On the whole, Week 2 was tougher on the rookie quarterbacks, including the Bears’ Justin Fields, than Week 1. There was some good, but more bad, and a decent amount of ugly too. One man was spared, however, since Trey Lance never took the field for the 49ers. He’s played the least among all the rookie quarterbacks, so he is the hardest to assess. Next week we’ll have a newcomer to the list, as well, as Davis Mills draws the start in Houston in relief of the injured Tyrod Taylor.
No. 5: Zach Wilson (Last week: 5)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 19-33, 57.6% YDS: 210 TD: 0 INT: 4
Wilson looked bad in Week 1, but wow, he looked much worse in Week 2. He routinely overthrew his receivers, whether he had a decent platform, was throwing off the back foot or throwing on the run. He also had a tough time diagnosing what appeared to be zone defenses, which resulted in easy interceptions for the Patriots (for full transparency it is hard to tell for certain what kinds of defenses teams are running without the All-22 tape, which the NFL is making available on Fridays this season). On one of Wilson’s longest completions, he had his man wide open, but the trajectory of the pass carried the receiver out of bounds. If the pass had been up the sideline a bit more it could have gone for a score. He did have some positive plays, however, including a 3rd-and-8 scamper to convert a first down. On the whole, it seemed Wilson was trying to play hero ball instead of making the easier, more reliable throws.
No. 4: Trevor Lawrence (Last week: 4)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 14-33, 42.4% YDS: 118 TD: 1 INT: 2
Over the course of the Jaguars’ opening drive, it looked like Lawrence was ready to take a big step forward in his development. He was delivering accurate balls, on time, and capped it all off with an excellent touchdown throw (that beat Kyle Fuller, no less). But after that it was a slog for Lawrence. He threw many dangerous balls in double or triple coverage, and could’ve had more than the two interceptions. On his first pick, Lawrence waited a bit too long and let the DB close on the play. The second pick was an underthrown ball and fellow rookie Patrick Surtain made a great play to create the turnover.
No. 3: Trey Lance (Last week: 3)
Since Lance didn’t play we can’t assess him. Let’s leave him right in the middle based on his limited snaps in Week 1.
No. 2: Justin Fields (Last week: 2)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 6-13, 46.2 YDS: 60 TD: 0 INT: 1
There were times in Week 2 when Fields flashed his dynamic playmaking ability, like a 2nd-and-4 rush where he put a defender in the spin cycle then dove for a first down, or his 10-yard 3rd-and-9 rush that helped seal the win. There were times where his timing looked just a bit off with his receivers, like when Darnell Mooney was a step behind two deep balls. There were other times when he made some rookie mistakes, like committing two false starts on the same drive. It isn’t easy for any quarterback, let alone a rookie, to enter the game midway in relief of an injured starter. Let’s see how he responds if he needs to start Week 3.
No. 1: Mac Jones (Last week: 1)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 22-30, 73.3% YDS: 186 TD: 0 INT: 0
Jones once again was the most competent rookie quarterback, although he didn’t put on an eye-popping performance. He continued to work through his progressions quickly to find the open man and generally took what the defense gave him. One gripe with Jones’ game was poor ball security on a sack. He failed to tuck the ball going down and coughed it up. Jones also made rookie mistakes, similar to the mistakes he made in Week 1. Last week, Jones tried to throw the ball away at the feet of Jonnu Smith to avoid a sack… but Smith was behind him so it was a backwards lateral, and a fumble. This week, Jones tried a similar move, and at least got his pass going in the right direction. But he failed to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage, so he was flagged for intentional grounding. Mistakes like that can ruin a drive, especially since the Patriots passing offense seems to be geared more towards high completion percentage plays over explosive plays.