We’re well into the playoff race portion of the 2017 NFL season — well, the San Francisco 49ers are not, obviously, but plenty of teams are. That includes the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks of the NFC West, while the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals are ... not good.
This is, of course, a quarterback-led league. Teams with good quarterbacks tend to be better than teams with bad quarterbacks, regardless of the supporting cast. The Rams spent a first-round pick on Jared Goff a year ago, and in the span of a year he’s progressed enough to have the Rams sitting at 8-3 on the season, leading the NFC West.
Seattle has Russell Wilson, who has his issues but is still very good at what he does. Wilson keeps defenses guessing above all else, and is dangerous in just about every situation. The Seahawks are always in football games, even as their defense collapses due to injury.
Then there is Arizona ... they’re playing Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. More than that, they firmly believe that Gabbert can still be a good quarterback based on a pair of games. Our friends over at Revenge of the Birds have fallen for Gabbert’s trap, which is hilarious, but still painful given many here fell for that same trap not too long ago.
Oh yes, the 49ers and their quarterback situation. That’s a complicated one.
Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start for the team after they traded a second-round pick to the New England Patriots prior to the NFL trade deadline. Garoppolo is still very unknown as far as quarterbacks go, but the 49ers obviously believe he has franchise player potential.
Then there is rookie C.J. Beathard, who looked good in limited action starting after Brian Hoyer was benched. Beathard has shown a few things that have me excited for his potential in the future, but he’s still very raw.
So ... how will things look next season?
Goff, provided he doesn’t regress, will probably have a claim to the best quarterback in the division title, ahead of Wilson, who probably isn’t going to have some huge regression in the next year.
I can’t say that Garoppolo will be better than either of those guys, but it would be nice. He has that ceiling, I think, but only time will tell if things pan out in this situation under Kyle Shanahan.
The Cardinals are a mess. I think there is a decent chance they actually believe Gabbert can be a full-time starter, though he has plenty of time to ruin his chances over the next few weeks as he remains under center.
Which team will be in the best quarterback spot at this point a year from now? I’m going with the Rams, which isn’t exactly surprising.