With preseason underway and only a couple of weeks left before the real thing begins, it’s time to strap yourself in and get ready for the exhilarating ride of NFL 2018. With some exciting new faces and some interesting transfers, it’s going to be a good one this year; so, we figured we’d take a close look at two interesting quarterbacks –a veteran of the game and an eager young rookie—both of whom, for different reasons, should be well worth keeping your eye on over the next few months….
The Veteran – Kirk Cousins
In case you missed it, this living legend recently signed a contract that made history. Officially, Cousins now has the highest paying contract in the history of the NFL. This is a fully guaranteed three-year deal that’s worth an astonishing $48 million. If you struggle to get your head around that then just think about what it’s doing to Cousins’ mind-set. His head must be all over the place right now! That’s a lot of pressure to take on going into a new season and, on top of that, he’s with a brand new side as the historic contract is a transfer from Washington Redskins to the Minnesota Vikings.
We figure it could go one of two ways for Cousins this season, and it’ll be interesting to match up his headspace to the data with the NFL stats 2018. On the one hand, this could give him one heck of a confidence boost. Not that he exactly needed one, being a QB of considerable experience to say the least. In his opening game of preseason, against the Broncos, he was looking strong. The danger with this is that he might go too far in the positive direction: suffer from an inflated ego, get cocky… perhaps even lose his hunger and ambition. The psyche of an athlete can be a delicate thing, remember, and if the head goes –the control center of it all—then it’s easy to fall apart.
On the other hand, “Captain Kirk” might find that he succumbs to the pressure. He’s 29 and has spent his entire professional career with the Redskins. Now he has a new bunch of personalities to contend with. As quarterback, he’s a leader so it’s not just a case of fitting in. It’s a case of winning respect and stamping your personality on a group that has its own bonds already in place, as well as its own culture and its own ideas about how things should be done –both on an everyday level, and on the strategic, long-term campaign level.
The Rookie – Sam Darnold
From a veteran QB to a rookie, we’re getting pretty excited about Sam Darnold’s prospects this season. At 21, this promising youngster was drafted third overall by the New York Jets. With USC Trojans, his height (6ft 3) proved an advantage on the field and, interestingly, he was somewhat split between football and basketball throughout his teenage years and could equally have excelled in the latter. He has the athleticism and the tactical intelligence to go far this season and has been finding his feet nicely in preseason.
In fact, the competition for the Jet’s QB1 this preseason is between three strong athletes: Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCrown. It’s still hard to say what’s going to happen in the final couple of weeks; but, at this stage, it’s looking like the position might well go to Darnold. Former NFL QB David Carr has predicted in Darnold’s favour, but it’s going to prove a nail-biting time as we count down to the start of the season.