We have seen some crazy and unexpected benchings in the NFL recently.
Then, Jalen Hurts sits on the bench in the final week of 2020 in favor of Nate Sudfeld.
Philadelphia moving on from Carson Wentz makes way for the dawn of the Nate Sudfeld era.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) February 18, 2021
Down in Miami, Tua Tagovailoa struggled to get on HC Brian Flores good side.
Tua was able to see action in 10 games but was repeatedly benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Let’s be honest though, we all want to see all the Fitz-magic we can get!
— Jason Dixon (Watson → NYJ) (@JasonDixon211) February 18, 2021
We turn our attention to the 2021 season where a few QBs are already on the hot seat.
If they continue to regress, their teams may need to start looking at other options.
1: Ben Roethlisberger
Just because he has been your QB for 17 seasons, does not mean he can lead you through your 18th one.
So #Steelers GM Kevin Colbert spoke to local reporters today and was given every opportunity to commit to Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback for 2021… and he decided not to.
What Colbert said today is similar to what Les Snead said about Jared Goff last month. pic.twitter.com/TcaTCqTMTO
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 17, 2021
Throwing 5 INTs in a playoff game will not help you get 2021 on the right foot.
The Steelers offense is already one-dimensional with RB James Connor not living up to the hype.
Big Ben has to play at an elite level just to pick up a first down because the defense knows what they are going to do.
It’s just like the Ravens where everyone knows they are going to run on first down, it’s virtually a guarantee.
The Steelers are going to throw the ball anywhere from 30-50 times a game and run it maybe 15-20 times.
The offense is not well balanced and they can’t keep asking Ben to throw it as much as he has been.
On 608 pass attempts this season, he completed 399 of them for 3,803 yards, 33 TDs, and 10 INTs.
That is his lowest yardage output since 2012 and the last time he threw 608 passes, it was for 4,952 yards in 2014.
The regression is obvious and if the Steelers do rework his contract and he plays for them in 2021, it will be with a short leash.
The Steelers need to win now with the defense they have put together.
It might start to fall apart this offseason already with contracts needing to be handed out.
If Ben can’t lead them to the promised land, someone else might get the opportunity.
2: Matt Ryan
I know your immediate thought was “who are they going to bench him for?”.
The answer is, whoever they draft this year.
The Falcons have no other QBs on their roster right now other than Matt Ryan.
I was shocked when the Falcons did not draft a QB in the 2020 draft, but I have moved past that blunder.
We need to look to the future and who they will have replacing Matty Ice.
I believe that time will come much sooner rather than later.
The Falcons have the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and there are plenty of young guns to choose from.
Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance could all be available at the 4th pick.
It is time to leave Matt Ryan in the past and it starts with this pick in this draft.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) February 3, 2021
Matt Ryan’s situation is similar to the Steelers with Big Ben.
Matt is no longer a mobile QB and the Falcons run game is almost non-existent.
Being one-dimensional will not work in this NFL.
A young, mobile QB will give the Falcons the edge they need on offense to get back on track and competing in the NFC South.
3: Kirk Cousins
I have labeled the Vikings as one of the NFL’s top anomalies.
I have no idea if they are a good team or not.
Maybe they are exactly that, a good team.
If they want to get to the next level above good, it starts with Kirk Cousins.
The Vikings have put him in the perfect situation that is similar to the Titans with Ryan Tannehill.
Dalvin Cook is a top 3 running back when healthy and when he is going, the play-action is going.
Cousins shines when Cook is running wild and defenses are loading up the box to stop him.
Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson have one-on-one matchups and Cousins can exploit that.
The issue is when Cook is injured or the run game is eventually stopped, he becomes a different person.
He needs to be able to make plays outside of play-action more consistently, but he has not shown he can do that.
I can’t sit here and tell you he is not statistically one of the better QBs in the league.
Most fantasy points above expectation in 2020 (QBs)
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Ryan Tannehill
3. Kirk Cousins
4. Patrick Mahomes pic.twitter.com/xjPSLPlrb1
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 23, 2021
Kirk Cousins redzone passing since 2018:
1 INT pic.twitter.com/uZXgcqB0e1
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 21, 2021
At the end of the day though, it comes down to winning games, consistent play, and being a leader.
We have seen numerous times Cousins getting into arguments with his WRs.
It’s not just them hashing out what went wrong on the last play either.
(See Stefon Diggs)
If Cousins does remain with the Vikings for the 2021 season, he will need to watch his back.