AFC South Quarterbacks

Is there a quarterback curse in the AFC south? Let’s look at each team in the AFC south and analyze their quarterback situations in the recent years.

First up, we’ll look at the Indianapolis Colts. Ever since Peyton Manning left the Colts, they were gifted with Andrew Luck becoming their next franchise quarterback. Unfortunately his career was cut short due to injuries and he instead chose to hang up the cleats instead of getting beat up season after season. The Colt’s coaching staff and general manager failed to protect Andrew Luck and depended on him to carry a bad Colts team and ever since his retirement the Colts have been looking for a quarterback since. They’ve had the Jacoby Brissett trials which last a couple of seasons but ended up not working out when Andrew Luck was out the 2017 season and last year when the Colts brought in Philip Rivers over Brissett. Brissett is now in Miami. However, the Colts have traded for Carson Wentz who now head coach Frank Reich has previously worked with in Philadelphia. The Colts are hopeful that Wentz can return to form under Reich and on a personal note I personally think that Wentz can return to form as well although to which extent remains to be seen. Wentz has had injuries throughout his career and another injury currently sits him back which does not bode well for the guy trying to resurrect his career.

Next up we’ll examine the Houston Texans who sit in a very interesting spot to say the least. The Houston Texans franchise has not had a franchise quarterback ever if you are looking at just the Texans and not Oilers franchise. David Carr was supposed to be their guy but failure to put him in a successful position derailed his career. Matt Schaub had many good years in Houston but I don’t think he was ever going to lead them to the promise land. Then after the failed Brock Osweiler year the Texans finally landed their guy in Deshaun Watson. At this point in his career we all know Watson is a franchise quarterback. However, after Bill O’Brien gutted the Texans trading away stars, trading away high draft capital and putting the team in financial difficulties it became clear to Watson that he wants out of Houston. The Texans are reluctant to trade him but have recently begun listening to trade offers. Watson has very serious sexual allegations against him and so this makes it very hard for the Texans to potentially move him. Watson is a phenomenal player and without a doubt the Texans franchise quarterback, but with the current state of the Texans franchise and Watson’s allegations it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.

The next team is our own Tennessee Titans. The Titans have not had a franchise quarterback since Steve McNair. We thought we had our next quarterback with Vince Young and Marcus Mariota but neither guy ended being the right fit. However, we currently have Ryan Tannehill who has resurrected his career here in Tennessee and looks to have a bright future for this team. If all goes well Tannehill continues to be the guy for the Titans until it becomes apparent that we need a new guy. Now, as great as things seem now for the Titans, old school Titans fan know that it wasn’t always this easy. We sat through four years of Vince Young hoping he would be our savior but to no avail. Saw another four years of Jake Locker but he too was not the right guy. Then we finally got Marcus Mariota who many times displayed great moments in five years with the team but in the end he wasn’t the guy either. In total this was 13 years of three different quarterbacks that Titans fan saw. We as Titans fans are lucky to have Ryan Tannehill as our quarterback and hopefully when his time with the team is up we can have a smoother transition to a future franchise quarterback.

Lastly, we get to the Jacksonville Jaguars who are actually the main reason why I chose to write about this topic today. The Jaguars were lucky enough that they ultimately landed the first overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and was able to select once-in-a-generation talent, quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Prior to Lawrence the Jaguars had David Garrard who was a good quarterback for the team for many years but he similarly to Matt Schaub was probably someone who wasn’t going to lead the Jaguars to the promise land. To replace Garrard the Jaguars selected Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert however never lived up to the first round pick and was eventually traded away to the 49ers after three years with the team. In the 2014 NFL Draft the Jaguars selected Blake Bortles. Bortles would show promise early on in his career but would falter near the end of his rookie contract. However, after a stellar contract year he had a fantastic season resulting in him earning a three year contract from the Jaguars. Unfortunately after only one year after signing his three year extension Bortles was released after signing then hot commodity Nick Foles to a four year deal. In Fole’s first game for the Jaguars he was injured and rookie Gardner Minshew was forced into the line-up. Minshew played surprisingly well for the Jagaurs. When Foles returned from injury there was controversy as to who should be the starter because of how well Minshew was playing. Foles was ultimately put back into the starting line-up but his poor play led to him being bench in favor of Minshew. This last season Minshew was the team’s starting quarterback but when the team went 1-15 and landed the first over pick, the writing was essentially on the wall for Minshew. A couple days ago Minshew was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles firmly asserting Trevor Lawrence as the starter.

In recent history the entire AFC south has struggle finding a franchise quarterback. The only exception was Peyton Manning. Even Andrew Luck has an asterisk on his name consider his early retirement. This begs the question for all four teams. Can Carson Wentz return to his 2017 near MVP form? Can Deshaun Watson and the Texans rekindle their relationship? Can Ryan Tannehill prove his doubters wrong? Will Trevor Lawrence end up being the guy for Jacksonville? Nobody doubts Lawrence’s physical abilities as a quarterback but on a young and rebuilding Jagaurs team with first year head coach Urban Meyer only time will tell if Lawrence ends up being the guy.