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Seven Burning Questions For The 2018 NFL Season

The predictions and hyperbole and unfounded criticisms are over and the NFL preseason is underway. The heralded 2018 quarterback class has been representing itself pretty well and some are even pushing for starting positions against some pretty solid veterans. 

The equivalent of XXLs elite freshman class selections are trying to drop hits out the gate and by the end of the season, we could see four of these quarterbacks ascend to platinum starter status. At this juncture, only one QB has a legitimate chance to start.  

1. Which Rookie QB Will Be A Starter Game 1?

According to ESPNs Adam Schefter, New York Jets, No. 2 overall pick Sam Darnold is the rookie with the best chance of starting at quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater has looked formidable since returning from a career-threatening injury and hes definitely starter material, which creates a pleasant dilemma for the Jets who have the choice of succumbing to public pressure and throwing Darnold into the Metropolitan fire or letting him chill and learn from Teddy B and Josh McCown. 

Kimberley A. Martin on Twitter

: Josh Norman has high praise for #Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold: “This little kid’s not making mistakes!” #Redskins https://t.co/Um52NaMJud

The Jets havent had a rookie quarterback buzz like this since Joe Namath, so unless Bridgewater plays lights out for the rest of the preseason, Darnold might be able to snatch the reigns for Game 1.  

Josh Rosen probably wont beat out Sam Bradford. Baker Mayfield had a lit debut, but hes going to sit behind Tyrod Taylor, a winning veteran who secures the football. Cleveland has failed miserably at drafting and starting rookies in recent seasons and would prefer to have an experienced signal-caller at the helm.  

Bleacher Report on Twitter

BOOM! Baker Mayfield’s first TD drive was beautiful! New episodes of #HardKnocks air Tuesdays at 10pm ET on @hbo https://t.co/Dl4oGALT0N

Josh Allen, of racist Twitter fame,  isnt beating out A.J. McCarron or Nathan Peterman in Buffalo. The NFL season is unpredictable, tumultuous and long, so at some point, all of these QBs should get a crack at a start. 

2. How Will The Legendary 2004 QB Class Fare In 2018?

As we speculate about the quarterbacks on the rise, the veterans from the last great QB class in 2004 are all on borrowed time. Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are in the final acts of their Hall of Fame Careers. 

Questions surroundings Big Ben focus on his 36-year-old body and his desire to continue to compete at an elite level. He still has the best weapons in the AFC in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, but hes expressed some frustration over the past couple of seasons and some have doubted his dedication to the craft as he approaches retirement.

Last season his completion percentage, TDs and interception numbers were all down from 2016. The Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph to be Big Bens heir apparent and Ben told him hed have to wait a few years. This season will give the Steelers a better idea of the time frame 

Steelers Depot on Twitter

Fichter Says Of Ben Roethlisberger This Is ‘Best Camp He’s Had’ https://t.co/Q7nYRq5Kwc

Eli Manning was almost finished as a Giant last season, but a fan revolt saved his job. Mannings stats have been unimpressive as hes aged and despite blaming a washed offensive line, at 37 and having never missed a game until he was benched for a game by ex-head coach Ben McAdoo, its clear hes lost a step. Mannings career has been defined by his two Super Bowl wins, how he performs in the clutch. How far the Giants go in the playoffs will determine how successful Elis 15th NFL season was. 

Phillip Rivers has the stats and the props and the respect. He just doesnt have the rings and every year he gets further and further from leading a championship contender. His career will end similarly to Dan Marino, the greatest pure passer in history and Dan Fouts, who rewrote record books with San Diegos “Air Coryell” offensive of the 80s but couldnt win a Super Bowl. 

3.
 Is A.J. Green still an elite receiver?

Green, 29, amassed almost 200 receptions total between 2012 and 2013. Since then, hes been among the elite receivers but his numbers imply some decline. Last season Green averaged 67.4 YPG, his first season under 70 YPG and he hasn’t had a double-digit TD year since 2015. This is a pivotal season for Green, the Cincinnati Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton, who probably had the worst year of his career in 2017.  

Adrooo on Twitter

AJ Green had 1 catch for six yards against Jalen Ramsey.Nuk on the other hand…..

4. When Will Seattle Get Russell Wilson Some Help?

Russell Wilson is still a walking MVP candidate, but his offense is consistently void of superstar talent. As Wilson progresses in age he will need another player to take the weight of creating the entire offense off of his back. Wilsons never had tremendous offensive weapons to work with and with the departure of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson, and Doug Baldwins absence, the Seahawks are talking ground and pound. The problem is that I dont see a Marshawn Lynch in the bunch, which means Wilson will carry a heavier load than any QB in the game again. Pete Carroll took a chance on drafting Wilson, but he’s mishandled his QB in many ways. 

Ron Obasi on Twitter

Why did Pete Caroll not give the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the goal line with the game on the line ….? https://t.co/FJdf6QiL1f

5. Andy Reid Has A New Toy:  Is It Really Pat Mahomes Time In Kansas City?

Its Pat Mahomes time in Kansas City and Andy Reid is getting ready to unleash the beast. The second-year QB is young and inexperienced but unlike Wilson, he has an array of offensive options to work with including wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Thrill Hill, all-purpose back Kareem Hunt and tight end Travis Kelce. Im thinking close to 3,500 passing yards easy for Mahomes if he can avoid throwing picks.   

Receiver School on Twitter

Tyreek Hill is not human https://t.co/pZbMytn1rC

6. Which superstar quarterback will have the best return from season-ending injury?

By all reports, DeShaun Watson, who tore both ACLs after getting off to a legendary start with the Texans last season as a rookie, is ready to start the season, which is a huge boost for Houstons squad. He proved to be a difference maker, someone who can help raise the level of the team, during his seven-game stint last season. 

The Shadow League on Twitter

Deshaun Watson put on the burners! #HOUvsCIN https://t.co/72EJioHUi0

Andrew Luck has taken a beating in his career and after playing through injuries and suffering behind an atrocious offensive line he finally took last season to heal and hes ready to go. Hopefully he won’t be walking into a similar situation to the one he left, but the Colts still arent that good and it will still take miracles by Luck for them to beat the better teams in the NFL. 

We still don’t know if Carson Wentz will open the season under season when they play the Falcons three weeks from Thursday night, and they dont have to rush him because his backup is the Super Bowl MVP. 

The Shadow League on Twitter

Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass and then the Eagles had a fantastic TD celebration. https://t.co/aU0KpSS1do

7. Can Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. exist in the same offense in the same market?

Barkley will be heavily relied upon by the Giants to move the chains and provide an aging Eli Manning with an emergency escape route when the pocket starts to collapse. I can see Eli getting real comfortable with dinking and dumping to a guy who can turn a screen pass into a 55-yard gain. 

The Shadow League on Twitter

Here is Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning doing their best ‘Dirty Dancing’ impersonation. #SuperBowl https://t.co/k3VA05kNJj

Odell Beckhams success will depend upon whether or not the Giants revamped offensive line can pass block. As Barkleys star rises, Beckham Jr. may not like sharing the spotlight and he definitely will have a problem if his stats start looking shaky. 

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