When I look at the starting quarterbacks of the AFC South, I see more potential than maybe some of my other fellow NFL writers. But when I saw that NFL.com has the foursome ranked as the seventh best out of eight league divisions, I had to do a double take.
A division with plenty of promise, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, with four young signal callers, deserves a better fate than the one Adam Schein has decided for them. With the return of both Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Deshaun Watson in Houston, how can this group be in the lower tier of passers?
It’s just puzzling in my opinion.
"“I really want to prop this division up, but there’s just way too much uncertainty,” Schein writes. “Watson was absolutely dynamic last season … before tearing his ACL. Will he be 100 percent in 2018?”"
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There is a reason for encouragement, as the NFL analyst points out He thinks Marcus Matiota will improve on a 2017 season that saw him throw 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. With a new head coach and staff, there is a chance he will improve his stats while a stronger running game behind him.
The question mark in Schein’s mind is still Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles who he says is someone, “We have seen. And it’s not good.”
Might I remind Schein that Bortles had his best season in the NFL in terms of throwing only 13 interceptions while throwing 21 touchdowns and had no turnovers in the AFC playoffs last season Maybe he should rethink this ranking as Bortles is not the first option in Jacksonville’s offense.
Unlike the other three quarterbacks in the division, Bortles and the Jaguars reached the AFC Title game last year and improved its roster with speed and depth on both sides of the ball.
It’s hard to understand these rankings given Schein places the AFC East ahead of the Jaguars, et al. The only guarantee is Tom Brady of the Patriots. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill is returning from injury. Buffalo may start rookie Josh Allen. The New York Jets are hoping Sam Darnold is behind center the first game of the season.
The division below the Jaguars and the rest of the AFC South is the AFC North. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco have won Super Bowl titles. Tyrod Taylor is now starting in Cleveland and Andy Dalton is still a proven commodity in Cincinnati.
Maybe Schein should rethink his positioning, or reset his rankings once the season starts.