Happy belated Halloween to all the listeners out there in radio land. I hope you got more treats than tricks – I cannot say the same for the wee hours of the Las Vegas Raiders headquarters. It’s time to talk about quarterbacks. We’re almost halfway through the 2023 NFL season, the trading deadline is over, and there has been some movement regarding some who have taken the reigns and others who might be holding a clipboard. Here are some of the observations I’ve noticed during week eight.
Will Levis- Tennessee Titans
As it turns out, when you make an effort to throw to Deandre Hopkins, good things happen! Did you know the Tennessee Titans only had three throwing touchdowns for the entire year going into the Atlanta Falcons game? That’s unfathomable in a league that predicates itself on the passing game. Before Will Levis’s start, it didn’t seem like anybody wanted to make a play for the Titans quarterback job. Ryan Tannehill's 2 TD and 6 INT stat line indeed didn’t, and the Malik Willis experiment looks to be over.
Levis had himself a day on Sunday with 4 TDs, no INTs, and helming an offense that now looks like it can get the ball down the field and clear some room for Derrick Henry. The Titans are on a short week against the Steelers on Thursday, but I look for coach Mike Vrabel to stick with the rookie for the rest of the season.
Joshua Dobbs - Minnesota Vikings
I’m inclined to add Joshua Dobbs to this list because I think this was a good move for the Minnesota Vikings, given the season-ending injury to Kirk Cousins. The Vikings are in the 7th seed in the NFC, so this tells me that they aren’t punting on the season (and they shouldn’t). Dobbs is a good backup option to Jaren Hall if the rookie struggles against the Atlanta Falcons (well, look at what Will Levis did this past Sunday). It's pretty much the same bridge situation Dobbs was in Arizona.
Hold On Now
Brock Purdy - San Francisco 49ers
Some might think this is a little unfair given some of the San Francisco 49ers injuries to tackle Trent Williams and wide receiver Deebo Samuel, but they have dropped three straight. Their upcoming schedule after the bye going against the likes of division rival Seattle Seahawks (twice), Jacksonville Jaguars, and what will be a motivated Philadelphia Eagles team makes it more imperative that Brock Purdy figure this thing out.
5 INTs in his last three games is not great, and some would even argue he shouldn’t have been playing against the Cincinnati Bengals after a short time in concussion protocol. There are silver linings in that the 49ers averaged 11.8 yards per pass attempt in that Bengals game. The sky isn’t exactly falling – 5-3 is better than the 4-4 the Niners were last year. However, the team must get healthy to elevate what Purdy can do.
Jimmy Garoppolo - Las Vegas Raiders
Let’s call this a series of unfortunate events. Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the league leader in interceptions. Star wide receiver Davante Adams blew up on the sideline during their Monday night loss to the Detroit Lions after the second overthrow that would at least get them into scoring range, and the coach who wouldn’t commit to him as the starter was got fired before people could even get to the leftover Halloween candy. With the Raiders being 3-5 in the AFC West, they aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture.
Time is not on their side with their offensive attack that’s been abysmal (22nd-ranked pass offense and 32nd in rushing yards). Getting rid of Josh McDaniels was the start, and a move from Garoppolo might be the next phase.