NFL Standings

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


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

By means of three weeks, the 2021 NFL rookie quarterback class seemed extraordinarily common at occasions. The youngsters took a giant step ahead in Week 4, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones placing forth their finest efforts. Elsewhere, Trey Lance and Davis Mills performed about how properly as you’d anticipate, given their conditions.

MORE: SN’s NFL energy 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 decide up a much-needed win over the Lions, pushing their file to 2-2 and giving the Chicago devoted a small peek into the longer term

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

Week 4 rookie QB grades

Davis Mills: F

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

Subsequent: vs. Patriots

Mills had a respectable 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 finest defenses, which is not stunning. What’s barely stunning is simply how unhealthy it was from starting to finish: Mills had simply in regards to the worst QB efficiency this aspect 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 a lot better within the second half as he completed with 4 interceptions general.

Whether or not 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. Anticipate extra of those performances from Mills and the crew.

Trey Lance: C

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

Subsequent: 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 or not he was geeked up or simply uncomfortable, Lance got here out wanting fairly common Sunday in aid of Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) . Lance completed with 9-of-18 passing, 157 yards and two touchdowns. In case you take out his blown-coverage TD go to Deebo Samuel, Lance was simply 8 of 17 for 81 yards. 

Quarterback | Operating again | Large receiver | Tight finish | D/ST | Kicker

Lance was in every single place early: He threw at receivers’ toes, above their heads and usually round somewhat than at. He did, although, use his legs very often, selecting up 41 yards on the bottom by 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, nevertheless it 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

Subsequent: at Raiders

Second time’s the appeal 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 fingers 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 powerful arm, evaded the push when wanted and rapidly put any ideas of Dalton beginning once more within the rearview mirror. Perhaps.

Whereas 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. Essentially the most spectacular half was Fields’ propensity to look downfield for the massive play; he linked with Darnell Mooney 5 occasions for 126 yards. That’ll play.

Trevor Lawrence: B

Stats: 17/24, 204 yards, dashing landing

Subsequent: vs. Titans

Lawrence and the Jags misplaced Thursday night time, however Lawrence appears as if he is getting an increasing number of comfy because the weeks put on on and the crew wears its followers out.

The Jaguars misplaced on a buzzer-beating discipline purpose to 2020 No. 1 general decide 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 appears and acts the half with a maturity that is above that of the opposite rookie QBs. Sooner somewhat than later, that can end in Ws.

Zach Wilson: B+

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

Subsequent: vs. Falcons (in London)

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

After that second-quarter decide, nonetheless, Wilson put collectively the perfect soccer of his younger profession. Not solely did he play the “boring” recreation that head coach Robert Saleh urged just some weeks in the past, he additionally made a couple of “Wow” performs that reminded folks why he was the No. 2 general decide within the 2021 NFL Draft. Amongst 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 record — 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

Subsequent: at Texans

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

Whereas many — these 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 many 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.

IYER: Brady’s Bucs, Belichick’s Pats each win in revenge recreation

The rookie (and the Patriots) might have to come back to phrases with the truth that Jones’ recreation goes to be beneath and intermediate routes proper now, and that is tremendous, contemplating New England’s offense relies on beneath and intermediate routes.

There’ll come a time when Jones might 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 sector extra, however even when he is not being requested to do a lot in the mean time, he is nonetheless executing at a excessive degree — not many different rookies can say that.


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