Monos Report: When do you say goodbye to your quarterback?

Our personnel man, Jim Monos, tries to answer that question. Pittsburgh and Atlanta both decided to hang onto their QBs into the 2021 season and are likely regretting it.

While it is important for any general manager to draft a franchise quarterback, it is just as crucial for them to know when it is time to move on from one. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked to be struggling a lot at the end of last season but Pittsburgh decided in the offseason to stick with him. Four games into the 2021 season, Big Ben is still finding things difficult and his heir apparent is completely unknown.

Every former player I worked with or knew always said these four words: “Father Time is undefeated.” Age, at some point, will force you into retirement from professional sports. Obviously, we are witnessing an exception with Tom Brady, but you get the point.

Before the 2017 draft, New Orleans called me when I was the director of player personnel of the Bills to see if we were interested in trading out of our selection. We already had a deal in place with Kansas City that they could not match. It turns out that the Saints wanted to move up to draft Patrick Mahomes to eventually replace Drew Brees — very forward-thinking by Saints GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton.

I’ve been critical of Giants GM Dave Gettleman, but at least they drafted Eli Manning’s replacement, Daniel Jones in 2019, rather than get left scrambling. The Chargers front office let Philip Rivers walk knowing they were in position to draft a quarterback in the first round and selected Justin Herbert. Green Bay felt strongly enough to trade up and take Jordan Love knowing Aaron Rodgers is still playing at an MVP level. These organizations had a plan.

What is the plan in Pittsburgh and Atlanta right now? Roethlisberger’s decline was obvious, yet they have Mason Rudolph who is a backup at best and Dwayne Haskins who is not good enough to be a starter anywhere in my opinion. Matt Ryan is still good enough to win games, but first-year general manager Terry Fontenot had a chance to draft his replacement with the fourth pick of the 2021 draft yet chose to take a tight end? 

It was a perfect situation for Fontenot to make his mark in Atlanta. Ryan is still able to throw the ball at a high level but the game is changing and having a dual-threat at QB is important. The Falcons do not have a good enough defense to compete for a Super Bowl so this was the perfect time to let a rookie learn a new system for a year and then insert him next season, much like Kansas City did with Mahomes when he sat his first season behind veteran Alex Smith.

These are not easy decisions to make, but to sustain success they are the tough decisions that must be made to continue competing for Super Bowls, which the Steelers and Falcons have grown accustomed to doing.

Bills @ Chiefs

The connections between these coaching staffs have been discussed for a while now, all the way back to the AFC Championship Game last season.

None of that matters, so let’s talk about the game.

This is the first official test for the Buffalo defense. The only way to stop a great QB is to apply constant pressure and physically make that QB know he is going to be hit— like the Buccaneers did in the Super Bowl.

That still may not slow down Mahomes, but it’s your only chance.

When the Bills have the ball, however, it’s a mismatch. The Chiefs are not just struggling on defense — they are garbage. They rank last in yards per play and 30th in rush defense and yards per attempt pass defense.

This is a game where the Bills can let the AFC know they are the team to beat this season. It’s time to see the passing game take shots down the field and complete them. They have not needed to in recent games due to the score, but this is a game to improve on their 24th ranking in YPA. Also, I’ll be paying attention to see if they still trust Devin Singletary running the ball who has the most fumbles in the NFL for a non-QB.

For the gamblers out there, I will gladly take the Bills money line. Do not need the 2.5 points they are receiving and take the extra value.

A prediction? The Bills put the NFL on notice Sunday night by winning, 30-21.

Random Thoughts

  • For Bills fans heading to Kansas City, give Danny Edwards Blvd BBQ a shot. The brisket burnt end sandwich named the “Ol Smoky” is memorable. A dinner spot I enjoyed was Fox and Pearl and they also do BBQ on Sundays only so you can hit that for lunch since the game is at night.

  • LeSean McCoy will be so good on TV. He is passionate and knowledgeable about football with the ability to speak his mind. Still can’t believe how Philly basically just gave him to us in Buffalo in 2015. Shady wasn’t happy about the trade but got over it like a true professional and balled out.

  • Feel like we all were introduced to Chargers head coach Brandon Staley this past Monday night. He checks all the boxes for me when you are looking for a head coach and it doesn’t hurt that he a franchise type QB who can still get better.

  • Seems like Rams quarterback Matt Stafford has been anointed MVP since the trade happened, but he has not been as perfect as the stats may lead you to believe. The last two weeks he has missed multiple throws for touchdowns going short on deep balls and overthrowing crossing routes for big plays. McVay seems to always scheme players wide open, and Stafford will need to start hitting them more consistently which he is very capable of doing.

  • Hoping to see Bears running back David Montgomery come back fully healthy in a month. He is truly one of the best all-around backs in the NFL that we do not hear enough about. What a great weapon to have for rookie Justin Fields as he continues his development.

  • Looking forward to watching the Packers and Bengals play Sunday. Not because it’s a “big” game but I need to see if Joe Burrow is ready to go head-to-head with Aaron Rodgers. Packers and Bengals also takes me back to 1992 when I was introduced to my all-time favorite football player Brett Favre.

The Eye in the Sky

Each week, expect to get the Monos Report quarterback grades right here in “The Eye in the Sky.” How does this work? Simply, it’s a plus/negative point system determined by the types of throws and the situation in the game. Meaningful runs/scrambles do count. The final stat line does not matter. A “good” play gets you +1 while a bad play gets you -1 throughout the course of the game. This number is then divided by the number of run or pass attempts that quarterback had in the game to net the “score” you see here.

Thus far, here’s how the quarterbacks rank:

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