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TWO of the biggest wins in Week Three of the NFL came from a Teddy Bridgewater-led New Orleans Saints, and a Daniel Jones-led New York Giants.
Some of you will know that in terms of quarterbacks, those teams are synonymous with the names Dress Brees and Eli Manning.
Week Three saw new young quarterbacks at the helm of no fewer than six teams due to a combination of injury or hope for a change in fortunes. Let’s take a look at three of the biggest changes.
Manning was the original sulking youngster, not happy with the team who drafted him and demanding a trade — that’s right, it’s been happening at least since the 2004 draft.
Manning was drafted No 1 overall like his brother Peyton Manning before him (their father was a No 2 pick).
Eli was drafted by the San Diego Chargers but, not happy with this, Eli ended up being almost immediately being traded to the New York Giants in exchange for the fourth overall pick; quarterback Phillip Rivers.
And he became the guy in New York.
The 36-year-old Manning started 210 consecutive regular season games from November 21 2004, when he took over for Kurt Warner in Week 11 of his rookie season, before being benched for Geno Smith in Week 12 of the 2017 season.
In his 15 years he won two Super Bowls, both in spectacular fourth quarter comebacks v the New England Patriots.
Due to a loss of form, Manning was forced to hand the reins over to rookie first-round pick Jones.
In his first start, the 22-year-old led the Giants on a comeback of his own, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thanks to a last-gasp missed field goal from kicker Matt Gay.
“We had a chance there at the end of the game. That’s all you can ask for,” said Jones about the eight-play, 75-yard game-winning drive.
“We kinda struggled to move the ball there at points and … just a great job, great job moving the ball down the field as a team. We got some guys open, and they made plays. So great job, loved the fight and loved the grit of this win.”
Giants coach Pat Shurmur said of his young quarterback: “You can start to see — and as you get to appreciate him as a player — there’s plenty of things he needs to do better.
“But as you get to — there’s certain things that I knew about this kid when we drafted him: he was tough, he was competitive, and in my opinion he’s a winner.
“Now, the rest of it is just pure quarterback stuff. And because of those first three things, that’s why he’s gonna have a chance moving forward.”
The 11th pick of that same 2004 draft was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, another two-time Super Bowl winner.
“Big Ben” is known for his no-nonsense attitude on the team, which in the past has rubbed teammates the wrong way.
This off-season he was involved in the Antonio Brown saga, with the wide receiver ultimately being traded away from the Steelers for peanuts to the Oakland Raiders, having said he was unhappy due to a clash of personalities with his quarterback.
Their argument started last season when Roethlisberger offered a mild criticism of his route running, culminating in a war of wards which is still ongoing and has turned extremely personal.
Big Ben is now out for the season after injuring his elbow and for the rest of the 2019 at least the team are in the hands of second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph looked good in his half of football versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week Two and in his first start but he severely struggled to stay consistent v the San Francisco 49ers in Week Three.
Rudolph did throw for two touchdowns but completed just 14 of his 27 attempts.
He missed open receivers, struggled to generate momentum throughout the game and if you take out his TDs, the rest of his stat line reads 12 of 25 for 59 yards with one interception.
“We just came out slow and I’m more to blame than anyone,” said Rudolph. “Those possession downs, those third downs, gotta convert … I gotta be better in those situations and give our teams chances to extend drives.”
When asked to further expand on his first career NFL start, the 24-year-old told reporters: “I wanna watch the film, but a lot of mistakes.
“Obviously, we can’t be that slow starting in the first half. I gotta give our team and our defence more of a chance to put some points up early and get ahead.
“With all the turnovers they created, they played unbelievable and they did everything coached asked of them through the week, creating turnovers and flying around. We just gotta back them up. We gotta have their back.”
With Bridgewater, it is likely that the Saints are preparing for the potential retirement of their future Hall of Fame quarterback Brees.
The former Minnesota Viking has been called into action due to the thumb injury Brees suffered in Week Two, which will now keep him out for six to eight weeks.
Brees holds the records for career passing yards (74,437), completion percentage (67.3 per cent) and most completions in a season (471) — the numbers are phenomenal.
He also sits just 17 touchdowns behind Peyton Manning in career passing touchdowns, although Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is likely to surpass Manning this season as he currently sits 15 passes behind his former nemesis who retired on 539.
As for Bridgewater, he looked a more than capable back-up after beating the Seahawks in Seattle.
Its going to be a big year of change in team leaders and there’s a lot of debate as to whether we see these legends take the field again.
Youngsters Luke Falk, Josh Rosen, Gardner Minshew and Jacoby Brissett are now starting for the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, although Falk will be replaced by Sam Darnold when he recover from mononucleosis and long-term questions will remain surrounding Rosen as the Dolphins eye up Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa with what they hope will be the No 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
The Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos are weeks away — or so their fans will hope — from giving rookies Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock their debuts and the Patriots even sat Brady for a short time debuting Jarrett Stidham, though Stidham did throw a pick six to Jamal Adams of the Jets in his short stint as the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots.
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