At the official start of training camps in June, NFL teams may not have known every player who’d be listed on their roster, but ownership and front offices did know who their quarterback would be, who’d be leading their team offensively on the field during this 2019-2020 season. For example, Eli Manning quarterbacking the Giants and Sam Darnold quarterbacking the Jets.
It’s been assumed, but not certain that the Giants would be replacing Manning somehow with some unknown plan of ascension, but the Jets and no one else could imagine Darnold being sidelined due to mononucleosis.
The Indianapolis Colts had no idea, couldn’t imagine that Andrew Luck, the quarterback that they drafted first overall in the 2012 draft, would announce his retirement from football the third game of their preseason in August.
Luck was hurt at the time and has had a variety of injuries since sustaining one to his shoulder exactly four years ago, Week 3 in 2015.
“I’m in pain,” said Luck, 30, noting his four years of pain and myriad of debilitating football related health issues. “Part of my journey going forward will be figuring out how to feel better.’’
Early quarterback injuries have also affected other big names fresh into this season making opportunities available for backups like Jacoby Brissett drafted by Indianapolis in 2016, pick 91 of Round 3, now their starter.
Veteran Ben Rothlisberger, 37, was one of the first quarterbacks to be injured in the regular season.
Roethlisberger, with the Steelers since 2004, a Super Bowl winner with them in 2006 and 2009, left the game in the first half, Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. He’s already had the necessary surgery and is expected to return in 2020. He’s been replaced by Mason Rudolph, the Steelers’ 2018 third round pick. No. 76.
Nick Foles is another, injured during the first game of his season, but also during his first game with his new team.
Foles, 30, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year after two years with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he led to a Super Bowl title in 2018.
In his first game for the Jaguars, Foles took a hit in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs breaking his left clavicle. He’s out indefinitely and has been replaced by rookie quarterback Gardiner Minshew, Jacksonville’s sixth round pick, No. 178 overall.
Teddy Bridgewater, the New Orleans Saints backup and projected quarterback in their future, is now starting in place of another injured veteran, Drew Brees, 40, a Super Bowl winner with the Saints in 2010. Brees, who was injured in Week 2, needing thumb surgery, is expected to be out six weeks minimum.
Also out in Week 2 was Carolina Panthers’ QB Cam Newton. Newton, 30, re-injured his foot initially hurt during the preseason. He’s missed Game 3 and will miss Game 4 on Sunday.
“What Cam needs right now is time and rest for his foot,” said Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera in a prepared statement.
“We want him at 100% when he’s ready, so there’s no exact timetable for his return. At this point, we’re going to go forward with Kyle as our starter.”
Kyle, last name Allen, 23, undrafted, was signed last year by Carolina. He’ll quarterback the team until Newton returns.
Veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36, a Harvard grad now with the Miami Dolphins, his eighth team since being drafted in 2005, wasn’t injured, but was replaced in Week 3 due to a lack of output, poor performance.
With Fitzpatrick quarterbacking, Miami was outscored 102-to-10 by opponents in Weeks 1 and 2. He was replaced by Josh Rosen, the Arizona Cardinals’ 2018 first round draft pick. The 10th pick overall, Rosen was traded to Miami in April after the Cardinals drafted quarterback Kyler Murray in exchange for the Dolphins’ 2019 second-round pick.