Battle for QB1: top position training camp position battles
Football returns in less than one month. It feels like it has been an eternity since Tom Brady collected his 7th Lombardi, becoming the NFL’s Thanos defeating “Iron Man Mahomes” in Super Bowl 55. The two teams made it to the grandest stage in football because of their quarterbacks, the most crucial position in the game.
Teams use training camp to decide which quarterback gives them the best chance to compete in February. But, of course, it is a lot easier said than done. Just ask the Browns or Lions.
However, those two teams do not have to worry about the QB position this year. There are a few other teams around the league with the most significant dilemma in sports. The ole saying, “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none,” still holds true today. Training camps give fans a chance to see competitive football unfold before opening weekend.
Here are my top quarterback position battles heading into the new season.
5.) Cam Newton v. Mac Jones
Cam Newton did not live up to Pats fans’ expectations last season, but it was not his fault. Belichick surrounded Newton with a rough situation on top of the protocols he and the rest of the league had to deal with. Jakobi Meyers led the team in targets; I’ve made my point.
Belichick decided to go bargain shopping this offseason signing two of the top five tight ends in the NFL, Hunter Henry & Jonnu Smith, and two receivers with high ceilings, Kendrick Bourne & Nelson Agholor. A significant improvement from a season prior.
The Patriots threw gas on the fire, drafting Mac Jones with the 15th pick in the NFL Draft. Instantly, the battle began. In OTA’s and team mini-camps, Jones has stood out, playing well enough to make it into a serious struggle for reigns of the offense. I wish Mac Jones wins the job, but Cam deserves another try. If he fails once again, bring in the Big Mac.
4.) Aaron Rodgers vs. the front office??
Technically, this is a position battle; Jordan Love is simply a pawn in the mental chess match.
At the end of the season, Aaron Rodgers aired out his displeasure with the current state of the Packers. He has clearly stated that he wants out of Green Bay. What’s the problem? Trade Rodgers to a team to add draft capital and build around Jordan Love, right?
Aaron Rodgers won the 2020 NFL MVP award and almost made his third Super Bowl appearance if Matt Lefleur did not refuse to go for it on 4th. Except, he decided to play it safe. Weak.
This position battle will be decided more based on closed-door meetings rather than on-the-field drills. Blake Bortles signed with the Packers over the offseason. So, if the front office decides to trade Rodgers, there’s already a QB battle lined up.
Eyes should be glued on Lambeau Field come training camp. While I do not believe Rodgers leaves the Packers, this story is far from over.
3.) Andy Dalton vs. Justin Fields
There is a giant elephant in the training facilities; he goes by the “Red Rifle.”
The Bears rode a rollercoaster of transactions before the draft. First, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson almost became Bears until an actual deal could not be completed. So, Nagy did the next best thing. He signed Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract.
They redeemed themselves on the first night of the draft, trading up to the 11th pick to draft Justin Fields. The trade stunned viewers. It stunned the fans. It shocked the league.
Their trade-up to snag Fields indicates he will be named Week 1 starter. I thought so, too.
Matt Nagy continuously tells reports that they are still rolling with Andy Dalton as QB1, but the answer will likely be answered during or after the preseason.
This would be my top battle, but the answer is in front of us. Andy Dalton will start but will not make it past Week 4 until Justin Fields steals the job from him.
2.) Jimmy Garoppalo vs. Trey Lance
The 49ers’ biggest weakness is their ability to make crucial decisions, specifically at the quarterback position.
The 49ers owe Jimmy Garrapolo $24 million this season; he has yet to restructure his contract. Trey Lance has not signed his contract either. It’s one big stand-off in the Bay Area.
The 49ers’ issues with Jimmy G stem from his inability to stay healthy. He has played a full season once in the past three seasons; they made a Super Bowl appearance in his lone healthy season. So it’s a sticky situation.
All me to place my future bet on what will unfold. Jimmy Garoppolo will start the season as QB1 with shades of Trey Lance thrown in a few plays a game. Unfortunately, Trey Lance will take over the job where Garoppolo succeeded, similar to the last debacle. Kaepernick led the 49ers to a Super Bowl; the lights shut off on them just a bit too soon.
1.) Drew Lock vs. Teddy Bridgewater
The most exciting QB battle to watching throughout training camp will take place in the Rocky Mountains. This battle brings the most uncertainty out of all of them; I have no idea who will win the job.
The Broncos have two solid QBs on their roster with a high ceiling and tons of potential. However, my clique from above still stands.
Denver, we have a problem.
Drew Lock had a rough season a year prior. He did not eclipse 3000 passing yards and threw 15 interceptions, led the league. In addition, he lacked poise in the pocket, leading him to scramble around the bag before being sacked or picked off.
Teddy Bridgewater did not impress fans either. He threw for over 3000 yards, 15 touchdowns but was limited in his role due to the offense running through McCaffrey.
The two give us the most balanced battle out of the others. They do everything at an average rate. Teddy Bridgewater has the advantage with his football IQ, but Lock takes more risks.
It will be the main event type feel come August in Denver.