The Quick Report

NFL Starting Quarterbacks Out With Season-Ending Injuries

6 NFL starting quarterbacks are out with season-ending injuries. What happened, who took over, and how are their teams doing now?

So far, in the 2023 NFL season, there has been no shortage of injuries. When it comes to the position of quarterback, six teams have lost their starters so far.

We’ll take a look at these injured starters, what happened, and how they were performing before their injury took them out of play for the rest of the season.

Next, we’ll take a look at the quarterbacks who stepped in to fill their shoes. We’ll look at how these replacements are doing and how their team is performing without their starters.

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1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

NFL starting quarterback Joe Burrow suffered an injury in the first half when the Bengals faced the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, November 16. With Burrow out, the Ravens went on to win the Week 11 contest 34-20. The Bengals were 5-5 at the time and were down 21-10 at the half.

The next day, head coach Zac Taylor announced Burrow was diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right wrist. Burrow would likely require surgery and be out for the remainder of the season.

NFL Finds Bengals in Compliance With Injury Report Policy

A weeks-long review of the Cincinnati Bengals was undertaken by the NFL in regards to Burrow’s injury. Burrow was spotted wearing a wrap around his right hand the day before the game. However, Burrow was not on Cincinnati’s injury report that week. Nonetheless, the NFL has found no violation of the policy. Violation of injury policies could result in a team fine, fines for those involved, and/or the loss of future draft picks, CBSSports reported.

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Jake Browning takes over as QB

With Joe Burrow out, 27-year-old rookie Jake Browning from Washington took over as starting quarterback for the Bengals. In week 13, Browning completed 32 of 37 to defeat the Jaguars 34-31. In week 14, Browning went 18 for 24 in a 34-14 victory over the Colts. 

The Bengals are currently in fourth place in the AFC North with a 7-6-0 record. They rank #10 in the AFC playoff hunt.

2. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets

With high expectations for NFL starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the helm as QB, the New York Jets saw their hopes dashed on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills. Rodgers stayed on the ground after being sacked by Leonard Floyd in what was only the fourth offensive snap of the season.

The following day, Rodgers was diagnosed with an Achilles tendon rupture. The day after that, Rodgers underwent what was deemed a successful surgery. The QB vowed that he would “rise yet again.” A few days later the 40-year-old alluded to possibly returning to play this season. The 19-year veteran QB then undertook a five-hour-per-day rehab regimen.

On November 26, it was reported that Rodgers was targeted to be cleared of his injury. Expectations are that Rogers could return by the Jets Christmas Eve contest against the Washington Commanders. However, research indicates that professional athletes take 11 months to return to play after sustaining this type of injury, on average. Some question the wisdom of Rogers returning less than three months after his injury.

Zach Wilson Takes Over as QB

With Rodgers out, Zach Wilson stepped in that first week and led the Jets to a victory over the Bills in overtime. For the season, Wilson has thrown 357 passes with 217 completions for a percentage of 60.8% and 2245 yards. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

The Jets currently sit at #3 in the AFC with a 5-8 record and are at #14 in the AFC playoff hunt.

3. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

NFL starting quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon when the Vikings played against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. It occurred in the fourth quarter of the October 29 contest and resulted in Cousins being carted to the locker room. It was the first significant injury of Cousins’ 12-season career.

Two days later, Cousins underwent a successful surgery to repair the tendon tear. The player was deemed out for the season. Last year, the 35-year-old veteran had 4,547 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, earning his second straight Pro Bowl selection and fourth of his career.

Joshua Dobbs Takes Over as Quarterback

Joshua Dobbs, a 28-year-old, 7-year veteran from Tennessee, has stepped in as the starting quarterback. He’s played in 5 games and thrown 151 passes for 95 completions and a passing record of 62.9%. He’s thrown for 895 yards, with 5 touchdowns in 5 interceptions. 

The Vikings currently sit in 2nd place in the NFC North with a record of 7-6. Minnesota is ranked at #6 in the NFC playoff hunt.

4. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Daniel Jones has had a rough 2023 season. In late October, the New York Giants quarterback had already been sidelined from a persistent neck injury for a third consecutive game. The neck injury was not believed to be season-ending. 

However, in week 9, a season-ending injury came when Jones went down in the second quarter of a 30-9 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The next day, Giants head coach Brian Daboll confirmed Jones suffered a season-ending torn ACL. In the first year of Jones’ $160 million contract, he threw only 2 TDs and six interceptions.

Tommy DeVito Takes Over as Starting Quarterback

Jones was initially relieved by a combination of Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito. However, Taylor went out on injured reserve (ribs) and will be out for at least three weeks, elevating rookie DeVito to starter. DeVito has played five games and made 105 attempts with 66 completions for a percentage of 62.9%. He has 697 yards passing with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

The Giants currently sit at 3rd in the NFC East with a 4-8 record. They are ranked #13 in the NFC playoff hunt.

5. Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

Rookie Anthony Richardson was the fourth overall pick in the 2023 draft, signed to a four-year, $33.99M contract, as well as a $21.72M signing bonus. But in Week 5 against Tennessee, Richardson sustained an injury to his AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder. He underwent surgery but the injury and recovery will keep him out for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Richardson had completed 50 of 84 passes for 577 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in four games. The 21-year-old rookie had also missed week 3 due to a concussion.

Gardner Minshew Takes Over as Colts Starting Quarterback

Gardner Minshew, 27, a 5-year veteran from Washington State, took the helm as starting QB for the Colts following Richardson’s injury. Minshew has seen action in 13 games this year. As of Week 14, Minshew had 378 attempts for 289 completions with a percentage of 63.2. He’s thrown for 2,524 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

The Colts are currently in 2nd place in the AFC South with a 7-6 record. Indianapolis is ranked #7 in the AFC playoff hunt.

6. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

It’s an understatement to say the Cleveland franchise has been through a lot and was betting hard on NFL starting quarterback Deshaun Watson. The franchise quarterback was injured in a Week 10 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on November 12. The 33-31 victory was only the sixth game played by Watson for the season.

In the first half, the 28-year-old suffered a displaced fracture in his right glenoid of his right shoulder.

After undergoing surgery, the team is taking no chances with Watson. They had him remain in Los Angeles for his rehab. They are keeping him off the sidelines because they don’t want a collision that could cause a setback in his recovery. Considering what the Browns traded and paid for Watson, it’s understandable they are taking every precaution to protect their franchise quarterback in every way possible.

Joe Flacco Named Starting Quarterback for Remainder of Season

Only three weeks ago, 38-year-old Flacco was not a part of any NFL roster. But a lot has changed after Flacco led the Browns to a 31-27 victory over the Jaguars. HC Kevin Stefanski announced 17-year veteran would remain the Browns’ starter for the remainder of the season.

Currently, the Browns reside in 2nd place in the AFC North with an 8-5 record. Cleveland is ranked #5 in the AFC playoff hunt.

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