Across NFL, top rookie QBs performing well

Although Teddy Bridgewater may be playing the best of the rookie QBs, he will be a backup. Other rookie-veteran battles across the NFL are ongoing.

The Vikings made official what has been a poorly-kept secret for the last several months – that veteran Matt Cassel would start the 2014 regular season as the starting QB over rookie Teddy Bridgewater.

If you go by the numbers, you can make a case for both of them. Bridgewater has played well enough to win the job, but Cassel has played well enough to keep it.

Bridgewater has been nothing short of outstanding in the preseason. In three games, he has completed 26 of 40 passes for 266 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 117.3 – a figure higher than any quarterback with enough attempts to qualify, but his 40 attempts was two attempts short of qualification.

But Matt Cassel has done nothing to lose the starting job. He has completed 26 of 39 passes for 367 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 103.3.

Along the way, the Vikings have all but forgotten Christian Ponder. In three games, he has completed just 3 of 7 passes for 39 yards with no TDs or interceptions and a passer rating of 61.0.

It would seem that, in the battle of the veterans vs. the rookie class of 2014, the youngsters have made their case to be the starters, but the initial plan of bringing them along slowly has remained in place.

In Cleveland, Johnny Manziel has the best passer rating among Browns QBs (78.8), having completed 24 of 42 passes for 213 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions – as well as rushing eight times for 33 yards and a touchdown.

In Jacksonville, Blake Bortles has been very impressive in his preseason to date, completing 28 of 45 for 435 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 101.6. Those numbers have been more impressive than those of starter Chad Henne (36-25-120-1-0-90.9), but both of them have played very well in the preseason and neither of them played poorly enough to lose the job.

In Oakland, Derek Carr outperformed Matt Schaub, but incumbent Matt McGloin has played better than both of them. Carr has completed 19 of 32 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 72.8. Schaub has struggled, completing just 24 of 47 passes for 218 yards with no TDs, one interception and a dismal passer rating of 55.1. Meanwhile, McGloin has completed 28 of 50 passes for 366 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 99.3.

In those other cities, the controversy over whether or not to start or sit the next big thing has been pretty fierce. But the team that has seen its rookie quarterback play better than any of the rest is the one without the quarterback controversy.

It’s Cassel to start and Bridgewater to watch and learn. How long that lasts will be determined in September, but it’s a pretty nice problem to have that both quarterbacks have played well enough to earn the starting job, not have it handed to them.

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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