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The Next Guy

contributed by Tyler Brickwood

Twitter: @adventtau


Everyone knows their franchise’s best quarterbacks. From Brady to Montana, these are the names that are immediately recognizable to even the casual fan. But what happens when we remove the first name that comes to mind? What are we left with? Let's take a closer look at the next best guy for some of the NFL's southeastern franchises.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Anyone whose followed the Jaguars during their short tenure knows that they haven't had the best track record with quarterbacks. The lone exception was Mark Brunell, the lefty acquired from Green Bay. Brunell led the team to multiple playoff appearances, a 14-2 record, and led the league in passing in 1996. Twice Brunell would lead the Jaguars within one game of the Super Bowl before falling short to the Titans and Patriots.

But if we take the greatest Jaguar out of the equation, who are we left with? The drop off past Brunell is substantial and we are forced to choose between David Garrard and Blake Bortles. Bortles short time with the Jaguars forces me to choose Garrard, who, while lackluster by NFL standards, provided something the Jaguars are usually bereft of - stability at the quarterback position. Garrard quarterbacked his way to 1 pro bowl and that’s about the only remarkable accomplishment in his career.

Both looking for Marcedes Lewis downfield (probably)

Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons best quarterback pairing is pretty obvious between Matt Ryan and the infamously electric Michael Vick. The Falcons have had a good batch of quarterbacks since 2000, but suppose we take those two away? We are left with Steve Bartkowski who might not mean much to the casual NFL fan. Bartkowski had a fairly illustrious career for the Falcons from 1975 to 1985. Bartkowski's 10 years in Atlanta saw him lead the league in TD passes in 1980, hold the league’s best passer rating in 1983, and make his way to 2 Pro Bowls. Bartkowski had his number 10 retired in Atlanta, was inducted into the Falcons ring of honor, and now serves on the Atlanta Falcons Board of Directors.

Bartkowski hands off to William Andrews

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No team touches closer to my heart than the Buccaneers. As a lifelong fan, I've watched quarterback after quarterback fail in the Buccaneers offenses. But Brad Johnson did the unthinkable. In 2002 he took the moribund Buccaneers to the Super Bowl and drubbed the Raiders in Superbowl XXXVII. Brad Johnson spent much of his career as a journeyman, playing for 5 different NFL teams, and even a year in the lesser known NFL Europe for the England Monarchs. But Buc's fans will always remember him as the quarterback that got us to the top of the mountain.

But if we look past him, we are left with a dreadful list of journeyman quarterbacks such as Doug Williams, Vinny Testeverde, and Trent Dilfer. None of them managed to reach the heights that much maligned quarterback Jameis Winston was able to. In his five seasons with the Buccaneers he managed to lead the league in passing (and interceptions) in 2019 and a Pro Bowl in 2015. While these stats don't seem all that eye popping, for a Buc's quarterback it's just about peak performance.

Famous Jameis

Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have had a pair of absolute legends in Dan Marino and Bob Griese. Marino infamously never won one while Griese orchestrated the NFL's only undefeated season en route to back to back Super Bowl wins.

But past the two legends, what’s left? Griese and Marino have eaten up the vast majority of the starts at the position, starting combined 391 of 832 games (47%) in their franchise history. Beyond them there isn't much left. We are forced to choose between Ryan Tannehill, Jay Fiedler, and David Woodley. Woodley separates himself appearing in 5 postseason games and finishing 3-2, something Tannehill failed to do. Woodley was the youngest quarterback to play in a Super Bowl in 1982's strike shortened season, eventually falling to the Washington Redskins. His time with Miami was short lived, only playing 2.5 seasons, but the Super Bowl run alone earns him "The Next Guy" title for Miami.

When the Dolphins uniforms were good

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Paul Brickwood
Paul Brickwood
07 jun 2020


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