If the NFC South seems inviting to foretell this tumble, it is not lower than in part given that division has principally essentially the most quarterback turnover of any division in any yr for the reason that NFL went to eight divisions in 2002.
Tom Brady retired after his remaining season with the Buccaneers. The Saints signed Derek Carr. The Panthers drafted Bryce Younger with the No. 1 total make a alternative within the NFL Draft. That left Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder, with 4 profession begins at age 23 — the longest-tenured of the quarterbacks in all probability to be starting.
Add in three begins from Saints’ backup Jameis Winston, and the division has a complete of easiest seven 2022 begins from returning quarterbacks. That’s seven out of a possible 68 — mighty, mighty lower than any fully completely different division in any yr since 2002. The league widespread for a four-group division in that timeframe is 49.2 returning begins from the outdated yr (76 %).
Utterly completely different seven divisions within the NFL this season are at or above that widespread, with returning quarterbacks having not lower than 49 begins with the identical groups in 2022 in all of them. There are in complete three returning starting quarterbacks in each fully completely different division, whereas the NFC South once in a while has one.
Previous to this yr and over the earlier two a very long time, the NFC South had been the NFL division with the least quarterback turnover, due to this of prolonged profitable runs from the Saints’ Drew Brees, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the Panthers’ Cam Newton. Over a span of 9 years (from 2011-19), the division had not lower than three groups each yr whose quarterbacks not easiest had been again, nonetheless hadn’t neglected a single begin the outdated season. It has occurred three occasions now that each single begin within the division turned as quickly as from a returning quarterback.
Now the NFC South is on the other outrageous, with three groups ranging from scratch at quarterback and a fourth in Atlanta giving the keys to Ridder, who has two profession touchdown passes. Tampa Bay will in all probability flip to Baker Mayfield, giving the division one different established starting quarterback. So, the division must not be as younger as voice the AFC South, that may swiftly comprise two novices starting within the Texans’ C.J. Stroud and the Colts’ Anthony Richardson, leaving Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill as principally essentially the most simple in all probability starter older than 23.
Such excessive churn at a a very mighty pickle is uncommon within the NFL, which values familiarity in management positions. There are easiest 4 cases since 2002 the place a division had returning quarterbacks with lower than 30 begins the outdated yr — overview that to 16 cases with all 4 starting quarterbacks again with out missing a single begin the yr earlier than.
Is there the remaining to be realized from these 4? We scrutinize again on them now, seeing the cases that led to elevated charges of commerce in the identical division and the way laborious it typically is to search out success with distinctive quarterbacks.
2011 AFC South (16)
That’s one different uncommon instance of a division with three totally distinctive starting quarterbacks — and all it takes is a legend love Peyton Manning missing the season with a neck injury and the Jaguars prepared until 5 days earlier than their season opener earlier than lowering returning starter David Garrard. The Texans, with the division’s easiest returning quarterback in Matt Schaub, obtained the South (10-6), edging the Titans, who turned to Matt Hasselbeck at 36 and simple went 9-7, factual missing the playoffs.
2021 AFC South (16)
Jacksonville had a No. 1 total make a alternative in Trevor Lawrence nonetheless easiest went 3-14 with City Meyer as head coach. Jacksonville furthermore had eight returning begins from Gardner Minshew nonetheless traded him to the Eagles in unhurried August. Houston, dealing with Deshaun Watson’s off-arena issues, gave 11 begins to rookie Davis Mills and completed 4-13. The Colts swapped out Philip Rivers for Carson Wentz and took a step again to 9-8 with Frank Reich as their coach. Tennessee, principally essentially the most simple group with a beefy-yr starter returning, with out misfortune obtained the division (11-5) regardless of a mediocre yr from Tannehill. Two years later, easiest the Titans’ Mike Vrabel stays of the 4 head coaches.
2010 NFC West (24)
This is not at all times actually a promising callback, given that division — love remaining yr’s NFC South — did not comprise a bunch with a profitable file. The Seahawks as a alternative obtained the division at 7-9. It does really feel a piece of affection this yr’s South — the Rams turned to Sam Bradford as a No. 1 total make a alternative, Kurt Warner retired and Arizona went from first to remaining, and Seattle obtained the division sticking with Hasselbeck at age 35 — having already obtained a playoff sport. San Francisco employed Jim Harbaugh after the 2010 season and went 13-3 the next yr. This seems to me love the glass half-beefy consolation.
2019 AFC South (29)
One more instance of how the sort of excessive stage of quarterback turnover is rarely by bear is when the Colts misplaced Andrew Success to a shock retirement in remaining August, factual earlier than the season turned as quickly as to start, and the Jaguars moved on from Blake Bortles after 5 seasons. That’s all it takes — Houston had Watson again from a Professional Bowl season and he earned one different, main the Texans to a 10-6 file and a division title. The Titans, transitioning from Marcus Mariota to Tannehill, furthermore made the playoffs at 9-7.
Going again to 2002, you’d additionally merely comprise eight NFL divisions spanning 21 offseasons, and easiest 11 occasions out of 168 potentialities had been there divisions with returning quarterbacks totaling lower than half the outdated yr’s begins. There are success evaluations in these few alternatively — the 2020 NFC South had a Mountainous Bowl champ within the Bucs in Brady’s first yr there, and 5 of these 11 divisions had been simple in a pickle to type a wild card regardless of the turnover.
Greg Auman is FOX Sports activities’ NFC South reporter, sustaining the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He’s in his tenth season sustaining the Bucs and the NFL beefy-time, having frolicked on the Tampa Bay Instances and The Athletic. You’ll apply him on Twitter at @gregauman.
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