It’s been said that the quarterback is the most crucial position in all of team sports. The man QB coordinates the offensive attack, typically holds the fate of the game in his hands, and he’s the face of the franchise. Sometimes that face is the runway model looks of Tom Brady, and sometimes it’s the clenched fist mug of a George Blanda.
This pre-season, fewer teams than ever have had quarterback competitions. For most NFL teams the “man over center” has long been determined. But for a few teams, training camp and pre-season has allowed them to hold a healthy battle for the right to toss the ol’ cowhide.
NFL Quarterback Competitions That Have Been Decided
Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
Was there ever any doubt that #1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence would earn the starting gig? But head coach Urban Meyer, who knows something about QB controversies from his revolving door policies at Ohio State, made it clear in the spring that Lawrence would have to win his QB job. Enter Gardner Minshew II, who sounds more like Mayer’s butler than an actual quarterback.
After neither QB looked that great in the first few games of the pre-season, last Monday, Lawrence started and played the entire first half for the Jags, while Minshew handled most of the second half. Later in the week, Mayer named Lawrence his QB, after what was probably just an exercise in trying to get competitive juices flowing in his rookie. Let the flowing locks of blonde hair and touchdown celebrations begin in Florida’s River City.
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Trevor Lawrence: +3100 (FanDuel)
- Jaguars to Make Playoffs: +300 (DraftKings)
- Jaguars to Win Super Bowl: +13000 (DraftKings)
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos
Thus far, Bridgewater is the only QB to snatch a job away from an incumbent. On Wednesday, head coach Vic Fangio named the veteran as his starter. This comes after several years of where Teddy ping-ponged around the league, succumbed to injury, and was basically written off more times than Robert Downey Jr. Maybe Bridgewater won’t be Iron Man, but he’s The Man now for the Broncos, even if the fan base doesn’t seem all that thrilled.
Bridgewater supplants Drew “Not So Much Of A” Lock, who made 18 starts for Denver over the last two seasons. Four years younger than Bridgewater, Lock will get this job back at some point, but for now he’s stuck making the predictable “I will help my teammate do the best job he can” comments as he grits his teeth.
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Teddy Bridgewater: +22000 (FanDuel)
- Broncos to Make Playoffs: +110 (DraftKings)
- Broncos to Win Super Bowl: +5000 (BetMGM)
Andy Dalton, Bears
This week, coach Matt Nagy announced that Dalton, the NFL’s favorite redhead, would be his week one starter, much to the chagrin of Bears fans.
Rookie Justin Fields, picked 11th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, will start the final pre-season game, in what seems like a “starter in waiting” audition.
The Bears traded up to get Fields in the draft, and he’s looked solid so far in the pre-season, but Dalton’s experience and understanding of NFL defenses makes this decision easy for Nagy. The Bears open the season out west in a primetime Sunday night game against the Rams, which will be a challenge for Dalton. They start their home schedule the following week against the Bengals, Dalton’s former team.
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Andy Dalton: +22000 (FanDuel)
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Justin Fields: +30000 (FanDuel)
- Bears to Make Playoffs: +210 (DraftKings)
- Bears to Win Super Bowl: +8000 (BetMGM)
NFL Quarterback Competitions Still Up For Grabs
Jameis Winston vs Taysom Hill, Saints
On Monday night, Winston looked poised and his throws (of all lengths) were sharp. This has led to many experts assuming Sean Payton will tab the 27-year old former #1 overall pick as his starting QB in the first year of the post-Drew Brees era.
Winston is still the same guy who became the first rookie QB to throw for 4,000 yards, and who led the NFL in passing yards, completions, and attempts just two seasons ago. On the flip side, he can be prone to mental mistakes and turnovers, as well as off-field controversy. He’s been given a second chance in New Orleans, and while he hasn’t officially vanquished Hill, who is called “The Human Swiss Army knife” by his team, it seems likely that Winston will get the job in week one.
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Jameis Winston: +2400 (FanDuel)
- Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Taysom Hill: +30000 (FanDuel)
Cam Newton vs Mac Jones, Patriots
Was Bill Belichick pulling our legs when he stated that Newton and Jones were even headed into camp and pre-season? Most would have believed that Newton, a former MVP and the 2020 Pats starter, would inherit the job. But Jones has seen plenty of action this pre-season, and Newton has (for the second time since joining New England in 2020) been absent due to COVID-19 protocols. It leaves an uncertainty in the air, since Chatty Bill hasn’t made a formal announcement declaring his starting QB yet.
Jones was taken four picks after the Bears selected Fields, at #15 in the ’21 NFL Draft. In his college days at Alabama, Jones was expected by many to be one of the top three QB’s in the draft, but something allowed him to slip and Belichick pounced on him. Does that mean Bill knows something we don’t about the Michael McCorkle Jones? Unsure, but let’s just say that I don’t think Newton will get all 17 starts in the 2021 season.
Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Mac Jones: +22000 (FanDuel)
Most Regular Season Passing Yards, Cam Newton: +30000 (FanDuel)