On Sunday, injuries to the NFL's most valuable position – for two of history's most prolific passers-by – have radically changed the landscape of the season.
Sean Payton is in the process of training the second game of his NFL career without a healthy one Drew Brees is out of action for six to eight weeks and has an injury to the right (throwing) thumb that needs surgery. With Brees at the top, Payton's record is 119-72, and the pair has the second-highest wins in all QB coaching combinations in NFL history. Well, Payton's quarterback is expected to be Teddy Bridgewater, who last started an NFL game that was important for the 2015 season.
In Pittsburgh, the situation is even worse: Ben Roethlisberger will undergo an operation at the end of the bow for the end of the season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 1
What can we expect from every team with their current backup QBs? The Saints still have a chance to win the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight NFL predictive model. But the playoff chances of the Steelers are now practically at 8 percent.
Even with Roethlisberger, the Steelers had started so badly in the season that if he had not been injured, they would still have been projected to just 7.54 victories or a record of about 8-8 – probably below that again postseason. With Rudolph in focus, the Steelers' outlook drops by 2.47 expected wins. Since Rudolph has not yet started a game, the model projects his performance only on the basis of his draft round (3rd round) – which could be too bearish. But as it stands, it is expected that Rudolph will only reach 36.6 percent of Roethlisberger's Elo level. This is a moving average of recent performances involving both passing and running. On paper, the saints are much better off form with their support in Bridgewater, which is expected to perform at 56.5 percent of Bree's level. If Brees had started any remaining game, the Saints would have been the seventh-strongest team in the Elo League with an expected overall victory of 9.62. With Bridgewater, the Saints fall back to 21st place overall – and he lowered their planned total winnings to 8.93.
But Bridgewater's performance is almost impossible to project as he is not the same player Bridgewater's return as saint was poor, although the sample is only 53 passes: he has notched nearly 2 feet less per pass attempt than as a Viking and has deteriorated in both the pass rating and the QBR of ESPN.
The Saints could turn to a Sean Payton favorite, a quarterback, and a Swiss Army knife, Taysom Hill, who does not earn Elo points because he has no NFL starts and is not required. Payton, however, sees the next Steve Young. Hill is already 29 years old and has been cared for by Payton in his third season, but Young did not start his Hall of Fame game until he was 30 when he was the first 49B start QB. So, if it ever happens for Hill, why? not now?
There are no warranties for the Steelers, though Roethlisberger says he returns from this injury to end his contract. The last major Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw's career ended with an almost identical injury in the final game of the 1983 season. And Bradshaw also said he would come back after his surgery, but he never did. He was 35. Roethlisberger is 37.
But what if the Steelers could get an experienced quarterback for next to nothing in a store? And what if this player is a double Super Bowl champion like Roethlisberger? The Giants are finally leafing through the Eli Manning era, and it would be far less embarrassing for them to hand over the team to starter Daniel Jones without Manning than with him holding a clipboard. Elo expects Manning to be worth almost twice as much as Rudolph this year, and he would be the third-best quarterback for AFC North today, ahead of Andy Dalton.
The Steelers, however, lack the upper limit room for trading for Manning or even a modestly paid veteran QB. Pittsburgh sent a first round to Miami on Monday to get cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. So it does not seem like the Steelers want to refuel. You are probably only confronted with the uncertainty of a QB interested party who does not yet have to start a game.
Neil Paine has contributed research.