Many changes coming at quarterback in upcoming NFL season

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Sam Bradford

It should be an interesting year for quarterbacks in the NFL, primarily with the return of injured quarterbacks.

DeShaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Tannehill may provide the season’s most intriguing story lines.

The Houston Texans really need Watson to return to form and stay healthy. Their backup last season replacing Watson was Tom Savage, since signed by the Saints. He threw five touchdowns and six interceptions as Watson’s replacement. Houston is a an AFC contender with Watson and an also-ran without him.

Luck is said to finally be healthy and good to go this season, and to say he is needed in Indianapolis is an understatement. The Colts were 4-12 in 2017. Backup Jacoby Brissett, required in a trade from New England, did play relatively well after taking over in a tough situation with 13 touchdowns and seven picks. However, Indy has perhaps the least talented roster in the AFC South. Luck’s star quality makes them a contender much like our next QB does for his team.

Rodgers needless to say is much needed by the Packers, who missed the playoffs and had their first losing season since 2008 due to their franchise player’s second broken collarbone since joining the league. Brett Hundley got his chance to shine but struggled with nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The 5th round draft pick from UCLA has an uncertain future. If Rodgers cannot stay healthy, Green Bay has no future in the improved NFC North.

Carson Wentz, the number one overall NFL pick in 2016, suffered a torn ACL in December last season when it looked like he’d win league MVP honors. Nick Foles came in and led the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl. There is no QB controversy in Philly though. Wentz is already considered among the NFL’s elite.

Ryan Tannehill has missed the past 20 games for Miami with injuries. What happens in 2018 will have a big say in his future as well as the franchise. The Texas A&M product will need to master head coach Adam Gase’s offense or backup Brock Osweiler, who was with Gase in Denver, may take over. If Tannehill is not good, Miami will not be good.

Starters switching uniforms:
Case Keenum tops the depth chart of the Denver Broncos after he was signed as a free agent from the Vikings. Denver’s top draft pick in 2016, Paxton Lynch, continues to develop,but he needs to make progress soon. The other quarterback on their roster is the “Mr. Irrelevant” in the 2017 draft, Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly. However, Kelly has the talent and confidence to be relevant in the NFL if given the chance.

Alex Smith’s move from the Chiefs to the Redskins after he had a super productive 2017 season does not bring added confidence for success in the nation’s capital. With over 4,000 yards passing and 26 touchdowns, Smith played well enough to lead Kansas City to the playoffs last year but a collapse at home against the Titans sealed his fate. The Chiefs are putting all their eggs in the basket of 2017 first round draft pick Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech.

The Vikings will replace Keenum with Kirk Cousins, a pricey free agent signing from the Redskins. Minnesota has the highest of expectations so Cousins must earn his big contract.

The Cardinals picked up Sam Bradford, another former Vikings starter, who has played well but struggled with injury problems for many years. Arizona also drafted Josh Rosen out of UCLA with their top draft selection in 2017. Bradford could delay a full-fledged youth movement in the desert if he plays well and stays on the field.

Maybe the most interesting thing of those situations to watch is in Kansas City. Head coach Andy Reid is going with unproven Mahomes, and his only backups are Chad Henne, who has thrown just two passes in the last three seasons, and Matt McGloin, who backed up Derek Carr in Oakland.

Rookies in waiting:
Sam Darnold

The Jets have Josh McCown to mentor Darnols and also picked up Teddy Bridgewater from the Vikings. Bridgewater is coming off a serious knee injury but may be the number two quarterback this season. The Jets would be wise not to rush Darnold on to the field.

Josh Rosen

The future of the Cardinals may hold a clipboard this season if Bradford stays healthy.

Josh Allen

The Bills may give the somewhat raw Wyoming product playing time. The Bills traded Tyrod Taylor to the Browns and signed A. J. McCarron to fill the void. Nathan Peterman, a fifith round draft pick in 2017, could be bypassed by Allen if Buffalo decides their big investment needs live game reps.

Baker Mayfield

Selected by the Browns, Mayfield will battle it out with Tyrod Taylor. If Cleveland’s improved roster gels around Taylor, Mayfield and anxious Browns fans may have to wait awhile to see their heralded young quarterback.

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