We are at the mid-season mark and already we have teams talking about moving on from their supposed franchise quarterbacks.
Let’s take a look at who may be leaving their quarterbacks behind.
Carolina Panthers placed Cam Newton on season-ending injured reserve this week, leaving many to question if we will ever see Newton in a Panthers uniform again., especially since they have quarterback Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent who has played well for Carolina in relief of Newton. He has completed 60.7 % of his passes for 1,291 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in six games.
The Panthers have gone 5-1 in the games in which Allen has started.
All four of these teams need this break to heal and regroup. What’s interesting to me, is the startling similarities between these four teams.
Two from the AFC North and two from the NFC South. Two struggling with first-year head coaches and sub-par quarterback play, while the other two are dealing with injuries that have taken out their starting QB and left their entire offenses struggling.
But I wonder… will this “Bye” week hurt or heal these teams?
The first quarter – four weeks – of the 2019 NFL season is in the book and the NFC South division is wide open.
Leading the way at 3-1, the New Orleans Saints might be heavily favored to keep the top spot, but the injury to quarterback Drew Brees leading to Teddy Bridgewater under center doesn’t make that a sure thing. Tied for second place at 2-2 are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cam Newton-less Carolina Panthers.
That leaves the Atlanta Falcons in last place at 1-3 which may be one of the biggest surprises at this point of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFC, and they stayed undefeated by staying home. It was the dreaded week 4 bye for the 49ers, but it worked out well for them. They headed into their week off on top of the division, and are still sitting there and the end of it.
While San Francisco didn’t have to do anything to stay in their top spot, the rest of the NFC West played what turned out to be important games in week 4. An inter-division match up in the desert between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals, and what many thought would be an easy win in Los Angeles for the Rams…that turned into a slugfest.
Week 3 of the NFL Preseason may just be an indication of how the entire season will finish up in the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints had a commanding victory, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeaked one out with a game-winning field goal and both the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers struggled to find any offense at all.
Panthers QB Cam Newton suffered a foot injury and while x-rays have come back negative, seeing him in a walking boot has to put quite a bit of fear into the hearts of Carolina fans!
Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers started their second day of joint practices under dark and ominous skies. After several runs back and forth, indoor then out, fans and media were eventually sent indoor permanently due to lightning in the area. As both squads moved into their routine drills, several things stood out.
The Dolphins quarterback battle continued. Josh Rosen took the majority of the snaps with the first team, while Ryan Fitzpatrick worked the day with the second team. Both seemed to have their struggles as the Dolphins continue to try to fill in some serious holes on that offensive line.
New Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy isn’t happy with his old team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave his number, 93, away. And to not just some random rookie, but to Ndamukong Suh, his replacement. McCoy didn’t take it well.
“As far as signing him, organizations have to do what they have to do when you let a player of my caliber go, so I understand that,” McCoy said. “But as far as giving away my number, in the history of the Bucs, they have a ring of honor, and all of the greatest players in the organization usually get their numbers retired.”
“Them giving the number away, that’s their prerogative, but the respect they showed. It would be different if it was a guy who signed four or five years. This is a one-year deal … I mean, it may seem like it’s just a number, but it’s bigger than that. It’s respect, and that was a big part of the separation between me and Tampa, period, was the respect they showed to me all offseason, it just wasn’t there.”
As we prepare for the new 2019 NFL season, 8 teams have new head coaches, with 6 of them being first-time head coaches.: Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Packers, Dolphins, Broncos.
The Jets and Bucs have hired coaches with previous head coaching experience.
As we prepare for mini camps, voluntary and mandatory, the media is in full force with its cycle of praise and criticism, almost seemly setting some up for instant success or in other cases instance failure.
This leaves many fans questioning how their favorite teams could make such a questionable hire.
This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.