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Volume 26 No. 227
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The Young Guns: New-Age NFL QBs Leading The Way This Season

Watson -- a potential MVP candidate -- is one of the 15 starting NFL QB's under the age of 25
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Watson -- a potential MVP candidate -- is one of the 15 starting NFL QB's under the age of 25
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Watson -- a potential MVP candidate -- is one of the 15 starting NFL QB's under the age of 25
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The NFL season to date has served as a "snapshot of a broader quarterback youth movement that is sweeping through" the league, as a group of "sometimes brash, generally mobile and overwhelmingly electric QBs ... are taking over the league," according to Tom Schad of USA TODAY. Entering Week 11, 15 of the 32 starting QBs are under the age of 25, with that including the reigning MVP, the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, and a "pair of MVP hopefuls" in the Ravens' Lamar Jackson and Texans' Deshaun Watson. All three have "benefited from the same shifting dynamics in the sport." NFL offenses are becoming "increasingly similar to college offenses," while QB-specific training is "becoming more prevalent at earlier ages." Because of this, the learning curve in many ways is "starting to shorten." ESPN's Mike Tannenbaum "pointed out the financial incentive that NFL teams have" to start young QBs, who "carry cheap, controllable contracts and can free up space elsewhere." He said that that is why players like Mahomes and Jackson are "so valuable," and why other teams are "eschewing proven, veteran backups in favor of cheap, young ones" (USA TODAY, 11/15).

THE BEST AROUND: Watson and Jackson play each other this Sunday, and in Houston, Aaron Wilson writes it is a "showcase of where the game is headed." The two QBs "represent the cutting edge standard" at the position. With the Patriots' Tom Brady, Saints' Drew Brees, Packers' Aaron Rodgers, Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and Chargers' Philip Rivers now having "more games behind them than in front of them," Watson and Jackson are "carrying the torch for the gold standard" at the position. Watson said fans "want that next generation to continue to have this league very exciting and have a lot of good teams and a lot of points being scored." Watson: "It's encouraging. It's very cool to be a part of that." Meanwhile, Watson and Jackson, along with Mahomes, the Seahawks' Russell Wilson and the Cowboys' Dak Prescott, are "part of an emerging football landscape where elite black quarterbacks are becoming more commonplace" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/15).