For years, rookie QB’s had one path in the NFL. Sitting and learning. Peyton Manning started as a rookie and without mincing words, he was terrible. Recently we’ve seen some rookie QB’s have a lot of success. Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, and even Joe Burrow up until his knee injury.
The success of these QB’s has created some unrealistic expectations for incoming rookies. We’ve gotten to the point where the starting QB is booed if he is anyone other than the shiny new rookie.
For Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones, anything less than success would be seen as a failure. Although there has been worse QB play before, Wilson and Lawrence are definitely seeing some growing pains. Jones has been seeing some success albeit with a much different style of play. Let’s analyze the rookies and see how they’ve fared so far.
Trevor Lawrence: Is It Time to Panic?
Trevor Lawrence came out of Clemson being hailed as the best prospect since Andrew Luck. Andrew Luck came out of school being hailed as the best prospect since Peyton Manning. See where I’m going with this?
The expectations couldn’t be higher for Lawrence and it’s safe to say he is not living up to them. This isn’t to say he is hopeless. It’s only been 2 games after all. But there are definitely parts to his game he will need to clean up.
Through 2 games, Lawrence has already thrown 5 interceptions. Luckily for Jaguars fans, the majority are typical rookie mistakes. Staring down receivers, getting fooled by coverage, and not attempting the check down. If he was throwing the ball over the heads of his receivers every time or showing panic in the pocket, then sure, time to worry. But his mistakes look fixable.
If you are a glass-half-full person, then Lawrence is definitely showing why he was picked number 1. When he throws it well, he might have the prettiest ball in the league. On numerous occasions, Lawrence has displayed the accuracy, power, and anticipation needed to succeed in the league. His TD throw last Sunday to Marvin Jones was as good as you can throw it.
Look for Lawrence to learn from his mistakes and continually add to the beautiful throws he has been making. If we see the same throws and mistakes being made in Week 17, then Jags fans might have to worry. Until then, give the rookie some time.
Zach Wilson: What Happened in Week 2?
Week 2 for Zach Wilson was not pretty. In fact, it was ugly. Really ugly. Playing against the Patriots, Wilson’s first 2 throws resulted in picks. Jets fans were hoping to see the rookie signal-caller brush off those mistakes and show short memory. Unfortunately for Jets fans and Wilson himself, it just got worse from there.
At the end of the game, Wilson’s stat line showed 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Definitely not what fans or coaches were expecting. But let’s look more into it and see what Wilson has shown.
Week 1 was not awful for Wilson. He threw for 2 touchdowns later in the game and ended the day with just 1 pick. He looked comfortable rolling out and buying time for his receivers. However, it appeared that quite often he was trying to make the big play and use his arm instead of hitting the open man.
As with Lawrence, Wilson will learn to hit the check down instead of trying to make a splash every play. With that said, that is not his only mistake. On multiple of his picks last week, there was nobody near the ball. Either the ball sailed, or there was a miscommunication. And you could definitely tell that his confidence was affected.
For Wilson, the goal of this week and the rest of the season will be to calm down and take what is given to him. This isn’t to say he shouldn’t use his arm. He came out of BYU as a gunslinger and is known to have a huge arm. If he continues to mix in discipline with the occasional big play, he will be fine for the Jets.
Mac Jones: Can He Stay Consistent?
Mac Jones came into the league without much hype. All eyes were on Lawrence, Wilson, and Justin Fields. The reason, according to analysts, was his low ceiling. He doesn’t have a huge arm, isn’t fast, and isn’t necessarily known for making highlight plays.
However, while his ceiling may be low, his floor is very high. Mac Jones through 2 games has thrown 0 interceptions. Compare that to the 5 thrown by both Lawrence and Wilson. On the flip side, he has only thrown 1 touchdown all season as well.
Mac Jones is just what the Patriots need right now. He is making the team competitive by staying mistake-free. Jones is on a much better team than either Wilson or Lawrence. This is tremendously helpful in the development of a young QB. Having playmakers and a stout defense allows Jones to focus on his job, which is being consistent and moving the ball down the field.
Jones has 2 big tests coming up in the next couple of weeks, facing the Saints and former Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. So far Jones has shown the stage is not too big for him. If he can keep doing so, the Patriots look to have found a winner.
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