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NFL Week 4 Rookie Quarterback Grades: Mac Jones Looks Helpful; Zach Wilson and Justin Fields Flash

Contrary to what a dictionary might tell you, “newbie” is actually spelled PATIENCE.

Over the span of three weeks, the NFL’s rookie quarterback class of 2021 looked extremely average at times. The kids took a big step forward in Week 4, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones doing their best. On the other hand, Trey Lance and Davis Mills played about how well you would expect, given their situations.

MORE: SN’s NFL Power Rankings Heading Into Week 5

Fields had the biggest mountain to climb after a poor starter debut in Week 3. He and the Bears would score a much-needed win over the Lions, pushing their record to 2-2 and giving the Chicago faithful a little glimpse. to the future

The rookie quarterback class corrected something in week 4. Here’s how he flinched:

Rookie quarterback grades from week 4

Davis Mills: F.

Statistics: 11/21, 87 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions

Next: against patriots

Mills had a decent debut against the Panthers in Week 3, but his start in Week 4 wasn’t great.

The Stanford product had a horrible day against one of the best defenders in the league, which is not surprising. What’s a bit surprising is how bad it was from start to finish: Mills had the worst QB performance from this side of Nathan Peterman we’ve seen in years.

Mills’ first half was lousy, hitting 1 of 7 passes with two interceptions. He didn’t improve much in the second half, as he finished with four interceptions in total.

Whether Mills becomes the Texans’ franchise quarterback depends solely on how well he is progressing. Yet the deck is stacked against him, with hapless Houston spinning down the drain. Expect more of these performances from Mills and the team.

Trey Lance: C.

Statistics: 9/18, 157 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions

Next: in the cardinals

One thing is clear: Lance certainly has tools. The question he and the 49ers have to answer is: How can they hone those tools and put them to use?

Whether he was excited or just uncomfortable, Lance came out looking pretty average Sunday in relief from Jimmy Garoppolo (calf). Lance finished with 9 of 18 passes, 157 yards and two touchdowns. If you get his missed coverage TD pass to Deebo Samuel, Lance was only 8-of-17 for 81 yards.

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Lance was all over the place early: He pitched at the receivers’ feet, over their heads, and generally around rather than at. However, he used his legs quite frequently, lifting 41 yards on the ground through scrambles and engineered runs.

Lance looked fidgety in his pocket all afternoon. With a full week of preparation as the team’s QB1, that could change, but it won’t be easy: Lance’s next opportunity will come against the surprising 4-0 Cardinals next Sunday.

Justin Fields: B.

Statistics: 11/17, 209 yards, one interception

Next: in Raiders

The second is the charm of the fields.

After being buried in the depth chart behind Andy Dalton, he made his second straight outing on Sunday and looked noticeably better than his first outing.

MORE: Nagy Quits Playing Against Lions

In fact, Fields looked pretty cool. The Bears kept their shooting opportunities to a minimum in their 24-14 win over the Lions, with just 17 attempts on the day, but those attempts looked great. Fields was precise and displayed a strong arm, dodging the rush when necessary, and quickly put any thoughts of Dalton starting over in the rearview mirror. Maybe.

While Fields had a fumble (it was recovered by the Bears) and an interception (the ball was deflected) and did not score a passing touchdown (Matt Nagy), the arrow is pointing his way. The most impressive part was Fields’ propensity to look down the field for the big play; He connected with Darnell Mooney five times for 126 yards. That will play.

Trevor Lawrence: B.

Statistics: 17/24, 204 yards, rushing touchdown

Next: against titans

Lawrence and the Jags lost Thursday night, but it seems like Lawrence is getting more and more comfortable as the weeks go by and the team wears down its fans.

The Jaguars lost on a field goal that knocked the bell to No. 1 Joe Burrow and the Bengals, but Lawrence had his most controlled game of his rookie season, with 17 of 24 passes, 204 yards and a rushing touchdown. It was also his first game without turnovers.

Lawrence looks and acts more mature than other rookie quarterbacks. Sooner rather than later, that will result in Ws.

Zach Wilson: B +

Statistics: 21/34, 297 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Next: vs. Falcons (in London)

Wilson threw a league-leading eighth interception on Sunday. However, not all turnovers are the same: the ball was destined for Corey Davis, who fell on the road.

However, after that second-quarter selection, Wilson put together the best football of his young career. Not only did he play the “boring” game that head coach Robert Saleh urged a few weeks ago, but he also made some “Wow” plays that reminded people why he was the no. 2 in the 2021 NFL Draft. Among them was a bombshell for Davis after he redirected wide receiver while out of pocket, completing Davis’ redemption arc.

Wilson is going to have ups and downs this season, like every quarterback on this list, but Sunday felt like the highs the Jets had hoped for when they drafted him.

Mac Jones: B.

Statistics: 31/40, 275 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Next: Texans

Jones once again looked like the most pro-ready quarterback this week. Some of that is because of the Patriots’ system, but some of that is also because Jones looked pretty good.

While many, including those in SN, considered the Patriots and Jones to be on the business side of a shotgun blowout Sunday night, Jones was ready and in control for most of the game, save for an interception. He also completed 19 consecutive passes at one point. That, by the way, coincided with Tom Brady’s career record.

IYER: Brady’s Bucs, Belichick’s Pats both win in a game of revenge

The rookie (and the Patriots) may have to come to terms with the fact that Jones’ game will be down and down routes right now, and that’s fine considering New England’s offense relies on down routes. and intermediate.

There will come a time when Jones will have to shoot deep to win a game, but you don’t fix what’s not broken. Not yet, at least. The next step in Jones’ evolution will be to stretch the field further, but even if he’s not asked to do much right now, he’s still executing at a high level – not many other rookies can say that.

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