Why Herbert Will Be Better Than Mariota in the NFL

Joshua Whitted Editorials 50 Comments

Marcus Mariota is undoubtedly the greatest quarterback to put on an Oregon Ducks jersey. He took the country by storm in his three collegiate seasons, carving up defenses with a blend of blazing athleticism and pinpoint accuracy. He became Oregon’s first and only Heisman trophy winner in his final season, and he nearly led the Ducks to a long-awaited national title.

Justin Herbert had the unenviable task of emerging from No. 8’s shadow. Comparisons between the two were inevitable, and Herbert never quite reached the heights that Mariota did in college. But he’s actually set to outpace the Heisman winner in the NFL. In football, individual success is often due to really good supporting talent and coaching. And Herbert, unlike Mariota, landed in a very advantageous environment to start his career.

Herbert’s Supporting Cast Is Really Good

Perhaps the biggest reason Herbert is set up to have success in the NFL is the talent level of his supporting cast. Quarterbacks are said to be the most important position in sports because of how large of an impact their play has on their team’s success. That’s an accurate sentiment, as quarterbacks influence football games far more than any other individual position.

But collectively, the ability of the other 10 players on offense is just as valuable. A really good quarterback’s team can still struggle offensively if his supporting cast is lackluster. Likewise, an average quarterback can lead a really good offense if his supporting cast is talented enough.

Tom Corno

A quarterback’s success is often dictated by his supporting cast.

Many of Mariota’s struggles in the NFL were due to him having to lead a team that had done a poor job of building an NFL roster. When the Titans drafted Mariota in 2015, they were coming off of a disastrous 2-14 season, and their roster was as devoid of talent as their record indicated. Tennessee had just a couple of players whom the casual fan would likely recognize today: tight end Delanie Walker and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. Outside of those two, the Titans essentially had replacement-level players across the board, and although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the worst team by record leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, there’s an argument to be made that the Titans were the NFL’s true bottom dwellers.

The same can’t be said about the current-day Los Angeles Chargers — Herbert’s landing spot. Although the Chargers struggled in 2019, finishing with a 5-11 record, they were just a year removed from a 12-win season and a trip to the playoffs. The Chargers aren’t the most talented team in the NFL, but they’re heads and tails better than the 2015 Titans, and they have far more difference makers on both sides of the ball.

Out of the backfield, Herbert will have one of the best receiving running backs in all of football — Austin Ekeler — at his disposal. Ekeler will make life easy for Herbert on multiple fronts, as his elusive skills as a ball carrier will help take pressure off of Herbert and the passing game, while his elite receiving ability at the running back position will create matchup nightmares that will make for easy reads and open receivers.

Ekeler isn’t the only elite playmaker on the offense, though. Receiver Keenan Allen and tight end Hunter Henry are both among the best in the league at their respective positions, and they’re each adept at getting open and making plays down the field in the passing game. Talented receiving options are the most valuable tool that a quarterback can have in his arsenal, and they especially benefit rookie quarterbacks.

From Twitter

Allen is a top-tier receiver.

Even defensively, the Chargers have plenty of talent, which should give Herbert confidence and a greater margin for error. Los Angeles has one of the best secondaries in the NFL, with longtime stalwarts Casey Hayward and Desmond King being joined by star safety Derwin James, who missed most of 2019 with an injury, and newcomer Chris Harris Jr., who has been one of the best cornerbacks in the game over the past decade. The secondary’s job will be made easier by the elite pass-rushing tandem of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram — both of whom continue to terrorize quarterbacks better than just about any other duo in the league.

The Chargers have a playoff-caliber roster, and that alone gives Herbert a better shot to succeed in the NFL than his Oregon counterpart. He can afford to get his feet wet since his supporting cast is good enough to pick up the slack if he slips up.

The Chargers Have a Good Infrastructure

In addition to a good supporting cast, good, creative coaching helps a quarterback and his offense maximize their abilities. It’s common in college to see poor coaches and structures waste elite talent (look at USC’s struggles in recent years), and the same is true in the NFL. The 2019 Cleveland Browns are a recent example of a team that was littered with talent yet underachieved significantly due to a lack of organizational control and poor coaching.

A poor infrastructure led to some rough years in Tennessee for Mariota. Schematically, Mariota had absolutely no experience running a traditional NFL offense. His athleticism, ability to throw on the run and proficiency in the play-action passing game suggested that whichever team drafted Mariota should tailor their strategy to best take advantage of his unique skill set, similarly to how Washington altered its scheme when it drafted dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin III a few years earlier.

From Twitter

Mariota never played in a system that highlighted his special talents.

However, coach Ken Wisenhunt, and eventually coach Mike Mularkey, stubbornly tried to fit a round peg into a square hole. They did little in the way of adding spread concepts to their antiquated offensive systems, and they tried to make Mariota succeed as a traditional pocket passer, which accentuated his flaws rather than his strengths. Overall, the team’s “exotic smashmouth” direction was designed to render Mariota as little more than a game manager (something that he often struggled at, ironically), which was a complete waste of his unique skill set.

Coach Anthony Lynn for the Chargers has had experience coaching quarterbacks with varying skill sets, and instead of forcing each of them to adapt to his static scheme, each time he has altered his scheme to best fit their skill sets. As offensive coordinator in Buffalo, Lynn helped quarterback Tyrod Taylor put up some of the best numbers of his career by implementing more option-style concepts, and encouraging him to embrace his athleticism.

In Los Angeles, with Phillip Rivers at the helm, Lynn went the traditional route and let Rivers do what he does best: drop back and distribute the ball to his playmakers, while leaning on a physical running game. Herbert has his flaws as a prospect, but it’s safe to assume that Lynn will do his best to hide those by adjusting his scheme accordingly.

With a system in place that is uniquely designed to help him succeed, and plenty of talent across the board, Herbert has every opportunity to make a name for himself as an NFL quarterback. The Chargers learned from the mistakes of the Titans, and the subsequent struggles of Mariota, and they did everything in their power to ensure the same fate doesn’t await a second Oregon signal caller.

Herbert wasn’t able to top Mariota’s college accomplishments, but there’s a good chance he’ll be the better quarterback at the next level.

Joshua Whitted 
Morgantown, West VirginiaTop Photo by Kevin Cline

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David Marsh

The Mariota story may have a happy NFL ending as it seems he is turning heads with the Raiders already.

The square peg in a round hole also goes for Oregon great LaMichael James… Drafted by Harbaugh and the 49ers into a between the tackles run game… Of all people in the NFL who should have known James’s ability Harbaugh should have as he was burned by James in Kelly’s spread offense.

Jon Joseph

Speaking of Buffalo, I see JH on the same track as Buffalo’s Allen. Allen was an unfinished product coming out of Wyoming. In a few seasons at Buffalo, he is now a playoff QB. His measurables including the ability to run the ball, are very similar to those of JH.

It cannot hurt JH to sit a season or 2 behind Tyrod Taylor. He is not in a place where he will have to start right away. As you noted, the Chargers HC has plenty of experience coaching Taylor, and coaching him up.

I agree with your great take Joshua, JH landed at a far better spot than did MM; also nice to be playing on the Left Coast.

Desmond King. I’ve always been disappointed that his folks did not pick ‘Nosmo’ for the young man’s first name.

We may not have a fall CFB season but I do think we will see the NFL play in 2020? Far easier to ask professionals to take a chance with their health, although I do applaud the NFL for allowing guys to opt out, than it is to put ‘student-athletes’ at risk.

ptdduck

I see a lot of Andrew Luck in Herbert but not as polished. Big arm, big body, big brain and athletic.

ptdduck

Hard to predict how QBs will fare in the NFL. Supporting cast is important. Scheme is important. Marcus had a better supporting cast and scheme in college than Herbert. LA is a mediocre franchise, slightly better than Tenn. Herbert is a better pure passer than Marcus. Better arm and more accurate. I wouldn’t be surprised if Herbert has a better career. Avoiding injuries is key. Marcus was beat up the last three years.

Last edited 3 months ago by ptdduck
ptdduck

IMO Herbert’s game is more suited for most NFL passing schemes. Maybe Gruden can maximize Marcus like he did with Rich Gannon? Quick throws, move the QB around, more West coast orientation.

Last edited 3 months ago by ptdduck
DumpsterFire

Umm, at Oregon Mariota had an average completion percentage of 66.77% with a QB rating of 170.9, 105 TD’s and 10,796 yards, in three years.

Herbert was 64.3%, 154.5, 95, 10,541 in four years.

Herbert had arguably a better O-line, and neither one of them had anywhere near world-class receivers. Stats alone point to Mariota, as a passer, superior to Herbert in every category, and that’s not even considering his mobility, AND with one less year.

As for better careers, kind of like I said to someone else, that’s pure speculation, but if we want to truly compare the two on equal(ish) situations, right now is when the comparison should happen with them both being on equal(ish) teams and in equal(ish) situations being able to sit behind veterans and learn, but even with that, Mariota still has a leg up since he’s seen the speed of the game at the pro level for several years now.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m rooting for both of them to succeed. I think that would be great for both since they’re both pretty humble individuals, but it will also likely aid in bringing more attention to Oregon to top-tier HS QB recruits. Recruiting though, different topic, different conversation, different day…

ptdduck

Comparing completion percentage is red herring. Marcus played in a much better scheme with better receivers. Herbert’s receivers dropped 51 balls as a junior. He also played at Oregon during a period of turmoil with three different head coaches unlike Marcus who played in the same scheme that was ahead of the curve and exploited his talents.

Herbert played in two more games than Marcus despite playing an extra year due to injury. He didn’t redshirt like Marcus. Both guys threw at the combine and just watching both guys throw the football, it’s clear that Justin is a better passer. He makes all the throws look easy. That doesn’t mean he’ll be a better QB.

There’s more to being a QB than simply throwing the football from point A to point B. From my perspective, the NFL is a passing league. Justin will be exposed to a real passing scheme for the first time. He’ll have receivers that can hang onto his bullets. He has a big brain. I thought he was under utilized at Oregon. I would have built the offense around him instead of a conservative power running game.

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
DuckUp

Well said ptd duck.

DumpsterFire

No, it’s not a be all, end all comparison, but it does give a close comparison. Remember, Herbert did play for the same coach as Mariota, and with several of the same coaching schemes, same linemen and same receivers…there was a cross-over between the two and Mariota was just better given the same staff and teammates.

I mean we’re not talking about comparing Dan Fouts stats with Kellen Clemens here. Both of which were great at Oregon, and had long careers in the pros, but played with none of the same coaches or players and as much as I like both, aren’t in the same category.

Side note, both also played for the Chargers, and Clemens wore #10.

Last edited 3 months ago by DumpsterFire
ptdduck

Marcus didn’t play as a true freshman and Herbert did. He tore it up under Helfrich and would have posted big numbers had he stayed in the same scheme throughout his career. Two of his biggest games came as a freshman, 6 TD passes vs Cal and an Autzen stadium record of 489 yards passing against ASU. It’s hard not imagining Marcus’s stats falling off under Taggart and Cristobal.

Last edited 3 months ago by ptdduck
Charles Fischer

The concern I have about Herbert was his tendency to mentally “lock-up” when something new was thrown at him by a defense. We had long lapses at times of a sputtering offense, and that is something that perhaps better coaching at the next level can help him overcome.

Mike West

Interesting proposition. I actually believe Mariota was successful In Tennessee. He took the team to the playoffs, stole a victory, and played well the year before leading to another playoff berth. MM was the victim of an intentional campaign to release him. It was very clear last year the offense was designed for his successor, as MM throws best while on the run. He is not a pocket passer by any means. NFL coaches do not know how to maximize his talent, that is very clear (the guy had four offensive coordinators).

Justin Herbert, while promising, will need development. He has a keen mind, which will help, and people definitely underestimate his competitive nature. Will he learn timing and develop his footwork? Will he throw into tight windows with authority? Will he learn to take what the defense gives him, instead of lock onto guys he trusts? Will he shake the yips?

I believe the best is ahead for both players. But MM must have an offense designed to suit his particular skills. He reads offenses well, but he is not comfortable or capable enough in the pocket. If I had the guy, he’d roll to the edge of the pocket, where he thrives. MM strikes are lethal when he is in motion…all the way downfield.

JH needs to find consistency. The guy showed his upside all year in 2019. He can do it all, and I mean that. He was also correct despite the criticism he took for saying it: he needs to learn the kind of game the NFL is. Coaching matters in the NFL more than in college. Far too many players’s careers are ruined by NFL coaches at every position in my opinion.

ptdduck

Marcus was pretty beat up the last two years. Hopefully he’s close to 100% now.

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/03/marcus-mariota-injuries

Last edited 3 months ago by ptdduck
Jon Joseph

Will be interesting to see if his career. like Plunkett’s, is resurrected playing for the Raiders? Will Chucky let him be MM?

Douglas Mai

Mike you do have to be able to stand in the pocket sometimes because that’s what is required of any QB. This also requires O Lineman who can give you time to make your reads and then good receivers you can throw downfield to. Marcus can stand in the pocket and make those throws and he just needs the right QB coach and Grudens one of the best.

He already was salivating at the chance to get Marcus because he new he would be able to get the right production out of him and Carr isn’t the guy that will get it done as he’s just a stiff in the pocket. Marcus will win that job I have no doubt.

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
Mike West

I completely agree NFL QBs must stand tall in the pocket. MM is more effective moving. That’s what I noticed most when he was at Tennessee. He reads well, but he was very uncomfortable with Tennessee’s design last year…it was much more suited for Tannyhill. It actually looked like it was specifically designed for at any hill instead of Mariota especially given Marcus’s earlier success.

I specifically look at Cleveland as the archetype example of talent mismanaged. That is a playoff team by far. Look at all of New England’s QBs that shine there, then drop off in performance elsewhere. KC has a title because a one very proven coach. Chicago pretty much tanked their QB when the HC took over instead of allowing Helfrich to continue developing that young buck. I could write two articles about it it’s so bad in my opinion.

I don’t believe you can make Marcus an outstanding pocket QB. Just my take.

DumpsterFire

I don’t know, maybe this is just me but that statement has always kind of bothered me; coaches ruining careers. I’ll agree that bad play calling and bad schemes can impact a player physically, and to an extent mentally, but you have to consider both the mental and physical toughness it takes to even make it to the NFL, let alone succeed. Putting it all on the coaches either gives them way too much credit, or says a lot about how incapable the players are…and I honestly don’t believe either one of those are true.

The average career of an NFL player is 3.3 years. With rosters limited to 53 players, and 32 teams, that’s 1696 active NFL players. Out of them, in that 3.3 year span, how many of the current active players are never going to play another down by the end of 2023? So what constitutes a “ruined career” if your career lasts, on average, less time than they spent playing football in college?

I think there’s just an unrealistic expectation by the fans to think that their favorite college player is going to turn into an NFL legend, and when they don’t, they blame bad coaching. The reality is that it’s a brutal and competitive sport, and there’s always someone younger, faster and stronger behind you waiting to take your place…and they will, for 3.3 years on average.

Last edited 3 months ago by DumpsterFire
Haywarduck

Coaches, and a GM’s like Matt Millen will kill careers, especially QB’s.

Now if you are a top DT, the league will still know you are a great player. You are one on one, or even taking on two guys, and they know how good you are.

A QB needs a decent RB, good O-line and some receivers, TE who can get open and catch the ball. If not the league will never know just how good a qb could have been.

The GM effects the roster and can have a tragic impact like at Detroit.

A coach also needs to be able to scheme to a players strengths. Tennessee was smart to bring in Tannehill, as he was the type of qb they wanted to set up for success.

Mariota may come alive under better coaching, management. We will see in due time.

DumpsterFire

Yeah, I get what you’re saying, but here’s another angle to look at it. How many top level high schoolers dominate their team/league only to get to college and just be OK? Now, how many players dominate in college only to be just OK in the pros?

It’s really the same type of transition. I think it’s only like 1% of all high school kids will ever even receive a Division I scholarship…and that’s including not rated through 5* kids….1%. Once that top 1% gets to and competes at the college level, only 2% of that group will ever make it to the pros. Being good at one level doesn’t mean good at the next.

The truth is that, as much as we’d like to see our favorite college player succeed in the pros, the odds are severely stacked against them making it much more than the average of just over three years…and that isn’t the coaches, or GM’s fault, it’s just the way it is.

Last edited 3 months ago by DumpsterFire
30Duck

A way that we can see how it is with Marcus, is how well he does at Las Vegas. There can’t be a bigger divide between the coaching, schemes that he played under in Tennessee than what he will have in Las Vegas with Gruden, not to mention that he’ll have time to watch.

30Duck

We should all hope it turns out that way, Joshua. Marcus’s first game in the NFL, a victory over Tampa Bay & Jameis, was great, but it was downhill from there. Wisenhunt, Mularkey, eventually, Vrabel, it didn’t matter. As you pointed out, they collectively refused to adapt their offenses to match Marcus’s strengths.

Marcus clearly struggled; never came close to establishing the rhythm that he played with in college, every snap seemed to be a one off, no connection to the one preceding or following it. Even with this, Marcus did lead the Titans to a playoff win. When he was replaced with Ryan Tannehill, a journeyman up til then, somehow it all clicked for the Titans.

Tannehill was definitely more comfortable running the offense than was Marcus. But what really turned it around for the Titans, was the running of Derrick Henry. Tannehill handed him the ball, and Henry took off.

The talk surrounding Herbert and his chances in the NFL was very polarized. On one side, led by Todd McShay, Herbert was a bust. All measurables, no game. Mel Kiper, saw it differently, and kept Herbert high on his, “Big Board”. Kiper would be proven right on Draft night.

The negatives about Herbert are still being heard; one being that it would have been better had Herbert gone to a team farther from home than was Oregon in college, and that now being on a team still on the west coast, Herbert is still staying in his comfort zone.

Herbert won’t be able to answer the critics until he gets a chance to play for the Chargers, and it looks like that won’t be for a while. With Tyrod Taylor there, Herbert won’t be thrown in to the fire, as Marcus & Joey were before him. Instead he can grow in to the role of a starting NFL quarterback.

Jon Joseph

When Tannehill took the starting job, for some reason the Titans O line improved immensely and correspondingly, so did Henry’s stats.

Agree totally that Vrable is another coach who does not want to open it up like in Baltimore and KC.

hmmmwhatthe

I think the Titans would have had a similar result on the rest of the season had they left Mariota in. Some reasons the OL started improving were:

1) From what I read, Saffold was more of a run blocker than a pass blocker. Took him a while to get in sync with the rest of the line and the system.
2) Lewan’s suspension. Missed the first 4 games and then probably took a few to get back in rhythm.
3) I can’t recall the player’s name, but another lineman had been injured and did not play/start until the 6th or 7th game. (I’m unable to quickly find weekly injury reports from last season to lookup who it was.)

In the end, Mariota just wasn’t the GM’s guy and didn’t get the players, coaches or system he needed to match his skills (as this article does well to point out). Robinson was hired after MM’s 1st year & focused first on improving the defensive side. Finally made some decent moves in MM’s year 5, but the line was so abysmal at the beginning, it weighed down MM & DH’s performance. DH never seemed to get things going until the second half of each year anyway. I think Tannehill was a big beneficiary of the OL finally coming together instead of him being as much of a factor in improving the line.

Douglas Mai

That’s why they will never be NFL coach’s that long and Vrabel will be fired soon enough.

Jon Joseph

? Vrabel’s small ball style still works in the NFL. Once MM was benched, the OL came to life and materially helped Henry play like a Heisman winner.

I think Vrable will be at TN for a number of yeas. He will not win a SB but he will have the Titans in the playoffs.

DumpsterFire

Initial success, perhaps Herbert will be better simply because he isn’t expected to take the Chargers from bottom of the barrel to winning the Super Bowl from the moment he put on a Chargers jersey, unlike Mariota with the Titans. I think that’s where the comparison really is, as you put it, a square peg, round hole situation.

All things being equal, if a true (as can be) comparison is going to be made with their careers it might be best to start this year (or next, or whenever they actually end up playing) since they’re both in a situation that’s going to be more beneficial to their development…they aren’t expected to come in and take their teams to the promised land from day one. They can both come in, learn a new offence on a new team and behind a veteran QB.

Think about some of the best QB’s playing right now and how they started…Aaron Rogers sat behind and learned from Brett Favre. Tom Brady sat behind and learned from Drew Bledsoe. Do you think their careers (Rogers/Brady) would have necessarily turned out the way they did/have if they would have been expected to come in and play for teams that couldn’t support them? Heck, would someone like Joey Harrington been in discussion for the Hall of Fame had he played for a team he could have just sat and learned for a few years?

Yes, Harrington is purely speculative, I get that, but hopefully you see the point I’m trying to make (along with the Oregon ties). Very few QB’s can come in and just take over a team from day one in the NFL…or heck, college for that matter.

So will Herbert be better than Mariota? How about we visit this in a couple of years and see since their comparisons, in my opinion, should start now, rather than in 2015.

Last edited 3 months ago by DumpsterFire
DumpsterFire

The last part of your last sentence actually got me thinking, “…,Mariota’s career is far from over.” First of all, I agree, it has a ways to go yet, but then I was reminded through that never linear train of thought most of us have about non-awesome individuals…err, Duck haters. How many times have we all heard the same old argument about how other schools produce more NFL talent?

Well, here’s the interesting thought; how many QB’s has Oregon produced that had better than average careers in the NFL? The obvious characters come to mind right away, Dan Fouts and Chris Miller as two of the more prominent names, but that’s far from it. Given that there are currently two Ducks in the NFL that still have their careers ahead of them, here’s a list of some prominent Ducks who did more than sign a rookie contract…

George Shaw played for eight years in the NFL, winning one Super Bowl.

Kellen Clemens for 12, and as recently as 2017.

Bob Berry went 11 years and a one-time Pro Bowler

Norm Van Brocklin, 12 years and was a nine time pro bolwer, 2x NFL champion (predating the Super Bowl) and an NFL Hall of Famer.

I don’t know about you fellers, but given how many QB’s actually succeed in the pros, I’d say Oregon has done pretty well over the years, especially considering how much of an afterthought Oregon was for such a long time.

Annie

A. J. Feeley had a pretty good career too, as a backup QB for about 9 years.

Charles Fischer

Good catch Annie, as many of us forgot about him and he was truly a state of Oregon QB in the NFL. Cool.

30Duck

Nice. Let’s take a quick look, hmmm, actually this is taking a while, at all the NFL QB’s the Huskies have delivered to the NFL? Jake Locker, either of the Huard bros.? Of course there is, Mark Brunell, who had a very nice NFL career, played in the Super Bowl with the Saints, Billy Joe Hobert, and Warren Moon, who like Dan Fouts, is in the Hall Of Fame, but never played in a Super Bowl.

USC, Matt Leinart, pretty much a bust. Matt Barkley, hanging around. Carson Palmer did have a nice career. Mark Sanchez did lead the Jets to two AFC Championship games, but is remembered the most for, “The Butt Fumble.

UCLA: Troy Aikman transferred from Oklahoma & Mark Harmon is still going strong on, “NCIS”.

Last edited 3 months ago by 30Duck
ptdduck

JH maxed out his talent in college. His ceiling was low. He had all the intangibles in the world but just not an NFL passer.

DumpsterFire

Yeah, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with the “not an NFL passer” part. His passing is definitely NFL caliber, but we never really got to see the full potential. Quite the contrary with Mariota in that he really wasn’t going to improve too much more than he already had…his ceiling was lower going in than Herbert, HOWEVER, neither one is guaranteed anything more than an initial 1st round contract, but time will tell on both.

ptdduck

Harrington was a 55% career passer in college and 56% in the NFL. He didn’t have much upside. Not that athletic and lesser arm talent than Marcus or Herbert.

DumpsterFire

Maybe I’m interpreting “JH” with Justin Herbert, not Joey Harrington…just one reason I tend to spell things out, even when I’m sending someone a text. But, yes, THAT “JH” was maxed out probably his Junior year here. The NFL was the dream, but hey, nightmares ARE technically dreams…

ptdduck

Yep, meant Harrington. Crazy that two of the best quarterbacks in Ducks history have the same initials.

DumpsterFire

It’s actually kind of funny, at least in the context of this conversation. I mean I was like, “What the heck is this guy talking about? Seriously dude, are you crazy?” Had you not put in the completion percentage I would have actually thought you were, but then bells and whistles started going off and I realized we were talking about different guys. Hey, it made me laugh…a literal “lol” situation…and yes, I am easily entertained.

Jon Joseph

Wonder what would have happened had Bledsoe not been injured? How long would it have been before Brady was given the chance to start?

Brady ended Bledsoe’s career as the Patriots starter in the same manner Lou Gehrig ended Wally Pipp’s career.

Annie

As I remember, Joey was predicted to be picked 10th in the draft that year, but instead was picked third, by Detroit. I’ve often wondered what his career might have been like if he had gone 10th instead of 3rd.

Jon Joseph

Good call Annie. Joey was dumped into a garbage pit in Detroit. never had a fair shot.

Annie

I remember watching his first pre-season game with Detroit. He threw a touchdown and ran down the field to celebrate with his team-mates and they all ignored him. I remember thinking, “Uh, oh, if he doesn’t have his team-mates support, things are going be tough for him.” That was only one part the equation, of course. As DumpsterFire mentioned, with Barry Sanders gone, they had little to no running game. And his receivers dropped a greater-percentage-than usual number of passes.

Douglas Mai

Honestly Joey just wasn’t gonna be a good QB wherever he played. Great College QB doesn’t make a great NFL QB. Heck look at SCs QBs all highly ranked and they usually had the advantage of playing with that type of talent all around them but once they got to the NFL usually and obviously you get drafted by teams that just aren’t that good or have a good infrastructure as in GM, Coach, staff, Owner ect.

Look at LSUs QB and you put Justin in his spot and I would believe he would have gotten the job done likewise. I believe Justin has everything it will take to be successful and even win Championships in the future if there is a future in the sport. Chris Miller also was one of the great ones to come out of Oregon and he did have success as in Pro Bowl seasons and more than likely would have been a HOF eventual QB if it weren’t for his injurys. I also believe Gruden and Mayock will revitalize Marcus’s career.

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
Jon Joseph

Not sure that JH at this stage at least, has the pocket presence and the ability to extend plays that Burrow showed last season at LSU?

DumpsterFire

Yeah, but I’ll tell you one thing that I’ve always wondered…what would have happened if Barry Sanders would have stuck around for another five years? Think of the pressure that Harrington would have had taken off of his shoulders if he was able to hand the rock (no relation to “The Rock”) off to him for a couple of years before having everything thrown on his back…

Last edited 3 months ago by DumpsterFire
Jon Joseph

Would have helped but enough to overcome Lions ‘management?’