Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon, the NFL’s quarterback problem and other Week 2 observations

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There can’t be 32 good quarterbacks. The NFL isn’t Lake Wobegon, where all the quarterbacks are above average. There are going to be some bad ones.

And yet even as I acknowledge there are always going to be some bad quarterbacks, I found myself asking on Sunday afternoon: Do they have to be this bad?

Do they have to be as bad as Blake Bortles, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble as the Jaguars were blown out by the Titans? Do they have to be as bad as Mike Glennon, who also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble as the Bears were blown out by the Buccaneers? Do they have to be bad as Brian Hoyer, who threw 27 passes and couldn’t even get to 100 passing yards as the 49ers were kept out of the end zone for the second straight week in a loss to the Seahawks? Do they have to be as bad as Carson Palmer, who is 37 years old but looked 137 years old?

Palmer was so bad that when Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked at halftime what was wrong with his team, he answered in one word: “Quarterback.” The Cardinals actually managed to win, thanks to a bad interception thrown by the opposing quarterback, Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was bad, too, but he has an excuse: He’s only been a Colt for two weeks. Indianapolis acquired him in a desperate attempt to atone for their terrible mistake of heading into the season with Scott Tolzien as their starting quarterback. Tolzien was benched during an awful loss in Week One, and Brissett has been better, though not exactly good.

There are, of course, good quarterbacks in the NFL. Tom Brady had 447 yards, most ever for a 40-year-old quarterback, against a bad Saints secondary yesterday. Alex Smith turned in his second straight solid game as the Chiefs improved to 2-0. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are coming on two and a half years after they were the first and second picks in the 2015 NFL draft.

But even some of the good quarterbacks aren’t playing well. Cam Newton hasn’t been himself this season. Sam Bradford was good in the Vikings’ opener, but he’s made of glass so of course he got hurt and the Vikings were stuck with the terrible Case Keenum in yesterday’s loss to the Steelers. Tyrod Taylor has been around long enough that he ought to at least know how to run a two-minute drill, but he didn’t look like it as he wasted time while the Bills’ last-minute rally fell short.

We’ve become so conditioned by the video-game numbers that the great quarterbacks put up that NFL football feels boring when quarterbacks aren’t playing well. It’s a quarterback-driven league, and too many quarterbacks are driving their teams into the ditch.

Here are my other observations from Sunday’s NFL action:

Jason Kelce told his teammates to get inside his brother’s head. For the first time on Sunday, the Kelce brothers (Philadelphia’s Jason and Kansas City’s Travis) faced each other in the NFL. Before the game, Jason told CSN Philadelphia that he told his teammate, “Any kind of trash talk gets inside my brother’s head. . . . The one thing you can try and do is get in his head and sometimes he’ll beat himself.” Sure enough, Travis got flagged for taunting during the game. It was a good scouting report Jason gave his teammates — and ridiculous that Travis, who also drew a personal foul penalty and a flag last week, can’t control himself. Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the league — he later scored the game-winning touchdown — but the way he acts on the field is unacceptable.

DirecTV needs to get its act together. Many of the NFL’s most passionate fans are DirecTV subscribers solely for the 17 NFL Sundays when they can get Sunday Ticket, the DirecTV-exclusive service that provides access to every NFL game. And yet Sunday Ticket is riddled with technical difficulties. Yesterday much of America was unable to see DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel for what DirecTV was calling only a “known issue.” I’ve been a subscriber for many years, and I’ve had problems with everything from games being mistakenly blacked out to my entire DirecTV signal being interrupted. Sunday Ticket is invaluable — when it works. Which isn’t often enough.

Tony Romo is a great addition to Sunday afternoons. As the color commentator on the No. 1 CBS team, Romo is rapidly becoming one of my favorite things about spending Sunday afternoons in front of the television. His ability to see how the play will develop before the ball is snapped is remarkable. He called the Saints’ touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman just before it happened on Sunday, and he routinely pointed out the types of things fans would love to hear if they had a chance to watch a game with a recently retired quarterback. Romo the announcer is the real deal.

Dean Blandino, not so much. I’m still waiting to see what Blandino adds to the FOX broadcasts that Mike Pereira wasn’t already providing. When FOX hired Pereira, it was a tremendous service to viewers at home, who could find out the intricacies of the rulebook in real time as a referee reviewed a replay. But when CBS hired Mike Carey to do the same job he struggled, and so far Blandino seems to be veering toward Carey territory. Blandino looks uncomfortable on camera and isn’t as quick as Pereira in interpreting a replay and explaining it to the audience. He’s been disappointing.

The Saints’ defense is terrible. Still. In 2015, the Saints allowed an NFL-record 45 touchdown passes. Through two games this year, the Saints are on pace to break that record and allow 48 touchdown passes. It’s stunning how consistently awful the Saints’ defense has been. They have a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, but he can’t do it alone.

37 responses to “Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon, the NFL’s quarterback problem and other Week 2 observations

  1. You might want to add Kizer to the list of really bad QB’s. His play was as bad as any of the other QB’s you mentioned. But Hue ( the QB whisper) will defend his play when everyone who watched the game could easily see the kid has accuracy problems. Hogan ran the offense more effectively and deserves to be the Browns starting QB. Loosing faith that Hue is the right Head coach for the team. At minimum he need to hire a offensive coordinator to call plays.

  2. .
    Glennon was not as bad as the statistics show. He found himself down 14-0 early, helped by an absurd Cohen fumble which gave the Tampa offense a very short field. From that point he was out of character, as he is more of a game manager than game rescuer type of QB. Playing from behind led to the “pass on every down” strategy which led to the pick six and fumble.

    It also should be noted that he had very little help from a receiving corp that consists of those who are injured and those cannot catch.
    .

  3. The Saints defense is terrible? That headline can describe them just about every single year. Why aren’t GM Mickey Loomis and HC Sean Payton Ever held accountable for this yearly problem? Payton gets praised every season for being the league’s best play caller. But he’s never blamed for a big problem which is always repeating itself.

  4. I’m convinced that Blandino must have pictures of Goodell or FOX execs with a donkey or something. There’s no way he gets ANY job on merit alone.

  5. Uhh Romo is terrible. I still have a headache from all his blathering. He needs a muzzle.

    And yes the Saints stink. Saw lots of playoff predictions for them. Nonsense.

  6. Great observation re: DirecTV: for as much as it costs, it has to work 100% of the time. Nothing like having family/friends over for the weekly game, watch the pregame, and then, as the kicker is approaching the ball, have the screen switch to “Thank you for watching Sunday Ticket on DirecTV”.

    All of the other games were on; took them a few minutes to get ours on.

  7. All good points by Smith, especially concerning Blandino and Kelce. Blandino is terrible!! He mumbles and stumbles and doesn’t make any sense when he’s asked to give his opinion of a play.
    And Kelce is an absolute moron. Andy Reid was fuming and got right in his face after that stupid taunting penalty he got. I thought Reid was going to explode his face was so red. Kelce is very talented, but he’s a complete moron who never gets it.
    The Chiefs are rapidly becoming a team I could root against. Their crowd out-did the Atlanta Braves with that stupid Indian tomahawk chant they do. It was so annoying and you could barely hear the announcers doing the game over it. The networks have to get rid of the microphones which pick up the crowd noise when they are in that stadium.

  8. There’s no reason the NFL can’t have a developmental league besides shortsighted greed. Everything the owners do has to make money. You’d think they would understand the concept of research and development but they’re too hung up on monetizing everything. Do you think Toyota requires it’s R&D section to make money? Of course not. R&D makes a better product. The NFL version of R&D would be a developmental league for quarterbacks and other skill positions. And, no, the NCAA isn’t a developmental league. If baseball, basketball and hockey can have minor leagues, there’s no reason the NFL can’t besides simple, shortsighted greed.

  9. Saints are back to the Archie Manning days. They are plain terrible outside of Brees and a couple goos receivers. Defense is terrible, offensive line is just as bad..

  10. Here is my takeaway from Tony Romo working with Jim Nance. Romo was an above average QB (I think under rated), though not Hall of Fame caliber. And he can accurately look at the alignment of the formation, look at the personnel on the field, and predict very accurately what the play is, and where the ball is going before the snap. If an above average but not hall of fame worthy QB knows that much, do you really think that every Head Coach and Coordinator on the sideline (as well as most of the players on the field) don’t also know what is coming??? In other words, do we still think Spygate was the end all be all of “cheating”, when every coach/coordinator/player/commentator in the stadium already knows the next play from personnel groupings, formation, motion, etc…?

  11. I dont think you can put all of the Bills failures on Tyrod. When a coach saw his running QB try and break a play by running the ball, why did Sean Mcdermott not call a timeout? Hes a rookie coach and I get that, but he let 16 seconds off the clock because he was cheering his guys on the sideline and not doing his job. If their rookie WR didnt drop a 4th down catch on the 3 yard line that 16 seconds would have been invaluable.

  12. Canadian fans would kill for DirecTV right now. Take a look at how badly DAZN has messed up the NFL rights in Canada this year.

  13. Great article-

    My thoughts-

    Ironic that you mention Direct TV. I have been a DTV customer for years and was Sunday Ticket Subscriber up through the year before last. I dropped it off because it was annoying that new customers were getting it for free and i was paying over around $300 for it. the other thing was I am a Lions fan, and during the Millen 0-16 era the team was unwatchable and sunday ticket + fantasy was the only thing that made football fun. Now that the lions are watchable , the price has increased, and i don’t spend all sunday non stop in front of the TV typically, I stopped getting the ticket. However,I still want RedZone- DTV won’t allow you to buy redzone without a ST package- AND RZ is not even included with the almost $400.00 base sunday ticket, you have to add on to get RZ. Now that RZ is not exclusive to DTV, literally everyone else can buy it separately other than me, including ATT U-Verse customers which is BS because ATT and DTV merged. Also,as I have bundled DTV + ATT for internet – I can not stream the Redzone through Playstation network because ATT restricts it knowing I am a DTV customer.
    I spent an hour on the phone yesterday arguing with them about this. So I gathered my info and called them to let them know i was going to cancel my TV service and get Playstation vue turned on that day which gives me all the channels i watch + RZ, suddenly they relented and gave me RZ for free. I honestly think i am still going to cancel because it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Direct TV has gone completely downhill since the ATT merger- the customer service used to be awesome at DTV, it sucks now. I never had issues with service before either- now i do.

  14. You forgot to mention that the Chargers are secretly being paid millions to throw games at the end of regulation. It is impossible to lose that many games with a fourth quarter lead, all within the last minute.

  15. The amazing thing is that Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell did not sign another quarterback in free agency to compete with Bortles. They did not trade for another quarterback to compete with Bortles. They did not draft another quarterback to compete with Bortles.

    They only brought back Chad Henne, who they already know is equally as dreadful.

    The Jaguars will never be a contender until they get a competent front office.

  16. egomaniac247 says:
    September 18, 2017 at 7:48 am
    I thought for SURE this was another Kaepernick endorsement post. Pleasantly surprised. Good read.

    —————

    I agree. The funny thing is this became the week I saw some possible openings where Kaep might fit. (Before this week I did not)

    But also for those cases to be ‘firs’ the media has to back off and not make the entire thing a circus if a team wants to take the look. For this article not to go down that path was a good first step.

  17. I Just Like To Type Comments That Wont Get Published says:
    September 18, 2017 at 8:46 am
    Here is my takeaway from Tony Romo working with Jim Nance. Romo was an above average QB (I think under rated), though not Hall of Fame caliber. And he can accurately look at the alignment of the formation, look at the personnel on the field, and predict very accurately what the play is, and where the ball is going before the snap. If an above average but not hall of fame worthy QB knows that much, do you really think that every Head Coach and Coordinator on the sideline (as well as most of the players on the field) don’t also know what is coming??? In other words, do we still think Spygate was the end all be all of “cheating”, when every coach/coordinator/player/commentator in the stadium already knows the next play from personnel groupings, formation, motion, etc…?

    —————–

    Lolololol. I read your full post not knowing what point you were leading to until it came up at the end. You got me.

    Im a Pats fan, I agree with your statement about Spygate (but they did still violate the letter of the rule), I think deflategate was a total sham. I am aware other teams have been caught doing both those things without getting punished. All points well taken. But all beaten to death too. At some point we just have to move on. Dont let Goodell and haters steal your power. We have a perpetually great team and potential champion year in and year out that has not been changed. Go forth and be happy.

  18. their rookie WR didnt drop a 4th down catch on the 3 yard line that 16 seconds would have been invaluable.

    Do you even football bro? Sure Jones should have caught that overthrown pass after having to twist and turn to make that catch. Maybe a Calvin Johnson makes that catch… but more than likely Taylor should have put that ball in a better spot. No way that drop is on him. But it’s all good, keep playing this way and we can finally be in a position to draft a potential franchise guy

  19. Canadian fans would kill for DirecTV right now. Take a look at how badly DAZN has messed up the NFL rights in Canada this year.

    ———————————————–

    Aside from not having commentary for the first quarter of the first game of the season, DAZN has been phenomenal. I’ve had zero problems with it. And for $20/month as opposed to the $70/month plus a cable/satellite bill and every national game blacked out that it used to cost to watch football, I’ll take a couple technical problems here and there any day.

  20. Well it’s nice to see I am not missing much. Haven’t watched any NFL the first two weeks nor the preseason. Don’t know if my steelers are televised this coming week, if they are I will watch that game, if not, it will be 3 weeks without football! Oh and it has been wonderful, I’m finding a lot of other fun things to do with my time and actually getting out off my fat butt and doing some things outdoors!

  21. The Saints defense is terrible because they’re no longer allowed to get away with injuring players for compensation. I hope this curse lives forever.

    Sincerely,

    A forever-bitter Vikings fan who still hasn’t been able to bring himself to watch the MIN/NO NFC Championship highlights

  22. Completely agree on Blandino. He looked so awkward the one time on camera and I noticed they only used voice comments for the rest of the game

  23. To all DIRECTV Sunday Ticket customers:

    Do what I have done in the past. If the Red Zone channel is not being shown or a game is mistakenly blacked out, call them up and request a refund for the week. They have done that for me in the past and also given me free premium channels for my trouble. The only way DIRECTV will improve the Sunday Ticket is if lots of customers call and complain every time it doesn’t work.

    We are spending about $20/week on it; we deserve for it to function properly.

  24. vikegang says:
    September 18, 2017 at 11:49 am

    The Saints defense is terrible because they’re no longer allowed to get away with injuring players for compensation. I hope this curse lives forever.

    Sincerely,

    A forever-bitter Vikings fan who still hasn’t been able to bring himself to watch the MIN/NO NFC Championship highlights
    ________________________________________________________

    Um, they won the Super Bowl, so there is no curse. As for the MIN/NO game … oh well. That’s what happens when Favre tried to stick it to Ted, for no reason. Epic fail, and glorious, lol.

  25. My issues this week:
    – I had a stupid family event Sunday where the lady of the house muted the game and one of the others lobbied to “just shut it off”
    – their stupid dog licked dip off my plate and was called “cute”
    – that doofus dog could do better than Gerry Austin
    – Blake Bortles couldn’t even back up half the QBs in the league, what did they see in him?

    Might be time to go rake leaves and chill out.

  26. 1. Gerry Austin is the worst thing on TV including STD commercials
    2. The Bills WR “dropped” the pass? HORRIBLE pass by Taylor (who yes, is another one of many awful QBs starting this year) behind him when he was wide open.
    3. Hogan looked much better than Kizer. Kizer is wildly overrated and wasn’t even very good in college. Bye Hue.

  27. Starting QB’s who are not just mediocre, but actually aggressively suck:

    Bortles
    (fill in Colt starter here)
    Kizer
    Dalton
    Taylor
    McCown
    Glennon
    Keenum
    Hoyer
    Goff
    Palmer
    Eli

  28. Not an unbiased opinion and I’m not gonna argue Tyrod is a great NFL QB because he isn’t, but he does not ‘aggressively suck’. He has been a competent QB since he’s been the starter which is why he was top 10 in QBR in both 2015 and 2016. He managed a Bills offense that led the league in rushing and had no problem scoring points. He led QBs in rushing and has been one of the better deep ball throwers, so what do the new HC/OC/GM do? Trade the only viable deep threat left on the roster so we exclusively have possession WRs. His weakness is decision-making and accuracy in short and intermediate throws and that’s exactly the offense that has been put around him.

    I know quite a few Bills fans that think the organization is intentionally setting Tyrod up to fail. There’s no other explanation to drastically changing an offense that scored the same amount of points as Pittsburgh in 2016. It’s a tank year and Buffalo has two picks in each of the first three rounds.

  29. Captainronmexico said:

    “Starting QB’s who are not just mediocre, but actually aggressively suck: Bortles, (fill in Colt starter here), Kizer, Dalton, Taylor, McCown, Glennon, Keenum, Hoyer, Goff, Palmer, and Eli.”

    Unless Andrew Luck’s latest injury/surgery turns out to be career defining, that inclusion is foolishness. And to tag a two-time Super Bowl MVP on at the end? … Amusing at best.

  30. Good observations. About the Directv service though, if you call and play hardball you can typically get it free or highly discounted. Granted I’ve had it for 15 years, but I’ve gotten numerous years for free or at a discount rate. You just have to be tough. I paid a little last year, but was determined to get it free or cancel my service all together, and sure enough I got it free, and even reduced my package to save me a bit more each month. I fairly certain I haven’t paid full price in over 5 years, possibly more. They want your business outside of that 17 weeks.

  31. Glennon is a journeyman backup at best. My bet is they trot Trubisky out for the Packers, trying to trip up Green Bay with a QB that they don’t have tape on in the regular season. The NFL is in trouble, big trouble. The fans are tuning out, the revenue stream is going to diminish. They better get their entertainers to play the game and leave political stuff off the tube, and they better address the injury problem. I am sick of watching the carnage, it is simply a demolition derby with the last lucky survivor taking home the trophy. They need to expand rosters so that teams can add depth.

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