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国产探花QB Index, Week 11: Dak Prescott earns highest ranking of 2023; Josh Allen tumbles out of top 10

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 10 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 11.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 9 games | 68.9 pct | 2,347 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT | 316 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Stats-scanners will claim fraudulence when seeing Hurts standing atop these rankings, but I鈥檓 not writing this solely off numbers. If you watch the tape, you鈥檒l see a quarterback doing some seriously special things behind the wheel of the Eagles offense. Hurts hasn鈥檛 quite reached his MVP-contending form of last season, but he鈥檚 not far off that mark right now. The Eagles are the NFC leaders because of Hurts (and his favorite target, A.J. Brown), not in spite of him, and I look forward to him justifying this notion in the weeks ahead. You鈥檒l see.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7

2023 stats: 9 games | 68.6 pct | 2,442 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 17 pass TD | 8 INT | 258 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

It鈥檚 weird to finish a week of games and realize I didn鈥檛 see Mahomes play football. It鈥檚 also been a bit of a strange season for Kansas City -- not because it鈥檚 not winning, but because it has encountered some surprising variance in style of play and production. In some weeks, Mahomes is a stat-stuffing machine, but in others, he鈥檚 just been OK. It鈥檚 fine, because the Chiefs are 7-2, but it鈥檚 not a runaway MVP season for Mahomes, making for an interesting backstretch to the 2023 season.

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 4

2023 stats: 9 games | 69.5 pct | 2,609 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 19 pass TD | 7 INT | 33 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 8 fumbles

I fully expect Tagovailoa to continue to produce big numbers down the stretch, in part because of Miami鈥檚 remaining schedule. He鈥檚 certainly doing an excellent job in Mike McDaniel鈥檚 offense, relying on his cast of pass-catchers and delivering on-target throws that allow them to catch and run, but his struggles against quality opponents make me less than certain about Miami鈥檚 ultimate ceiling. Tagovailoa has run into some occasional turnover issues, but the good has undoubtedly outweighed the bad. I鈥檓 very curious to see how he handles two dates with the stingy Jets defense within the next five weeks; those could be the games that make or break his case for MVP.

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 8

2023 stats: 9 games | 70.7 pct | 2,415 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 17 pass TD | 6 INT | 135 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

When you鈥檙e hot, you鈥檙e hot, and Prescott was engulfed in flames on Sunday. The stats speak for themselves: 26 of 35, 404 pass yards and four touchdowns. Frankly, the tape was even better than the numbers. Outside of an inconsequential interception, Prescott could do no wrong, hitting his targets so consistently, he even found CeeDee Lamb for a 17-yard completion thrown off one foot because he鈥檇 lost his balance yet still put the ball where Lamb needed it. On one of his four touchdown passes, Prescott stepped into a heave of a throw to Michael Gallup, and Gallup won the race to the end zone, curving back inside a defender to catch it. Everything went Prescott鈥檚 way, which was a product of his fantastic accuracy, which was especially impressive when throwing on the run. That was the best detail of his entire performance, which saw Prescott rolling right and left to deliver precise passes no matter the depth or field position. He鈥檚 truly cooking right now, and it鈥檚 outrageously fun to watch.

C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans · Rookie

2023 stats: 9 games | 61.6 pct | 2,626 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 15 pass TD | 2 INT | 86 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

The Texans鈥 Week 10 win over the Bengals is the game that will get the casuals on board. There鈥檚 no hiding from the spotlight now, C.J. This showing wasn鈥檛 as statistically stellar as Stroud鈥檚 previous outing, but we can鈥檛 expect a player to break records every week. What mattered more to me was how Stroud truly went toe to toe with Joe Burrow and a Bengals defense that has caused plenty of problems for passers this season. Sure, Stroud threw an interception, fumbled away possession and effectively opened the door for Cincinnati to get back into the game, but the rookie鈥檚 clutch gene is undeniable. Faced with a daunting scenario in the final two minutes, Stroud once again led a desperate yet measured drive, connecting with Dalton Schultz for a big gain and Noah Brown for the most important pickup of the day, setting up Matt Ammendola鈥檚 game-winning field goal. The most important aspects of Stroud鈥檚 game (accuracy, poise, versatility) still stand out on a weekly basis, and he needed all of them to take down Cincinnati for a huge Texans victory. If you鈥檝e read this weekly column, you already know I鈥檓 sold. And soon, the rest of the football world will be, too.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 6

2023 stats: 10 games | 70.3 pct | 2,177 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 10 pass TD | 5 INT | 481 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 10 fumbles

厂耻苍诲补测鈥檚 loss to the Browns was the first game I can recall in which I felt as if Jackson wasn鈥檛 in his full form. The numbers don鈥檛 tell the full story -- 13 of 23, 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions; eight carries for 41 yards -- and the scoring summary certainly doesn鈥檛 back up this notion, but as I watched Jackson deal with Cleveland鈥檚 defense, he didn鈥檛 seem like as big of a threat as usual. The Browns largely contained his scrambling ability and were surprisingly effective in pressuring him. Jackson missed a few throws (including a would-be touchdown to Zay Flowers that landed about a yard and a half out of reach), and his first interception was pretty ugly. The second mattered more, of course, as part of Cleveland鈥檚 frantic comeback, but what concerned me most about Jackson and the Ravens is their tendency to fall apart in the fourth quarter of these types of games. I expect Jackson to elevate them in these moments, and he just hasn鈥檛, which is disappointing when considering how great he鈥檚 been otherwise.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Lamar needed a bounce-back performance after Baltimore's stunning loss to Cleveland in Week 10, and he delivered. In addition to running for 54 yards on nine carries, Jackson completed 16 of his 26 passes for 264 yards, including a pair of scoring tosses just before halftime that promptly gave the Ravens an 11-point lead at the break. Baltimore ultimately cruised to a 34-20 win that wasn't even as close as the final score might lead you to believe.

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 4

2023 stats: 9 games | 67.0 pct | 2,208 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 14 pass TD | 6 INT | 81 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

I needed to take a walk after watching Texans-Bengals. Burrow鈥檚 return to prominence certainly wasn鈥檛 a fluke, but this game was stressful because of its tumult. Burrow threw a gorgeous touchdown pass on Cincinnati鈥檚 opening drive, then ran into rough waters, throwing two interceptions (including one in the end zone that looked as if it might seal the Bengals鈥 fate). He needed to channel his inner hero to drag the Bengals out of an unexpected hole. Burrow鈥檚 touchdown pass to Ja鈥橫arr Chase was magnificent because of how he pulled it off, sensing and rolling away from pressure to his left, finding Chase downfield, flipping his hips and dropping a dime into the bucket between two defenders, giving Chase the perfect catch-and-run angle for a score. I was pretty convinced Burrow was going to emerge victorious from a classic comeback effort -- until Tyler Boyd dropped what should have been a game-winning touchdown. Burrow couldn鈥檛 have put it on him any better, but that鈥檚 the way the prolate spheroid bounces sometimes. Deep down, I鈥檓 hoping we see this matchup again in ... the playoffs?! Yes, the playoffs.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Burrow began Thursday night's divisional showdown with Baltimore by helping Cincinnati gain a 10-7 lead via a touchdown pass to Joe Mixon, then promptly exited due to a wrist injury that kept him out for the remainder of the game. His line before he departed was solid (11 for 17, 101 yards, one touchdown), but his absence was glaring when watching backup Jake Browning attempt to keep the Bengals in a game that ended in a double-digit loss. And then on Friday, Cincinnati's worst fear became a reality: .

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 8

2023 stats: 9 games | 68.4 pct | 2,507 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 5 INT | 11 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

The Lions showed the full potential of their offense at SoFi Stadium. Goff played much like he has for most of the season, executing Ben Johnson鈥檚 well-schemed offense in a controlled fashion. He ended the day with two touchdowns to his credit, including a gorgeous pass over the middle to tight end Brock Wright out of play-action. It was one of those throws that will wow an onlooker, and it proved to be a crucial connection in a game that ended with a last-second field goal. Goff has been incredibly sharp in 2023, doing exactly what is asked of him at a relatively high level. On Sunday, the Lions needed him to do so from start to finish to win, and Goff delivered.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 4

2023 stats: 9 games | 67.1 pct | 2,349 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 17 pass TD | 5 INT | 113 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Herbert was dialed in against the Lions, delivering on-target passes both from the pocket and on the run. His best throw was a pure display of his rare arm strength, an absolute laser fired down the seam through Detroit鈥檚 Cover 3 defense for a spectacular touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton. The game reminded me of Herbert鈥檚 Week 1 showing against Miami. Unfortunately for Herbert, Week 10 also ended in a heartbreaking, narrow defeat. But unlike a lot of the games the Chargers have played in 2023, Herbert was the last person deserving of blame for the loss. His 323 passing yards and four touchdowns proved he did his part, even helping Los Angeles overcome his only blunder (a pass intended to be thrown away that ended in an interception). If Herbert has to perform at that level every week to give the Chargers a chance to win, it鈥檚 not going to be pretty. But it will certainly be thrilling.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 9 games | 67.3 pct | 2,120 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 9 pass TD | 6 INT | 223 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

Speeding up Lawrence is the way to beat him. It鈥檚 not a novel concept by any means, but it was clearly effective in Jacksonville鈥檚 loss to San Francisco. An under-pressure Lawrence started firing short-range fastballs to intended targets in the second half of the game, producing one of his two picks. When he鈥檚 flustered, Lawrence loses some of what makes him special, and against a good defense that denied even some of his best attempts, it made for a frustratingly disjointed experience for the QB in a blowout loss. His 17-of-29, 185-yard, two-interception passing line matched the tape. It鈥檚 not causing me to worry about Lawrence. I just believe San Francisco鈥檚 defense implemented a fantastic game plan for the matchup. Sometimes, that鈥檚 just how things go in this league.

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 15

2023 stats: 8 games | 59.7 pct | 2,070 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 68 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

It was a real bummer to see Stafford suffer a thumb injury that kept him out in Week 9. Fortunately, he鈥檚 expected to return this week. Prior to the injury, he was playing some of the best football of his career despite not being in the most advantageous situation with the Rams. What was more discouraging to me, though, was the perception of Stafford among the general football public. The Rams aren鈥檛 a great team, but Stafford was playing great football before his injury, elevating an offense that isn鈥檛 stocked with a ton of talent, even if critics judged him unfavorably by relying solely on his stats and Los Angeles鈥 record. I don鈥檛 expect the latter to improve much, but hopefully he can at least convert some of the haters and make them realize he鈥檚 still excellent when healthy.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 6

2023 stats: 10 games | 70.3 pct | 2,600 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 19 pass TD | 11 INT | 246 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Allen has a turnover problem, folks. He leads the league in interceptions (11) and giveaways (14), and his mistakes directly contributed to Buffalo鈥檚 loss on Monday night. I鈥檓 not sure what the problem is with Allen, other than him trying to do too much. He鈥檚 missing targets, making poor decisions and even struggling to hand the ball off to his running backs. Allen鈥檚 first interception wasn鈥檛 his fault -- Gabe Davis should鈥檝e caught the pass -- but the rest of the giveaways can be pinned on Allen, a quarterback who has too often been visibly frustrated after games played by a team that is supposed to be contending. As much as I want to see Allen and the Bills live up to their potential, I鈥檓 twice as irritated by watching them struggle to execute, especially when I鈥檝e seen them do it at a high level over multiple years. And because the Bills depend so heavily on Allen, it will be up to him to lift them out of this increasingly concerning situation, especially after the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders · Year 2

2023 stats: 10 games | 66.5 pct | 2,783 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 17 pass TD | 9 INT | 174 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles

The Commanders are 1-2 in their last three games, but if you attempted to guess the outcomes based on Howell鈥檚 stat lines in each of those contests, you鈥檇 have reason to believe they went 2-1 or even 3-0. He鈥檚 been remarkably sharp of late, with a passer rating of 103.0 in the last three weeks. In fact, his worst statistical showing came in the one game Washington won (Week 9 over New England). So, what happened against Seattle on Sunday? Well, Howell struck early with a touchdown pass to Brian Robinson Jr., encountered difficulty for the next two quarters, then rediscovered his out-of-structure magic in the final quarter and a half, completing 14 of his final 23 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He nearly helped the Commanders reach overtime, thanks to his touchdown strike delivered over the middle of the field to Dyami Brown, but Washington鈥檚 defense couldn鈥檛 prevent Seattle from reaching field goal range for the game-winning kick. Howell is playing quality football right now, and he deserves more credit than Washington鈥檚 record suggests.

Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 6

2023 stats: 9 games | 64.6 pct | 2,143 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 14 pass TD | 5 INT | 134 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Last week, I was disappointed to learn from a plugged-in Tampa-area source (and longtime close friend) that fans down there are starting to think the Buccaneers should turn to Kyle Trask to jump-start the offense. The problem is not -- and never has been -- Baker Mayfield. He鈥檚 playing quite well, all things considered, and did more than enough to help them win against the Texans in Week 9 (a game the Bucs lost in heartbreaking fashion). Fortunately for everyone involved, Tampa Bay next faced a Titans team that didn鈥檛 present the same challenge. Mayfield capitalized, posting another respectable outing (18 of 29, 278 yards, two touchdowns, one arm-punt of an interception). He would have had another touchdown if Mike Evans had held onto the ball in the end zone, but Mayfield keeps chugging along as the leader of an offense that still struggles to run the ball. He is already producing a return that鈥檚 exceeded realistic expectations in Tampa Bay. I鈥檝e very much enjoyed watching him try to will the Bucs to victory. He鈥檚 earned his place in the QB Index.

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 11

2023 stats: 9 games | 65.3 pct | 2,171 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 11 pass TD | 7 INT | 66 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

It might not please Seahawks fans to read this, but I think we鈥檙e finally settling into Smith鈥檚 realistic range after a season and a half with him as the starter. He鈥檚 essentially the present-day representative of the Dalton Scale, the embodiment of where acceptable play starts for a quarterback. You can win games with Smith, and he鈥檚 going to win some of them for you. You can reach the playoffs with Smith, and perhaps you can go even further if you have Smith, capable offensive weapons and a good defense. That鈥檚 Seattle in a nutshell, which is why 厂耻苍诲补测鈥檚 game felt strangely fitting. Full disclosure: I watched the game twice, because at the end of the first viewing, I felt as if I鈥檇 missed roughly 35 minutes of action just because I couldn鈥檛 recall anything remarkable about it. But the second half is where things changed. That鈥檚 where Smith has thrived of late, in the key moments when the game reaches its late stages and the Seahawks need their quarterback to make a play. I remember prime Dalton doing . Smith was nearly perfect in the second half, completing 15 of his 20 passes in the final two quarters for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He led them on two go-ahead scoring drives before taking over with 52 seconds left in a tie game, promptly completing two big passes to DK Metcalf to move them into range for the eventual game-winning field goal. The game wasn鈥檛 a masterpiece from start to finish, but Smith came through in the clutch.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers · Year 2

2023 stats: 9 games | 68.8 pct | 2,329 pass yds | 9.3 ypa | 15 pass TD | 5 INT | 107 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

The bye week was good to Purdy and the 49ers, who quelled concerns regarding their standing among the NFL鈥檚 elite by traveling to Jacksonville and dominating the Jaguars. We saw Purdy return to the form that had him in the top 10 of the QB Index early in this season, calmly delivering strikes to George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk for touchdowns. He wasn鈥檛 flawless, and the going wasn鈥檛 quite as easy as the score indicated, but after nearly a month of worrisome results from Purdy, it was comforting to see him get closer to his peak form against a defense that was known for forcing turnovers entering Week 10. 

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Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 12

2023 stats: 9 games | 67.9 pct | 1,806 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 18 pass TD | 4 INT | 231 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Monday night鈥檚 win was the kind of game Broncos fans envisioned when they learned Wilson would be their new quarterback. The numbers won鈥檛 wow anyone, but the tape tells a tale the stats don鈥檛 fully represent. Wilson was crafty (mostly out of desperation), but instead of his creative acts producing disasters, they served as pieces worthy of public display. Wilson鈥檚 ability to adjust on the fly and produce under pressure lifted the Broncos to the win, including when when he tossed a rainbow pass toward Courtland Sutton, who came down with it (and a phenomenal toe drag) for a touchdown. It was the least probable touchdown of the Next Gen Stats era, no less. This was the first time in Wilson鈥檚 Denver career in which I saw him take command and lead the Broncos from the clutches of defeat into the warm embrace of victory. And it might serve as a turning point for a team most left for dead a month ago.

Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns · Year 7

2023 stats: 6 games | 61.4 pct | 1,115 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 7 pass TD | 4 INT | 142 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles

There might not be a streakier player in the 国产探花than Watson. He was rather awful in the first half against the Ravens, completing 6-of-20 passes for 79 yards and a pick-six on the second play of the game. To make matters worse, he appeared to injure his ankle just before halftime, setting up for a nightmare scenario after the break. Instead, Watson flipped the entire script, going a perfect 14 for 14 in the second half and keying a shocking comeback that saw the Browns fall behind 24-9 and 31-17, then rattle off 16 unanswered points to win, 33-31. Watson used the full scope of his abilities to propel the Browns, scrambling for key pickups, extending plays with his legs, finding open targets downfield and perhaps most importantly, protecting the ball well enough to preserve Cleveland鈥檚 comeback hopes. This has been Watson鈥檚 arc in almost every game he鈥檚 played this season, too: Tough first half, promising third quarter, and a heater of a fourth quarter to close things out. It made for quite a ride for Browns fans. They were 5-1 with him as the starter before news of his season-ending shoulder injury broke on Wednesday. Now, they鈥檒l have to pray that Dorian Thompson-Robinson can come close to matching Watson, just when Watson appeared to be returning to form.

Joshua Dobbs
Minnesota Vikings · Year 7

2023 stats: 10 games | 63.6 pct | 1,995 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 368 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 11 fumbles

Dobbs followed up his incredible Vikings debut with an absolutely electric first half on Sunday, completing 18-of-22 passes for 220 yards and a strike of a touchdown pass over the middle to T.J. Hockenson. Dobbs resumed his role as a magical improviser, helping the team convert 4-of-6 third downs in the first half and scrambling frantically for a rushing touchdown. But after building a commanding 27-3 lead, Minnesota shifted into conservative mode. Dobbs completed just 5-of-12 passes for 48 yards in the second half, nearly allowing the Saints to pull off a comeback. It wasn鈥檛 his fault as much as it was a product of Minnesota鈥檚 decision to avoid risk, but it would鈥檝e really capped a fantastic day had they kept their foot on the gas. Regardless, Dobbs is 2-0 with the Vikings (1-0 as a starter) and is living up to any and every expectation set for him when he arrived via trade.

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · Year 10

2023 stats: 10 games | 65.9 pct | 2,231 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 33 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

I鈥檝e come to realize my main gripe with Carr: He鈥檚 not looking toward his best teammates enough. Sure, he feeds Alvin Kamara underneath plenty, but Chris Olave is too often a nonfactor when he should be playing a starring role. Carr didn鈥檛 connect with Olave on Sunday until his final throw, which, to his credit, was a gutsy attempt that preceded him exiting due to injury. However, I couldn鈥檛 help but notice how much more involved Olave was in New Orleans鈥 efforts after Jameis Winston entered the game, helping spark a comeback attempt that only failed because Winston threw two interceptions. Carr completed 13-of-18 passes for 110 yards, but couldn鈥檛 finish off drives before leaving the contest. For a quarterback expected to solve New Orleans鈥 biggest problem, Carr isn鈥檛 living up to that standard.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 2

2023 stats: 9 games | 61.3 pct | 1,616 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 37 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

Pickett would probably be further along in his development if he regularly received assistance from the ground game like he did against the Packers. While the Steelers churned out 205 net rushing yards, Pickett was left only to convert when needed. He did so with a late scramble, and found a way to get George Pickens involved again, but overall, it was a quiet day for the second-year passer, who finished with 126 passing yards. The Steelers鈥 offense is still uninspiring, which isn鈥檛 really Pickett鈥檚 fault. After all, who鈥檚 going to blame a quarterback forced to heave prayers to teammates in one-on-one coverage down the sideline on second- and third-and-10 so often? He鈥檚 playing in a bogged-down system, so there鈥檚 only so much we can go off of. The good news: The Steelers are 11-3 in one-score games with Pickett as their starter. So, they have that going for them, which is nice.

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Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 5

2023 stats: 1 game | 59.4 pct | 249 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT | 33 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

It didn鈥檛 take very long into Week 10鈥檚 win over Atlanta to see just how badly the Cardinals missed Murray. He brought the juice and an increased potential Arizona hasn鈥檛 seen in 2023, not even in Joshua Dobbs鈥 greatest moments. Murray鈥檚 stats (19 of 32, 249 yards, one interception) exceeded what most might expect from a quarterback taking the field for the first time since suffering an ACL injury nearly a year ago, and his only mistake -- an interception --was a product of a bit of rust and uncertainty that鈥檚 typical of a player who hasn鈥檛 played in a long time. Fortunately, Murray seemed to settle in rather quickly over four quarters and saved his best plays for last, covering on a looping, frantic 13-yard scramble for a crucial first down, then connecting with rookie tight end Trey McBride for a 33-yard gain that set up the game-winning field goal. The Cardinals are going to be worth watching for the rest of 2023 if for nothing more than to see how Murray lifts this team. It鈥檚 been a rough year, but it was clearly a better group with Murray out there, and he has a job to prove he鈥檚 worthy of keeping, too. 

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts · Year 5

2023 stats: 9 games | 63.7 pct | 1,721 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT | 44 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Sometimes, a backup quarterback thrust into the starting role just needs to avoid wrecking a game. That was the story of Minshew鈥檚 performance in the win over New England in Frankfurt, Germany, where Minshew completed 18-of-28 passes for 194 yards and one interception. The pick was a product of Minshew believing in his abilities a bit too much and watching Jahlani Tavai prove him wrong, tipping a floater intended to travel over him, and instead deflecting off the linebacker鈥檚 hand and into the arms of Myles Bryant. That was Minshew鈥檚 worst decision of the day, and because they were playing the Patriots (and had Jonathan Taylor at their disposal), it didn鈥檛 end up hurting the Colts much. Occasionally, that鈥檚 all we should expect from a backup. Just don鈥檛 mess it up, pal.

Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers · Year 4

2023 stats: 9 games | 58.7 pct | 2,009 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 10 INT | 182 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Sunday's loss to the Steelers explains where Love is right now with the Packers more than any other to this point in his first season as a starter. There are moments of pure beauty, like when he dropped a perfect pass over two defenders to Jayden Reed for a touchdown, or when he lofted a pass over the defense to Romeo Doubs in the back corner of the end zone for a score, or even when he found Luke Musgrave down the middle of the field on a drive that ended in a field goal. Heck, even his off-balance desperation heave to Reed late in the game showed off his natural arm talent. That has too often been the case with Love in 2023, as he鈥檚 almost guaranteed to doom the Packers in must-win situations. He threw two interceptions on their final two drives in a four-point game, with his first being deflected by Patrick Peterson into the waiting arms of Keanu Neal for a pick, and the last ending in a game-sealing turnover. Love has natural talent; that can鈥檛 be denied. But the late errors have been a massive issue for him, so much that his three picks thrown on the Packers鈥 final drives lead the league. And that鈥檚 not a category in which anyone wants to exist as the leader.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 3

2023 stats: 9 games | 59.8 pct | 1,863 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 6 INT | 184 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 9 fumbles

The final score Sunday night doesn鈥檛 reflect it because Wilson and the Jets couldn鈥檛 convert their best scoring opportunities -- a common theme of this season -- but I鈥檒l give Wilson plenty of credit for playing much better than he did in a dreadful performance a week earlier. He performed with much more confidence this time around, completing 23-of-39 passes for 263 yards. His interception tanked his stock in the QB Index, though. Wilson tried to fit a pass into an incredibly tight window on second-and-8 from the edge of Las Vegas鈥 red zone in a one-score game, dooming New York鈥檚 best chance of taking the lead. He got one more shot at the end and worked hard to maximize it, scrambling through chaos to buy enough time to heave a final pass toward the end zone, but that was the entire night for Wilson in a nutshell: Nice try, but it鈥檚 not enough.

Will Levis
Tennessee Titans · Rookie

2023 stats: 3 games | 56.1 pct | 699 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 13 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

It鈥檚 going to be tough for any rookie quarterback to find success when his team both cannot run the ball nor discourage an opposing defense from blitzing. Levis faced a blitz on 56.8 percent of his dropbacks in 厂耻苍诲补测鈥檚 loss to the Bucs. That鈥檚 the third-highest blitz rate the Buccaneers have recorded in the last four seasons. Todd Bowles sensed an opportunity to obliterate a rookie鈥檚 sense of comfort and used it to his advantage. That was the tale of the game for Levis, who deserves credit for standing tall in the pocket amid such circumstances. It鈥檚 going to be a tough watch if this is the environment in which he鈥檚 forced to operate the rest of the season.

Aidan O'Connell
Las Vegas Raiders · Rookie

2023 stats: 4 games | 63.5 pct | 675 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 6 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Jets safety Jordan Whitehead lured O鈥機onnell into committing a turnover when he sat back and made the rookie think he had enough space to complete a pass underneath to Davante Adams, driving down on the route as soon as he saw O鈥機onnell commit to the throw. That was the worst outcome of the night for O鈥機onnell, who was otherwise unremarkable, save for a well-placed jump ball to tight end Michael Mayer for the only touchdown of the night for either team. The best thing O鈥機onnell can do is avoid sinking the ship. He did so on Sunday night.

Taylor Heinicke
Atlanta Falcons · Year 9

2023 stats: 3 games | 55.4 pct | 498 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 68 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Arthur Smith has found himself with an unenviable decision at quarterback heading into the bye week. Though he gave it his best effort, Heinicke struggled mightily against the Cardinals outside of one touchdown drive in which he scrambled for 11 yards, then tossed a beauty to Scott Miller for a score. He finished with 55 yards on 8-of-15 passing, making for a paltry 3.7 yards per attempt, before exiting with a hamstring injury. Desmond Ridder entered and led a go-ahead touchdown drive, but he did little else to restate his case to start in the loss. It鈥檚 a tough time in Atlanta right now.

Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Year 3

2023 stats: 10 games | 65.4 pct | 2,031 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 10 pass TD | 10 INT | 96 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

The loss to the Colts effectively captured the 2023 season for Jones. He had his positive moments, finding targets down the sideline and over the middle for key completions that might lead one to believe he鈥檚 figuring it out, but just when things are starting to shift in favor of Jones and the Patriots, he grossly underthrows a back-foot pass intended for an open Mike Gesicki in the end zone and watches it fall a full five yards short of its target. Unfortunately for Jones and the Patriots, the person standing there to catch the ball was wearing a horseshoe on his helmet, ending the Patriots鈥 best drive of the day in disappointment. The Patriots are a bad team, and Jones isn鈥檛 helping their cause. The fact Bill Belichick benched Jones for Bailey Zappe near the end of a one-score game is telling. The two-win Patriots now appear primarily worth monitoring to check on whether Jones might finish the season with his job.

Tyson Bagent
Chicago Bears · Rookie

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.7 pct | 859 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 3 pass TD | 6 INT | 109 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

I believe we鈥檝e completed the process of assessing Tyson Bagent in 2023. He鈥檚 a decent backup quarterback whose athleticism can be used to his advantage, but he鈥檚 not going to seriously elevate a team enough to consider him a legitimate starter. It鈥檚 a good thing we arrived at this conclusion, too, because some were just starting to contemplate dipping their toes into the mysterious, often treacherous waters of a lake whose creatures have claimed many a rational thinker, a body of water I call Losers鈥 Lake. It might deserve a better name, sure, but then again, those who enter learn too quickly that the grass is not, in fact, greener. Justin Fields is the guy and is expected to start this week. We, the football-viewing world, thank you for your contributions, Mr. Bagent, and look forward to you finding consistent employment as a QB2 for (at least a few) years to come. Oh, and congratulations on leading the Bears to a win over the Panthers. I don't believe that game deserved much more than a couple of sentences.

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers · Rookie

2023 stats: 8 games | 62.8 pct | 1,560 pass yds | 5.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 135 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

It鈥檚 now Week 11, and most everything is still difficult for the Panthers. Frank Reich is taking back play-calling duties after previously giving them to OC Thomas Brown. None of that matters much to me, except for how it affects Young鈥檚 development. Right now, he鈥檚 starting to develop some bad habits (his throwaways are really ugly, and that鈥檚 far from the only example). I fear the Panthers have entered a fragile period in Young鈥檚 career and might not even be aware of it. Their record isn鈥檛 the biggest concern. Helping Young stack a few positive blocks entering 2024 most certainly should be. I just don鈥檛 know how they get there. Their offensive line is bad, the weapons are lackluster, and the play-calling is uninspired. The Panthers lack an identity and are expecting a rookie to magically fix it. They might break his wand in the process, if they aren鈥檛 careful.

Tommy DeVito
New York Giants · Rookie

2023 stats: 3 games | 57.4 pct | 260 pass yds | 4.8 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 70 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

I felt so much pity for DeVito when watching the loss to the Cowboys because he simply never had much time to do anything. Knowing the best way to shut down New York鈥檚 offense was to fluster a rookie quarterback, Dallas blitzed DeVito on over 50 percent of pass drops, and it showed. DeVito was pressured on half of his pass attempts and was sacked five times. With Saquon Barkley struggling to find room to run early, it became painfully evident the Giants were going to have an incredibly tough time moving the football. DeVito did adjust somewhat, reducing his process to deciding between options A or B: fire in the direction of his first read or take off on a scramble. This is what helped the Giants put together a seven-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that ended in a DeVito throw to Lawrence Cager for a touchdown. Otherwise, it was a rough day, to say the least, and it鈥檚 likely not going to get much better for the Giants in a massively disappointing 2023 campaign.

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