Which Duck Quarterback Would YOU Start?

Alex Heining Editorials 13 Comments

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Obviously, this is very early on in the quarterback evaluation process for 2021, and there’s bound to be a great deal of change in how we all feel about Our Beloved Ducks quarterback situation in the coming months. Anthony Brown is the starter as of now, but that doesn’t mean we all have to sit comfortably with that fact as fans.

Some would opt to go in the direction of starting our true freshman Ty Thompson, going with youth over experience to plan for the future, or another younger option to build up the team’s resume in the coming years. But it’s hard to pinpoint a game where all the off-season work and the presumed quarterback battle culminates in a massive change, or more of the same.

Week 10 is when I think the last opportunity for an heir apparent would come in and take the job. Not play some late snaps in a blowout, not come into a limited role at a gadget position, truly overtake the starter at the time (likely Brown). Unfortunately for us, a quarterback change would also signal a very average or mediocre year if it came earlier in the season, so I couldn’t help but hope if one does emerge to replace, they do it week 8 or 9 to at least have some preparation for our big rivalry game against the Huskies.

If you were coaching with Mario Cristobal today, who would you start day one? Without much more than the Spring Game to go off of for quality measurements this off-season, which quarterback flashed enough for you to believe in a change at the starter spot by the end of 2021?

Alex Heining
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo By: Kevin Cline

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I would want to wait until I saw the first week of fall practice. One thing from my view of football is that many freshman are just getting a bunch thrown at them and may not perform the best in the spring but if they put the effort in during the summer they can come into fall looking like a completely new player.

With that I don’t honestly think brown or Butterfield will make significant jumps over the summer but both Ashford and Thompson have a chance to really improve stock.


From a pure talent standpoint and scheme fit, I’d go with Ashford. He can do things with his legs that only AB can come close to matching. He has a very strong arm and can push the ball down the field. If we were playing more of a pro style passing offense then maybe Butterfield would get the nod but I don’t think he fits the offense because he’s not much of a threat in the running game.

AB is the starter for now, he’s the most experienced and reliable. If the defense steps up big time then he will be a good game manager. If the D was like last year, then we’re going to need somebody that can make big plays and take over a game at times.

David Marsh

I was most impressed with Butterfield. He looked very comfortable out there and his ball placement on some of those deep throws was very nice.

We really didn’t see much running out of any of the quarterbacks. However, I do firmly believe that we need a passer first and a runner second. If we can’t stretch the field in the passing game it will be a season with some otherwise avoidable losses.


It’s far too early. For the next practice? Lots of reps for them all.


I would start Butterfield.
I don’t see much confidence in Brown’s throws. JB to me throws the best deep ball and if the receivers like his ball best, that settles it.
I also like Ashford for the #2 spot. He can fling it and is a strong runner. Ty will get his chance next year.
Brown brings experience to the QB room, but I don’t think he has on field skills to win the job.
That said, Shough must have been told different or he wouldn’t have transferred.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Whether we are talking about logistics or football….I think Brown will deliver. He will get better as the season progresses, and it may be pretty hard to set aside a six-year senior with so many starts.


Not much to go on, but I did hear a receiver talk about the ball Butterfield threw being the nicest. Reminded me of what was said of Justin. There is something about how a truly elite qb throws the ball which gives a receiver a better opportunity to catch it. He also has a better motion than Brown. We now have receivers which can catch an elite throw, too.

I also think there is something about being in a program for more than a few months. Butterfield has been in the program and seems to see the whole field and understand the dynamics of what is going on down field. This is something I never felt about Shough, and even Brown doesn’t seem to see things develop.

Ashford is my sentimental favorite and I would get behind him completely. I just think once the fall season gets going Butterfield is going to be the guy who overcomes the small advantage Brown has. The kid, Ty, just needs more time, and like Marcus I am sure we will hear more about him as he progresses.

I say Butterfield is announced as the starter week three of fall camp. Ty redshirts and Ashford comes in a few times to mix it up!


Brown seems to be the “safe choice” right now. However, I agree that the outstanding potential in the QB room should not be sitting on the sidelines watching Brown play all season. Unless Brown puts up huge numbers, I also think we will probably see one of the younger QB’s starting after a few games.


Like Hayward, I’ve been touting Ashford since I saw him in the Poly Bowl…best athlete and qb in that game, imo, which included Tagovailoa. He perfectly fits Coach Moorhead’s preferred offensive system. And recall the explosion of performance he wrung out of Trace McSorley (and Saquon Barkley, by the way). I think any suggestion that qb development might be lacking here are unfounded. JM’s track record with championships, madly exceptional offenses, and development of top draft choice speaks for itself.

I think that Brown’s natural, and unwelcome, throwing mechanics augur poorly against him remaining the #1 qb for long. (That is unless Moorhead has him righted.)

It’ll be an interesting ride for us fans. It will tell us a lot about Coach MC’s status as a team CEO…as well as the progression of qb’s this year. (Message to MC…let JM coach and call games, please!)


The upside for Ashford is I see him leading a dynamic Oregon offense nobody could stop. I can even see a cover on SI, if there is still Sports Illustrated, saying ‘Watch out college football the Duck offense is back and it is dangerous!’ Butterfield is the safer bet, which in my opinion is what Cristobal will go with.


Lots of talent in the QB room these days which is outstanding. But, that being said, I hope the Ducks don’t pull a “Michigan QB failure” with all of these guys and fail to develop kids (how the heck Jim Harbaugh let that happen is beyond me).

The problem I have with starting a first year kid, isn’t that they aren’t ready, but it’s the danger of the “2 and out to the draft” attitude. Not every big time recruit will want to be the “big man on campus” for all of their eligible years (see Trevor Lawrence – who should have had his PhD thesis completed by the end of his Clemson “tenure”). LOL.

I love the idea of Brown starting, and giving way to the Alabama kid later in the year with the gun for an arm, Robby Ashford. This will give Ty a year or 2 of seasoning before taking over as a starting Jr or Sr. Sadly, I think Butterfield will be a quality back up until he “grad transfers”, but he is actually quite capable of stealing the job.

This is just my opinion on the importance of development at the position, and not just starting people based on “media pressure” or perception of who should start over who earned it.