Sports

NFL Week 4 rookie QB grades: Mac Jones looks serviceable; Zach Wilson, Justin Fields flash



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Contrary to what a dictionary would possibly inform you, “rookie” is definitely spelled P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

Through three weeks, the 2021 NFL rookie quarterback class seemed extraordinarily common at instances. The children took an enormous step ahead in Week 4, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones placing forth their greatest efforts. Elsewhere, Trey Lance and Davis Mills performed about how properly as you’d anticipate, given their conditions.

MORE: SN’s NFL power rankings heading into Week 5

Fields had the most important mountain to climb coming off a poor beginning debut in Week 3. He and the Bears would choose up a much-needed win over the Lions, pushing their report to 2-2 and giving the Chicago trustworthy a small peek into the longer term

The rookie QB class course-corrected some in Week 4. Here’s the way it shook out:

Week 4 rookie QB grades

Davis Mills: F

Stats: 11/21, 87 yards, no touchdowns, 4 interceptions

Next: vs. Patriots

Mills had a first rate debut vs. the Panthers in Week 3, however his Week 4 begin was, uh, not nice.

The Stanford product had a horrible day in opposition to one of many league’s greatest defenses, which is not stunning. What is barely stunning is simply how dangerous it was from starting to finish: Mills had simply concerning the worst QB efficiency this facet of Nathan Peterman that we have seen in years.

Mills’ first half was abysmal: He was 1-for-7 passing with two interceptions. It did not get significantly better within the second half as he completed with 4 interceptions total.

Whether Mills turns into the Texans’ franchise QB relies upon solely on how good he’s shifting ahead. The deck is stacked in opposition to him, although, with hapless Houston circling the drain. Expect extra of those performances from Mills and the crew.

Trey Lance: C

Stats: 9/18, 157 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions

Next: at Cardinals

One factor is obvious: Lance actually has instruments. The query that he and the 49ers need to reply is: How can they refine these instruments and put them into motion?

Whether he was geeked up or simply uncomfortable, Lance got here out trying fairly common Sunday (*4*) . Lance completed with 9-of-18 passing, 157 yards and two touchdowns. If you are taking out his blown-coverage TD move to Deebo Samuel, Lance was simply 8 of 17 for 81 yards. 

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Lance was far and wide early: He threw at receivers’ ft, above their heads and customarily round fairly than at. He did, although, use his legs very often, selecting up 41 yards on the bottom by way of scrambles and designed runs.

Lance appeared unsettled within the pocket all afternoon. With a full week of preparation because the crew’s QB1, that would change, but it surely will not be straightforward: Lance’s subsequent alternative will come vs. the stunning 4-0 Cardinals subsequent Sunday.

Justin Fields: B

Stats: 11/17, 209 yards, one interception

Next: at Raiders

Second time’s the attraction for Fields.

After being buried on the depth chart behind Andy Dalton, he made his second consecutive begin Sunday, and he seemed markedly higher than he did in his first begin.

MORE: Nagy hands off play-calling vs. Lions

In truth, Fields seemed excellent. The Bears stored his throwing alternatives to a minimal of their 24-14 win over the Lions, with simply 17 makes an attempt on the day, however these makes an attempt seemed nice. Fields was correct and showcased a robust arm, evaded the push when wanted and rapidly put any ideas of Dalton beginning once more within the rearview mirror. Maybe.

While Fields did have a fumble (it was recovered by the Bears) and an interception (the ball was deflected) and did not notch a passing landing (Matt Nagy), the arrow is pointing up for him. The most spectacular half was Fields’ propensity to look downfield for the massive play; he linked with Darnell Mooney 5 instances for 126 yards. That’ll play.

Trevor Lawrence: B

Stats: 17/24, 204 yards, dashing landing

Next: vs. Titans

Lawrence and the Jags misplaced Thursday night time, however Lawrence looks as if he is getting increasingly more comfy because the weeks put on on and the crew wears its followers out.

The Jaguars misplaced on a buzzer-beating area objective to 2020 No. 1 total choose Joe Burrow and the Bengals, however Lawrence had his most managed recreation of his rookie season, with 17-for-24 passing, 204 yards and a dashing landing. It was additionally his first turnover-free recreation. 

Lawrence looks and acts the half with a maturity that is above that of the opposite rookie QBs. Sooner fairly than later, that can end in Ws.

Zach Wilson: B+

Stats: 21/34, 297 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Next: vs. Falcons (in London)

Wilson threw a league-leading eighth interception on Sunday. Not all turnovers are created equal, although: the ball was supposed for Corey Davis, who fell on the route. 

After that second-quarter choose, nevertheless, Wilson put collectively the very best soccer of his younger profession. Not solely did he play the “boring” recreation that head coach Robert Saleh urged only a few weeks in the past, he additionally made a number of “Wow” performs that reminded individuals why he was the No. 2 total choose within the 2021 NFL Draft. Among them was a bomb to Davis after he redirected the wideout whereas outdoors the pocket, finishing Davis’ redemption arc.

Wilson goes to have highs and lows this season — like each QB on this listing — however Sunday felt just like the highs the Jets had been anticipating once they drafted him. 

Mac Jones: B

Stats: 31/40, 275 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Next: at Texans

Jones as soon as once more seemed like probably the most pro-ready QB this week. Some of that’s because of the Patriots’ system, however a few of that can also be as a result of Jones seemed fairly good.

While many — those at SN included — pegged the Patriots and Jones to be on the enterprise finish of a shotgun blowout Sunday night time, Jones was poised and in management for a lot of the recreation, save for an interception. He additionally accomplished 19 consecutive passes at one level. That, by the way in which, matched Tom Brady’s profession excessive.

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The rookie (and the Patriots) could have to return to phrases with the truth that Jones’ recreation goes to be beneath and intermediate routes proper now, and that is positive, contemplating New England’s offense is based on beneath and intermediate routes.

There will come a time when Jones could need to throw deep to win a recreation, however you do not repair what ain’t broke. Not but, at the very least. The subsequent step in Jones’ evolution can be stretching the sphere extra, however even when he is not being requested to do a lot for the time being, he is nonetheless executing at a excessive stage — not many different rookies can say that.



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