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The only question about Tom Brady as quarterback in New England is when Father Time finally wins before the five-time Super Bowl champ decides he's done with the NFL.

Same for Drew Brees in New Orleans or Philip Rivers with the Chargers.

Aaron Rodgers is expected back at his usual level returning from injury for Green Bay Donovan Smith Jersey , and Deshaun Watson tantalized before his own injury cut short a very promising rookie season. Even though it's been a while since Andrew Luck threw a pass in an NFL game, his resume gives him plenty of cushion as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Not every quarterback has the same grip on a starting job as Brady, Brees or Rodgers, and a poor game or sloppy start can lead to a spot on the bench. Add a promising rookie into the mix, the leash can be even shorter.

Here's a look at some quarterbacks who need to play well to remain starters as training camps open around the league:


Yes, Marcus Mariota must prove he can play all 16 games in a season, but the Tennessee Titans already have picked up Mariota's fifth-year option for 2019. Same for Tampa Bay for Jameis Winston, the quarterback taken a spot ahead of Mariota in 2015. Both are due $20.9 million in 2019 at what could be a bargain the way the market is booming for quarterbacks.

On the other hand, Winston will miss the first three games this season with the quarterback suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after a league investigation of an accusation that the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner groped a female Uber driver during a ride in Arizona in March 2016. That's not a great combination when Bucs coach Dirk Koetter's job security already is at risk after a 5-11 record last season. Tampa Bay brought back veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started three games in Winston's place last season, for an experienced backup.


Jimmy G could do no wrong for the 49ers last season, winning five straight games after finally moving into the starting lineup. San Francisco wasted little time signing the young quarterback to a five-year contract worth $137.5 million at an average of $27.5 million per season. The 49ers also re-signed receiver Marquise Goodwin to keep a top target around.

As good as Garoppolo looked, there's now plenty of game tape of him running coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. Defensive coordinators, especially those in the NFC West Hau'oli Kikaha Jersey , have had all offseason to figure out how to slow down Garoppolo.


Helping the Bills stop a seemingly endless playoff drought wasn't enough to keep Taylor on the job in Buffalo. The Cleveland Browns traded for Taylor on the eve of free agency, and that's normally a sure sign a team is heavily invested in a player. Then the Browns went quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, selecting Baker Mayfield. Keeping Mayfield on the bench depends mostly on how long Taylor plays well.


The 10-year veteran has missed a mere six games since being drafted by Baltimore in 2008, all in 2015, and led the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2012. But the Ravens last reached the playoffs in 2014, and general manager Ozzie Newsome made sure to give himself options in his final year in charge. Not Robert Griffin III, who last started a game in 2016 with Cleveland.

Newsome traded to get the final pick of the first round in April to select Lamar Jackson . Yes, the Ravens insist they want to develop Jackson and be patient. If Flacco struggles, Jackson, who threw 57 touchdown passes over the past two seasons in college at Louisville and won a Heisman Trophy, could start looking really good much sooner.


Coming off the bench and leading Minnesota to the NFC championship game is one thing. Playing quarterback under the watchful eye of Hall of Famer John Elway in Denver is quite a different challenge. Keenum comes in as the starter after the best season of his career . He'll need to pick up where he left off to stop the Broncos' quarterback carousel , with backup Paxton Lynch, the 26th pick overall in 2016 Steve Grogan Jersey , sitting on the bench and, thus far, showing little when he has played.


With Alex Smith traded to Washington , all the pressure now is on Mahomes in Kansas City after he was the target of all those longing looks to the bench by fans during his rookie season. He looked good winning his first NFL start in last year's regular-season finale . That won't help with expectations remaining high for the Chiefs, who won the AFC West before blowing a wild-card game to the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs.

BOSTON — Celtics coach Brad Stevens has a simple way of defending The Freak as Boston opens its first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday at TD Garden.

“We’ll have to guard him with everybody on our team,” Stevens said when talking about the challenge of handling Giannis Antetokounmpo. “I trust Al (Horford) to guard any position. He can really move his feet, he’s got great size and length, (and) his attention to detail is excellent.

“That said, it’s not on one person to guard Giannis. We have to throw a lot of different bodies at him.”

Simple enough, right?

The injury-riddled Celtics, the second seed facing a seven in the first round, split four games with the Bucks during the regular season. Antetokounmpo, who averaged 26.9 points, 10 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game overall, was even more potent against Boston.

Against the Celtics, a team known for its perimeter defense but not so much inside Maxx Williams Jersey , which is where Antetokounmpo does most of his damage, he went for 33.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

On April 3, he had 29 points, 11 boards, six assists and two blocked shots as the Bucks defeated the Celtics in Milwaukee.

“Their floor is open in transition when (Giannis) is at the four, the five, when he used to play the three, when he’s played the one,” Stevens said. “He’s a monster in transition.

“When I look at their team, they don’t have a guy at each position that’s not a good transition player. (Tony) Snell makes shots in transition, (Khris) Middleton makes shots in transition, (Jabari) Parker and Giannis coming downhill, (Eric) Bledsoe coming downhill.”

Bledsoe, rescued from the obscurity that is the Phoenix Suns, returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2013 (with the Los Angeles Clippers) and hopes his point guard play can lead the Bucks to their first playoff success since 2001.

“I’ve grown a lot Andrew Adams Jersey ,” Bledsoe told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “From coming off the bench to playing in Phoenix to now, I think I got a lot (more) mature in a lot of ways.

“Knowing how to run plays in the half court, knowing when to get my teammates involved and when to attack. Just a lot of things. Knowing when to be calm when teams go on a run.”

Bledsoe pleaded his way out of Phoenix in a deal that sent now-Celtic Greg Monroe and two protected draft picks to Phoenix. Milwaukee had to finish in the top six in the conference to protect this year’s pick but was blown out by Philadelphia on the final night of the season to fall to seventh. While it looked like the Suns would get the pick, the Bucks learned the pick is theirs because of a tiebreaker.

And Bledsoe is thriving.

“Bled’s huge for this team and we’ve been very consistent with that,” said Bucks interim coach Joe Prunty, who replaced the fired Jason Kidd during the season.

The Celtics, who lost Gordon Hayward in the first quarter of the first game of the season, have also lost Kyrie Irving and battling rookie Daniel Theis for the season. Defensive sparkplug Marcus Smart is out for this series after thumb surgery, but Stevens had the rest of his group ready to go (“all 11, yes”). He talked of an eight- or nine-man rotation but said fouls and injuries could change everything.

“It’s a battle. Nobody wants to go home. It’s straight-out war,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier, who has grown into a far more important role with Irving and Smart missing.

Game 2 of the series is in Boston on Tuesday night before shifting to Milwaukee. Both teams have won on the other’s court this season.

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