The veteran quarterback carousel spun at an unprecedented rate this offseason. Deshaun Watson's is a Cleveland Brown. Matt Ryan on the Colts? Yep. Russell Wilson plays for the Broncos?! Carson Wentz, on his third team in three years, now resides in our nation's capital. And after waiting patiently with the Raiders, Marcus Mariota is getting another chance to start, this time in Atlanta.
I'm still not used to Wilson in Broncos orange and blue or Ryan in something other than a black helmet. Wentz's burgundy and gold attire at his introductory press conference was burned into my brain.
These household-name quarterbacks in new locales begs the question: What will they bring to the field for their new teams?
It has been a decade since Washington has had a starting quarterback with an above-average arm. That's crazy. From Taylor Heinicke to Alex Smith to Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins, the Commanders' offense has long been limited by its quarterback's arm.
Wentz is the most physically imposing passer Washington's had since Donovan McNabb, and by 2010, McNabb was operating as the knockoff version of himself.
Wentz has one of the stronger, more live arms in the NFL. That will afford Washington's offense new luxuries fans haven't seen since the midway point of the first Obama administration. Of course, there's many more layers to successfully playing quarterback in the NFL than having a strong arm, and Wentz is a prime example of that fact. But the ability to effortlessly push the ball downfield, routinely make long throws toward the sideline from the far hash, etc. will give the Commanders a look we haven't seen in quite some time.
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Watson is a lot of things, including one of the game's most prolific, drop-it-in-the-bucket downfield passers. Among active quarterbacks, no one has a higher completion percentage (43.9%) on throws made more than 20 yards downfield since 2018 (his first full season as a starter).
His 103.9 rating on those long balls is ninth in the NFL during that time frame. And the last time we saw Watson, quarterbacking a brutal Texans team in one of the most unique seasons at the position in NFL history, he threw 11 deep touchdowns to only three interceptions.
Watson has learned the home run is a large component of his game, and his average depth of target (aDOT) figure has reflected that -- he's only finished outside the top 10 in aDOT once (2018) and led the league as a rookie in that category.
Ryan enjoyed the luxury of playing at least eight games in a domed stadium for his entire Falcons career, and he'll be afforded that same luxury in Indianapolis with the Colts.
On over 3,000 regular-season pass attempts in each scenario to date, Ryan's quarterback rating is five points higher and yards-per-attempt average is more than a half-yard better in a dome than outdoors. Last year, Wentz's completion percentage, yards-per-attempt figure and rating were all lower indoors than out in the elements.
Ryan is one of the more consistent, albeit unspectacular, quarterbacks in the NFL at this stage of his career. The Colts would probably even admit that. And he can be relied upon to give the Colts quality play in Indianapolis -- and the four other regular-season games they have against dome teams this season.
Wilson made creating far beyond the structure of the play cool. He was doing it well before Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were even playing college football. And even now, well into his 30s, Wilson is one of the NFL's most prolific creators. Over the past four seasons, of the 23 QBs with 150 or more outside-of-pocket throws, Wilson has made the second-most attempts (443) and is fifth in QB rating (98) in those scenarios.