Rookie QB Outlook


Pike Temple, Sports Reporter

Trevor Lawrence was once again mediocre in week three against the Cardinals. The rookie threw for 219 yards, a completion percentage of 65%, and recorded one touchdown to two interceptions. In week four against the Bengals, Lawrence needed to improve his performance and show some signs of future stardom. Against Cincinnati, Lawrence had a better completion percentage of 70% and only 204 yards in the air. The final score was close, but the Jaguars left Paul Brown Stadium 0-4. Jacksonville will host the up and down Tennessee Titans in week 5. Tennessee illustrated that it is a beatable team by losing to the Jets in overtime week 4. A Jacksonville win isn’t completely unlikely. For Jaguars fans, Lawrence needs to be able to find success sooner than later. The Jaguars, coached by Urban Meyer, don’t want to drop a goose egg and go 0-17 in the first season of Lawrence’s career. Sadly, the 0-17 season already looks probable four weeks into the 2021 campaign.

Zach Wilson got punched in the gut in week 3 against the Denver Broncos. The Jets lost 26-0 to a usually underwhelming Broncos offense. However, Denver’s defense has been one of the best in the NFL up to this point. Wilson threw for 160 yards and two interceptions with a completion percentage of just over 50%. In simple terms, the Jets got humiliated. In the overtime win against the Titans, Wilson played much better. Wilson passed for 297 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. A completion percentage of 60% isn’t great, but a win is a win for a rookie quarterback. New York will face off with the Atlanta Falcons in week 5. Another poor team, the Falcons will look to bounce back from their 1-3 start to the season against an unproven Jets offense. This one should be another close game defined by the quarterback play of Zach Wilson and Matt Ryan. Realistically, the Jets need to beat the Falcons and Wilson will be the key to their success. 

Trey Lance’s drastic increase in playing time came at the expense of the 49ers’s starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo came out in the first half, so Lance had thirty minutes to make an impression. Lance was inconsistent in his first lengthy appearance. The North Dakota State grad had a completion percentage of 50% against the Seahawks. He threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns, although one TD was on a blown coverage. The 50% completion percentage tells the true story of Lance’s outing on Sunday. If Garoppolo isn’t healthy, Lance will face off with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in week 5. The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and Arizona will be a formidable challenger for the rookie. If Lance is named the starter come Sunday, he will have to prove that he can consistently work the ball down the field. Of course the final score is important, but Kyle Shanahan should be pleased with Lance’s performance if Lance can help the 49ers score a couple touchdowns, pass for over 250 yards, and complete over 60% of his passes. San Francisco fans should be optimistic about Lance’s situation. If he can show off his legs and arm the way he did in college the week(s) Garoppolo is out, Lance could find early success in his career against the Niners weaker opponents like the Colts and Bears later in October.

Justin Fields was terrorized by the Browns defense week 3. Fields finished with a completion percentage of 30% and 68 passing yards. The former Ohio State star was sacked nine times. YIKES! However, Fields looked a little better in week 4 against the Lions. Although he threw an interception, Fields passed for a respectable 209 yards with a completion percentage of 65%. Fields wasn’t amazing in week 4, but he did enough to give the Bears a win against the now 0-4 Detroit Lions. Second year receiver Darnell Mooney was Fields’ favorite target Sunday. He recorded 5 receptions for 125 yards, averaging 25 yards a catch on the day. The Bears will play an above average Raiders team in week 5. The Bears should have a better week against the Raiders, but Chicago hasn’t proven that they can put up points against a quality opponent.

Mac Jones got bullied in week 3 against the Saints. The new kid threw for 270 yards, a touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Jones finished the game with a completion percentage of just under 60%. However, in the week 4 matchup between Tampa Bay and New England, Jones stepped up against the Tom Brady lead Buccaneers. Brady’s return to Foxborough was easily the game of the week. Jones threw for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. He finished with a completion percentage of 77% and at one point, Jones threw an impressive nineteen completions in a row. Jones appears to be settling into his role in New England quite well. Jones should look to beat up a subpar Houston Texans team who, in week 4, lost to the Bills 40-0. Jones has truly exceeded expectations in his first four games of the season and he will likely get better.

If one of the rookie quarterbacks was to win Offensive Rookie of the Year based on their play through the first four weeks, the clear favorite would be Mac Jones. After nearly taking down Tom Brady, falling short because the Patriots’s kicker missed a 56 yard field goal by hitting the up-right. For the most part, Jones has been consistent, having the highest completion percentages, on average, and the most passing yards a game, on average. The other four candidates haven’t come close to matching Jones’s start to the season. There is no denying it, Mac Jones has been the best rookie QB thus far.