NFL Preaseason Week 1 is in the books. Already, teams appear to have established front runners for open quarterback positions. Sure, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and most other teams know who their starters will be this season.
But, there are plenty of teams who figure to work through the preseason to decide on their top signal-caller. Let's check out who the front runners are to lead those teams into Week 1.
NFL Preseason Week 1: QB Battles Update
Arizona Cardinals: Sam Bradford vs Josh Rosen
Although Arizona played 4 quarterbacks in their 17 to 24 loss to the L.A. Chargers in Week 1, the fact is that any Cardinals' QB battle will come down to Bradford vs Rosen. Not only will it come down to Bradford vs Rosen, but Bradford must get hurt for Rosen to start this season.
Anyone who's paid attention to Sam's history knows that he has never, ever, played a completely injury free season. There's a first time for everything, right? Bradford completed 1 of 1 passes for 6 yards before the Cardinals pulled him.
Rosen got the most playing time. He completed 6 of 13 for 41 yards. Rosen has the look about him that screams NFL starting QB. If he gets the chance to play an entire preseason game, we could see something special, 10 straight completions, 3 TD passes, etc.
Bottom Line: Too bad Rosen plays for the Arizona Cardinals. He looks like a starter, but must wait on the sidelines for his chance. That's just the way things are in the Valley of the Desert because Arizona's current starter, Sam Bradford, has always been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL when he's able to play.
Buffalo Bills: Nathan Peterman vs Josh Allen vs A.J. McCarron
The thinking was that McCarron gets the start this season while Allen is the back-up and Peterman is the second back-up should Buffalo decide to use a roster spot for a third QB. That idea might go out the window if Allen continues to perform like he did in Buffalo's 23 to 28 loss to Carolina in NFL Preseason Week 1.
Josh Allen, the seventh pick in this past April's Draft, completed 9 of 19 for 116 yards and a TD. The completion percentage was where one would expect. Allen completed less than 60% of his passes in college. The key was how Allen didn't throw an interception. So although the completion percentage wasn't overly impressive, Allen didn't just toss up the football. That's a great sign that he's correctly going through his reads, and dumping the football instead of forcing things. Not bad for the rookie.
Both Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron completed the same amount of passes, 9 of 10. McCarron threw for 116 yards with no TDs or Interceptions. Peterman threw for 119 yards with a TD and an interception.
Bottom Line: Even though Allen looked good, he must repeat the performance, while raising his completion percentage in this week's NFL Preseason game. If he can do that, and still not throw any interceptions, he'll get closer to challenging McCarron for the top spot on the depth chart.
Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson vs Robert Griffin III vs Joe Flacco
Let's be honest, there's no chance, nada, zip, zero, that the Ravens start Week 1 with either RGIII or Jackson under center. Baltimore will give Joe Flacco every opportunity to be their starting QB this season. He won them a Super Bowl and they're paying him the GDP of the State of Delaware (Flacco played at Delaware in college). Flacco was okay in the Ravens' 33 to 7 win over the Rams. He completed 5 of 7 for 71 yards and a TD.
Robert Griffin III completed 5 of 7 for 88 yards and a TD. Griffin III has no hopes of becoming Flacco's back-up to start the season. He could end up as the third string QB if the Ravens decide to go that way. If they don't decide to go that way, he'll end up out of football again. It's difficult to see yet another team taking a shot on RGIII. So, this preseason is likely the last time we see the former Heisman Trophy winner in any NFL uniform.
Lamar's completion percentage was dreadful. He only completed 7 of 18. That's less than 50%. He didn't throw an interception and he threw for 119 yards. He should improve off that. If he does, Flacco had better keep an eye on Jackson in the rear view mirror.
Bottom Line: Just to repeat, Baltimore will not start any player other than Joe Flacco at quarterback until Flacco proves that he doesn't have it anymore. The thing is, Flacco hasn't been good for the past few seasons. Also, coach John Harbaugh must make the Ravens competitive this season, or Baltimore might go in another direction.
That means if Flacco fails right out of the gate, the Ravens could start Lamar after less than a month into the regular season. The key will be how Lamar improves from his NFL Preseason Week 1 performance.
New York Jets: Josh McCown vs Teddy Bridgewater vs Sam Darnold
This is probably the most exciting QB battle during the NFL Preseason. The Jets beat Atlanta 17 to 0. Number 1 on the depth chart Josh McCown only threw a single pass. The Jets know what McCown can do. He's capable of leading the Jets' offense, which is why he is #1 on the depth chart.
That will change if both Bridgewater and Darnold continue to play well in the preseason. Bridgewater completed 7 of 8 for 85 yards and a TD. He looked like the real deal under center. This is the first time NFL fans have gotten a chance to look at Teddy since the horrible injury that led to him missing 2 years of football. To write that many of us are rooting for Bridgewater is an understatement.
Rookie Sam Darnold played like he has been in the NFL the past 3 seasons. Darnold, who was a late participant to the Jets' training camp, completed 13 of 18 for 96 yards. He also threw a TD pass. What's most impressive is that Darnold, a turnover machine at USC, didn't throw a pick. He also only rushed twice for 4 yards, meaning that he didn't just take off and run to green the way he often did while in college.
Bottom Line: It's difficult to start Bridgewater. It's also difficult to cut McCown because the Jets know what he's capable of doing. But, Bridgewater and Darnold could both leapfrog McCown on the depth chart. The Jets should keep 3 quarterbacks on their roster.
Right now, the fans want Darnold to start. Give the fans what they want. If NFL Regular Season Week 1 started today, Darnold would be the QB1 with McCown the QB2 and Bridgewater the QB3.