2022 promises to be one of the most exciting and intriguing National Football League (NFL) seasons in recent memory. The offseason saw a crazy quarterback carousel and a host of huge trades went down. And as always heading into a new season, some controversial players are under more pressure than others as they look to prove their value to their franchises.
These players are controversial for several reasons. First, there are the athletes who misbehave off the field or act like divas. Then there are the players that fans think are overrated and don’t do enough for their teams. All of them have a point to prove so and a ton of pressure on their shoulders to do just that, so check them out right here.
Newton was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for years but it’s safe to say that he will never be the same force he once was again. The former Panthers star is clinging to his career but it’s difficult to say where his next home will be. The Browns maintained a fleeting link to the former MVP because of the Deshaun Watson saga (via Essentially Sports).
However, they have Jacoby Brissett and Josh Rosen on their books now so it seems unlikely that they’ll snap him up. A quarterback injury crisis may see a franchise take a gamble on Newton. There’s no denying that he’s under pressure to prove that it isn’t time to turn him into glue.
The Bears thought Jackson would be one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He has talent but it’s impossible to argue that he’s living up to his full potential. Now the defensive back is under pressure to prove that his 2018 season wasn’t a fluke and he can do it again.
That’s four years ago now and the doubters’ voices are growing louder. But Chicago spent a fortune to retain his services in 2020 but steadily declined. They’re in a new era now with an exciting young quarterback. However, they need their veterans like Jackson to step up to the plate (via Fansided).
The Chiefs surprised a lot of fans when they signed Smith-Schuster. There are positive aspects to this deal because of his marketability and dynamism as a wide receiver. But many critics believe that he is one of the most overrated players in the NFL and isn’t good enough for a championship contender like Kansas City.
Smith-Schuster was one of the biggest names in Pittsburgh but it’s a different story in Missouri. There’s a lot of pressure on his shoulders because the Chiefs expect him to flourish. He has no excuses because he’s catching passes from arguably the best quarterback in the sport today (via Kansas City Star).
It’s easy for neutral NFL fans to forget that Jones exists, but sadly for fans of the ‘Big Blue,’ he does. Strong rumors continue to link the franchise to Jimmy Garoppolo as Jones enters the final year of his rookie contract. The former Duke star hasn’t done enough over the past couple of seasons to prove he has what it takes (via FOX News).
In 2022, Jones is playing for his future as an NFL starter because it’s likely that he won’t be in New York next year. It hasn’t helped that he’s had three coaches in four years but there weren’t enough glimpses of his talent. The pressure on his shoulders is massive but it remains to be seen if he’ll wilt or blossom.
The Lions made Okudah the third overall pick in 2020 with the expectation that he would become a regular starter. However, Okudah hasn’t reached that ceiling yet because of injuries and bad luck. Some fans consider him a controversial figure because they had such high expectations.
Now, Okudah is dealing with extra pressure because he is competing against Will Harris for the starting spot. It’s time for him to prove that he is ready to take Detroit forward to the next level. This competition may be good for Okudah and force him out of his shell but it’s not going to be easy (via Yardbreaker).
The Raiders wasted no time in adding Jones to their ranks in the 2022 off-season. However, it’s too bad that they’ve barely seen him play as he missed six practice games in a row. The former Super Bowl champion missed these matches for an unknown reason and worried fans in the process.
Jones has had a controversial career and allegedly used recreational drugs regularly (via Esquire). But he is brilliant when he plays so Las Vegas had no qualms about signing the experienced defensive end. They want to progress as a franchise and require him to perform at a high level.
‘Gang Green’ hasn’t had much to celebrate over the past decade but they thought they got something right when they drafted Becton. They planned to make him their franchise left tackle but now he finds himself on the right instead. This is a transitional year for the former Louisville star as they offer him a final chance.
2021 was a terrible year for Becton because he ballooned in weight before missing the start of the season for his child’s birth. In the end, he only played a single game for the Jets and disappointed the fanbase in the process. Now he faces a lot of pressure to turn things around (via NBC Sports).
Trubisky finds himself with a massive chance of reestablishing himself as a starting quarterback. He blew his opportunity in Chicago before moving to Buffalo as Josh Allen’s backup. Now he’s in Pittsburgh and will probably start the season ahead of the rookie Kenny Pickett and middling backup Mason Rudolph (via Clutchpoints).
But all is not well in Pennsylvania, as reports out of Steelers camp have Trubisky struggling mightily in training camp. And there’s little doubt that the Steelers see Pickett as the future of the organization. After all, they made him the only first-round quarterback of the 2022 Draft. But Trubisky may make life difficult for them and leave them with a big decision to make. The pressure is on Trubisky because this is the last-chance saloon for him.
The new Denver head coach is dealing with a lot of pressure because of the expectations this season. However, the reality is that it may be a year too early for the Broncos to compete. Yes, they finally have an elite quarterback who is capable of potentially continuing Peyton Manning’s legacy after years of lacking quarterback play in Denver.
But there are already debates over whether first-year coach Hackett or Russell Wilson is calling the shots in Mile High City. The Broncos have a tough start so this will be a baptism of fire for Hackett and his inexperienced staff. Perhaps it’s not ideal, but this is the hand he received (via Denver Post).
The 49ers are putting a lot of pressure on Lance’s shoulders. It appears as though he has ousted Jimmy Garoppolo and will be their new franchise quarterback. Jimmy G. may not even be on the West Coast for much longer. If he leaves then Lance will need to deliver despite his inexperience.
Mac Jones and perhaps Davis Mills were the only ones of last year’s rookie QB class to enjoy decent seasons. Lance didn’t leave a large sample size with only two starts and six appearances. This helped him to build his mystique and gave fans higher expectations. They hope he’s the finished product but it may still be too early (via CBS Sports).
T.J. Watt may disagree but Donald has been the best defensive player in the league for the past few years. However, he remains a controversial figure because of his underhanded tactics on the field. The Rams love him but opposition fans love to hate him (via The Guardian).
Beckham is one of the NFL’s most recognizable players, but we can’t necessarily call him one of the best at this time. That’s a shame because when he broke out with the Giants, it appeared like he would be a superstar. Injuries and a polarizing attitude have impacted his career but he’s still a Super Bowl champion.
Now Beckham finds himself as a free agent albeit with several high-profile suitors. The Colts and the Cowboys are interested in the wideout but it’s a gamble. Beckham’s fitness record is horrendous over the past few seasons and it remains to be seen if his body will hold up (via Deadspin).
Many people think that Brown is an outstanding talent and the full package already. However, they are overestimating him because he wasn’t that good in 2021. PFF awarded him a grade of 49.1 for pass protection and this isn’t great at all (via Buffalo News).
There’s plenty of room for him to grow and develop but the Bills have huge ambitions in 2021. They’re a Super Bowl favorite because their team is ready to contend. Brown must show that he’s grown or they’ll leave him behind because there is no room for passengers on this journey.
The Buccaneers see themselves as the Rams’ chief rival in the NFC this season. The 2020 Super Bowl winners believe that they can repeat the trick after Tom Brady committed to another year. They added two-time All-Pro star Jones to his receiving corps as they expand his weapons (via Bleacher Report).
However, Jones had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2021 in Tennessee. He disappointed Titans fans who had big expectations for the veteran. The 33-year-old led the league in receptions in 2015 and 2018 but may be suffering a downturn. The big question is whether Tampa can revive him for one last hurrah.
The Seahawks had one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league for a decade in Russell Wilson. But after trading Wilson to the Denver Broncos, they find themselves with one of the worst QB rooms in the entire NFL. Geno Smith and Lock are battling it out to be the starter on the opening day of the season (via King5), and that’s not an enviable position for any professional team to be in.
Perennial backup Smith has a better understanding of the offense but Lock (could) has a higher ceiling. The latter flopped miserably in Denver but finds himself with a chance of bouncing back. There’s a lot of pressure on the young man ahead of a potentially brutal season for Seattle.
Jimmy G.’s situation is one of the most interesting in the NFL today. His shoulder injury may have cost him a move when better quarterbacks were available. The 49ers appear set on giving Trey Lance his chance so it’s time for Garoppolo to move on and find a new situation (via ESPN).
Some Niners fans hate him but the reality is that he’s a good quarterback. He took them within touching distance of an NFC Championship but fell short. The New York Giants said that they didn’t want to trade for him. Meanwhile, the Seahawks would be an obvious destination except for their NFC West status.
It’s a make-or-break season for Hill because he appears to have lost the Saints quarterback battle. He couldn’t shake the tag of a gadget player and now finds himself in the tight end position. Many people doubt that he’s the answer to New Orleans’ problem in that position (via Deseret).
Hill’s versatility is his best asset but also his biggest issue. He doesn’t have enough specific talent to hold down a single starting position. This will be a problem as his career progresses and if the Saints select a true franchise QB. There’s a lot of pressure on Hill to stand out this season.
Mosley is the third-highest paid linebacker in the NFL but he plays like he takes that for granted. This is an obvious problem because the Jets expect him to be a major building block. They want their franchise to finally progress but they rely on players like Mosley to lead them.
His coverage was appalling in 2021 with PFF grading him just 42.0. This isn’t good enough when they’re paying him so much money. The onus is on Mosley to stand up and live up to the pressure before Robert Saleh’s team moves up from their ‘star’ linebacker (via Empire Sports Media).
The early signs are good that Jones will improve in his sophomore year. He landed in the best situation of his quarterback class but he wasn’t perfect throughout the season. But he did enough to provide the Patriots with enough optimism that they made the right call.
Meanwhile, Jones bulked up over the summer and shed some of the baby fat he carried at Alabama. However, there is pressure on the young man as the Pats hope to close the gap between them and Buffalo. The NFL is a ruthless industry and New England expects to win (via Yahoo!).
The Falcons want to remove Jones from their book but the problem is that nobody wants him. In short, the linebacker’s attitude stinks and this makes him a controversial figure in Georgia. Nonetheless, his output on the field justifies his significant salary (via CBS Sports).
If Atlanta fails to trade him then they’ll be in a tricky situation because Jones is too expensive to drop. They’re already in line for a tough season so it makes no sense to bench a consistent star. There’s pressure on both parties to tolerate each other and try to save this season.
Chicago was a basket case in 2021 and this didn’t help Fields who suffered a brutal rookie season. His debut saw him endure nine sacks in a baptism of fire. New Bears head coach Matt Eberflus must show signs of progress and help Fields to reach his full potential. He also requires more protection than he received last year.
Several analysts believed that the Bears pulled off a coup when they made him a first-round draft pick. His intelligence and mobility make him one of the most fascinating QB prospects in years. But it’s time for him to step up and live up to the pressure (via NBC Sports).
It’s been a strange few seasons for Mariota after landing in the NFL with tons of potential. The former Heisman Trophy winner lost his starting spot in Tennessee to Ryan Tannehill. Then he endured an injury-marred couple of seasons as Derek Carr’s backup with the Raiders (via AtlantaFalcons.com).
Now he has an unexpected chance to become an NFL starter again. The Falcons brought him in as a stopgap measure to replace franchise legend, Matt Ryan. Desmond Ridder is chomping at the bit behind him but Mariota is in control of the shirt for now. But will the pressure be too much for the Hawaiian?
It’s time for him to step up and prove that he is capable of being a team leader. Arizona is a team with big expectations but they haven’t achieved much over the past couple of seasons. Now that they’ve resolved their quarterback situation it’s time to move forward.
Golladay candidly admitted that he disappointed fans in 2021 but that he’s ready for a new challenge. This self-awareness is a positive sign because he barely made an impression on the team. Injuries restricted him to five appearances as he failed to make the impact that he wanted.
Many people thought that the Giants pulled off a coup when they signed him as a free agent. He was extremely consistent for Detroit and even led the league in touchdowns in 2019. But now he is under pressure and must prove that he is the right fit for New York’s offense (via NFL.com).
Cousins is as polarizing as a Sphynx cat. He also has about as much self-awareness as they have hair. Plenty of Vikings fans are pointing at Tom Brady’s two-year $50 million contract and questioning Cousins’ extension. That’s because Minnesota signed him up for another year for $35 million.
They just think that he isn’t representing value for money because they want to be in the playoffs. There’s a lot of pressure on Cousins this season because they may call for his head. In another life, he would have landed in Denver this season but he’s still the Vikings’ starter (via The Cold Wire).
The Chiefs traded Hill to Miami in one of the biggest deals of the 2022 offseason. Some fans bemoaned his departure because of his bond with Patrick Mahomes. Others suggested that it came at the right time because of his age and a slight downturn in performances (via USA Today).
There’s little doubt that there’s pressure on the wideout’s shoulders to prove that he’s not over the hill. Miami believes that he can bring the best out of Tua Tagovailoa but it’s a big risk. They forfeited a first-round pick in 2023 due to their owner Stephen Ross’s tampering and this means more after the NFL sanctioned the franchise.
Nobody had big expectations for Goff or the Lions in 2021. But they won’t be as reasonable this season after a year of settling into a new city and offense. Detroit opted not to join the quarterback carousel and stuck with Goff for another season. However, if he fails to deliver it will be his last as a starter in Motor City.
Sean McVey said that he regretted how things turned out between him and Goff in L.A. This suggests that he has a high ceiling and may yet blossom into a top talent. Nonetheless, plenty of teams prospered with a consistent but average quarterback. Detroit will settle for the latter if he can do it (via MLive).
It may seem crazy to say that Tom Brady is under pressure in 2022. However, the legendary quarterback retired because he felt like he had achieved everything in the sport. Then he decided that he had unfinished business and announced his return after all (via FOX News).
The Bucs have a new head coach and Rob Gronkowski retired. This leaves Brady with extra responsibilities as a leader. Their fans believe that they can be a contender again but if things go wrong Brady’s focus may waver. His cushy desk job is waiting for him but he signed up for this first.
Claypool is a decent player but he overrated himself based on his past performances. The Canadian thinks that he’s one of the top receivers in the league but that’s questionable. Now he has Mitchell Trubisky as his starting quarterback so he may not receive the same consistent service.
He is a bit controversial because he represents the modern player. Claypool is extremely active online but some fans wish that he would focus more on his football. There’s no denying that he has a high ceiling but the pressure is on him to prove he can live up to it (via Larry Brown Sports).
It’s not easy being the starting quarterback of the world’s most lucrative sports franchise. Prescott has had a decent career with the Cowboys but hasn’t set the NFL on fire in the postseason. Then he infuriated his fanbase with some sarcastic comments about their post-game actions (via ESPN).
Everybody with a recognizable name in Dallas is under pressure because the team keeps underperforming. It’s down to Prescott to lead the way and inspire his team to glory. The two-time Pro Bowler rates himself as one of the league’s best quarterbacks but they need him to bring MVP form to the table.
Carr has quietly become one of the NFL’s most consistent quarterbacks. He earned plaudits for his leadership during a tumultuous 2021 season that saw the Raiders experience multiple scandals. Despite this, many fans don’t rate Carr as the man to bring them on a deep playoff run.
There is more pressure on Carr this season because he has an elite weapon in Davante Adams. If the Raiders played in any other division they would be a favorite but it won’t be easy. They need Carr to reach the next level and prove that the Las Vegas front office’s faith is justified (via Yardbreaker).
There’s a strong argument that Gallup is one of the NFL’s most overrated players. Yes, he has a lot of talent but fans haven’t seen it consistently. 2021 was a terrible season for the wideout because he suffered a pair of harrowing injuries. First, there was a calf problem before he tore his ACL late season.
It remains to be seen how he bounces back from the latter. Historically, an ACL tear stripped players of their pace but medical science is at a higher level now. Nonetheless, Gallup will feel pressure because he wants to make up for the lost time. Let’s hope that he can turn it around and turn Dallas into a force (via A To Z Sports).
This season there is a core group of quarterbacks looking over their shoulders anxiously. That’s because they have as much clarity about their futures as cryptocurrency investments. Hurts joins the likes of Jared Goff and Jameis Winston in this category. Their teams stuck with them for another season but they’re still swiping right.
Hurts faced a lot of criticism in 2021 and carries that pressure into the new season. The notoriously unforgiving Philly fans love a hero but it takes time to gain their trust. Hurts hasn’t achieved that yet and the franchise may move on from him if he doesn’t deliver now (via Delaware Online).
There’s more pressure on the Lions to step up to another level in 2022. One of the players carrying this increased responsibility is Swift because of his status on the team. He is arguably their most high-profile running back but this doesn’t tell the full story of his contribution (via USA Today).
The reality is that Swift was the team’s least effective runner in 2021. This isn’t acceptable for a star of his status because people think that he’s better than this. Motor City is daring to hope this season but it may be misplaced. It’s on Swift and his teammates to prove that they’re able to cope with the NFL’s pressure.
Hopkins didn’t have the 2021 he wanted after injuries stalled his form. Then he breached the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy and received a six-game ban to start the season. Many people pointed at DeShaun Watson’s equal ban and claimed this was disproportionate. Nonetheless, the suspension stood and damaged Hopkins’ prospects (via Sporting News).
On his day he’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. However, he doesn’t have a lot of time to prove it in 2022. This is a major problem for Arizona because he is a key part of their offense and one of Kyler Murray’s most important weapons. When he returns he must return to form immediately but it may be too late.
Drew Brees retired in 2019 and left a gaping hole in the Saints’ quarterback room. In the end, Winston became the starter and led the team to a 5-2 record before injuries ended his season. Now he has a second chance to lead the franchise forward in the biggest year of his career (via Overtime Heroics).
Winston showed signs of progress last season with fewer interceptions than in his days in Tampa. The talent is there but the question is if he’s mentally capable of being a starter. New Orleans also has Andy Dalton, Ian Book, and Taysom Hill on their books but none of them are the future of the organization. This season will tell if Winston is.
Denver’s loss is Buffalo’s gain in the case of Miller. The linebacker is a superb player and adds an injection of extra quality into the Bills’ roster. However, there is a lot of pressure on the team to finally win a Super Bowl. Their heartbreaking defeat against the Chiefs was one of the most exciting games of last season.
But there mustn’t be a hangover after that tough loss if they want to improve. This team won’t be together forever and may break up quickly if they don’t win now. Miller will play a crucial role in the Bills’ success or lack of it. There are high expectations but there’s a long way to go (via Cover 1).
Chubb is a top player when he is healthy. Unfortunately, fans haven’t seen enough of him since his rookie season. He made four appearances in his second year and seven in his fourth. Now he’s entering a defining moment in his career because he’s running out of time.
The Broncos want it to work out because they recognize his talent but this means he can’t suffer another injury. This isn’t something that he can control so he must feel under pressure. If he bounces back and replicates his 2018 form he’ll bring a lot of joy to Denver (via TSN).
Top cornerback Xavien Howard is one of the Dolphins’ most exciting players. This makes it easy to forget about Jones on the other side. However, the Miami front office worries about him because they pay him a lot of money. His 2022 began poorly when they put him on the PUP list.
Suddenly, the Dolphins have a very talented roster with big ambitions. There is no room for passengers in a team like this because a lot can change very quickly. There’s pressure on Jones to bounce back from injury and produce the goods for his franchise (via Palm Beach Post).
Brown is a controversial figure in Kansas City after a summer of convoluted contract negotiations. He missed their entire offseason program because he couldn’t agree on terms with the franchise. In the end, he signed the franchise tag and committed his services to the Chiefs for another season (via Arrowhead Pride).
This puts Brown in a tricky position because he didn’t receive the deal he wanted. Furthermore, there is pressure on the left tackle because fans don’t forget these moments. More pragmatic supporters indeed understand that this is a business but some won’t forgive him if he doesn’t play well. There’s a chance the Chiefs will have to pay him even more money next offseason than they would have this year, but he has to prove he’s worth it on the field first.
CBS Sports ranked Campbell as the third-worst head coach in the NFL entering 2022. Lions fans may disagree with this despite their team’s dismal 3-13 season. Despite the poor results they successfully built a team spirit and fell narrowly short of beating contenders like the Packers.
Campbell effectively had a free pass as a first-year coach but there’s more pressure this season. The Lions don’t need to make the playoffs but signs of progression are essential. Campbell’s bullish nature will only take the team so far if he doesn’t have the tactical nous to seal victories (via Sports Illustrated).
Tagovailoa doesn’t have any more excuses to hide behind after Miami went all out in the off-season. He has exciting weapons like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in his receivers corp. Meanwhile, there is a host of electric running backs. Now it’s time for the former Crimson Tide star to step up.
The pressure is mounting on the Hawaiian because this is the last chance saloon. If Deshaun Watson didn’t carry as much baggage the Dolphins may have already replaced him. But he has a chance to show why Miami chased him for so long. He can’t waste it or he’ll never get it again (via Clutchpoints).
Few disagree that Justin Herbert is one of the two most exciting young quarterbacks in the NFL right now. However, he requires more from one of the Chargers’ most high-profile receivers. We’re talking about Allen who is a fan favorite but is flattering to deceive at the moment.
There’s no way that anybody can consider him a top-10 wideout right now. He didn’t even lead the Chargers in receiving yards or touchdowns last season. If the Chargers want to compete with their city rivals they’ll need him to improve and reach another level. The pressure is mounting in Los Angeles (via New York Post).
The Cleveland Browns failed to build on their impressive 2020 and regressed the following season. Now there’s pressure on Clowney’s large shoulders because he was a part of the problem. He’s one of their biggest names but didn’t perform at his peak last time out.
Myles Garrett helped him to improve his sack rate but that doesn’t tell the full story. The Browns require more from their senior players if they hope to compete in a tight division. Cincinnati is full of confidence while the Steelers and Ravens have chips on their shoulders (via Indy Star).
There’s a strong chance that Darnold’s career as a starting quarterback is already over. An injury to Baker Mayfield can indeed change this in a heartbeat but the Panthers won’t choose him over the former Browns star. This is a significant blow to Darnold’s future in terms of legacy and finances.
It’s easy to forget that Joe Burrow is two years older than Darnold. Adam Gase has a lot to answer for after ruining the young man’s confidence and failing him in New York. But Darnold didn’t live up to expectations when the Panthers gambled on him and couldn’t handle the pressure (via Charlotte Observer).
It’s easy to point the finger at quarterback bust Daniel Jones because he is garbage but the Giants have other problems. Barkley should be one of the team’s biggest stars but he isn’t performing like one. He only made four appearances in 2020 before playing in 13 games last year.
Injuries took their toll on the running back and fans haven’t seen him at his best. This may be somewhat of a waste of a season for the Giants before they pursue a new quarterback in 2023. There is pressure on him to improve but it won’t be easy considering the state of the franchise (via New York Post).
It may feel excessive to label Rhule a “star” but the pressure is obvious. He was lucky to retain his job after a shoddy season but has a chance to redeem himself this year. The biggest challenge is selecting the correct quarterback ahead of the Week One opener (via Yardbreaker).
Choosing between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold may be less appealing than allowing another man to seduce his wife. The former will likely win the battle but the decision will have severe consequences for Rhule’s career. Many expect him to be one of the first coaches to lose their job in 2022.
The writing could be on the wall for Tannehill as the long-term starter in Tennessee after the Titans drafted Malik Willis. They are sending a message to the former Miami quarterback after his dismal postseason display cost his franchise dearly. Willis isn’t ready to be a starter yet but he may usurp Tannehill next season.
There have always been questions about Tannehill because his critics believe his supporting cast makes him look better than he is. He’s a decent QB but it appears that he isn’t capable of being a difference maker in the biggest games. Pressure is mounting and he must cope with that (via The Roar).
Edwards-Helaire is entering his third year as a professional football player. There are times when he shines but those are often too few and far between as inconsistency wracks his game while injuries stalled his impact. This is a huge season for the young man because he’s nearing the end of his rookie contract.
He may begin the season as the Chiefs’ lead running back but they’ll take him out of the firing line if he doesn’t perform. There’s pressure on him because this is a cruel game. He wants to play for the Chiefs for as long as it takes to print his name on the back of a team jersey (via Fansided).
The 2022 offseason was noteworthy for the amount of wide receiver contract extensions. Metcalf joined their ranks after a high-profile holdout with the Seahawks. This made him a controversial figure in Seattle because fans wanted him to shut up and play.
Now Metcalf will earn a guaranteed $58 million over the next couple of seasons with even more available in bonuses. But this also places pressure on him to go out and perform. The problem is that he’ll be playing with one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the entire NFL whether it’s replacement-level Drew Lock or Geno Smith (via Yahoo!).
Serious pressure is mounting on Shanahan in 2022 because the Niners must contend. He’s risking everything by putting Jimmy Garoppolo to one side and making Trey Lance the starter. His entire legacy may rest on this decision but it will be brilliant if he gets it right.
Meanwhile, there are questions about Shanahan’s ability as a play-caller. Arguably, he cost the Falcons a Super Bowl in his capacity as offensive coordinator. There have been serious errors as a head coach too. Shanahan can’t make excuses now because he has enough experience.
Clark wasn’t even close to his best in 2021 because he carried too much weight. Now he enters the new season after cutting alcohol out of his diet. He credits sacrificing liquor for his now trimmer frame and hopes to justify his high salary. The Chiefs spent a fortune on securing his services in 2019.
The following season was decent but Clark hasn’t been at the same level since then. Kansas City has a strong roster now but that can easily change if they don’t contend this year. Dynasties are difficult to build but this is a big chance for them to reach the top again (via Manhattan Mercury).
It’s a new year and Mack finds himself in a new situation. Chicago thought that they struck gold when they spent a fortune to secure his services. But their relationship ended abruptly after a dismal and disappointing few seasons. Now Mack has joined the Chargers and will look to bring them to the next level.
There is pressure on Mack’s hulking shoulders because he didn’t deliver for the Bears. Some think that the Chargers are gambling with this signing. This would have been crazy a couple of years ago because he was brilliant. Mack is playing for his legacy so let’s hope he steps up (via L.A. Times).
Everybody loves Carroll but there are increasing levels of dissent in Seattle. Many Seattle fans believe that he should have left instead of Russell Wilson. They think his lack of offensive progression cost the team a dynasty and they may have a point (via Fansided).
Seattle is entering a transitional period and awaits the arrival of a new quarterback. Fan patience may run out if they have a series of poor results this season. Carroll and the front office will receive the brunt of this pressure. It may be time for the 70-year-old to bow out with grace.
NFL players tend to create unnecessary problems for themselves and Kamara is no exception. The Saints running back was allegedly involved in a nightclub battery incident before the new season. It appears as though the NFL will suspend him for breaching their code of conduct policies.
This isn’t what the Saints needed because they already have a dubious quarterback situation. They require all of their best players to perform from the opening day. But Kamara potentially won’t be there because of his extracurricular activities. It’s a major blow and puts pressure on the team (via The Spun).
Allegedly, the Colts wanted anybody except Wentz in 2022 after another disaster of a year. They successfully offloaded him to Washington where he will play for the Commanders. However, it’s been a tumultuous offseason for the former Eagles star (via Delaware Online).
He threw multiple interceptions in one practice as his lack of confidence rose to the surface. The Commanders will give him a final opportunity to be a starter before they enter the quarterback stakes next spring. There’s a lot of pressure on Wentz and the signs aren’t good.
Wilson had a tough 2021 season as a rookie signal-caller but that’s not surprising. The Jets entered rebuild mode under Robert Saleh and chucked the rookie straight into the mix. He frustrated many fans with some of his decisions but another franchise may not have put him in that position (via Daily Mail).
Now the Jets have provided him with more weapons and protection. It’s time for the young QB to show why the Jets picked him ahead of Mac Jones and Justin Fields. He doesn’t want to be Sam Darnold 2.0 but the pressure is mounting ahead of the opening game.
The Packers surprised many people when they extended Aaron Rodgers’ contract but allowed Adams to leave. Their loss appears to be Las Vegas’s gain because he’s one of the best wide receivers in the league. Meanwhile, he rejoins his old Fresno teammate and friend Derek Carr.
Their relationship will be one of the most intriguing this season because they may wreak havoc. However, there is pressure on the pair to deliver in one of the most competitive divisions. Adams will have a massive role in any success that the Raiders achieve in 2022 (via Sportskeeda).
McDaniels is one of the most compelling NFL coaches as we enter the 2022 season. He flunked in Denver before he rejoined Bill Belichick’s staff as an offensive coordinator. Then he rebuilt his reputation and became a six-time Super Bowl winner in the process (via Las Vegas Review-Journal).
Failed head coaches rarely receive a second opportunity. However, the Raiders saw enough in McDaniels and respected his work in New England. But if McDaniels blows this second chance he’ll never receive another one. If he wants to be the man in charge then he can’t succumb to the pressure.
Samuel’s contract holdout was one of the most dramatic stories of the 2022 offseason. For a couple of weeks, it appeared as though he was moving to the New York Jets. In the end, he agreed on a massive new extension after the Niners decided that they wanted to keep him (via ClutchPoints).
However, this was a tumultuous summer for the star wide receiver after he received hate mail and death threats. It remains to be seen how quickly fans forget about this summer. If he strikes up a good understanding with Trey Lance then he can put this behind him but there’s a lot of pressure.
There is massive pressure on Wilson to settle quickly in Denver and lead them on a playoff run. The most delusional members of the fanbase think that they’re going to win the Super Bowl. It’s more likely that the team goes through a period of transition this season before contending in 2023.
Wilson is learning a new playbook and playing for a different team for the first time in a decade. It’s a massive change in his life but he has the talent to lead the Broncos forward. He is a perennial MVP contender and this may be his best chance of sealing that elusive personal honor (via Fox Sports).
Mayfield enters 2022 with a gigantic chip on his shoulder. He has a massive point to prove after his unceremonious break-up with the Cleveland Browns. Now he’s desperate to succeed in Charlotte and prove that his former franchise made a huge mistake (via Sportskeeda).
He will compete with Sam Darnold for the starting spot but it’s obvious that he has the advantage if the Panthers were willing to give up valuable draft resources to trade for him. Mayfield is superb on his day but inconsistency stains his game. A glance at Odell Beckham Jr.’s Super Bowl ring shows why some people doubt the former Heisman Trophy winner.
The spotlight is on Rodgers after his high-profile contract dispute with the Packers. Green Bay agreed to pay him an outrageous amount of money to stay for three years. Then they traded his best weapon to the Raiders in a move that confuses everybody (via Sporting News). Will Rodgers even complete his contract in Wisconsin?
Rodgers was the babyface to Tom Brady’s heel for most of his career. That’s because he played for a less successful franchise that didn’t cheat as much. Now he’s shown his true colors and the pressure is on him to deliver. But Rodgers has failed to carry the franchise on his back so it’s unlikely he will now.
Few players are facing as much pressure as Lawrence after a tough rookie season. The former Clemson superstar’s first year was a write-off under Urban Meyer. Now there’s the hope of moving forward with Doug Pedersen stepping into the Jacksonville hot seat (via Bleacher Report).
Lawrence was one of the most hyped players of the decade but didn’t live up to expectations. Most people agree that wasn’t his fault because of the Jaguars’ craziness. But he must improve and show why experts considered him the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.
Watson won’t play for at least the first six weeks of the season after a judge ruled that he violated the NFL’s code of conduct. Jacoby Brissett is keeping his seat warm but the Browns want Watson to step in quickly. If he does play there will be massive pressure on his shoulders for a combination of reasons.
Firstly, he must convince Cleveland fans that they can support them after he destroyed his image. The best way to do this is to deliver on the field and justify the Browns’ massive outlay. That’s not a guarantee because Watson hasn’t played since 2020 and may not be sharp (via The Athletic).
Critics continue to doubt Jackson but this is a foolish error. The former MVP is one of the league’s most talented and unique quarterbacks. However, he indeed suffered a regression over the past couple of seasons. Meanwhile, there are questions about his commitment to the Ravens.
Now there is more pressure mounting on Jackson to revive his career and remind the world of his capabilities. ESPN left Jackson out of their list of top-10 NFL quarterbacks of the moment. This would have been unthinkable in 2019 so it’s time for him to explode this season (via USA Today).
McCarthy knows that his job is hanging in the balance at the moment. The Dallas Cowboys improved in 2021 after blowing the previous season. Now it’s time for them to become a competitive contender again. There’s no room for a humiliating postseason exit or a regular season meltdown (via Dallas News).
Many people think that McCarthy is the reason why Aaron Rodgers only has a single Super Bowl ring. They think his conservative nature restrained his quarterback and question if he’s the man to get the best out of Dak Prescott. Jerry Jones says that he has another option so there’s pressure on his head coach already.
McCaffrey became the highest-paid running back in history when the Panthers extended his deal in 2018. He only played 10 games over the next two seasons because injuries prevented him from playing. Now he’s hoping to bounce back and prove that the Panthers made the right decision.
There’s no questioning his commitment nor the statement that the Panthers made at the time. Hindsight is a great thing but nobody knew he would be battling his body. There is a lot of pressure on McCaffrey but he is the type of athlete to embrace his responsibilities (via 247 Sports).
There’s a significant chance that Elliot won’t be playing in Dallas next season. That’s because they haven’t guaranteed any of his $90 million contract from 2023 onward. In short, Elliot is playing for his future and the pressure is mounting. He hasn’t been brilliant for the past couple of years so it’s not a given that he’ll stay.
Elliot says that he’s not feeling it but fans don’t agree. Some said that he was either putting on a brave face or displaying arrogance. The running back is one of the most visible and controversial players on ‘America’s Team.’ They may not be sad to see the back of him because of his drama (via The Spun).
Murray is a happy man after the Cardinals broke the bank to keep him in Phoenix. He’s even more satisfied after they removed a controversial film study clause from his contract. However, the fact that they included this in the first place suggests some skepticism around their quarterback’s commitment.
There is a sizable contingent of NFL and even Cardinals fans who believe that Murray is one of the league’s most overrated players. He has incredible confidence but there is a lot of pressure on him to live up to his new deal. It’s time for Murray to deliver and lead them to the postseason (via The Ringer).