The afternoon slate for Week 11 of the NFL schedule provided us with several quality QB performances.
Tommy DeVito found his stride as the New York Giants' momentary heir to Daniel Jones. C.J. Stroud tossed a few picks, but also made several trademark dimes en route to another Houston Texans win. Jordan Love threw for 322 yards and a couple touchdowns, perhaps his best performance of the season in a Green Bay Packers win.
But, alas, there was also a few stinkers. That's what we will focus on in this particular column. Here are the Week 11 QBs who may have earned a one-way ticket to the bench.
The Las Vegas Raiders fell below .500 with a 20-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The defense continues to shine with Antonio Pierce at the helm, but a lack of offense doomed the Raiders in a lower-scoring affair than initially expected.
Holding Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins to 20 points — especially in a game in which Tyreek Hill broke loose for 146 yards — is no small feat. The Raiders, unfortunately, committed too many offensive mistakes. Rookie Aidan O'Connell, in his fourth NFL start, was responsible for several of those mishaps.
He completed 24-of-41 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, finding Davante Adams on seven of 13 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. O'Connell can absolutely sling it and move the ball down field, but it's difficult to win high-leverage football games when you commit three interceptions. On multiple occasions, Las Vegas' momentum was stymied by their QB's youthful inaccuracy.
The Raiders are at an organizational crossroads after firing Josh McDaniels, but Vegas entered the game 5-5 with a lot of momentum on their side. The defense did its job and the Raiders were within striking distance, but O'Connell couldn't execute under pressure.
Jimmy Garoppolo is by no means a great quarterback, but he's a proven veteran who has led multiple postseason teams. He has been a difficult campaign for the 32-year-old — nine interceptions to only seven touchdowns — but there's an argument to be made that he is the Raiders' best option in the short term as the team looks to remain in the wild card hunt.
The Cleveland Browns scrapped their way to a 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, largely because of their No. 1 defense. Cleveland now holds sole possession of second place in the AFC North at 7-3, but it's time to consider a change to their QB plans before it gets too late.
On the surface, Dorian Thompson-Robinson was the right choice to start this game. Veteran P.J. Walker has been largely unplayable in his sporadic appearances this season. Deshaun Watson is out until 2024, and there is undeniable upside tied to DTR's dual-threat athleticism — even if his first start way back in Week 4 went poorly.
Well, start No. 2 didn't go so hot either. Cleveland won the game, but 13 points isn't enough to win most games. The Steelers' uniquely terrible offense shouldn't overshadow the fact that Thompson-Robinson posted a shoddy 54.9 QB rating, completing 24-of-43 passes for 165 yards and one interception. He added 20 yards on the ground, but that hardly moves the needle in a positive direction.
The Browns' only alternative at the moment is Walker, who has one touchdown and five interceptions in five appearances (three starts) this season. The Browns are expected to consider free agents, however, including recent workout visitor Joe Flacco.
While it's hard to get excited about 2023 Joe Flacco starting football games, there's a real chance he's a better option than DTR in the short term. Or, the Browns could consider a different veteran currently floating on the market. Cleveland has the defense to make real noise in the postseason, but one has to imagine the house of cards will crumble if DTR remains under center at this stage in his development.
Thing is, the Browns don't have much time to incorporate a new arm. It's now or never.
The Steelers should actually consider dumping Matt Canada for another coordinator. But, that won't happen. Desperate times, desperate measures. Mike Tomlin continues to invent excuses for Kenny Pickett, but the 25-year-old has done little this season to reassure the fanbase that he was actually "handed down by the football gods" to save Pittsburgh football.
Pickett completed 15-of-28 passes for 106 yards with a 62.5 QB rating in the Steelers' loss. The Browns' defense is abnormally strong, but this has become a weekly trend for Pickett. He threw for 126 yards last week. The week before, 160 yards. Maybe the Steelers should pivot to their more experienced backup, Mitchell Trubisky.
It's natural to shudder at the thought. Trubisky, a former No. 2 pick turned enemy of the state in Illinois, has been relegated to backup duties for a reason. He made the Pro Bowl was back in his second NFL season, but it has been a precipitous decline since. He fell out of favor in Chicago, made a brief QB2 pit stop in Buffalo, then found himself as the Steelers' reserve.
Trubisky has appeared in two games this season, completing 18-of-32 pass attempts for 156 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Not great, Bob, but perhaps an extended leash and the confidence of his coaching staff could unlock improved results as the starter. The Steelers' offense is stuck in mud right now. Unless the team plans to let their postseason hopes gradually fade away, it's hard to justify a sustained investment in Pickett, beyond the simple fact that there isn't a great alternative on the roster.
There's a chance he falls flat in the same ill-fated offensive setup as his younger teammate, but Trubisky at least has legitimate NFL experience. He's not a no-name rookie or a complete non-entity. If there's a belief that he could deliver even marginal improvements over the current product, the Steelers' coaching staff should consider the change. Let Pickett use it as motivation.2023-11-19T23:38:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd