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Quarterbacks In The NFL Spotlight

Bruce Penton takes a look at some of the names filling the QB slot this year
bruce penton sports

What would the National Football League season be without controversy, question marks and astonishment surrounding the 32-team league’s marquee players — its quarterbacks? With only a few days to go until Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams start the season in L.A. on Thursday night, Sept. 8, the quarterbacks’ situation south of the border is once again compelling, to say the least.

Pick a quarterback, any quarterback, and there’s a backstory. Or wonderment. Or a huge question mark. Let’s examine a few of them.

Deshaun Watson signed the largest guaranteed contract in the history of the NFL, with Cleveland Browns bestowing $230 million on him while a dark cloud of sexual assault accusations and civil suits hung over his head. Watson showed exceptional talent in his first four years with Houston, but he hasn’t played since 2020 and how he will perform — after the expiration of an 11-game suspension for his illegal acts — remains to be seen. If Watson’s dark cloud fades away and he leads the Browns to the promised land, his past will be forgotten. In Cleveland, anyway.

Russell Wilson has never thrown a pass for any team in the NFL other than Seattle Seahawks, but that changes this year after a trade to the Denver Broncos. In the Mile High City, it says here Wilson takes the Broncos a mile or so high in the standings.

Tom Brady, unquestionably the greatest QB of all time, retired after last season, then unretired, and seems intent on trying to win another Super Bowl for Tampa Bay. But he’ll have to do it without coach Bruce Arians, who retired, but did not unretire. Former New York Jets coach Todd Bowles is the new man in charge.

The brightest future of NFL quarterbacking exists in Buffalo and Los Angeles, where Josh Allen and Justin Herbert, respectively, continue their marches to superstardom while leading the Bills and Chargers to playoff glory.

Kansas City fans believe their fifth-year quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is the league’s best, and he might be, but it says here that Allen has surpassed him by a slight margin.

Quarterback question marks loom large in Miami, where Tua Tagovailoa, has been given some talented pieces with which to work, such as speedster Tyreek Hill, the former Chief; in Indianapolis, where long-time Falcon Matt Ryan begins a new career path; in Pittsburgh, where three ‘iffy’ QBs vie to be the Ben Roethlisberger replacement; in Cincinnati, where Bengals’ fans hope Joe Burrow’s 2022 success was not a one-year flash; and in San Francisco, where the 49ers are rolling the dice on unproven Trey Lance while sending semi-dependable Jimmy Garoppolo packing.

We’d bring up the name Aaron Rodgers, but the Green Bay QB already gets too much attention. He’ll get more than his share in 2022-23 as the Packers finally win another Super Bowl.

  • Bob Molinaro of (Hampton, Va): “With a name like Nathaniel Hackett, the new Broncos head coach sounds like he could be carrying a musket behind George Washington in the Revolutionary War.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “New (Florida) Gators coach Billy Napier, a stickler for structure and discipline, has instructed  players they all must wear white socks at practice. Hey, you know what the great Grantland Rice once wrote: ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you match your socks!’”
  • RJ Currie of “Beijing police reportedly questioned a man who rode the subway wearing a watermelon mask. All they got was his name, rank and Mosaic Stadium seat number.”
  • Greg Cote of the Miami Herald:  “Boxer Tyson Fury has retired again after being unretired ror about four minutes.”
  • Comedy writer Brad Dickson of Omaha: “Nebraska is favoured by 12 over Northwestern. That's mostly based on the fact the Northwestern players are required to go to class.”
  • Columnist Norman Chad, on Twitter: “Three of Fox Sports’ college and pro football voices: Urban Meyer, Clay Travis, Aqib Talib.  I guess Al Capone, Pablo Escobar and John Dillinger were unavailable.”
  • Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg:Brett Favre claims he had a thousand minor concussions when he played football. In addition, Favre then added he had a thousand minor concussions when he played football.”
  • Headline at “Crazy fan runs on to field during White Sox game, likely sentenced to two weeks with no Xbox and 8:30 bedtime.”
  • Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The Trail Blazers will not send their TV or radio broadcasters on road trips, instead having them announce games from home. There you have it — the NBA season’s first non-travelling call.”
  • Another one from Perry: “One of the U.S. Amateur‘s threesome featured Mark Costanza, Hazen Newman and Campbell Kremer. Only thing better would be Jerry Seinfeld on their bags.”
    •   Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, via Twitter, on the significance of Aug. 16: “Elvis, Aretha and Babe Ruth died on this day. A king, a queen and a sultan.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.