It wasn’t so long ago that Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Cam Newton were supposed to be the future of the NFL.
Winston and Mariota were the first two picks in the 2015 draft and Newton was the first pick in the 2011 draft.
It now looks as if they will never be the quarterbacks they were expected to be, although Newton may be the victim of the injuries he suffered from running too much.
Mariota was yanked in a shutout loss to Denver in the third quarter after throwing for just 63 yards with two picks and a 9.5 quarterback rating. Ryan Tannehill replaced him and will keep the job.
Winston threw five picks and lost a fumble in a loss to Carolina but finished the game and seems to be intent on ruining Bruce Arians’ reputation as a quarterback whisperer. He will keep his job but his long-term future remains in limbo.
Newton is sidelined with injuries and Kyle Allen is 4-0 as his replacement. Newton was 0-8 in his last eight starts. Does he get the job back even if he is healthy at some point? There’s no guarantee he will be healthy this year or that he will get the job back if he is healthy and Allen keeps playing well.
Like Mariota, he could be looking for a new home next year.
—San Francisco’s defense is for real. The 49ers remained the only unbeaten NFC team as their defense didn’t allow the Rams to convert a third or fourth down. The last time they did that was in 1988 in Bill Walsh’s last year.–Sam Darnold showed what he means to the Jets when he came back from mono to lead the Jets to the victory over Dallas. The Browns passed up Darnold for Baker Mayfield. They may regret that decision.
—The Denver defense is back. After not getting a turnover in their first four games, they have seven sacks, five picks and a fumble recovery in their last two. That included the win over the Titans when Mariota was benched.
—Lamar Jackson of the Ravens had 388 yards from scrimmage in the victory over hapless Cincinnati, including 152 yards rushing. But is it hazardous to his health to keep running that much? See Newton, Cam.
—Much-maligned Kurt Cousins has finally found his touch. Things were so bad that former teammate Zach Brown, now with the Eagles, said he was the weakest part of the Vikings offense. Sunday after Cousins torched the Eagles for his second big game in a row, Brown said he wasn’t talking about Cousins, who has completed 44 of 56 for 639 yards, six touchdowns and one pick while beating the Giants and Eagles. At 4-2, the Vikings are back in the playoff hunt. The Eagles cut Brown Monday after Cousins passed for 333 yards against them.
—The Rams were 24-8 in the regular season their first two years under Sean McVay andh went to the Super Bowl last year. They then started out 3-0 before losing three in a row, including a 20-7 loss to the 49ers. Jared Goff seems lost and McVay has to figure out how to get the team back on track.
—Dallas also lost its third in a row after starting out 3-0 when they were beaten by the Jets. But the Cowboys are playing in the NFC East and tied for first with the Eagles, who also are 3-3. A .500 record could win this division.
—Kansas City started out 4-0 and has now lost two consecutive home games in the wake of the loss to the Texans. It is the first time Andy Reid has lost two straight home games since Reid’s first year with the Chiefs. The problem is that the Kansas City defense can’t keep opposing teams off the field. The teams that play the Chiefs that the best way to stop Patrick Mahomes is to keep him off the field.
—The Chargers were supposed to be a contender but fell to 2-4 with a 24-17 loss to the Steelers, who started third string quarterback Devlin Hodges. The Steelers took a 24-0 lead and held on to the win. The Chargers again showed they aren’t winning the hearts and minds of Los Angeles fans as their small stadium was filled with Steeler fans.
—The NFL has apparently decided the new pass interference rule was a mistake, which is was, so they have stopped overturning pass interference calls and non-calls on replay. Only one of 25 challenges have been won. The one-year rule will likely be thrown out at the end of the season, but it is a bad look for the rule to be ignored. Coaches should learn not to challenge pass interference calls because they won’t be overturned.
Another problem is that the number of penalties being called is up this year and there are too manycalls like the ones in the Monday night Green Bay-Detroit game. It is difficult to officiate today’s fast-paced game but the league needs to put more emphasis on improving officiating.