We are through four weeks of the 2021 season, and many quarterbacks continued their early-season elite play in Week 4. Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes had big days, and Justin Herbert put together a statement performance.
On a weekly basis throughout the season, I will rate my current confidence in each quarterback’s play. Who is unstoppable and in the MVP conversation? Who is struggling and needs to find consistency? Who is rising, and who is falling, after each week’s game slate? Which rookies are exceeding expectations, and which veterans are leading their offenses to playoff contention? And remember, this is based on the present, not future potential.
True backups will not be included, though teams with multiple legitimate starting options might have multiple QBs listed in the rankings. Backups in line to play for injured starters will also be ranked. The list will be accompanied each week with some of the biggest takeaways and lingering thoughts from the recent performances under center, including what both the tape and numbers say about some of the game’s starting quarterbacks. Here are this week’s QB rankings and some notes regarding the position.
Last updated: Oct. 6
Rankings | Week 4 takeaways
Tannenbaum’s current QB rankings
Biggest takeaways from Week 4
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was in full control of the game on Monday Night, a 28-14 win over the Raiders. He completed 16 of 18 passes to running backs and tight ends. This offense will be impossible to defend with that type of diversification, and it’s looking more and more that the Chargers’ win in Kansas City last week was no fluke. Herbert has thrown for three touchdowns with zero turnovers in three consecutive divisional games. Per ESPN Stats & Information research, the only quarterbacks over the past 20 seasons with longer such streaks are Aaron Rodgers (active four-game streak) and Donovan McNabb (2003-04). I’m all in, and Herbert moved up to No. 5 in my rankings.
The 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo is sliding because of his unreliability. It’s that simple. Until he can play an entire season, durability will remain a concern, and teams — whether it be San Francisco or another — will have a tough time fully committing to him. San Francisco’s rookie QB Trey Lance is so intriguing to me, though. He has ideal size, impeccable intangibles and a huge ceiling. The only question is how quickly can he get to the next level and unlock his talent.
I’m warming up to the Giants’ Daniel Jones. He has dramatically cut down on turnovers and has a very healthy 8.22 yards per attempt this season, which is ninth in the NFL. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Jones was 8-of-11 with two touchdowns on Sunday when throwing at least 15 yards downfield. If the Giants get healthy, look out for this group of skill players.
Yeah, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is No. 31 in my rankings. After a tremendous career (that should have ended in 2020), I think it’s over. He has 105 passes short of the sticks, tied with Mac Jones for the most in the NFL.
If you go back to last year, Washington QB Taylor Heinicke played really well against the Buccaneers in the playoffs. He doesn’t get credit for his pocket movement and physical ability. I don’t think he’s a long-term starter, but I do think he’s similar to a young Ryan Fitzpatrick. On Sunday, he became the third player in the past five seasons with two passing touchdowns in the final five minutes of regulation in a one-possession game, per ESPN Stats & Information (Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz). I moved him from No. 34 to No. 23 this week.
Drew Lock has a tremendous opportunity with the Broncos if Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) is out, but with receivers KJ Hamler, Jerry Jeudy and DaeSean Hamilton on the injured reserve, he doesn’t have a full hand to play with. Lock had 15 interceptions in 13 starts last season, and we will have to see a lot more from him.