By Rodney Stokes for TonySoftli.com
The New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos are all in pursuit of a franchise signal caller. None at this moment seem to have it figured out after week one of the preseason. Each team has it’s own unique situation and depth to which they need to find “the guy”. The Broncos are a quarterback away from being back in the Super Bowl and contending against the upper tier in the AFC. Their defense is what allowed them to win it all two years ago and simply need someone who can bring them back to that level. The Browns are a young team looking for the right leader. Whether that be the veteran in Brock Osweiler, the second year player in Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer who was drafted in the second round, they need to find a player for the long haul. The Jets have the least talent offensively of the three teams and simply need to see if Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty are the guys to build around. Current starting quarterback Josh McCown is well past his prime but could be a useful piece during the rebuild.
The Broncos have the most to gain out of this group but may possibly have the least talented QBs among them. Neither Paxton Lynch nor Trevor Siemian were able to put the ball in the end zone. In fact it was Chris Harris Jr who scored the only touchdown for the Broncos while the first and second team players were on the field. Neither quarterback was impressive and the winner of this battle may simply be the guy who isn’t “the worst” of the two. That is unless Kyle Sloter continues to make gains with the third team. Even though his competition was mostly made up of guys who will probably cut after week four, Sloter impressed. He went undrafted and was likely brought in as a camp arm but showed poise and control during the fourth quarter that led to 14 points. Whether he can handle those responsibilities with the ones and twos is another question but Sloter definitely deserves a thumbs up for doing what the other two couldn’t. It would be a shock if this decision was made before week three of the preseason but as of now the job still belongs to Siemian.
Projected Starter: Trevor Siemian
Cleveland has had quarterback trouble longer than most can remember. Since they returned in 1999 the Browns have gone through more coaches and quarterbacks than any other franchise. Fortunately it looks like this regime will be one that sticks around for awhile as Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown have done an excellent job building this team from the ground up. Now it’s time for a quarterback. Hue named Brock the starter for week one and his first few drives were nothing more than a disappointment. Osweiler missed a number of open receivers and his decision making wasn’t great. His last series was by far his best as he missed Kenny Britt by one toe drag for a touchdown. The team didn’t score on the drive (they went for it on fourth) but Brock looked competent enough to be a starter before he was pulled. Cody Kessler received the least amount of game time but made the most of it by leading a scoring drive and completing a few nice throws. Of the three quarterbacks in this competition, Kessler is least likely to win the starting gig. Kizer has been the hands on favorite from the start but mentally he’s raw and has a lot to learn. Kizer threw two beautiful deep balls, one of which was the go ahead touchdown, but struggled in a number of other areas. The box score says that Kizer should be starting for the Browns but he was given more opportunities against lower competition. This one’s a tight competition and one to keep your eyes on, as of now the Browns should be sticking with their starter.
Projected Starter: Brock Osweiler
New York Jets
If you excuse the Mark Sanchez days, the Jets are right behind the Browns in quarterback turnover. The Jets offense overall is putrid. Without Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, the aging of Matt Forte, and a leaky offensive line, the winner of this competition may be in a world of hurt. As of now the starting receivers look to be Robby Anderson, Charone Peak and Jalin Marshall. To note, Peake was drafted in the 7th of the 2016 draft while Anderson and Marshall were both undrafted free agents of the same year. Miracle stories happen every year, but the Jets look like they’re waiting for the 2018 draft judging by the roster. Question is, will they need a quarterback? Josh McCown looked good on his first drive against the Titans and scored on a touchdown toss to Charone Peak. The bulk of the snaps throughout the game though went to Christian Hackenberg. Surprisingly enough, Hackenberg played well against the Titans second and third team defense. That’s not to say that he has earned the job over McCown, but he did show promise. He did well with his reads on short passes and his footwork in the pocket has improved from last season. Hackenberg looks like he’s working towards being the starter this season. Bryce Petty had some quality throws and some very poor ones as well. He also had little to no help from his receivers and offensive line. Given what he had to work with, it’s hard to fault him for a less than impressive performance. The organization wants to see Hackenberg before they drop a first round pick on a quarterback. If he can continue to progress there’s no reason why Josh McCown should hold the number one spot over him.
Projected Starter: Christian Hackenberg
Bonus – Chicago Bears
Mike Glennon looked lost and uncomfortable in his first outing with the Bears. It may have been first game jitters but he has to be looking over his shoulder now more than ever. Mitch Trubisky showed the organization why he deserved to be the number two pick in the draft. His play throughout the second quarter until the end of the game was the most thrilling of the three quarterbacks. The competition has a long way to go but if you’re betting your money, bet it on Trubisky.
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