QB Troubles Rumble On…
It has been well documented that the quarterback position might be the most important in any team sport – a role in which play-calling, audible changes, reading the opposition and execution are all part of every single movement.
The QB has to lead by example; they must win and keep the respect of his teammates, coaches and fans at all times. And when the performances falter, the quarterback must be ready to shoulder that pressure and respond with a prime-time performance that silences all the doubters…
In recent years, Andrew Luck and now Matthew Stafford have become the most expensive NFL players in history. Unsurprisingly, they are both quarterbacks. In the next few years, expect to see similar deals for Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. The price of a serviceable quarterback is always worth paying, and NFL franchises – and agents, for that matter – know that value will continue to increase.
It is possible to play in spite of your quarterback. Good teams can get away with average quarterback play, like when the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 despite fielding a combination of Peyton Manning, long past his best, and Brock Osweiler, who was good enough to hold court when required. The defense, offensive line and explosive weapons lifted the Broncos to more than the sum of its parts and put an end to a seemingly unstoppable Carolina Panthers side…
However, this philosophy is not a long term solution and will never work for teams without that “X factor”. Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, even former Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert are just a small sample of the passable passers that teams have turned to whilst waiting for their franchise guy. These players are not on teams in playoff contention, and will struggle to do anything more than make up the numbers whilst fans all over the country wait for their quarterback of the future to walk through the doors. The Miami Dolphins admitted that the current options weren’t good enough when they handed the reigns to recently retired QB Jay Cutler, rather than risk their season on a developmental option.
For the Jaguars, to stick with fourth year passer Blake Bortles seems like the path the Dolphins avoided; a lack of action resulting in another wasted campaign. Just two games in and a 1-1 record, granted, but in neither game has Bortles shown himself to be anything better than he was last year. With a final quarterback rating of just 16 on Sunday, two interceptions and a fumble was evidence that a pretty good Jags roster will always be hamstrung unless the team makes a change. It was a costly 37-16 loss to division rival the Tennessee Titans, and a game that Jacksonville could have won after another strong defensive showing, particularly in the first half.
But who do you turn to? Chad Henne is equally error-prone, and not a comforting option to fans or receivers. The team just signed Ryan Nassib, a former Coughlin QB with only ten passing attempts since being drafted by the New York Giants in 2013.
Bortles was the first quarterback off the board a year later when the Jaguars took him over Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel. After showing some early promise, it has become clear that the Florida native has issues beyond just confidence.
This isn’t a debate over whether the Jaguars should consider signing Colin Kaepernick, but a change does need to be made. Head coach Doug Marrone now takes his team to London, to take on an in-form Baltimore Ravens defense, and is unlikely to throw Nassib in at Wembley. However, it is up to Marrone, Coughlin and General Manager Dave Caldwell to find the answer before the Jaguars end up on the end of another four-win season.