Quarterbacks Under The Most Pressure In The 2021 Season
With coaches and free agents hired and rookies drafted, every NFL teams’ future appears much more clear. The same cannot be said for these quarterbacks, however. Whether the 2021 season is their contract year, their first year on a new team, or their second year following a lackluster rookie season, these are the quarterbacks under the most pressure in the 2021 season.
No more Nick Foles, no more Jalen Hurts, no more Doug Pederson, and no more excuses for Carson Wentz. The Colts won 11 games with the least athletic quarterback in the NFL last season, Philip Rivers, and almost upset the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. Wentz received plenty of praise in the 2017-2018 season for being in contention for MVP before tearing his ACL and watching Foles lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory. Wentz was traded from the Eagles to the Colts on February 18, 2021, and received an upgrade at almost every level in the process. Wentz received better offensive weapons in Jonathan Taylor, T.Y. Hilton, and Michael Pittman Jr, arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, and a top ten defense. Most importantly, he was reunited with Frank Reich, who was in Philadelphia when Wentz had his best season. The Colts should win 12 to 13 games this season and at least one playoff game.
The Giants have solid offensive weapons, but they have a question mark at quarterback. Jones has had the most turnovers in the entire league over the past two seasons with 39. New York gets Saquon Barkley back this season and they added Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and first-round receiver Kadarius Toney. Pair those guys with the likes of Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram, and this offense has a chance to be special. Joe Judge demonstrated that he is a worthy head coach in the NFL and another year in coordinator Jason Garrett’s system should only help Jones. Josh Allen, Matt Stafford, and even Baker Mayfield took a big leap in their 3rd year – Jones needs to do the same or the Giants will have to reenter the quarterback market.
Stafford won the lottery, going from dysfunctional Detroit to the Rams in Los Angeles. This move feels akin to Kevin Garnett’s departure from the Timberwolves for the greener pastures of the Celtics back in 2007. Garnett was putting up monster stats and was a bright spot for the T-Wolves, but the franchise could not win consistently, so Garnett ended up playing in Boston instead. Similarly, Stafford has good passing statistics, but the Detroit Lions aren’t exactly known for winning Lombardi trophies. Stafford moved to the best division in football, and his new head coach, Sean McVay, reached a Super Bowl not too long ago. It will be interesting to see if Stafford can handle the pressure of games in the NFC West. In a division this good, each one of those six games could be the difference between getting into the playoffs and missing them entirely.
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As long as Tagovailoa is in the league, he is going to be compared to Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, the two other first-round quarterbacks in the 2020 Draft. Herbert broke every rookie quarterback record in the books and Burrow, in the limited time he played, showed he might bring new life to dysfunctional Cincinnati. Tagovailoa’s rookie season did not go as Dolphins fans would have hoped, as he did not start until week eight and was benched for gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick numerous times throughout the season. The Dolphins won 10 games last year but missed the playoffs, and in a crucial must-win against the Bills in Week 17, Tagovailoa could not deliver. All the pressure is on Tagovailoa this year, as the Dolphins added Will Fuller in free agency and drafted dynamic receiver and former teammate of Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, with the sixth overall pick. Paired with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki, the offense has multiple weapons, and Tagovailoa is definitely on the clock in Miami.
Mayfield had a great rookie season and looked like Cleveland’s savior, then regressed badly the next season. Mayfield illustrated his ability to win in the playoffs and serve as an above-average game manager, but questions remain about how Mayfield will handle his success. The Cleveland Browns just had one of their best seasons in franchise history, finishing 11-5 in the regular season and stomping division rival Pittsburgh in the first round. Cleveland also had the best offseason, as they filled their porous secondary by signing John Johnson II and Troy Hill. They also get Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury as well as new defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. With a dynamic offense, a good coach in Kevin Stefanski, and an upgraded defense, pressure is on Mayfield. The success of the Cleveland Browns is predicated on his play.
When the 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up from #12 to #3 to draft Trey Lance, Garappolo’s days in San Francisco appeared to be at an end. This upcoming season is huge for Jimmy and if he can handle the pressure of winning games while also being a supportive mentor to Lance, his next contract should be secure. As football legend Bill Parcells said, however, “the best ability is availability,” and other than the Super Bowl year, Garappolo has gotten hurt early in every season with the 49ers. If Garappolo goes down early in the season with a serious injury, his days in the NFL could be numbered.
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