With the start of NFL training camps fast approaching, the summer sessions that head coaches utilize to prepare for the forthcoming season always bring competition for starting jobs come opening day.
One of the most intriguing battles year after year are those that involve the quarterbacks. Most teams already know who their starting signal caller will be, but from time to time a fierce battle for a starting job will take place. The 2022 season is no exception. For many teams, we already know who the starter is so training camp for those clubs will be only to determine who is the backup holding a clipboard.
Instead of solely focusing on just those soon-to-be intense competitions to become a starter below are every team’s quarterbacks listed in the order of the current depth chart of who the starter is followed by second, third, and in some cases fourth starting QBs. I present to you my opinion on whether there will be a competition to become a starter or what to make of the backups behind that man. Teams will be listed in alphabetical order.
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy, Trace McSorley, Jarrett Guarantano
There are starting veteran quarterbacks around the NFL facing immense pressure from critics in this forthcoming season and it seems Kyler Murray has much to prove. If he falters, the very good Cardinals will suffer because the quarterbacks backing up Murray simply would not be able to fill his shoes.
Atlanta Falcons: Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder, Feleipe Franks
With Matt Ryan now barking the signals for the Indianapolis Colts, Marcus Mariota was brought in to replace him. Mariota has shown signs of promise in his young career but his inconsistency sent him packing from the Tennessee Titans to the Las Vegas Raiders in a career that began in 2015. Mariotta has started 61 games in 74 NFL games and his best year was in 2016 when he threw for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns. However, his numbers began to decline and e has not started a game since 2019. Is his chance to be the starter in jeopardy? Doubtful and his backups are undrafted rookie Ridder and the inexperienced Franks.
Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Brett Hundley, Anthony Brown
There is no need for discussion here. The former league M.V.P. Jackson will go unchallenged and instead the three others will spend this upcoming season watching from the sidelines.
Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, Case Keenum, Matt Barkley
Like the Ravens above, Keenum or Barkley poses no threat to Allen as the starter and many expect Allen to have an even more spectacular season than what he accomplished in 2021.
Carolina Panthers: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Matt Corral, P.J. Walker
Here is one of the league’s more intriguing battles this summer. Baker Mayfield wanted desperately out of Cleveland and thus he lands in Carolina. The problem is that Sam Darnold was already the starter. Given his experience, Mayfield was immediately thrust into the starter role. But wait, believe me, Sam Darnold will not be going to second string without a fight. He had an up-and-down 2021 and the New York Jets gave up on him, but he does have potential. Given Mayfield’s attitude and bravado, I’m sure he thinks this is a given he being named the starter but he will find himself in a dogfight this summer.
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields, Trevor Siemian, Nathan Peterman
While Mitch Trubisky was thrown to the wolves and is now in Pittsburgh, the door is wide open for Justin Fields and many believe he can be a franchise quarterback. Trevor Siemian is a decent backup once thought to be the next great QB in Denver, but the Broncos closed the door on that hope and now Siemian finds himself trying to outplay Fields. Nathan Peterman has proven he is a quality backup and that’s as far as his career will ever go.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow Q, Brandon Allen, Jake Browning
After getting his team to the Super Bowl last season, there is zero chance of any competition at quarterback in Cincinnati. The only way Allen or Browning play is if Joe Burrow suffers an injury.
Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett, Joshua Dobbs
The Cleveland Browns may be taking the biggest gamble of any team this offseason and perhaps in NFL history. By dumping Baker Mayfield and signing Deshaun Watson to a monster contract, Watson must still face the music of allegations of sexual misconduct among 24 massage therapists who all have filed lawsuits against Watson related to misbehavior in a sexual fashion. The word from the NFL offices is that they are seeking a one-year indefinite suspension but Watson’s team wants nothing more than a six-game hiatus. Remember, Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape several years back but charges were never brought against him and no lawsuits were filed. Still, he ended up with a six-game slap which was reduced to four. If Watson gets suspended for any length of time, that leaves the Browns fresh off the playoffs with counting on Jacoby Brissett or former Steeler Joshua Dobbs to get behind center and neither is a promising prospect.
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Will Grier, Ben DiNucci
One quarterback facing that immense pressure that is also in the face of Kyler Murray is Dak Prescott. He is expected to have a monster season and if he does not, it will be considered a failed season by many. Behind him is a group of quarterbacks that are nowhere in the same league as Prescott so if the incumbent starter falls down on the job, it’s over in Dallas.
Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson, Brett Rypien, Josh Johnson
This will be a very interesting case in Denver. Russell Wilson who is considered to be one of the league’s best signal callers is now wearing the John Elway orange. It’s a make-or-break campaign for Wilson and he is probably under the gun almost as much as Dak Prescott. In my opinion, he will not be fair as well as he did in Seattle up to this point of his career. Wilson’s backups are average so Broncos fans are counting on Wilson to be their savior.
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff, David Blough, Tim Boyle
Matthew Stafford suffered many years of losing in Detroit then he goes out to Los Angeles and earns himself a Super Bowl ring. He left the Lions’ quarterback situation in shambles so Detroit brings in Jared Goff who ironically was a Ram before becoming a Lion. If you think a quarterback can win games on his own, think again. Stafford is a perfect example of that. Surrounded by talent, Stafford marched along with his team to the NFC title and an NFL title. Without talent around him, Goff has no chance of duplicating that feat. The backups in Detroit are two men most fans will know nothing about.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Danny Etling
Aaron Rodgers toyed with Green Bay and their fans this off-season with threats of going elsewhere but in the end, the Packers’ front office stepped up and kept one of the league’s best quarterbacks at home. That results in Jordan Love having to wait at least another season before he steps in as the offensive leader in Green Bay. As for Danny Etling, much like Mason Rudolph in Pittsburgh, he’s destined to be a career backup.
Houston Texans: Davis Mills, Kyle Allen, Jeff Driskel, Kevin Hogan
After posting a 2-9 record last season Davis Mills gives Texans fans little hope of helping his team get to the playoffs. Kyle Allen experienced one decent season in Carolina and then signed with Washington before landing in Houston. The Texans are Driskel’s fourth team in four years so that speaks for itself. Hogan was in the league as a member of the Cleveland Browns from 2016-2017 and was then a man without a team until the Titans brought him back last year.
Indianapolis Colts: Matt Ryan, Nick Foles, Sam Ehlinger, Jack Coan
Ever since Andrew Luck retired in 2019, the Indianapolis Colts have experienced a carousel of quarterbacks with Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer, Philip Rivers, and Carson Wentz all manning the QB controls. Now comes Matt Ryan who has been in the league for 14 years meaning the Colts are taking a big risk on a man who might be in the twilight of his career. Nick Foles’s claim to fame is his effort in the Philadelphia Eagles winning a Super Bowl a few years back after Foles stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz. The Jacksonville Jaguars thought so highly of Foles they brought him in as their new starter and the project was a complete failure. That resulted in a lack of confidence in Foles after he left the Eagles and signed with the St. Louis Rams before heading out to Kansas City for one season. Then Foles found himself on the Eagles’ roster before the Jaguars disaster. The Jags cut him loose and Foles moved to Chicago but the Bears saw enough of him in two seasons thus bringing him to Indianapolis to back up Matt Ryan. The other two men will compete just to say on the roster.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, C.J. Beathard Q, Jake Luton, EJ Perry
Before he was drafted by the Jaguars, Trevor Lawrence was thought to be the next great NFL quarterback. His rookie season failed to show any signs of that. But the Jaguars are sticking by him and they may have one of the best backups in the league in C.J. Beathard in the event things go south in Jacksonville. Jake Luton filled in nicely when called upon in recent history but all eyes are on Lawrence to see how much he has grown and learned from his rookie season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Shane Buechele, Dustin Crum
Is there any need to discuss the quarterbacks in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes at the helm? I think not. Only an injury stands in the way of Henne, Buechele, or Crum seeing any playing time.
Las Vegas Raiders: Derek Carr, Nick Mullens, Jarrett Stidham, Chase Garbers
Josh McDaniels gets his second stint as a head coach in the NFL (Denver was the first from 2009-2010) and he is keeping Derek Carr as his starting quarterback. Mullens was impressive in San Franciso as a 49er so the Raiders would probably win a few games with Mullens if need be.
Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, Easton Stick, Brandon Peters
Justin Herbert is a talent that keeps on getting better. By most opinions, he is probably already one of the top 5-10 QBs in the league. Stay healthy and he will keep the Chargers’ offense rolling.
Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
The question for the Rams is how driven will Matthew Stafford be now that he owns an NFL championship ring? My guess is that Stafford will be giving it all because he is a competitor. Given his backups, the Rams coaching staff is counting on him to stay injury free.
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater, Skylar Thompson
Here we go again with another signal-caller with his back to the wall. Tagovailoa has to have the best season of his young career if he wishes to extend his time in Miami. The Dolphins might have the best backup in the NFL with Teddy Bridgewater.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond, Nate Stanley
In evaluating the Vikings quarterback crew it leaves me to wonder how many more seasons does Kirk Cousins have left in the tank. For me, Cousins is not among the NFL elite at quarterback. He’s a steady proven veteran but he lacks that trait of doing something that makes him stand out. But he is the starter and the threat of him losing his job to any of the guys behind him is nil.
New England Patriots: Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer, Bailey Zappe
Mac Jones got off to a pretty fast start for his NFL career in 2021 but started to slide a bit as the season dwindled. Brian Hoyer has been around the block in the league but Jones will easily keep his job and Bill Belichick hopes he will improve.
New Orleans Saints: Jameis Winston Q, Andy Dalton, Ian Book
This is Jameis Winston’s job to lose with Andy Dalton on his shoulder. Winston is easily the better athlete but given his experience, Dalton might be the better all-around QB. Unless Winston gets injured or his season goes into the tank, don’t expect to see Dalton on the field in 2022.
New York Giants: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, Davis Webb
Yet again here’s another team with a signal caller facing the music. Daniel Jones needs a career season because like the Saints before this, Tyrod Taylor is talented and could force Jones to the bench.
New York Jets: Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White
First, it was Sam Darnold trying to become the Green and White’s next Joe Namath and that failed so Zach Wilson was given a shot and now Darnold is in Carolina. For Darnold he rides the bench with the acquisition of Baker Mayfield and back in New York, it’s unlikely the again Joe Flacco would ever replace Wilson because of a lack of production. But Wilson has to show improvement this season.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, Reid Sinnett, Carson Strong
Jalen Hurts forced Carson Wentz out of town and now he is fully in control of the Eagles’ offense. Gardner Minshew lost his job in Jacksonville when Trevor Lawrence was drafted so now he gets to push Hurts. But the Eagles are completely behind Hurts and expect to be a playoff-bound team this next season.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, Chris Oladokun
This is my team and I’m very intrigued about the battle that is set to take place in Latrobe, Pennsylvania this summer. You have to feel for Mason Rudolph whether you are a Steelers fan or not. The poor guy was dumped by his girlfriend in the offseason and he closed out the season in 2021 thinking he was Ben Roethlisberger’s successor. But the Steelers went out and signed Mitch Trubisky and he was immediately named the starter with a job to lose in training camp. Having been Big Ben’s backup for years, Rudolph found himself right back where he started holding the clipboard for the starting quarterback. But then in the draft Pittsburgh used their first-round pick to select Pitt’s Kenny Picket, one of the hottest prospects in the draft at quarterback this year. Another slap to the face of Rudolph came next when he was listed third on the depth chart behind the rookie Pickett. It would be truly embarrassing if the other rookie on the roster Oladokun forced Rudolph off the team but that will unlikely happen. So this boils down to whether Pickett will be game ready by opening day and if he is, he might very well be the Steelers starter and Trubisky will go back to being a backup after holding a start role in Chicago.
San Francisco 49ers: Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Sudfeld, Brock Purdy
It’s only a matter of time before the 49ers send Jimmy Garoppolo packing as San Francisco is investing their future at quarterback on Trey Lance. The problem here is Lance is very green. He played in just six games during his 2021 rookie campaign and started just two. It doesn’t seem very smart to dump Jimmy G. given his winning ways (a career won/loss mark of 33-14) because if Lance falters or suffers an injury, Sudfeld and Purdy are hardly up to the task.
Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith, Drew Lock, Jacob Eason
Seattle fans are holding their breath heading into this season. For the first time since 2012, a quarterback not named Wilson will be barking out the signals. Russell Wilson is now a Bronco and Geno Smith takes over for the ‘Hawks. Drew Lock came over from Denver in the trade for Wilson so he may challenge Smith in training camp. But this trio of those two and Eason does not bode well for any success in Seattle this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask, Ryan Griffin
So was Tom Brady’s short retirement a hoax? Was Brady playing games with everyone? I think it was and he did it to draw attention to himself. But I’m not a believer that he will be as good as he has been this season. Every player’s skills diminish at some point that’s why they retire. Brady’s time is coming and you know full well that as long as he is healthy he will be behind center all season long. Brady is simply in a different neighborhood than his backups.
Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Logan Woodside
Ryan Tannehill is being called by some a “choker” in the postseason after last year’s exit. He has much to prove and this is his job to lose. The Pittsburgh Steelers had thought about drafting rookie Malik Willis but they went with Kenny Pickett. Now Willis is in Tennessee and don’t be surprised if he gets playing time in 2022 especially if Tannehill falls down.
Washington Commanders: Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Sam Howell, Cole Kelley
Finally, we have the renamed Commanders who bring in Carson Wentz who spent a lackluster year in Indianapolis in 2021. His numbers with the Colts were not too bad but Indianapolis wants a winner behind center and they don’t see that in Wentz. The Commanders must though and so Wentz immediately unseated Taylor Heinicke as the starter. At least Washington fans know that Heinicke can play.