NFL

Second Year QB’s Progress Report

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Year one for a quarterback in the NFL can be very difficult, as they are forced to adjust to the speed and physicality of the game. With that being said, it’s vital for franchises to see major leaps in year two.

Without further ado, let’s check in on the second year quarterbacks.

Blake Bortles – Just like most rookie quarterbacks, Blake Bortles struggled throughout his first season in Jacksonville.

The former third overall draft pick finished with a league-worst touchdown to interception ratio of 11 to 17.

While a lot of the blame was pegged on Bortles, one could make the case that he didn’t have the proper pieces around him to succeed. Jacksonville’s leading receiver a season ago was the undependable Cecil Shorts, and he only caught 53 balls to go along with one touchdown.

Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson were in Jacksonville last year, but just like Bortles, they were rookies trying to figure things out.  Then Robinson was hurt and missed the final six games of the season, stunting both the quarterback and receiver’s growth.

What a difference a year makes.

Now, Bortles has virtually flipped his touchdown to interception ratio around, which currently sits at 19 to 11. The 23-year-old quarterback gives a lot of credit to Hurns and Robinson for growing up.

“It’s been good. I think those guys, to go along with them and watch [Allen] Hurns and ‘A-Rob’ [Allen Robinson] grow coming in a year-and-a-half ago or two years ago, and growing with those guys and growing as a unit, I think it’s been really special,” Bortles stressed. “They’ve been unbelievable. [They’re] both really good football players, obviously, by the numbers they’ve [been] putting up. And the rest of that room has done a good job, too. Obviously, getting Marqise [Lee] back this week – [I’m] excited about that. So, I think it’ll be fun.”

The wins aren’t coming yet, but Jags fans have something to be excited about because they finally have their quarterback of the future.

Scouting report on Bortles: Perhaps the most impressive part of Bortles game is the ability to shake off mistakes immediately and then perform.  He sometimes struggles with mechanics and decision making, as any young quarterback does, but he takes shots and is unflappable.  He has the physical tools to become elite. 

Derek Carr – Unlike his counterparts, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr showed the ability to perform at a high level throughout the entire season.

Carr threw for over 3,000 yards, while tossing 21 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions in his first season.

Those are good numbers, especially for a rookie, but during his sophomore campaign thus far, Carr has taken his game to another level.

General manager, Reggie McKenzie, is very pleased with Carr’s progression.

“He’s doing exactly what we felt like he could,” McKenzie recently stated. “I know this coaching staff wasn’t around him last year, but they can tell, just looking at the old film from last year, he’s grown a lot. He’s going to continue to grow. This is his second year, his second system. Hopefully he can build on that, keep him in the same system. He should be even better each year.”

As long as rookie wide receiver, Amari Cooper, remains in the Bay Area, him and Carr could become one of the most lethal duos in the NFL.

Scouting report on Carr: Derek Carr is making mistakes in big spots, but he has a better set of receivers than people believe that are carrying him.  He takes chances and that’s a good thing.  Carr has the physical tools to become elite. 

Teddy Bridgewater – When it comes to team success, Bridgewater’s Minnesota Vikings are currently in first place in the NFC North.

With their great start in mind, you’d think Bridgewater was lighting the world up, but that’s far from the case. Currently, Bridgewater has a touchdown to interception of 7:6.

Despite his struggles, the 23-year-old quarterback isn’t shy about expressing his expectations.

“If I could be like any other quarterback that played in the National Football League, I would have to say Brett Favre is the guy,” Bridgewater said. “Besides the injuries and the hits and everything, he had a pretty successful career. He’s a hall of famer for sure, multiple Super Bowls, and that’s something that I look forward to doing.”

In order for Bridgewater to reach Favre’s status, he’ll need to do much more than throw for seven touchdown passes, but it’s the Vikings job to surround him with better weapons as well.

Scouting report on Bridgewater: The Vikings have proven that they can beat bad teams and win without elite quarterback play.  Teddy will have to play much better in the postseason and he needs to take more chances with the football.  The Vikings have weapons, but Bridgewater isn’t making any of them better. 

Johnny Manziel – As far as name value goes, Manziel is the most popular name on the list for obvious reasons, but where is the productivity?

Well, first things first, the former Heisman trophy winner has to get on the field.

Browns head coach Mike Pettine has received tons of criticism for shunning Manziel in favor of veteran quarterback Josh McCown. In fairness, McCown has proven to be the better option, but at the same time, Cleveland isn’t winning anything anytime soon, so why not see what you have in Manziel?

When Manziel has been given an opportunity to play this season, he’s shown signs of what he’s capable of in spurts, but there hasn’t been any sustained success, but how can you truly expect that when the guy isn’t playing on a regular basis?

Scouting report on Manziel: He is very much improved over last season as he looks much more comfortable in the pocket and has been more accurate.  The problem is that his style of play won’t win over the long term in this league and he has to be better from the pocket.  His lack of height is hurting him significantly.  


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.