed a couple of times and see if he boucnes back up after the hits. :)

      Most of the media don't like winston....and they want him to fail so they can pounce on him...that's why i have never seen so many articles written about a rookie in the preseason...

      Very true. Even when Luck and RG3 went 1&2, there wasn't his much press, as far as I can recall.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      Put a buffalo qb in the top part of a chart = lose all credibility.

      I agree. Taylor is still unproven in most ways.I also don't get how they can put Mariota at #2, above QBs who have shown success in the NFL in past seasons. I could be wrong, he could blow everyone away, but I'm still not sure I put a rookie at the second position.**He also lost credibility by having Cousins on the list. (I mean, yeah, technically, he's the starter, but this isn't his first time with the team, and he's mainly in due to RG3 being injured and the ensuing battle that is most likely happening between Snyder and Gruden. To claim that he will not be the worst part of the Redskins is laughable. The guy is bad.) I've read more articles referring to him as a mediocre back-up than I have claiming he's going to be a success. Granted, Washington has fielded some below average QBs in the past and been successful; however, that was with Joe Gibbs and 21 other players that were all high quality at their position.***I wonder if Washington has rung us up to trade RG3 for Glennon yet? :)

      If they were to do that last part, they would be more dumb than i think they already are.I was joking about the bills, as they seem as qb cursed as we are, maybe worse (they had kelly at least). Every qb seems to have trouble once there, idk what it is.And i think the list has to consist of him? Isnt it all of the new qbs?

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    • johnd

      Participant
      Post count: 333

      Mariota will top this list by seasons end.  He is special and ultimately more talented than any other QB listed. 

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Put a buffalo qb in the top part of a chart = lose all credibility.

      I agree. Taylor is still unproven in most ways.I also don't get how they can put Mariota at #2, above QBs who have shown success in the NFL in past seasons. I could be wrong, he could blow everyone away, but I'm still not sure I put a rookie at the second position.**He also lost credibility by having Cousins on the list. (I mean, yeah, technically, he's the starter, but this isn't his first time with the team, and he's mainly in due to RG3 being injured and the ensuing battle that is most likely happening between Snyder and Gruden. To claim that he will not be the worst part of the Redskins is laughable. The guy is bad.) I've read more articles referring to him as a mediocre back-up than I have claiming he's going to be a success. Granted, Washington has fielded some below average QBs in the past and been successful; however, that was with Joe Gibbs and 21 other players that were all high quality at their position.***I wonder if Washington has rung us up to trade RG3 for Glennon yet? :)

      If they were to do that last part, they would be more dumb than i think they already are.I was joking about the bills, as they seem as qb cursed as we are, maybe worse (they had kelly at least). Every qb seems to have trouble once there, idk what it is.And i think the list has to consist of him? Isnt it all of the new qbs?

      Yeah, by the nature of the article he had to list him somewhere; however, in his first paragraph, iirc, he goes at length to say that he is excluding Patriots, Cardinals, etc, as their circumstances are due to a potential suspension of Brady, and an injury; however, the Redskins are starting Cousins based up on RG3's concussion protocol. Granted, Gruden is probably breathing a sigh of relief, since he had a reason to ask Snyder to let him play Cousins; however, ousins has been in the mix for the past three years, and doesn't really count, based upon his opening logic.Also, while they are playing for different teams, you would almost have to exclude Bradford and Foles. If the trade didn't happen, Bradford would be starting for the Rams, and Foles for the Eagles. So, yeah, they're new, but not really. :) They both went out with injury and the expectation to return to start thiss year.Maybe he just needed more teams to get to his word count for publication. :) I just don't see the point in the article. Yeah, they're all "new" starters, but with very diferent stories. I don't see how you can draw comparisons with his lead in.Oh well. I'm ready for the season to start. We'll see how they play then. (Cousins probably will be as bad as most people expect. DC is gonna have a looooong season. :) )

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      Mariota will top this list by seasons end.  He is special and ultimately more talented than any other QB listed.

      If Mariota runs into JJ Watt, he may be topping the IR list. :)(I don't usually watch games where I care nothing about either team, but this may be two games I check out.)

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 4274

      I love this!Put Winston at the bottom.  This is going to be nice bump material in December.

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    • dalaca

      Participant
      Post count: 1975

      I love this!Put Winston at the bottom.  This is going to be nice bump material in December.

      +1

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 4344

      This guy must not have watched the Titans play Atlanta or against the Chiefs. Mariota looked like a rookie in both of those games and was pretty unevenwriting articles like this is pointless. 1 injury to a playmaker or on the OL can alter a QB's season drastically

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