Three rookies start in Week Four
Week Four in the NFL featured three different rookie quarterbacks making the starts for their NFL teams, with two of them making the first starts of their NFL careers. Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars made his first NFL start against the Chargers with mixed results in a loss where his team was outscored by a significant margin in the second half. Teddy Bridgewater made his first career NFL start in a win against the Falcons, and he threw for over 300 yards to go along with a rushing touchdown. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders, made the third start of his career as the Raiders fell to 0-4 on the season, and while Carr has shown flashes of his talent level, the results have been inconsistent overall. With these three quarterbacks who are highly thought of, making starts together in the NFL at the same time, the picture of what NFL’s future at the quarterback position is starting to emerge with these 2014 draft picks being given starts at the most important position on the field for their franchises.
For Bortles, a strong start to the game had Jacksonville in position to potentially pull the upset in San Diego if they were able to put together a strong second half effort. Led by Bortles arm strength and accuracy in the first half of the game, Jacksonville had an early 14-10 lead but trailed 17-14 after a late first half breakdown by their defense. Things did not work out so well for Blake Bortles in the second half though, as he threw two interceptions, and the Jaguars were outscored 16-0 in the final two quarters. For Bortles it was a great learning experience on a team that has some weapons, but does not have enough talent to make a push for a playoff berth this season. With Bortles draft status, comes high expectations, but early on this season the Jaguars management team and fans should have the patience to let him learn how to play the quarterback position at the NFL level. Overall Bortles was able to put his talent on display in his first NFL game by making some great throws to receivers that he has had very little time to work with in practice at this point in the season. With Bortles early performance, he and the Jaguars may be able to take steps forward this season and win games that they would not have previously won without one of the NFL’s future fixtures at the quarterback position.
For Teddy Bridgewater in his first NFL start, playing at home seemed to be the only thing that was going in his favor. Minnesota went into the game with star running back Adrian Peterson being absent from the active roster for the second straight game because of his suspension for the child abuse charges being brought against him. Being without a star running back was not the only disadvantage that Bridgewater faced though, as he had to help his team try to outscore the Falcons who had put up 56 points in their week three game against the Buccaneers. Bridgewater was ready for the challenge though, as he threw 30 passes without having one intercepted. He was able to complete 19 passes for over 300 yards, and while he did not throw a touchdown pass, he was able to run one in to help the winning effort by a suddenly explosive Vikings offense. Coming into the season there were some questions about Bridgewater’s arm strength, but with most of his completions being to his weapons on the perimeter, those questions were answered in a positive way early. While Bridgewater still has plenty to prove, his talent looks worthy of being a first round pick, and he could be on his way to becoming the Vikings franchise quarterback.
In the four games that Derek Carr has started for the Raiders, he has rarely had the opportunity to show off his fantastic arm strength due to having very little time to throw. As a second round draft pick, Derek Carr has a chance to be one of the future fixtures in the NFL at the quarterback position despite the limitations that have been on display for him early on in his rookie season. For Carr, like Bortles he is playing on a team that is off to a winless start to the season, but he can make impact for his team in the wins they gain throughout the rest of the season. Carr has shown the ability to be efficient from the quarterback position with his 63 percent completion rate to this point in his rookie season. In future games this season, the Raiders will need to ask more of Carr in order to determine how his development is progressing, and where his limits are at. With Derek Carr having yet to make many downfield throws, the Raiders still want to see if he can stretch the defense in the NFL. In the near future, the Raiders will get the opportunity to see Derek Carr prove to them that he can make all the throws on the field in game situations. So far in limited looks though, David Carr has represented the 2014 quarterback class quite well in the four games he has played.
For the top quarterbacks in the 2014 draft class, there will be some struggles as the young quarterbacks learn how to play the quarterback position at the NFL level. So far each one of them has shown why the NFL will continue to have a bright future at the quarterback position, as they look to meet the expectations for them with their rebuilding franchises. The Jaguars, Raiders and Vikings now have a great situation moving forward, as they believe they have their franchise quarterbacks of the future in place, and can focus their rebuilding efforts on putting all the other pieces in place. For now, each of these talented players will work to meet their own expectations in their rookie seasons as they develop into the type of players that can meet their career goals.