Aaron It Out: Quarterback Bridges & Troubled Waters

Welcome back, Teddy. It’s been a long, long road and it’s good to see you on the practice field again. And welcome, readers, to week 7 of Aaron It Out.

Yes, Teddy Bridgewater is back. On August 30 of last year, Teddy had a non-contact injury that caused him to go down. His knee was dislocated, and at least his ACL was completely torn; the rumor was his MCL was gone too, but I don’t know if anything was ever confirmed. Succinctly, it was bad. That caused the Vikings to throw a couple of picks at Philly for Sam Bradford. The rest is history; Bradford came on, gave the Vikings a decent season, and now HIS knee is messed up.

That being said, it’s good to see Bridgewater back. He has been, by all accounts, a good quarterback; not great or anything major but a solid addition for a team that has been hunting for its franchise QB since Daunte Culpepper left (everyone knows they lucked into Favre). It is sad to see a player with so much potential go down right after he leads his team to a spot in the playoffs.

He hasn’t been fully reactivated to the Vikings’ roster, but if you ask me, it’s only a matter of time. Bradford has been having issues in the same knee he had major surgery on, and the Vikings have an abundance of riches at the position that may allow them to flip one of the players and get a draft pick back, even if it’s not a first. I think that Vikes GM Rick Spielman would be dumb to not try, if not by the trade deadline then definitely in the offseason, to trade one of his three starting-caliber QBs (Bradford, Bridgewater, Keenum) to another team.

It’s pretty easy to transition from one team’s abundance of quarterbacks to the Jaguars’ dumpster fire of a quarterback situation. The trading deadline is less than two weeks away, and everyone outside the organization seems to agree that the Jaguars need to make a move. The Rams literally beat the Jags because the Jags couldn’t pass, and the Titans and Jets did the same thing. The Jaguars don’t need a wide receiver (although having someone tall to catch bad throws helps, and so Dede Westbrook’s return will likely be welcome), they need someone who can throw the ball in a not-disastrous manner. The Jaguars have an elite defense (at least as far as the pass) and that is the only thing keeping them in games. Bortles is not the answer, he is more like the question. Henne is definitely not the answer. The Jags are probably losing some goodwill, because everyone in town knew that Bortles is not the solution, and no moves were made at QB, at all, even in the late rounds of the draft or free agency.

I have stated it in this column before, but the “learning the playbook” issue is not a huge one. Terminology may get in the way but good coaches move past that.

Let’s take a look at some possible trade targets for the Jaguars. I would have included Brett Hundley, but Aaron Rodgers is out until at least late in the year with a broken collarbone.

MATT MOORE – people talk about Eli, Eli, Eli (he’s next) to the Jags but the most obvious target to me is down the road in Miami. The Dolphins obviously thought Moore couldn’t cut it through the entire season but the guy has started games and won them before, doesn’t make huge mistakes, and has a great arm. I really like this player.

ELI MANNING – One win in Denver shows me that the Giants are not “giving up” (this coming week may change that), but they may still take a couple of first-rounders off the Jags’ hands for Manning. However, he would likely have say in any trade that occurred (the Giants don’t want any more bad press) so I doubt that is a possibility.

PAXTON LYNCH – The Broncos signed Giant Bust Brock Osweiler in the preseason after the Browns let him go, so they have a backup. Trevor Siemian is way better than anyone gave him credit for, and the Broncos may prefer to get something for Lynch now instead of letting him walk away in free agency.

NATE PETERMAN – This is kind of wishful thinking, but this Jacksonville product looked solid in the preseason and could bring competition into the QB position for low cost – so it’s a low risk high reward type of situation. Honestly, I thought the Jags should have drafted this guy.

COLT MCCOY – He started games when RG3 was injured and has always been a solid backup. I think he would be a potential improvement in the QB position.

CASE KEENUM – I like this guy, he was solid for whomever he played for, and has led the Vikings to wins this year. He did a good job with the Texans in his younger years and has really learned the game – I hope he gets an opportunity to be the locked-in starter for more than a year someday.

Whatever the move may be, the Jaguars need to make one. They clearly got impatient with Jason Myers and his misses, and made a move to get rid of him. If Bortles continues to underwhelm, loses games, and plays the Jaguars out of first place in the AFC South, will they make a move at quarterback? Time will tell.

TOP FIVE, WHO KNOWS EDITION

  1. Chiefs
  2. Eagles
  3. Vikings
  4. Panthers
  5. Packers

WEEK 7 SUMMARIES AND PICKS

CHIEFS @ RAIDERS – This game was a highlight earlier in the season, and may still be – but for totally different reasons. The Raiders almost need to win this game, to stop their negative momentum and get out of a losing streak. I honestly thought they would beat the Chargers last week, but they lost by a point. This is the last of a three-game stand at home, and the end of their first half of home games for the season. Oakland NEEDS to show up to this game in a big way, learn from how the Steelers beat the Chiefs (run the ball) and get the win. Kansas City finally got the loss last week, but they want to continue the perception they are the best team in the AFC. Even though I spent much of this talking about Oakland, I still think that there is more talent in the red uniforms, and so tonight we will see a Chiefs win.

RAVENS @ VIKINGS – Power of the purples! Case Keenum is a more elite QB than Joe Flacco. Just kidding; he does have more talent around him and a more complete defense, though. In a no-Rodgers NFC North, Minnesota and Detroit need to start pushing for first place. I definitely think the Vikings win.

SAINTS @ PACKERS – If I had written this a week ago, this preview would be extremely different. I wouldn’t have thought for a moment that the Packers would lose. However, that was then, this is now, and Aaron Rodgers is out for the year. But – this game is in Green Bay. Brett Hundley has been in the system for three years and had a solid preseason. Can he make great plays happen like Rodgers? Maybe not, but he has been learning under him. At home, I say we are looking at a Packers win.

JETS @ DOLPHINS – The least compelling compelling matchup of this week. The Jets look surprisingly not awful, and almost squeaked by the Patriots. The Dolphins are good when they care (or, more accurately, when Cutler cares). I’ll say here that the Dolphins win. I guess.

PANTHERS @ BEARS – Chicago stole an OT win against Baltimore last week, but don’t be fooled – they are in line for another top-five pick. The Panthers lost to a really, really good Eagles team last week. Don’t be fooled there, either. The Panthers will win this game.

CARDINALS @ RAMS – The Rams were able to stack the box and go to an almost goal-line look on defense to stop the run against the Jaguars last week, and will probably do more against the Cardinals to stop the resurgent Adrian Peterson (who, despite being a garbage human being, is still a good football player). The problem with that in this case is the Cardinals have one of these things called a “good passing offense,” which will cause the Rams to have issues. Arizona will continue to have its resurgence now that it has found a quality replacement for David Johnson. Cardinals win.

BUCS @ BILLS – Maybe-not-Jameis vs. a decent-looking Bills team with a quality defense. The Bills have held opponents (even in losses) to 20 points or less this season, an impressive statistic, and have put up surprising wins against Denver and Atlanta. In my opinion, they will continue to impress here, holding the Bucs (who will limit the actions of whoever plays QB) offensively and using their surprisingly diverse offense to bring home a Bills win.

JAGUARS @ COLTS – The Jaguars need a QB; one of the players they should have targeted with a trade is currently starting for their opponent this week. By now, teams know how to stop the run game and make Bortles beat them; that is not good. The Colts have a better offense & future Hall of Fame running back on their roster (news flash: Jags’ pass defense is atrocious) and even though Jacksonville split the series with Indy last season, if they do this year this won’t be the victory. Colts win.

TITANS @ BROWNS – The Titans got handled by the Colts for half a game before putting it away this past Monday night. The Browns are still looking around for answers but man, if there was ever an opportunity for Deshone Kizer to go out there and have a “prove-it” game, this is it. This may be the Browns’ only winnable game for the rest of this season, and I think Kizer takes the benching that he received last week and shows Hue Jackson that he made a mistake. Browns win.

COWBOYS @ NINERS – Whether they have Zeke Elliott or not, Dallas wins. The Niners are awful.

BENGALS @ STEELERS – Let’s not be fooled by their last two wins: the Bengals are vulnerable and for some reason have not gelled. They took three losses to start the year before winning their last two, and that streak is probably going to stop because going forward they have a tough schedule. The Steelers stumbled against the Jaguars’ defense but then went and handed Kansas City their first loss of the year. They have the better chance in this matchup. Steelers win.

SEAHAWKS @ GIANTS – I’m going to go out on a limb here. Seattle’s having offensive line issues and their defense isn’t what it used to be. New York has a bit of confidence after they beat Denver last week and surprised EVERYONE. So yeah, here it is: Giants win.

BRONCOS @ CHARGERS – The Chargers can pretend to be a professional football team all they want, but Denver will be out for that confidence-boosting win after their shocking loss to New York. Broncos win, clearly and easily.

FALCONS @ PATRIOTS – In this Super Bowl rematch I can guarantee you that the Falcons won’t be passing exclusively in the second half. Atlanta is still kind of just… eh, being held to 17 points in their last two games, both losses. New England is basically relying on Tom Brady to magic them to victory. The problem is Atlanta knows how to pressure Brady. Can they do it here? I think so, and they will do it consistently. I’m going to say that the Falcons win.

REDSKINS @ EAGLES – Games between these two teams are always fun, but in the past the Eagles have been less favored than the ‘Skins. That has definitely changed this year – Philly is at the top of the division and doesn’t want to move. I don’t know if they can be moved, and Washington doesn’t have what it takes to move them, to be honest with you. Whatever formula they figured out in the city of brotherly love has worked, and I think will continue to work. Eagles win.

Enjoy the games, friends!

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