We introduced this piece last week as one that will follow the trials and tribulations of the quarterbacks and interior defensive linemen that signed new contracts during the spring of 2016. Week 4 saw quite a few impressive performances from both positions. Let’s see who was the best and worst of their respective groupings.
In week 4, our quarterback group was very accurate, going 273-of-412 for 2800 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That’s 66% accuracy- very good- with a decent 254 yds/per man. The TD:INT ratio wasn’t quite where they’d like it but as a whole the group played much better than the previous week.
Season-long stats now look like this for our 2016 signees:
WEEK 4 HERO: Of all the strong performances last week by the newly minted group of snap-takers, the best was turned in by none other than the lowest paid QB of the lot- Brian Hoyer ($2M).
Hoyer was a robust 28-of-36 (78%!) for 306 yards, 2 TD’s and 0 INT’s against the division rival Lions, leading the Bears to their first victory of the season and already forcing head coach John Fox to answer questions about who the #1 QB will be when Jay Cutler returns from injury.
*Fun Fact- Of the 26 different starting quarterbacks that have started for the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999, just one has a winning record. That’s right- it’s Brian Hoyer (10-6).
Whether Hoyer can keep up this kind of pace over the course of several games is highly debatable, but for one week no one can deny that he outplayed every other quarterback that signed a new contract in the 2016 offseason.
What this does is create a discussion point when it comes to paying quarterbacks. Is it the right move to pay top dollar to the quarterback, thereby forcing the team to spend less freely elsewhere? Or, is it possible the best way to go is to be frugal at the QB position and fortify the rest of the team with the cap dollars not spent on a signal caller?
Both sides seem to have merit and it will be fun to see whether this group coalesces in statistical performance over the course of the year, or if the high dollar “stars” begin to pull away from the rest soon.
WEEK 4 ZERO: Ryan Fitzpatrick valiantly attempted to defend his crown with a 1 TD, 3 INT performance against Seattle, but there was a worse showing from this group on Sunday- all things considered.
Drew Brees went 23-of-36 for 202 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in a game the Saints had absolutely no business winning.
This was the highly emotional return of Brees to the city where he was told he may never play football again. His first shot at redemption in the city of San Diego- 8 years after having to seriously consider a career change and a life’s dream shattered. He brought all of that incentive into the game along with a $24.25M APY contract, only to play poorly yet again when not within the friendly confines of the Superdome in New Orleans.
The Saints were down by 13 points mid-way through the 4th quarter, and it was time for Drew Brees to take over the game. What happened? This happened:
2nd&6 at NO 44
(7:08) Drew Brees incomplete pass to the right intended for Michael Thomas.
3rd&6 at NO 44
(7:04) Drew Brees incomplete pass to the left intended for Coby Fleener defensed by Corey Liuget.
4th&6 at NO 44
(6:59) Thomas Morstead punts for 36 yards to SD20. No return. Penalty: Holding on San Diego (Korey Toomer) -10 yards.
Game over. The Saints were giving up. Punting the ball away from close to midfield with less than 7 minutes left when your defense is…let’s just say not very good is essentially tapping out. At that point, Brees had less than 200 yds in the air and found nothing when he reached down internally for anything that would help his cause.
Of course, the Chargers would go on to fumble the ball away three different times deep in San Diego territory with less than 7 minutes remaining in one of the craziest choke jobs of the season so far, losing by 1 point.
Brees may be all smiles this week since he was able to take a “victory lap” around the stadium after the game on Sunday, but he’s also the present owner of the WEEK 4 ZERO award due to his disappointing individual performance.
On the defensive line, there were no eye-popping stat lines like the one Snacks Harrison put together in week 3, but there were several solid efforts. The most impressive individual performance was turned in by a player whose team was losing 36-0 entering the 4th quarter.
WEEK 4 HERO: Jaye Howard led the Chiefs with 6 total tackles (3 solo) to go with 1 sack for 8 yards. It was a praiseworthy effort from a player who was at times seemingly alone on defense in Pittsburgh on Sunday night.
WEEK 4 ZERO: With Ziggy Ansah unavailable, the Lions needed extraordinary production from the other members of their defensive line to ensure the Bears would stay winless on the season. Instead, Stefan Charles was part of a unit that allowed Chicago both a 300-yard passer and 100-yard rusher.
Charles only earned 14 snaps in the game and drew a goose egg in all statistical categories. Not seen on the stat sheet and rendered invisible on the field, it’s far less than what the Lions hoped they were getting for the $1.75M contract Charles signed in March.
Justin is a contributor to Fansided’s Seattle-centric website EmeraldCitySwagger.com and a life-long Seahawks fan- which was a mostly harrowing experience growing up in Northeast Ohio. You can follow him for thoughts on salary cap information, butchered clock management and the NFL in general @OhioHawk4372.