It has been a tough week for quarterbacks around the NFL. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) is done for the year, the Saints won’t have Drew Brees (thumb) for the next 6-8 weeks, the Jets are down to their third quarterback, and the Giants have elected to bench Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones.
It’s rough out there right now for quarterbacks.
With all that’s going on league-wide with the position, this week’s NFC North will take a look at the division's four quarterbacks. How are they playing after two weeks?
GREEN BAY (2-0)
Last game: Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16
Next game: vs. Denver (0-2)
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, 15th season
Stat line: 40-for-64 (62.5%), 412 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, 96.6 passer rating
The good: Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception in either of the Packers’ first two games. In 16 games last year, Rodgers threw just two interceptions.
The bad: The Packers have to do a better job protecting their best asset. Rodgers has been sacked seven times in two games.
Twentyman: After two weeks, it appears the Packers might have something on defense. They’re currently second in the NFL in points allowed (9.5) and in the top half of the league in total defense.
Offensively, Rodgers still seems to be feeling out Packers head coach Matt LaFleur’s new scheme. Green Bay is 29th in total offense and tied for 26th in scoring after two weeks. The Packers had three quick scoring strikes against the Vikings last week to open the game, but they didn’t score on their next 11 possessions.
The scary thing about the Packers right now is if they continue to play defense the way they are, we know it’s just a matter of time before things start to click on offense with Rodgers at the helm.
Quotable: For the first time in his NFL career, Rodgers wore a wrist band with the play calls to try to help speed up offensive tempo.
“This is probably the wordiest offense I've been in since Cal," Rodgers told ESPN. "At Cal, we would signal from the sideline and if there was ever a play that needed more than seven signals, we'd wristband that one. I think it just helps with the communication, so (LaFleur) doesn't have to say 12 syllables to me and then I say 12 syllables in the huddle. It helped speed things up a little bit. But we didn't use it a whole lot. We only used it probably five or six times."
Last game: Detroit 13, San Diego 10
Next game: at Philadelphia (1-1)
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, 11th season
Stat line: 49-for-75 (65.3%), 630 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions, 102.6 passer rating
The good: Stafford is pushing the ball down the field looking for big plays in the passing game. He’s attempted the most 20-plus-yard passes in the league over the first two weeks (17) and has hit on nearly half of them for three touchdowns. He’s averaging a career-best 8.4 yards per attempt.
The bad: Stafford’s been pressured on 37.3 percent of his drop backs, per Pro Football Focus statistics, and has just a 60.2 passer rating when being pressured with no touchdowns or interceptions. Detroit plays an aggressive blitzing Eagles defense on Sunday. When kept clean, Stafford has a 122.6 passer rating.
Twentyman: The run game has been a little bit of a disappointment to start the season for the Lions, but Stafford and the passing game have looked explosive. Stafford is distributing the ball all over the field. Detroit has three different 100-yard receivers in two games and they’ve come from the tight end, slot receiver and wide receiver positions. This is an offense that seems to suit Stafford’s skill set. He's finding ways to make plays the first two weeks when he’s been given time to do so.
Quotable: “I mean, I go into every game really comfortable. I know what (OC Darrell Bevell) is going to call. And now I’m just learning more and more when he is going to call it,” Stafford said. “And that just comes with experience, but I’ve had a lot of fun playing in this system for two games and we have a lot to clean up, we can obviously play better, but I am enjoying it.”
Last game: Chicago 16, Denver 14
Next game: at Washington (0-2)
Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky, 3rd season
Stat line: 42-for-72 (58.3%), 348 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, 65.0 passer rating
The good: There honestly hasn’t been a whole lot of good for the Bears’ passing attack the first two weeks of the season. Trubisky has turned the ball over just once in two games, which isn’t bad.
The bad: The Bears rank 28th in passing offense this season and Trubisky has yet to throw a touchdown pass.
Twentyman: One stat that really jumps out to me is Trubisky’s 4.8-yard average per attempt. That tells me he’s not trying to stand back there and attack teams down the field. Trubisky has always struggled with his accuracy, and it’s been an issue through the first couple Bears games this season.
Quotable: “I know to everybody else it comes down to that one spot (quarterback), but to me it comes down to everything,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There are so many parts included in this. He gets a lot of that (criticism), no doubt. But it’s getting the run game going, making sure we have our execution in the pass game and different elements of the pass game, me calling things at the right time. It’s all of us together.”
Last game: Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16
Next game: vs. Raiders (1-1)
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, 8th season
Stat line: 22-for-42 (52.4%), 328 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 74.3 passer rating
The good: The Vikings are second in the NFL in rushing (185.0), and while that’s mostly a running back and offensive line statistic, the quarterback plays his part, too, getting the offense in and out of good and bad run plays and changing plays at the line of scrimmage.
The bad: The Vikings have attempted just 42 passes in two games. Cousins is completing just over 50 percent of his passes, which isn’t good enough, especially with the tandem he has at wide receiver in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
Twentyman: The Vikings entered this season wanting to run the ball more, but that can’t be at the cost of being completely one dimensional. Cousins threw a bad pick at the end of the Packers loss Sunday and he’s just looked off for whatever reason to start the year. The Vikings have a ton of weapons on offense, especially with Dalvin Cook playing the way he is right now, but they’ve got to find better balance offensively.
Quotable: “There's no justification,” Cousins told ESPN of his late fourth-quarter interception in the Packers’ end zone on a first-down play. “It was unacceptable, it put my team in a terrible position. We had worked so hard to get down there, had a great chance to take the lead, potentially win the game. I just took it out of our hands by making that throw.”