Two Generations of QBs Headline 2013-14 Playoffs

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Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

YOUNG GUNS

This is the next generation of quarterbacks. Several of these quarterbacks will become the elite ones, filling the shoes of Manning, Brady, and Brees, after they retire. Every single one has most likely at least 10 to 12 years left and their best years are yet to come.

Andrew Luck

Peyton Manning who? Colts fans should consider themselves extremely lucky (see what I did there?). Anyway, subtracting 2011, the Colts have had two extraordinary quarterbacks in a span of what should be 30 years if Andrew Luck stays healthy. Peyton Manning was 3-13 in his first year as the Colts’ starter. Andrew Luck was 11-5 in his first and second season. Just putting that out there. Luck is the head of the next generation of quarterbacks, and his mobility is underrated — four of six young playoff quarterbacks are guys who move, including Luck, Newton, Kaepernick, and Wilson. Some compare Luck to Wilson, saying Wilson is better. But put Luck on the Seahawks, and how does he perform?

Andy Dalton

Three straight playoff appearances, one division title, and people still doubt this guy. It’s understandable because he has a great team around him and he’s been relatively average, but as long as he’s winning, there’s no reason to call for his job. Dalton’s play will decide the fate of the Bengals this postseason — he plays well, the Bengals go far. A lot is riding on his shoulders although his team helps him out greatly.

Cam Newton

In the last 25 years, just one Heisman-winning quarterback has won a playoff game: Tim Tebow. Newton might have something to say about that in the next month. You can hype up the defense all you want, but without Newton, the Panthers aren’t NFC South champions. If the 49ers and Saints both win, we’ll be in store for a heck of a matchup between the Panthers and 49ers, not to mention the two mobile quarterbacks on both teams. Speaking of the 49ers’ mobile quarterback…

Colin Kaepernick

What young Kaepernick brings to the 49ers’ offense is why Harbaugh went to him over Alex Smith: play-making ability and size. All from the 2011 draft class, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Kaepernick kicked off the next generation of quarterbacks, although Kaep was late to the show. The last time he played the Packers, he put up more than 400 passing yards in a 49ers win. We’ll see what route Jim Harbaugh wants to go with Kaep and the gameplan — whether he wants to go run-heavy like he did in last year’s playoffs or pass-happy like he did in Week 1.

Russell Wilson

He’s too short, right? If the Redskins and Colts could redo the 2012 draft, do the Colts still take Luck at first overall? And if that happens, do the Redskins take Wilson at second? I think so. Not to mention the Jaguars took a punter over Wilson. What he does that Luck and Griffin have trouble with is protecting himself. He knows how to get down and avoid big hits, something that’s necessary at his size and the amount that he runs. He and veteran Drew Brees are redefining the quarterback position, proving that size shouldn’t make a difference when evaluating draft talent.

Nick Foles

Living under the shadow of Michael Vick at the start of 2012 and 2013, Foles was the forgotten quarterback from the 2012 draft class. The spotlight was on Robert Griffin III, Luck, and Wilson. When Vick got hurt (again), Foles took the job and never looked back. His consistent winning (8-2 in 2013) and his 27 touchdown passes to just two interceptions has put him in the discussion for the best quarterback from the 2012 draft with Luck and Wilson.

 

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