I gotta give it to Colin Cowherd. The man knows how to pick a simple topic and run with it. A while ago on his show, he discussed the top ten quarterbacks that are facing the most pressure going into the 2019 season. His picks were good, but I feel they could be improved upon. So it a couple of days to get my thoughts in order, but I think I finally have in my mind what I believe are the top ten quarterbacks facing pressure in 2019.
#10 Matt Stafford
Stafford is on a lot of my lists when it comes to quarterbacks falling off the wagon or struggling. I have said for the last two years that I believe Stafford is over hyped and over paid. After coming in last place in their division the Detroit Lions have to step it up and I just do not believe they will get it done with Stafford. I think this is the year where the board looks at him and gives him the ultimatum that if the Lions come in last place again in 2019, the Lions will be looking for a new direction at quarterback. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this team looks to start rebuilding as they have found their running back of the future in Kerryon Johnson along with new head coach Matt Patricia. It would be the smartest move in my mind as Stafford will definitely be facing a lot of pressure this season.
#9 Marcus Mariota
Look you’ve heard this from me in most of my articles. I just don’t believe Mariota is the future for the Titans. Many would probably disagree with me, and I can understand why. The issues that surround him are too great to ignore however. The only thing he really has under his belt is his amazing sophomore season when he threw for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Ever since then, he has been stricken with injuries and his touchdown to interception ratio has been off. I believe Mariota will need to prove himself this season or it will be the end of the road for the former Oregon product.
#8 Carson Wentz
The Eagles have been doing very well in the last two years. Carson Wentz has been great, but injuries have gotten in the way of his success. He missed out on the Super Bowl two seasons ago and got injured again last season and missed his chance to take the Eagles to the playoffs. Now that Nicke Foles has been moved to Jacksonville Wentz will have to prove that he can make it as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The injuries are just a main concern. If Wentz gets hurt again there will not be another quarterback who will be able to cover for him when it happens. Also, multiple sources have deemed Foles a better leader than Wentz. In order to squash these rumors Wentz will need to step up and perform well all while keeping himself healthy.
#7 Jimmy Garappolo
Man do I love Jimmy G. Sadly, he never got to show off his talents in a full season as he went down with a torn ACL in the middle of last season. With all the money that was paid to him, Garappolo needs to perform well in the 2019 season to justify it. Granted Jimmy did well for the 49ers last season, but if he goes down with another injury just like Carson Wentz you won’t have a quarterback that can take the team to the promise land. You do have a substantial backup in Beathard, but he is no threat to Garappolo. Jimmy G will just need to prove he can stay healthy for the 49ers, but if he can’t the 49ers will need to make a strong decision coming forward for their organization.
#6 Lamar Jackson
Joe Flacco is now gone and Lamar Jackson is the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. While it is true that the Ravens changed their dynamic last season from a pass first offense to a heavy run offense and it working effectively, I see things maybe heading down a different path for Jackson and Baltimore. It took the Los Angeles Chargers two games to figure out Jackson and his skill set. Baltimore fans should tread lightly at this change as now Jackson will have to prove himself worthy of being the last pick in the 2018 Draft. Teams will now have a full year’s worth of tape to study and it will be up to Jackson and the creativity of the Baltimore offense to keep teams on their toes. In order to do that he will need to throw more than two hundred yards a game.
#5 Derek Carr
The Raiders didn’t have the greatest 2018 season and honestly did anyone expect them to. The Raiders are in rebuild mode and will have three first round draft picks to work with. With this rebuilding the team went out and got two wide outs to help Derek Carr in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Carr had an impressive completion percentage and over 4,000 passing yards last season, but his touchdown to interception ratio was off. The loss of Jordy Nelson and star tight end Jared Cook also doesn’t help his situation. Having these two stars on offense will put pressure on Derek Carr in order to perform better and prove he shouldn’t be shipped off like Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.
#4 Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers has proven he is the apparent “man of the house” when it comes to Green Bay. This was the case as he basically ran Mike McCarthy out of town as the head coach. Basically, what I am trying to say is that it was Aaron Rodger’s call to get rid of his old head coach and now he will need to prove that it was the right call. If Aaron Rodgers can’t produce this season it will fall on his shoulders this time and not on his coach. In order for him to perform to his full potential Rodgers needs weapons to work with though. The pressure is on and it has never been hotter in cold Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers.
#3 Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben has been in the media recently and it hasn’t been the best news. Ben has been criticized excessively on his leadership ability. With headaches like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell now out of Pittsburgh, Ben will look to try to take the Steelers to the promise land once again. The problem now is that those were key playmakers and the pressure will be on Ben to produce his amazing numbers without his star wideout with him. Not only that, but it will be a psychological battle for Big Ben as well. If he gets in his own head again the Steelers will have a slim change at taking the AFC North back and eventually heading to the Super Bowl once again.
#2 Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston has to be better this season. The hiring of former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is the final last straw effort to turn Winston into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise quarterback they have always dreamed of. Every quarterback has had success under Arians. This poses an interesting situation for Winston. On one hand, Winston could find the piece that has been eluding him for so long to become a success. On the other hand however, if Winston fails under Arians he will most likely be done in Tampa Bay. To make matters worse, Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starting quarterback in for the Miami Dolphins and won’t be there for Winston if he screws up. This is a huge pressure situation for a quarterback that has done nothing but regress in his years since he was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
#1 Baker Mayfield
The Cleveland Browns have not doubt improved form the once destroyed franchise it once was. They got their franchise quarterback, a decent running game, a good group of wideouts and a decent defense to boot. With that group of individuals they improved their 0-16 season to 7-8-1. Now they have acquired a decent offensive tackle, Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham Jr in the offseason. With this star power on the team Mayfield will be now asked to produce and get the Browns beyond where anyone thought they’d ever be; in the Super Bowl. Mayfield was a shining light last season for the Browns, but now with this huge amount of pressure on him can he now be asked to deliver on something such as this. The 2019 season is going to be a crazy one for the AFC North that is for sure.