Ranking five AFC quarterbacks under the most pressure in 2023: Aaron Rodgers looks to end long Jets drought

The AFC has been established as the dominant conference and a big reason is because of the quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen are the three favorites to win the MVP, Lamar Jackson became the highest paid player in NFL offseason history, and the conference has a few rookies to keep an eye on like CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson.

It’s going to be tough to make the playoffs in the loaded AFC this season, and some of these quarterbacks are under more pressure than others. Below, we’ll break down five AFC signal callers who are under the most pressure in 2023 — for one reason or another.

The world was divided when Tua entered 2022. Even after a career year, you can’t definitively say that everyone is sold on him being that guy on the way in Miami. It appears the Dolphins are, however, as they picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

Last year, Tagovailoa became the first Dolphins quarterback to lead NFL in passer rating since Dan Marino did it in 1984. Miami averaged 6.5 yards per carry. games with Tagovailoa as the starter, which was the most of any starting quarterback in the league last season (min. 10 starts). Yes, even more than Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. So why is Tagovailoa under pressure in 2023? Well, as head coach Mike McDaniel so eloquently put it at the NFL Combine, last year he had to convince everyone that Tagovailoa was good. Now he has to convince everyone that he is healthy.

Tagovailoa missed what was basically six games due to concussions last year — including Miami’s first playoff game since the 2016 season. There were people who wanted Tagovailoa to retire after what he went through last year, and he admitted that he entertained the idea for a moment. This upcoming season, Tagovailoa must prove he can stay healthy and build on the flashes he showed in 2022. Tyreek Hill predicts Tua is will “go crazy”. Let’s see if he can.

The 2022 season was tough for Jones. After going 10-7 and making the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign, Jones went 6-8 as a starter, regressing in completion percentage, yards per carry. attempts and pass judgment and spent a significant amount of time shouting on his own sideline. How could you blame him though? Jones’ offensive coordinator was a defensive coordinator, and it showed. The Patriots offense averaged 18.2 points per game. game, their fewest since 2000, had a 35 percent conversion rate, their worst since 1992, and a 42 percent red-zone touchdown rate. That was the worst rate of any team in the league last year.

Jones’ subpar 2022 season also included the brief phenomenon that was “Zappe-mania,” in which undrafted rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe stepped in after Jones and Brian Hoyer were injured and took the Green Bay Packers to overtime and blew out Detroit The Lions went 29-0 and defeated the Cleveland Browns on the road by 23 points. That didn’t exactly endear Jones to the Patriots fan base.

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The 2023 season is important to Jones because New England must make a decision on his fifth-year option next season. He has to prove that he is the quarterback of the future. Jones resides in an absolutely loaded division that includes the Buffalo Bills, the aforementioned Dolphins and the rejuvenated New York Jets. Maybe the expectations nationally aren’t high for the Patriots, but that fan base isn’t used to losing. New England has not finished last in the AFC East since the division reverted to four teams in 2002.

The Browns went all-in on Watson as he worked through the off-field issues that plagued his exit from the Houston Texans. Not only did the Haslams overlook these serious allegations, they gave Watson the most lucrative deal in NFL history with a guaranteed $230 million. Can you imagine if he doesn’t coach in Cleveland?

After serving an 11-game suspension last season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, Watson went 3-3 as a starter while averaging a career-low 183.7 passing yards per game with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. The Browns averaged 16.3 points per game. game with Watson as the starter, who was ranked No. 26 in the league from Weeks 13-18.

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Everyone expects Watson to improve in 2023, but he will have to do more than just improve. He’s going to have to be the guy who looks halfway worthy of the monster contract he signed. The offense is set up for success. The Browns have a stud in Nick Chubb, a talented offensive line and plenty of pass catchers including tight end David Njoku. Fans expect Watson to look like a legitimate star this season.

Rodgers will be a Hall of Famer no matter what happens in New York, but he can certainly add to his legacy by pulling a Tom Brady and winning a Super Bowl with his new club. Those are the expectations the Jets have going into 2023, despite not making the playoffs since 2010.

Rodgers has developed into … a bit of a polarizing star, shall we say. Plant one like that in the biggest media market in the world and you can make the case Rodgers carries the most pressure of anyone in the NFL heading into 2023.

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The interesting thing is that if Rodgers wants to accomplish what Brady did by winning one Super Bowl with his new team, he will have to defy NFL history. Of the previous eight Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks traded by the winning team Super Bowl with, none of them ever got back to Super Bowl. Only one of them even won a single playoff game.

There is some supporting evidence that Rodgers is finding success in New York as well. He is one of five quarterbacks to have won three or more MVPs. Each of the other four signal callers played for multiple teams, and half of them won Super Bowls with their other club.

Rodgers had a career-low passer rating as a starter in 2022 (91.1) and threw 12 interceptions, just one shy of matching his career high. You can’t say the 39-year-old is in decline, having won two of the last three MVPs, but the Jets’ expectations are sky high. Let’s see what Rodgers can bring to this franchise.

Broncos fans hope Sean Payton can fix Mr. Unlimited. Denver traded five picks and a pair of players to the Seattle Seahawks for Wilson last offseason, giving him a lucrative deal before he even played a single snap for the franchise. Even after the offseason signings of Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts, Wilson is still the fourth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

I’m not sure how necessary it is to summarize how bad of a year Russ had since it was one of that stories from the 2022 season. He went 4-11 while posting career-worsts in completion percentage (60.5%), passing yards (16) and passer rating (84.4). The Broncos also had the worst scoring offense in the NFL for the first time in franchise history (16.9 points per game). Was the Broncos’ 2022 campaign all Wilson’s fault? Obviously no. Denver had a struggling first-year head coach and the roster suffered through several notable injuries. But Wilson also didn’t look like the quarterback he was in Seattle — so it was the perfect storm.

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The Payton-Wilson marriage is a great story to watch. They’re the first primary QB head coaching duo in NFL history to work together after winning Super Bowls at their previous stops — but history isn’t exactly on Payton’s side. No head coach has won one Super Bowl with several teams. There are a total of 14 Super Bowl-winning head coaches who have gone on to coach other teams. They have combined for a losing record.

Wilson is under pressure in 2023 for a few different reasons. One, if he looks as bad as he did last year, the Broncos could look to get rid of him at the age of 35 years. How would that affect his legacy? Especially when you consider the fact that Seattle surprised the NFL world by making the playoffs last year with Geno Smith, the former backup who became the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Wilson is looking to not only bounce back from last year, but also avoid being the cause of one of the worst trades in recent memory.

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