The first week of the 2017 NFL season has wrapped and there's one thing becoming clear already: The quarterback play is dubious. Six teams failed to reach 10 points in their contests, while sacks and turnovers came in droves.

Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick remains an unsigned free agent. Though many (mostly anonymous) general managers and other front-office types have insisted it's about Kaepernick's on-field abilities and not his commitment to activism, Kaepernick's stats over the course of his career tell a different story.

So let's take a look at Kaepernick's numbers -- both over his career and in 2016, when he started 11 games and played in 12 for the San Francisco 49ers -- and see who did not measure up to those marks in Week 1.

For the purpose of this exercise, we are using certain key indicators of a quarterback's success or lack thereof. This is mostly to acknowledge that Kaepernick's stats reflect numerous games played while the quarterbacks he's being compared to have only played one game this year. It is also to isolate the quarterback stats that matter the most, such as touchdown percentage (or the percentage of pass attempts that resulted in touchdowns) rather than just the raw number of TDs thrown.







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Tom Savage/Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Savage's debut as the Texans' chosen one did not go well. The Texans were beaten, at home, by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 29-7. The QB attempted only 13 passes in the first half, completing seven for 62 yards. And he was not comfortable trying to throw deep; he averaged only 4.8 yards per attempt. While he threw no interceptions, he also had no touchdown passes and fumbled the ball away, which was scooped up by the Jaguars' Dante Fowler and returned for a 53-yard score. Savage also took six sacks. While Houston's sub-par offensive line was certainly part of the problem -- they used four combinations of linemen on Sunday -- Savage's play wasn't pretty.

The Texans chose to go with the rookie Watson in the second half -- to "provide a spark," according to head coach Bill O'Brien (and any head coach who ever pulls a quarterback off the field), but the results were not much better. Watson completed 11 of his 21 pass attempts, for a 52.4 percent completion rate. He did break the 100-yard mark, but his per-attempt numbers were even lower than Savage's, at 4.4, and his single touchdown throw was augmented by an interception. Watson was also sacked four times, bringing the Jaguars' total on the day to 10; Watson was driven to the turf on 14.8 percent of his pass attempts.

The pair of performances put O'Brien firmly between a rock and a hard place as the Texans have a short week of preparation before playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. Watson has been named the starter, a conclusion that O'Brien may have been smarter to come to during the summer. But with so many troubles on the offensive line, it may not matter which of the two inexperienced Texans passers get the nod; it could stay ugly no matter what. At the very least, Kaepernick has seen this movie before and has made the most out of it. Watson and Savage, meanwhile, have a long season ahead.

Scott Tolzien, Indianapolis Colts

Savage was not the only quarterback shown the bench in Week 1. Mercifully, after three quarters that featured two pick-sixes and four sacks and zero passing touchdowns, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had seen enough of Tolzien to get off the field. Jacoby Brissett took over under center, just over a week after the Colts traded for the former New England Patriots quarterback.

That the Colts had long planned for Tolzien's starting stint while Andrew Luck continues to work his way back from offseason shoulder surgery did nothing to help in the 46-9 loss the Los Angeles Rams handed them on Sunday. Tolzien completed only 50 percent of his passes and his interception rate of 5.1 percent was nearly quadruple of that of Kaepernick's, both in 2016 and over the course of his career. His sack rate of 18.2 percent was also twice that of Kaepernick's and doubled that of Luck's 7.0 a year ago while he played with the shoulder injury and behind an equally poor offensive line. He finished the day with a quarterback rating of 35.8.

Pagano has the next few days to determine if Tolzien gets a second chance or if Brissett has enough command of his new playbook to warrant getting the starting nod. But the Colts are now in a situation that was highly preventable, with the solution easily being signing Kaepernick (or, if they had acted quickly enough, a number of other quarterbacks). But Pagano said, "we made the right call." In other words:

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Josh McCown, New York Jets

McCown's career touchdown percentage is a full point lower than Kaepernick's, while his interception rate of 6.7 percent is nearly five points higher. And things did not trend upward for him in his first start for the Jets, which resulted in a 21-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills. McCown threw 39 passes on Sunday, but completed only half of them. He threw no touchdowns but was picked off twice -- an interception percentage of 5.1. Only his sack rate of 2.5 percent outperformed Kaepernick's career and 2016 numbers, as he was taken down once.

For a team that had only problems and no on-hand solutions to their quarterback situation, the Jets' lack of interest in Kaepernick was curious. But it's not entirely shocking -- Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said in March that the team "vetted all quarterbacks," opting for McCown because he was "the best fit." McCown is a pocket passer, which makes him ideal in that sense for the Jets' offensive system. But it also ignores that Kaepernick, too, can work in the pocket and that his actual on-field performance is much different (and better) than the myriad myths that have been spun about it. The Jets and their scouting resources should have unearthed these facts and led to the team giving him serious consideration in the spring. Instead, though, they now hinge whatever hopes remain on McCown, for better or for (probably) worse.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

No quarterback had a worse season-opening performance than Dalton. Despite playing an early afternoon game at home against a Baltimore Ravens team few felt all that bullish about heading into the season, the Bengals fell, 20-0, and Dalton fell flat on his face.

Dalton had a completion rate of only 51.6 on his 31 pass attempts, averaged only 5.5 passing yards per attempt (down from 7.5 a year ago and much less than Kaepernick's 6.8 in 2016), and turned the ball over five times (four interceptions and one lost fumble), giving him a quarterback rating of just 28.4. He also took five sacks while playing behind an offensive line which has gotten appreciably weaker this year with tackle Andrew Whitworth heading to the Rams and guard Kevin Zeitler to the Cleveland Browns.

But the Bengals were not and will not be in the Kaepernick market even if Dalton continues to struggle and head coach Marvin Lewis wants to turn elsewhere. The pivot would be to A.J. McCarron, whom the coaching staff loves and who could conceivably be the Bengals' starter in a year's time, when Dalton will cost $16.3 million to keep and $2.4 million to release. If the Bengals' season gets out of hand quickly -- and if Dalton keeps playing this way, it certainly will -- Lewis may have no choice but to start the McCarron early.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

On Sunday, the Jaguars thoroughly wiped the floor with the Texans, picking up the 29-7 victory. But it's hard to give a lot of credit to Bortles.

A brilliant defensive performance by the Jags gave Bortles numerous short fields to work with, and allowed them to lean heavily on rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed 26 times for 100 yards and a touchdown; Bortles only attempted 21 passes.

Still, Bortles completed only 52.4 percent of those attempts. He did avoid turning the ball over and was not sacked but had only one touchdown pass despite starting two drives from his own 47 and 41 yard lines. Another drive began at the Houston 27-yard line after safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted Watson at the Jaguars' six-yard line and returned it 67 yards; it ended in a field goal.

Bortles' struggles as a starter have been well-documented, with his preseason going so poorly this year that head coach Doug Marrone briefly toyed with the idea of backup Chad Henne taking over the job before realizing that was not much of an upgrade. Of all the teams that could have used the addition of Kaepernick during the offseason, it was Jacksonville. Their top-notch defense plus the addition of Fournette makes for a perfect situation to bring out the best of Kaepernick's capabilities.

Of course, the Jags were among the only quarterback-needy teams not to give Kaepernick any serious consideration. Though team owner Shad Khan has said Kaepernick would be welcomed to the roster "if that's what the football people want," the "football people," namely executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin said last week that he wasn't interested in Kaepernick and when pressed, said he was "not explaining it."

Perhaps this year will be a turning point for Bortles, thanks to the parts around him managing to finally minimize the impact -- and often, damage -- he can do on the field. Perhaps the talk of the team needing to sign Kaepernick will prove to have been a waste of time. But it's highly probable that the Jaguars would be in even better shape if they had upgraded the quarterback position.