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Top NFL Storylines Entering Week 3

By Zack Schlegel

We are just two weeks into the NFL season, and there has already been plenty of season-changing developments to discuss. The injury bug has found its way around the league very early this season, and specifically at the quarterback position. Aside from the ageless wonder Tom Brady, many of the quarterback legends we have come to know and love over the past two decades are nearing the end of their runs.

As legends inch closer to their final days, the dust will begin to settle. We are now witnessing the next wave of youth at the quarterback position in the NFL. When it comes to storylines heading into Week 3, the questions and decisions being made at quarterback around the league is where we will begin.

Quarterback injuries are plaguing the league. 

Getty Images: Photo by Sean M. Haffey

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton reaggravated a mid-foot strain in the Panther’s TNF match-up with the Buccaneers. He has not practiced since, and is still wearing a walking boot. The second year man out of Texas A&M, Kyle Allen, will likely get the start this Sunday against the Cardinals. Allen went undrafted in 2018, and led the Panthers to a 33-14 win over the Saints in their 2018 season finale. Rookie Will Grier will be Allen’s backup.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger suffered a non-contact injury to his elbow in the Steelers’ 28-26 loss to the Seahawks last weekend. Big Ben will have season-ending elbow surgery and has been placed on IR. Former Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph will now be the guy in Pittsburgh moving forward. Rudolph hooked up with tight end Vance McDonald for a couple touchdowns against the Seahawks. The Steelers will travel to San Francisco to take on the 2-0 49ers this Sunday as 6.5-point underdogs.

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees injured the thumb on his throwing hand last Sunday in the Saints’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It is believed to be a ligament issue, and the 40-year-old will be undergoing surgery this week. Brees is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Head coach Sean Payton declined to name a starting quarterback for their game against Seattle on Sunday. He said that they will approach the game with two quarterbacks. Veteran Teddy Bridgewater and dual-threat athlete Tayson Hill are both expected to play and have an impact.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Nick Foles broke his collarbone against the Kansas City Chiefs in his first ever start with the Jaguars. NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Foles’ surgery was successful, and that he is eyeing a return when they play the Colts in Week 11. In the meantime, Gardner Minshew will do his best to keep the Jaguars in contention for the AFC South division. The former Washington State Cougar with the legendary mustache, was named the league’s Rookie of the Week after his 2-TD performance against the Chiefs. He followed that up with a respectable performance on the road at Houston, where the Jaguars fell just short to the Texans after a failed 2-point conversion.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold’s situation may be the most odd. At age 22, Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis which is causing him to miss roughly a month of play. At this point he is expected to make his return in Week 5 against the Eagles. Trevor Siemian started in the Jets’ MNF match-up with this Cleveland Browns, but was forced to leave the game with a gruesome-looking ankle injury. So, the Jets are now down to their third string quarterback, Luke Falk. Falk set all kinds of Pac-12 conference records during his time at Washington State. Now he will get his chance to showcase his talent for potential opportunities in the future.

Finding the best fit for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. 

Jalen Ramsey got into an altercation on the sidelines with coach Doug Marrone during their loss to the Texans this past weekend. Marrone would not challenge a play that Ramsey insisted they should challenge. It was later reported that Ramsey had requested to be traded from the Jaguars.

The star cornerback was drafted by the Jaguars in 2016, and helped the team make a run all the way to the AFC Championship game against the Patriots in 2017. Jacksonville had a major slump the following season, and after losing quarterback Nick Foles, the Jaguars have now started the 2019 campaign with an 0-2 record.

It seems that Ramsey is tired of being a great talent on a bad team, and therefor looking to take his talents to an organization that will be better off recognizing and using them to win football games.

At this point, there are a number of teams in the discussion as far as who would be the best fit for Ramsey. The Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks have been mentioned as frontrunners. The Oakland Raiders are another team in the mix, given that Ramsey had named them directly as a landing spot a few months earlier. Although, one would imagine that Ramsey would like to join a team that is considered to be a contender in the immediate or near future.

For now, Ramsey will be suiting up for the Jaguars this Thursday night when they take on their division rival, the Tennessee Titans. Following the game, it is possible that a deal will be done by this weekend or next week to determine where Jalen Ramsey will end up. The Jaguars are asking for at least a first round pick, possibly two, in exchange for the star cornerback.

The Eli Manning era is over. 

After a quick 0-2 start for the New York Giants, head coach Pat Shurmur has benched the 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning. We all had a feeling that the 16-year veteran’s career was nearing an end, but it is nonetheless sad to witness the end of an era.

The Giants took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and received a lot of critisism for the decision. Some were upset that the Giants would take Jones over the other quarterbacks that were available in this year’s draft. Others had hoped the Giants would wait a year to grab a guy from what looks to be a much more talented quarterback class in the 2020 draft.

Daniel Jones certainly did not disappoint during his pre-season appearances. He completed 29 of 34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards and 2 touchdowns. While Eli was not necessarily happy with the decision, he made it a point to show that he’s committed to supporting Jones through this transition and will do whatever he can to help the Giants win games.

I don’t think anyone would expect anything less in the way that Eli Manning has handled this situation with the Giants. He’s that kind of guy, and Daniel Jones will only be better because of it.

Daniel Jones will make his first NFL regular season start this Sunday when the Giants travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs. The Bucs are coming off of a big divisional win against the Panthers last Thursday night, and the Giants are hoping to steal their first win of the season.

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