The NFL is a quarterback league and now that preseason is over, one of the major questions about the upcoming season is whether a fresh start can make a difference for six veteran quarterbacks.
Let’s look at six of them in new roles this year:
— Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. They were virtually traded for each other. Stafford never won a playoff game in Detroit and had a 74-90-1 career mark while making one Pro Bowl. The Rams are hoping he will make them a Super Bowl contender. Goff played on a better team with the Rams and made the Super Bowl but seemed overmatched in loss to the Patriots. He did get a second contract, but after making only one playoff appearance the last two years and losing it, the Rams decided they needed to upgrade the position. Detroit hopes Goff he can make them a contender, but those hopes may be unrealistic.
—Jameis Winston flamed out two years ago in his fifth year in Tampa Bay with 30 picks to go with 30 touchdown passes. He moved on to New Orleans backing up Drew Brees last year and won the job this year after Brees retired. He has big shoes to fill and Saints face a lot of challenges since they won’t be back in New Orleans for a month while city recovers from Hurricane Ida.
—Teddy Bridgewater got off to a solid start in his first two years in Minnesota but then suffered a devastating ACL that limited him to one series in two years and he moved on after the team did not pick up his option. He went to the Jets but was traded to the Saints before he played for them. After two years with the Saints and one with Carolina, he moved on to Denver where he beat out Drew Lock for the starting job. He has to play well to keep Lock on the bench.
—Andy Dalton is one of five quarterbacks to lead his team to the playoffs in his first five seasons, but he failed to win a playoff game in the four games he played in for the Bengals. Then after going four years without a winning record, including an 0-8 start that led to his benching in 2019, he was released in 2020 after the Bengals drafted Joe Burrow. He signed last year with Dallas as Dak Prescott’s backup. He went 4-5 as a starter after Prescott was hurt and moved onto Chicago where he beat out rookie Justin Fields for the starting job. He will have to play well to keep Fields on the bench.
—Tyrod Taylor has bounced around and landed this year in Houston, his fifth team, where he got the starting job because Deshaun Watson’s career is in limbo. The problem is that he doesn’t have a good team around him. They went 4-12 last year even with Watson. Two of the wins were against 1-15 Jacksonville. Taylor faces a tough task as he tries to turn his career around.
It will be interesting to watch how these six veterans fare this year. Can any of them become a long-term answer? We will see.