As the QB turns … There are a number of storylines we’re following related to the QB situation of several teams with early picks at the 2023 draft. Houston head coach Lovie Smith, for example, didn’t exactly give QB Davis Mills a ringing endorsement when asked after Sunday’s loss to the Giants in New York whether he was contemplating a change at the position in the wake of the Texans’ 1-7-1 start. Smith simply responded that he ‘just didn’t think it was time.’ What that suggests is Smith thinks there will be a time, most likely at the upcoming draft of which the Texans currently hold the first overall pick. There had been speculation earlier in the year that just maybe the Texans liked Mills enough to use their top picks on other positions and he has thrown for almost 2,000 yards so far this fall, but he has completed only 62% of his pass attempts, has 9 picks against 11 TD passes, and has a QB-efficiency rating of 81.7. Not bad for a 3rd round pick who isn’t surrounded by much in the way of talent, likely not good enough to have the Texans thinking of passing on the top passer in a potentially passer-rich draft. Plus the Texans have a second opening round pick this year – currently #8 – from Cleveland in the Deshaun Watson trade that they’ll be able to use on another position.
Speaking of Watson, he returned to practice with the Browns earlier today after serving the bulk of his suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Watson will be eligible to play again on December 4th when the Browns play – and you can’t make this stuff up – in Houston.
Meanwhile, Carolina, which would have the 3rd pick overall were the draft held this week, has confirmed that Baker Mayfield will be their starter when they play in Baltimore this week; Mayfield will replace PJ Walker who had started the Panthers last 5 games after Mayfield was injured. And it says lots about the Panthers’ QB situation that, if healthy, Walker, a journeyman if there ever was one, would start ahead of both Mayfield and Sam Darnold, a pair of former top three draft picks.
And yes he is back! Just days after Indianapolis indicted that Matt Ryan would not play again this year, Ryan started, and won, Sunday’s game in Las Vegas which probably put the old kibosh on any plans the Colts had of tanking after firing veteran head coach Frank Reich and replacing him with former Colts’ C Jeff Saturday, who had never coached a down at any level of college or pro ball, as well as handing the playcalling duties to an assistant assistant coach.