Tuesday Afternoon Quarterback

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Week one in the NFL is done. What have we learned? That is a good question as I don’t think it is fair to make a judgment on an entire season after just one week. However, I think there are at least a few takeaways from this past weekend’s action.
For instance, the New England Patriots still seem to be the team to beat. With Tom Brady at the helm, New England pretty much had its way with Pittsburgh in their season-opening game last Thursday. Part of me is surprised by this as I think every year is the year Father Time finally catches up with Brady. Of course part of me isn’t. There is a reason New England has been the NFL’s premier franchise over the past decade-plus and as long as Brady is playing well, the Patriots are a team to be feared.
Father Time, however, has not been as kind to Peyton Manning. The erstwhile Broncos’ signal caller was pretty bad Sunday, throwing for 175 yards and no touchdowns in Denver’s week one win over Baltimore. Manning was pretty average at the end of last season as well and it makes you start to question whether or not he is finally done. He has 15 games to prove otherwise, but, at this point, I think the days of Peyton Manning being one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL are over.
All this quarterback talk has me thinking about the team who was supposed to have the best defense in the league and their stark lack of a decent quarterback. I am talking about the stars of this year’s “Hard Knocks” and the team that features the supposed best player in the NFL, J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans. Houston looked pretty bad for most of their game with Kansas City as it quickly became apparent that there is a reason Brian Hoyer changes teams on a yearly basis. Ryan Mallett was, perhaps, a little better in relief, but neither of them seemed to be setting the world on fire as the Texans lost the game.
I believe their struggles really illustrate how hard it is for a team to win consistently in the NFL without a good quarterback. They can build the best defense in the league (which the Texans may or may not have done, that is certainly up for debate as well), but if you’re not scoring points, then you’re not going to win.
Finally, since we are focusing on quarterback play, let’s turn our attention to one of the finest rookie performances in history, Marcus Mariota’s huge game in his showdown with fellow first-round pick Jameis Winston. This one was a bit of a surprise for me. Not so much that Mariota outplayed the guy who was selected before him, but that Mariota succeeded at all. I do not have much faith in read option college quarterbacks when it comes to them succeeding in the NFL and if you take a look at their history, you can see why. However, Mariota demonstrated Sunday that he does have the skills to make it. Does this mean he will throw four touchdown passes every week until he retires? I doubt it. But what he did against Tampa Bay was enough to convince me not to write him off. At least not yet.


  1. What is needed to be a successful NFL quarterback are the skill set (throwing, mobility, working from the pocket, etc.) and maturity. Mariota is mature, trainable and he has great vision. He will be successful, if his O-line is successful in keeping him healthy! I love that guy and wish we got Titan games. It was fun to watch the Ducks!!

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