Quarterbacks (By Year)
Rodriguez went 2-5 for 14 yards in the Spring Preview, but also threw an interception, which was a microcosm of his whole spring. With Jake Browning getting less turns the first half of spring the senior-to-be showed he might be able to challenge KJ Carta-Samuels for the backup role, but then as Carta-Samuels started to impose himself more as April went on, Rodriguez didn't exactly take a step back but he didn't match KJ either.
Carta-Samuels went 7-17 for 74 yards in the Spring Preview, with a long of 22 yards to Quinten Pounds, but also threw a pick and was 'sacked' twice. I put sack in parenthesis because they were just touch sacks as the quarterbacks weren't 'live', but the Preview showed more of what UW fans have come to expect from the junior-to-be. He's never been a particularly accurate passer, although his decision-making is improving. He's about as consistent as Rodriguez in the pass game, and makes better decisions than Daniel Bridge-Gadd, but isn't quite as athletic as DBG. What Carta-Samuels does have is experience, and that experience is the one thing that's keeping him ahead of the rest of the pack backing up Jake Browning.
Browning, limited for most of spring as he eased himself back from shoulder surgery in January, went 6-10 for 47 yards in the Spring Preview. It's about as much as Washington fans could have expected to see from the two-year starter, as this spring was as much about recovery and mental reps as anything else. By the end of spring his arm looked as good as it has since he's been at Montlake, the deep balls being thrown with zip we hadn't seen in some time.
Bridge-Gadd went 3-5 for 9 yards in the Spring Preview, but was 'sacked' four times. The redshirt frosh-to-be did his work in the off-season, gaining 11 pounds, but the Preview showed his obvious flaws. Consider DBG's learning curve much like Keith Price's: when the first read is gone he wants to tuck and run, but against a savvy, experienced defense like UW's he's not going to get far. But we saw glimpses of the ground he can chew up in scramble drills and the like.
Blake went 1-1 for 12 yards in the recent Spring Preview. The benefit to a limited Browning early in spring was that all the other quarterbacks earned more turns, including the redshirt frosh-to-be.
Where does the Quarterback Group stand heading into the summer?
With Browning still on the mend but pretty much all the way back, he'll be full-go for summer workouts, so don't expect any drop-off there. The coaches have been monitoring all the throws for all the quarterbacks for spring and fall the past few years, so I don't doubt Browning will be put on a 'pitch count' during workouts to avoid any dead arm issues that have been a part of Jake's past.
As it was after last spring, Browning is the man and the rest are playing catch-up. With Carta-Samuels and Rodriguez here for last spring, you would have hoped the gap would have lessened a bit, but it really hasn't. There's no doubt Carta-Samuels is the backup, because no other quarterback really made a strong push. Rodriguez did do some nice things coming out of the gate, but wasn't able to keep up when KJ pushed on.
Bridge-Gadd sure has the athleticism and ability you like to see in a young quarterback, but from here on out it's all about devouring the playbook and honing in on his decision-making. If Browning can help mentor him this summer and beyond that will go a long way in speeding up his development. Much like a poor man's Brett Hundley, Bridge-Gadd has the raw materials to run an offense and move the chains, even by himself at times if need be. But he has a long ways to go to master Jonathan Smith's playbook.
Quarterback Depth Chart
3 Jake Browning (6-2, 205, Jr.)
11 K.J. Carta-Samuels (6-2, 219, Jr.)
7 Tony Rodriguez (6-3, 188, Sr.) OR
17 Daniel Bridge-Gadd (6-2, 210, RFr.)
16 Blake Gregory (6-2, 180, RFr.)*
* = walk-on