5 NFL Quarterbacks Who Are Already on the Hot Seat
NFL teams should take a page from the Tennessee Titans' roster management playbook: Don't handcuff an offense to an underwhelming quarterback.
Going into Week 7 of the previous campaign, the Titans benched Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill, and that move saved their season. The latter went on to earn the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
In other situations, we can see the succession plan with a high draft pick set to take over for an aging veteran. New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who was the No. 6 overall pick from the 2019 draft, replaced Eli Manning after Week 2 last season.
Some coaching staffs have to make a quarterback decision on a weekly basis. Typically, the lead skipper will announce the starter if enough buzz about a potential switch becomes a hot topic of discussion.
After one week of action, five quarterbacks sit on hot seats. Some of them helped lead their clubs to victories. Yet that doesn't extinguish a potential controversy if the passing attack goes through rough patches. Who could head to the bench in the near future?
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
We must acknowledge Mitchell Trubisky led the Chicago Bears to a 27-23 win, engineering three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. However, he struggled mightily through the first 45 minutes of regulation, completing 12 of 26 pass attempts for 153 yards.
Trubisky will play through the season with arguably the best backup signal-caller behind him. Nick Foles has won a Super Bowl MVP and finished the 2017 and 2018 campaigns with the Philadelphia Eagles as a solid starter.
Although Trubisky made up for a poor start in the season opener, he'll have to look over his shoulder for the rest of the term. The fourth-year veteran won a contested training camp battle with Foles for the lead role.
If Trubisky has a couple of rough outings that don't end in the Bears' favor, Foles will move one step closer to the starting spot.
Keep in mind, the front office chose not to exercise Trubisky's fifth-year option, so he's a free agent in the offseason. According to Spotrac, Foles can void his contract at the end of the campaign if he reaches (unspecified) performance thresholds. Without a firm commitment to either quarterback beyond 2020, the coaching staff has room to experiment with the most important position.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
The Los Angeles Chargers and Philip Rivers parted ways after a down season in which he threw 20 interceptions. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and his turnover issues have followed him.
In his Colts debut, Rivers threw two interceptions, struggling against the Jacksonville Jaguars' rebuilding defense that traded away cornerback A.J. Bouye and safety Ronnie Harrison, along with defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell.
Rivers threw the ball 46 times, which isn't a winning formula at this stage in his career. The Colts will likely look to establish the run without running back Marlon Mack, who tore his Achilles in the season opener.
Even though the Colts signed Rivers to a one-year, $25 million contract, head coach Frank Reich can turn back to Jacoby Brissett, who started 15 games for the team during the previous term. The 38-year-old signal-caller must limit his turnovers, or he risks losing his job.
Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
Thanks in part to kicker Randy Bullock's missed field goal from 31 yards out, the Los Angeles Chargers came away with a narrow 16-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
All wins look the same in the standings, but quarterback Tyrod Taylor had an uninspiring performance. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 208 yards and zero touchdowns. That's a troubling stat line for an offense loaded with quality offensive playmakers such as Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler.
Taylor has a track record of modest passing production. He didn't throw for 3,100 yards in any of his three seasons as a full-time starter for the Buffalo Bills. With all the weapons on offense, the Chargers should field a more dynamic attack.
General manager Tom Telesco selected Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft. The Oregon product had a rough training camp, but the team may have the urge to insert him into the lineup for a spark if the offense continues to underachieve with its collective talent.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
Among the quarterbacks listed, Ryan Fitzpatrick has the warmest seat. Not only did he struggle in a Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots, but the 37-year-old also knows Tua Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick from the 2020 draft, is waiting in the wings to take over.
Fitzpatrick's age and Tagovailoa's draft pedigree suggest the veteran will pass the baton to the rookie at some point.
After Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in the season opener, head coach Brian Flores made a point to confirm that he's going to stick with the same starter for Week 2. That puts the incumbent on notice while Tagovailoa works toward an opportunity to command the huddle.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins think Tagovailoa is "healthy and can play" 10 months after he dislocated his hip. If that's the case, the first-year signal-caller could see the field sooner than later.
Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team should feel good about its divisional win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Yet Dwayne Haskins isn't in a secure spot after his inconsistent start to the season.
Haskins completed 17 of 31 pass attempts for just 178 yards and a touchdown. He made some clutch completions down the stretch, but the second-year signal-caller hasn't done enough to keep Kyle Allen out of the starting conversation.
Allen has experience in offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system. With the Carolina Panthers in 2019, he started 12 games (13 total appearances) under the play-caller, throwing for 3,322 yards, 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a 62 percent completion rate.
Head coach Ron Rivera didn't see Haskins as the unquestioned starter going into the season and mentioned Alex Smith as a competitor for the role.
Smith had a long recovery from a broken leg and several surgeries, which kept him out of the action for the entire 2019 campaign. Now, he's on the active roster. Washington can lean on his experience if he's healthy enough to move and protect himself on the field.
Among the three quarterbacks, Haskins has started in the fewest contests (eight), and he's only eclipsed 214 passing yards once with a 58.1 percent completion rate for his career.
Despite Washington's Week 1 win, Haskins still has to prove he's a starting-caliber signal-caller to the coaching staff that replaced Jay Gruden and his assistants.