Shakeups under center have some unexpected names at QB around NFL

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. The Associated Press
This article was published November 11, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

NEW YORK -- Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and Deshaun Watson are all big-name quarterbacks out for most of or the rest of the season because of injuries.

Now, Jameis Winston is banged up, too.

The shake-up under center around the league has left the position a mish-mosh of big names, no-names, youngsters and veterans who may or may not be part of their teams' futures.

That includes the likes of Brett Hundley in Green Bay, Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis, Drew Stanton in Arizona, Tom Savage in Houston, Case Keenum in Minnesota, C.J. Beathard in San Francisco, Brock Osweiler in Denver and Ryan Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay all starting this week.

"It's a quarterback-driven league," Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb said. "It's always going to be about the quarterback. We win or lose, it's going to be about the quarterback."

Especially in Green Bay, where the Packers' season hinges in large part on the development of Hundley, a third-year quarterback who's running the offense in place of the injured Rodgers, a two-time league MVP.

The Packers are 4-4, but have lost three in a row. Hundley, a fifth-round pick out of UCLA who has thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions this season, has played in all three losses and started the last two since Rodgers went out with a broken collarbone .

"You all are putting it on Brett right now with the losses," Cobb said. "It's not him. It's us as a team. That's the way we always look at it. Obviously, when you have one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to ever play the game, it's definitely going to be a lot of chatter about him not being out there."

In a season marked by major injuries to significant stars, the quarterback position has been hit particularly hard. That has paved the way for some unexpected starters around the league, including Hundley.

With Luck sidelined in Indianapolis with a shoulder injury, Brissett is the man for the Colts -- and he wasn't even on the roster until after training camp when New England traded him for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. Brissett is 3-5 for the Colts after replacing Week 1 starter Scott Tolzien.

Brissett has thrown two touchdown passes in each of the last two games and has just one interception in his last four while providing the Colts with a spark in Luck's absence.

"He's a talented, talented guy," coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's got the 'it' factor."

The same was being said of Watson in Houston, where the rookie was quickly establishing himself as one of the league's most exciting playmakers with 1,699 yards passing and 19 touchdowns.

Sports on 11/11/2017
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