From a competitive standpoint, three NFL teams have no idea what to expect with their main leader. NFL quarterback questions threaten to drown them, but perhaps its just business.
Prepare for the intense sports debate that only sibling rivalry can conjure. Seesaw Sports, where Dan Salem and Todd Salem throw down on the NFL, MLB, NBA and more. Only on BuzzChomp. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.
With the start of the NFL season right around the corner, a surprising number of NFL quarterback questions still remain across the league. We are through the draft, and the only free agents hanging around are ones no one covets. Depth charts are pretty much set, which makes these expected QB1s such a surprise.
More BuzzChomp: Celebrate 10 Years Of BuzzChomp With Us!
Some of the decisions may lead to some rough football, but are easy to explain. Those teams moving toward a rookie passer are hoping to find a franchise leader once he learns the ropes. Teams like Arizona and Miami may be starting backups just because their main guy is recovering from injury. It makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is the decision made for the following organizations. Washington, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay are diving into the ocean with weights on their ankles.
NFL Quarterback Questions
Washington Commanders: QB1 Sam Howell
Todd Salem: Washington is really doing this. The Commanders are heading into the season with Sam Howell as their starting quarterback. It is either a blatant tank job with eyes on next season, or the team sees something the rest of us don’t.
Option one doesn’t make a ton of sense because the rest of this Washington roster is pretty darn solid. They have skill players on offense, assets along the offensive line, and a slew of talent on the defensive side. As we always say, the only thing missing… But going with Howell feels like the front office didn’t believe the rest of the team was good enough to compete.
More BuzzChomp: Tim Burton’s Top 5 Movies Of All Time
Maybe that is true, and it’s a misread by fans and analysts to assume it was. The NFC East is a challenging division, one where the Commanders may have finished last even with a league-average passer. Maybe that was the math that took place. Even so, there is no viable young passer on the roster other than Howell to build around. If the team meanders through the season, what is the plan for the future?
Dan Salem: This NFL quarterback decision is all about maintaining value and keeping a steady course through the sale of the team. Washington is being sold and for things to actually be completed, the team’s value must remain the same. If it goes up with a much better passer at the helm, Dan Snyder likely balks. The worse the team looks, the easier it is to sell and let the new guy redo things in his image. But most importantly, it must look the same as it did when a price was agreed upon. That is Howell’s job; continuity.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB1 Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield
Todd Salem: It is fair to expect a rebuilding season after the departure of Tom Brady. Tampa Bay has handed the reins to Baker Mayfield, though, with no clear plan for the future. I guess the plan is to grab a top two draft pick and take a franchise QB in the 2024 NFL Draft. That shouldn’t make fans feel all that great about this coming season, but it’s a calculated step back for a future gain.
But similarly to Washington, if the plan is to essentially take the year off, what does that say about the rest of this roster that includes the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Ryan Jensen, Vita Vea, Lavonte David, etc.? These are Pro Bowl-caliber veterans ready to compete. At least Washington has the cover that it wants to see what the ceiling is with Howell. We know what a team is with Mayfield at the helm, and it’s not competing for titles.
Also on BuzzChomp: Wild NFC and AFC Predictions for 2023
Dan Salem: Interestingly enough, Mayfield is not the guaranteed starter for the Buccaneers. He must earn the job, competing with Kyle Trask. It’s also worth noting that head coach Todd Bowles is on a very short leash and is likely to be fired after a poor season. Any new head coach will want his own quarterback, so Mayfield is the ideal stopgap player. Perhaps Trask develops into a starter, or perhaps Mayfield does his job and helps the Bucs reset for the next regime. This is business.
Atlanta Falcons: QB1 Desmond Ridder
Todd Salem: It’s hard to know if Atlanta actually believes in Desmond Ridder or just didn’t have any other logical options. To me, this falls somewhere between Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh and Justin Fields in Chicago. The Falcons are ready and comfortable seeing if Ridder can take the next step (or a first step), a la Pittsburgh with Pickett, but are also taking this season to see if he really has the chops, a la Chicago with Fields.
I can’t say I love the gamble in a highly winnable division. If these young pieces on offense are really all they are cracked up to be, but Ridder holds everyone back, that is a huge blow to the development of the roster and the timeline to competing.
Also on BuzzChomp: Fantasy Baseball Is Too Damn Hard, But I Love It
Just like Howell, I feel the need to add a caveat that these players’ own teams see them day in and day out and know a lot more than we do about their trajectory. Presumably, they can read that this is the right guy to take a chance on, and yet, teams have bungled this decision too many times to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
Dan Salem: Atlanta is giving Ridder a shot because they have to. They drafted him and can’t smear egg on their own face by refusing to play him. That said, I agree that someone like Baker Mayfield can win this division for the Falcons. He may win this division for the Buccaneers if something wild happens, but Atlanta is truly positioned to take the NFC South… with a competent quarterback.
It was smart to avoid overpaying for a veteran in free agency, because I’m not sure this team is good enough to warrant that type of acquisition. The only logical conclusion is that Atlanta is playing the long game, because we all know it’s better to bottom out with three wins than grab eight. Even a division title and a wildcard round loss holds you back from improving an otherwise mediocre roster for next season.
Meet our Writers:
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Co-owner of BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his old-school comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Todd Salem is a Staff Writer and Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp. He’s also a fantasy football and fantasy baseball Staff Writer for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter or comment below for his unfiltered opinions.
BuzzChomp is an affiliate for products and services recommended herein. Please read our Full Disclaimer for further information on affiliate programs and opportunities.