By Andrew Nason
With the first preseason games wrapping up, here’s a look at how some of the quarterback competitions around the NFL are looking and who is likely to be starting for these poor teams who wish they were the New England Patriots.
Houston Texans: Tom Savage vs. Deshaun Watson
There are two scenarios here. The first being that the Texans come out and say Tom Savage is the starter. In this case, Savage will start the season, and likely give way to Watson after about 4 or 5 games, so Watson has some time to absorb the playbook and more time to learn. The other scenario here is the Texans decide to indeed hold a competition for the rest of the preseason for the starting job. If this is the case, Watson, being the high-level competitor that he is and with the fans support, will win for sure. Watson was the big story following the Texans first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, completing 15 of 25 passes for 179 yards and a rushing touchdown. Savage meanwhile went 9-11 for 69 yards. Watson certainly helped his case for the starting bid, but Savage was good enough to maintain the top spot at the moment, along with the reports that he has rarely, if ever, turned the ball over in practices so far. Personally, I think sitting a rookie quarterback is the best move for most teams, and thus I would start Savage, but this is looking more and more like an open competition, and if you’ve ever watched Deshaun Watson play, you know there’s no way he’s going to lose.
Week 1 Starter: Watson
New York Jets: Josh McCown vs. Christian Hackenberg vs. Bryce Petty
I’m going to come right out and say, I am rooting for Christian Hackenberg. After struggling last preseason and not seeing a single snap in the regular season, the former 2nd round pick looked solid in his preseason debut with a 18-25 performance for 127 yards, although 2 fumbles (1 lost) will likely keep him down in the pecking order for the starting job. Josh McCown was brought in to be the place holder at the starting QB spot while the Jets tank for the top pick in next year’s QB loaded draft. McCown did all he had to in his Jets debut, completing 3 of his 4 pass attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown. Hackenberg showed some promise, but will, and should, continue to ride the bench until he’s ready and the Jets are completely out of contention. Petty is technically competing, but unless McCown gets injured, he will only be in contention for the 2nd string spot.
Week 1 Starter: McCown
Denver Broncos: Trevor Siemian vs. Paxton Lynch
Siemian returns this season as the starter, but with the 1st round investment the Broncos made in Lynch a year ago and the fact that the team missed the playoffs, they will be looking for him to take over the starting job as soon as he can. Both were solid in their preseason debuts, each completing 6 passes for around 50 yards without turning the ball over, with Siemian leading the only scoring drive of the two, a field goal. Lynch will have to show he’s not only improved this preseason, but that he has without a doubt overtaken Siemian in order to take the starting job. If both continue to play at an even level, the Broncos will have little choice other than to roll with their returning starter.
Week 1 Starter: Siemian
Cleveland Browns: Brock Osweiler vs. Deshone Kizer vs. Cody Kessler
Don’t you kind of feel bad for whoever wins this job? Brock Osweiler was named the starter for the Browns 1st preseason game, but struggled hitting open recievers, finishing 6 of 14 for 42 yards. Meanwhile, rookie Deshone Kizer starred for the Browns with some great deep ball passes. He completed 11 of his 18 pass attempts for 118 yards and a score. Kessler, the presumed starter going into training camp, had a pedestrian showing, ending his night completing half of his 10 attempts for 47 yards. Struggles in training camp and the emergence of Kizer have left Kessler looking like the 3rd string signal caller or possibly even a roster cut casualty. Unless Osweiler can give Hue Jackson and the Browns enough of a reason to sit Kizer to start the season, look for the rookie to take the reins of the Cleveland offense.
Week 1 Starter: Kizer