Senior Staff Writer
NFL analytics entered Week Two in the wonder of booms, busts, and flukes from Week One. One of the most intriguing aspects of this NFL year is the Quarterback position. Since the end of last season, thirteen organizations have a new starting quarterback, and Week Two showed us the struggling new fits.
The player carrying the highest expectations coming into the season was the number one overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has been given an unusual amount of responsibility for a rookie; playcalling has relied heavily on Lawrence’s arm talent and little on the ground. The added pressure has caused some uncharacteristic tightness in Lawrence’s game. With the Jaguars receiver corps at 24th in the league, Lawrence has not been given the wide-open looks he is accustomed to from his years at Clemson. In his first two starts, Lawrence has thrown for four touchdowns but five interceptions.
Another young buck carrying great expectations is the number two pick, Zach Wilson. Trevor Lawrence was the noticeable number one going into the offseason, and during the draft combined, Wilson became a clear number two. After a breakout season at Brigham Young University, Wilson looked to make an early impact in the Jets organization.
The rookie has walked away winless and frustrated with a 55% completion percentage, two touchdowns, and five interceptions through two games. Recent reports have come out saying Wilson was dealing with a groin injury in Sunday’s matchup against the New England Patriots. The young buck is still determined to become a star in the league, but it has been a rough welcome to the league.
The New England Patriots dominated the offseason making noise in free agency, acquiring Jonnnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Matt Judon, and Alabama Heisman finalist Mac Jones. Jones is being handed the keys to the dynasty of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, six Super Bowls, certainly demanding shoes for the rookie quarterback to fill.
After cutting former MVP Cam Newton, Mac Jones is the new QB1 for the iconic New England franchise. Patriots fans welcome Jones with open arms, hoping he could resurrect the Patriots dynasty. Jones has been a perfect fit for the Patriots organization; he has not been overwhelmed with responsibilities but has been smart with the ball, completing over 70 percent of his passes. The Patriots got their first win of the season, defeating the New York Jets 25-6; the Patriots have had a promising start with their new franchise QB and hope to continue the momentum next week against the New Orlean Saints.
The Carolina Panthers have been in the rebuild process for the past couple of years. Head Coach Matt Rhule looks to prove himself in his second season in the league after a disappointing 5-11 season last year. The story surrounding the Carolina Panthers coming into the 2021 season was the new addition of QB Sam Darnold.
Sam Darnold arrived in Charlotte, NC, excited for a fresh start after three seasons with the New York Jets. Darnold, much like others, did not find success with the Jets organization struggling for 13 wins in three seasons. Darnold has built a special connection with Christian McCaffery and DJ Moore’s new offensive weapons despite being on the hot seat and has found early success in the first two games. Darnold has racked up over 500 yards in the air this season and has found a new stride of confidence with his new unit.
The Panthers are off to a promising start to the season, scraping out a 19-14 win against the New York Jets and dominating the New Orlean Saints 26-7 in their home win in week two. The Panthers were under the radar in the preseason but are a proven force in the league through two games.
Darnold and the team continued their solid play this past Thursday in a 24-9 win against the Houston Texans. Despite an early injury to McCaffery, Darnold led the charge for Carolina with two rushing touchdowns and over 300 yards passing.
One of the most notable trades of the offseason was between the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions. The Rams acquired Mathew Stafford for Jarred Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick.
In a career comparison, Jarred Goff has found success in the league, leading the Rams to their first Superbowl appearance in 17 years and making three playoff appearances in his first five years. However, Goff finds himself in a rebuilding organization with a first-year head coach. The Lions have started the season on an underwhelming note walking away winless through two games. However, Goffs’ connection with tight end T.J. Hockenson has given new light to the offense. The record reads 0-2, but there is growing potential in the Lions locker room. The young squad looks to flip the momentum with a win this week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Mathew Stafford’s career was wasted in Detroit. Since the retirement of Calvin Johnson in 2016, Stafford has not had a notable offensive weapon to throw to. The 2021 roster of the Los Angeles Rams is immensely better than any roster of the Lions in Stafford’s twelve years. Stafford coming to Los Angeles has allowed Stafford to prove he is the star quarterback he was expected to be out of college.
Stafford showed impressive arm talent in Detroit but was held back with roster talent. Expectedly, he has developed quick chemistry with his emerging No. 1 receiver, Cooper Kupp. Stafford has been slinging it, throwing for 599 yards and five touchdowns in his first two starts. The Rams have a new boat of confidence with Stafford and are cruising with two momentum wins against the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears.
The quarterback position is a revolving door; the faces of the league are constantly changing. The quarterback hierarchy is shaping up through two weeks, and the MVP chatter is starting to arise. Week 3 will only tell us more about the top dogs in the league.