AROUND THE NFL

Five Quarterbacks with Something to Prove in 2019

Five Quarterbacks who have something to prove in this upcoming season.

Joe Flacco – Being traded to Denver in the offseason may have been a positive move for the former Ravens signal caller. Flacco was a younger quarterback on a Super Bowl winning team in Baltimore and will be counted on more as a veteran leader on this team. The Broncos have some young receivers who flashed ability last season when healthy. That coupled with a productive run game and stout defense make this an ideal situation. The Ravens team he helped bring a title to had some similarities in makeup to this one. Flacco has three years remaining on his contract, however, none of those years have any guaranteed money, so this could make him easily expendable to the struggling Broncos.

Derek Carr– The infusion of talent and turnover among the front office and coaching staff make this an important season for Carr. After coming into the league strong, Carr has lacked consistency. Various injuries have not helped but last season Carr started all 16 games. Going into his second year with Jon Gruden, coupled with all the additions it is time for Carr to find that consistency. Gruden has backed his quarterback, but if he does not improve vastly in year two it wouldn’t be surprising for the Raiders to be in the market for a different quarterback.

Kirk Cousins – The fully guaranteed money man did not put up bad numbers, but did struggle with the most important statistic, wins. The Vikings went 8-7-1 in 2018 and Cousins had notable struggles in primetime games. A lot of the pressure on Cousins comes from his fully guaranteed contract. The Vikings still posses a highly skilled offense and added to their offensive line. The biggest additions on the offense come on the coaching staff, as the defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer brought back offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and brought former Broncos and Texans head coach Gary Kubiak in as an offensive advisor.

Jameis Winston – The Florida State product is on his third coaching staff as a quarterback, and he is nearing the end of his rookie contract (the Bucs exercised his fifth-year option). Winston has not really taken the next step since entering the league, as he still struggles with turnovers. He will get a fresh start with a new coaching staff, but patience will be at a premium. Winston certainly has some abilities that could bode well with Bruce Arians, but Winston needs to stay out of trouble and show signs of improvement to stay as the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers.

Aaron Rodgers – Saving the best for last, the gold standard for quarterback play has struggled as of late. A combination of injuries and a very public spat with former Head Coach Mike McCarthy play into why Rodgers is mentioned in this list. In his last 49 starts, Rodgers is 24-24-1, which hardly shows the MVP ability he has. Now Rodgers is not solely responsible for all those games, and the Packers have made defensive additions this offseason, but given the type of player he is a lot of blame falls to him. The fresh ideas and approach of new Head Coach Matt LaFleur could help spark back the Aaron Rodgers of old.  LaFleur was a bit of a more surprising candidate for such a high-profile job, but if his offensive prowess is as good as advertised it could be a highly productive year for the Packers.

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