The way things are going in camp for former first-round pick Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum better stay healthy this season or the entire offense could unravel.
Lynch has yet to live up to the hype since being selected No. 26 overall out of Memphis in a trade-up scenario.
Ahead of camp, reports emerged that Chad Kelly had a legitimate chance to earn the backup job ahead of Lynch, who has not done much to shrug off the “bust” label this summer.
When he has time to throw, he’s doing okay. Head coach Vance Joseph recently complimented Lynch on his footwork, noting, “He did a good job Day 2 of going through progressions and finding the third and fourth guy in the progression. That’s improvement for Paxton, obviously.”
However, other observers have noted that Lynch still has the same fatal flaw in that he does not keep his eyes downfield when pressure comes.
This was exactly what we witnessed when Lynch got into games the past two years. And it’s not going to get the job done at the NFL level.
Lynch is extremely athletic, which was one of the big reasons why he was so highly touted coming out of Memphis. But quarterbacks that don’t keep looking for receivers while they avoid pressure inevitably end up failing.
So far, Lynch has not had much success, throwing four touchdowns and four interceptions in his first two seasons while failing to deliver the ball on time to his receivers far too often.
Then there’s this comment by Joseph comparing Lynch to Kelly: “Chad is different. He’s a playmaker. If it’s a dirty play, he makes it look clean. That’s his strength. He’s just a playmaker, so if it looks really muddy, he comes out and makes a play. That’s what he does.”
The key words there that stand out like they’ve been covered liberally with a yellow highlighter are, “Chad is different. He’s a playmaker.”
Again, let’s circle back to the fact that Lynch is an athletic quarterback. He showed that in a big way during his college career, and then once again his athleticism was highlighted during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.
So it’s not that he isn’t becoming a playmaker based on pure athletic ability. It’s that he doesn’t have the intangibles to make it happen on a regular basis.
We cannot throw the towel in on Lynch just yet. But right now, it sure seems like the bust label is going to stick barring a monumental leap forward in his development, and soon.