It's time to get acquainted with some new quarterbacks.
Four of the NFL's 32 starting pivots - that's one-eighth, for all you mathematicians out there - have gone down in the first two weeks of the 2019 season.
|Saints||Drew Brees||Thumb||6 weeks|
|Jaguars||Nick Foles||Clavicle||9 weeks|
|Jets||Sam Darnold||Mononucleosis||3-7 weeks|
|Steelers||Ben Roethlisberger||Elbow||Out for season|
Each of their replacements has a claim to fame.
A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater is no stranger to the limelight. He appeared to be on the upswing when a devastating knee injury days before the 2016 opener altered his career. A torn ACL and additional damage cost Bridgewater that entire season and most of 2017.
The 26-year-old signed with the Jets in 2018 but was shipped to the Saints for a mid-round pick on the heels of a strong preseason. He was immediately billed as the potential heir to Brees. In New Orleans, he quickly earned the affection of his teammates and became a locker room star, popularizing the "Bike Life" dance following wins, as the Saints pedaled to a 13-3 record.
Bridgewater tested free agency in 2019 but returned to the Saints on a one-year, $7.25-million deal. He rejected a contract from his hometown Miami Dolphins, who offered him a chance to compete for a starting job.
The legend of Minshew began at birth. He was named Gardner Flint Minshew II, despite the fact that there is no first, senior, or junior Gardner Minshew. Meanwhile, his grandfather wanted him to be named Beowulf.
Minshew started his college career at Northwest Mississippi Community College and led the school to a national championship. He then transferred to East Carolina before transferring again two years later to Washington State. In 2018, he trailed only Dwayne Haskins in passing yardage among FBS quarterbacks and finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting. More importantly, he made the "Minshew Mustache" famous and put a strip of artificial hair above his coach's lip during a postgame interview.
As legend has it, Minshew stretches in the locker room before games in nothing but a jockstrap. The sixth-round rookie became an icon in Jacksonville when he replaced the injured Foles in Week 1 and immediately went into gunslinger mode, and also for stepping off a plane in this outfit:
The 23-year-old led a last-minute touchdown drive in Week 2 to give the Jaguars a chance to upset the Houston Texans, but running back Leonard Fournette was stuffed at the goal line on the go-ahead two-point try.
Truth be told, Siemian might be the best quarterback the Denver Broncos have employed since Peyton Manning retired. As an unheralded rookie from Northwestern, Siemian won the starting job in both 2016 and 2017 over first-round pick Paxton Lynch.
Before Siemian's second season, Broncos star Von Miller said the QB possessed "that Peyton Manning vibe." While it didn't translate into enough wins for the Broncos to keep him long term, Siemian did enjoy some bright moments in Denver, including a pair of four-touchdown performances.
Siemian grew up a baseball player and only gave football a shot in high school because his coach approached him. He's now on his third NFL team following stints with the Broncos and Vikings.
Rudolph was a third-round pick of the Steelers in 2018. His selection garnered a frosty response from the man he'll be replacing.
"I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now," Roethlisberger said at the time. "Nothing against Mason; I think he's a great football player. I don't know him personally, but I'm sure he's a great kid. I just don't know how backing up or being a third guy - well, who knows where he's going to fall on the depth chart - helps us win now."
Rudolph spent his rookie season behind Roethlisberger and Josh Dobbs on the depth chart. He moved up a spot when Pittsburgh traded Dobbs to the Jaguars after Week 1.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a storied career at Oklahoma State. He topped Baker Mayfield for the FBS lead in passing yards in 2017, sending 1,549 of them to James Washington, with whom he's again teammates on the Steelers. He also went viral for taking his football skills to the cottage: