“Youth is wasted on the young.” – George Bernard Shaw
There’s a movement happening in the NFL right now. One I’m proud to see. For what seemed like an eternity, I have witnessed what I believed to be a near catastrophic drop in talent at the quarterback position. Just here in Philadelphia, if you track back to the mid 1980s, we have only had two consistent starters…Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb. The Buffalo Bills have yet to replace Jim Kelly. Hell, unless you count a spurt with Chad Pennington, the Miami Dolphins have yet to replace Dan Marino. Not every franchise has suffered, however. The Green Bay Packers enjoyed two decades with Brett Favre and now trot out Aaron Rodgers. The Indianapolis Colts were fortunate enough for Peyton Manning to break his neck so they could smoothly transition in to drafting Andrew Luck. Overall, the NFL landscape has been marred by some pretty horrific quarterback play this decade. As a true fan of the game, this has depressed me. Where are the young guns?
Anxious for a new fraternity of young, slingin’ quarterbacks, I think I finally see some light at the end of long tunnel. Let’s start with Oakland’s Derek Carr. This kid makes every throw in the book and has shown a keen vision early on his young career. Tampa Bay boasts a multi threat as Jameis Winston, already blessed with an ability to run, has shown good discipline within the pocket. Houston’s Brock Osweiler has been given an opportunity to take over an up and coming franchise and has the tools around him to be successful. Established quarterbacks Andy Daulton, Andrew Luck, Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson are all 28 years old or younger and Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith and Joe Flacco are between 31 and 32 years old. Drew Brees at 37 and Tom Brady at 39 have shown no signs of slowing down.
Then, there are the rookies. There are three names lighting up the scoreboards and, even more importantly, the hearts of their fans. Denver’s Trevor Siemian has already thrown for just under 800 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions including 4 against Cincinnati. Dallas’ Dak Prescott has also thrown for nearly 800 yards and has yet to throw an interception. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz has been the most impressive, also compiling nearly 800 yards while tossing 5 touchdowns with 0 interceptions, winning all 3 of the Eagles’ games.
What once concerned me, now delights me. The quarterback position at the pro level looks to be in good hands, no pun intended. Of course, Cleveland is still looking.
Week 3 was a wild one so let’s jump in to YOUR NFL Notes & Musings…
Jacoby Brissett’s 27 yard touchdown run on Thursday night against Houston was the longest for a Patriots quarterback since 1976.
Great quote here from Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians when discussing a bad long snap by Kameron Canaday… ”Grow the hell up. It ain’t got nothing to do with anything but between his ears.”
Carolina’s loss to Minnesota on Sunday snapped a 14 game home winning streak. The Vikings sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton 8 times.
Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian is the first rookie to throw for 300 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in his first road game.
The Baltimore Ravens are 3 – 0 for the third time in franchise history. On Sunday, quarterback Joe Flacco broke his own franchise record completing 21 straight passes. His previous record was 14 set back in 2009.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0 – 3 for the third time in the last 4 years. Head coach Gus Bradley is now 12 – 39 in four seasons.
Ok, let’s talk about the Cleveland Browns who, on Sunday, managed to perform a microcosm game that, essentially, sums up everything they are about. Firstly, after passing on Carson Wentz, their top 2 quarterbacks watched the games from the sideline nursing injuries. Rookie Cody Kessler started. Wide receiver Terrell Pryor became the first Browns player to have multiple receptions, passes and rushes in the same game since 1977. Pryor caught 8 balls for 144 yards, threw for 35 yards and rushed for 25. The Browns, in good position to win, saw the game slip away after kicker Cody Parkey’s third missed field goal attempt of the game, as time expired. Parkey’s first practice with the time had been during warm ups that morning. Then, in overtime, Miami won on a Jay Ajayi 11 yard touchdown run. Can it get any worse for Browns fans?
Rrrrraiders kicker and GHB proponent Sebastian Janikowski is now the all time leader in field goals over 50. The 17 year veteran now has 53 after being tied with Jason Hanson at 52.
Nice to know Seattle head coach Pete Carroll reads this weekly column. After I called out the Seahawks for only giving Christine Michael 6 carries against Los Angeles, Seattle responded by handing him the ball 20 carries for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday against the 49ers.
Breaking news: The Los Angeles Rams have scored a touchdown. Four, in fact. Quarterback Case Keenum tossed 2 and Todd Gurley rushed for a pair as they held off Tampa Bay, winning their second straight game.
Is your team 0 – 3? If so, not good. Only 3 teams since 1990 have made the post-season after starting 0 – 3 and the last team to do it was the ’98 Bills.
Is your team 3 – 0? That is good. Nearly 75% of all 3 – 0 teams make the post-season.
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, after holding out for more money this offseason…have to point that out here, set a career high and tied a franchise record with 6 interceptions, 3 of which were picked in the end zone on Sunday in Kansas City. All told, the Jets turned the ball over 8 times. New York’s franchise record for turnovers in a game is 10, set in 1976 against the Patriots.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s total QBR on Sunday was 5.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have not won in Philadelphia since 1965. They are 0 – 9 since that last victory. In 1965, a gallon of milk cost $0.95, a gallon of gas cost $0.31 and the average annual household income was just under $7,000.
The undefeated, first place Philadelphia Eagles have scored on their first possession in each of their first three games.
Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott threw his first touchdown pass, a 17 yarder to Dez Bryant, on Sunday night against Chicago. Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 100 yards for the first time, finishing with 140 on 30 carries.
And finally, before and after history’s most ridiculous Presidential debate, I was closely tuned in to the Saints – Falcons game on nearly the tenth anniversary of when these two teams met at the New Orleans Superdome in the first game in town after Hurricane Katrina. What I witnessed was what looked like a Conference USA college game with two of the worst defenses I have ever seen. Atlanta and New Orleans can not cover, can not tackle and will not win consistently until they stop ignoring that side of the ball. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn’s days are limited unless he makes strides and Saints GM Mickey Loomis has to already be concerned with that extension he gave head coach Sean Payton.
This week’s Darrentees…
Arizona already has two bad losses this season. They will have more.
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will lose the starting job by November 1st.
Fresh off a suspension, Steelers running back Le’veon Bell will lead the league is rush attempts over the next month.
In other words…
Sunday, from a pure sports perspective, had so much going on, it was difficult to process. The morning began with the tragic news that Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had been killed in a boating accident. He was 24 years old, one of the best pitchers in baseball and expecting his first child. Life is too short.
The day moved on to an eventful NFL Sunday that included, for me, the most fun I have had at the Linc in quite some time and I never miss a game.
Also on Sunday, LSU fired head football coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Rory McIlroy came back to win the PGA Championship in a playoff, the Philadelphia Phillies lost a heartbreaker to the Mets 17 – 0 and the great Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully called a walk off homerun in his last regular season game as Los Angeles clinched the NL West division.
Finally that night, the world lost an icon. Arnold Palmer has meant more to the game of golf than any single person to any other sport in history. He wasn’t the best but he was the most respected and I will never forget watching him on the tour as a kid with my Dad. Rest well, Mr. Palmer.
Every Football Friday starts early as I join Big Daddy Graham in studio on Sportstradio 94WIP in Philadelphia from 2 to 6am.
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