The QB position may be about to face its biggest shake-up around the league in years, as starting veterans retire or move elsewhere, new faces are drafted in and long-serving backups finally achieve the promotion they so desire. Here is my view on the week 1 starting QBs in the AFC South in September 2021 from most certain to least…
The Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill. This guy has confounded the critics and turned his career around in an unprecedented manner. Since becoming the Titans starter he has played in 25 regular-season games, throwing 54 TDs and 13INTs, for comparison, Mahomes record over the same period is 54/11 and Aaron Rodgers is 57/9. Before joining the Titans his previous 25 starts had seen a 38/29 TD-INT return. This has been a great move for both parties, Tannehill is playing at MVP level but barely gets recognition. Keep this pace up and he’ll be set as the starter here for the next 5 years+. (As an aside, Marcus Mariota threw 78 TDs in his 5 seasons with the team, had 56 picks and finished 31-32 as the teams starter)
The Houston Texans: I hear the quiet whispers that say “blow it up” and ” imagine the haul you’d get for Watson” and to those I say “Hush up and give the guy some weapons”! DeShaun Watson on virtually any other team would be a yearly MVP candidate, he keeps this squad in contention through will-power alone most weeks, He’s managed to throw 30 TDs this season despite BOB trading away his no.1 receiver for a bag of M&Ms and a jock-strap. Whoever takes the head coaching role with Houston will have only been enticed by one thing, and that is the stud QB. Jack Easterby, don’t do anything (else) silly, the rebuild may be long, but your foundation is already laid.
The Jacksonville Jaguars: Having wrapped up the no.1 pick through a combination of ineptitude and dereliction of duty, Jacksonville are primed to selected the most highly touted prospect since Andrew Luck. Sadly, Trevor Lawrence and all his brilliance most likely wont be enough to drag this team from the doldrums any time soon. There is a chance they opt to sit Lawrence at the start of the year (think Tua, Herbert etc) but if he’s not good enough to best the likes of Minshew or Glennon from the start then there’s a real problem here. Overall, the worst thing the Jags could do is overthink this pick. Take Lawrence, give him all the starting reps, learn to build a franchise, cross your fingers.
The Indianapolis Colts: I love watching Phillip Rivers sling the ball, I love knowing the desperation heave is on the horizon and the anticipation of the weekly interception at the death keeps me watching his games again and again. Its been a fun ride Phil, but its over. Frank Reich should move on and work out a trade to take his former protégé Carson Wentz from the Eagles. Wentz’s most successful year, 2017, was guided by Reich (33 TDs, 7INTs, 3296 yards and a foot in the MVP door before injury struck) and a renewal of this relationship could further both of their careers. It’d take some haggling as Wentz weighs heavily on the salary cap in Philly, but it could be done. Rivers and co. may have wrangled their way into the playoffs by the time you read this, but regardless, future success demands a new QB in Indie.