The starting NFL quarterbacks for nearly dozen teams are kids praying for their performance

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The dominant story of this NFL offseason, at least before receiver salaries exploded and basically forced some to trade, was the influx of outstanding quarterbacks to new teams that turned Super Bowl dreams in Denver, Cleveland and possibly Indianapolis into a tangible 2022 seasonal goals.

But there is another story which concerns multiple teams and which is mostly ignored. Consider how many teams, seeing ample evidence that their veteran quarterback isn’t elite, are with that guy.

They are letting it go.

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FILE - Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game on January 8, 2022 in Denver. Lock says he's relishing the opportunity to start his career all over again after his swap with the Seattle Seahawks.

FILE – Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) passes against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game on January 8, 2022 in Denver. Lock says he’s relishing the opportunity to start his career all over again after his swap with the Seattle Seahawks.
(Photo AP / Jack Dempsey, file)

They may or may not have tried to improve, but they ultimately decided that surrounding the same guy who wasn’t good enough with more talent was their best approach to making the guy, well, good enough.

Team after NFL team is tackling this scenario for 2022 because the avenues for improvement are now rather sterile, with more unlikely exchanges and no other projects promising young talent for another year.

So these teams will either run or die with their boys, even if their boys haven’t proven on the pitch, they definitely deserve the trust.

Take the Philadelphia Eagles for example. They are one of these teams.

Despite possessing a lot of leveraged capital in multiple drafts, the Eagles decided they would hope incumbent Jalen Hurts could turn into a star.

The Eagles have done everything they can to update their free agency roster and have even traded a first-round pick for Tennessee Pro Bowl receiver AJ Brown. They did everything they could to maximize the draft with good picks Jordan Davis, Cameron Jurgens and Nakobe Dean in the first three rounds of the draft.

And now it’s time to prove yourself.

“It’s understood. It’s my chance, it’s my team,” Hurts said this week when asked about the obvious support General Manager Howie Roseman has shown in not replacing him. “It’s my team, so we’re ready to go.”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game on Monday, December 1. 27, 2021, in New Orleans.
(Photo AP / Butch Dill)

That’s a lot of faith in a quarterback who threw 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

But the Eagles have a fallback position. Like many other teams who are basically betting on improvement from a starting quarterback who desperately needs to improve to stay ahead of next season, the Eagles have a fallback plan for 2023.

They have two first-round picks in a row for the ’23 draft that they can use in any way they decide, even by conducting a quarterback search next offseason.

Multiple teams in the quarterback situation uncertain but praying for a miracle have reserve positions that could even lead to new quarterbacks in 2023.

Here are the teams and their locations:

Miami Dolphins: QB – Your Tagovailoa. Situation – Tua hasn’t been good enough in any of his first two years, while other 2020 first round picks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have been outstanding. The hope is a change of coaching and the review of the attack on both the offensive line and the position of the catcher will lead to the presentation of a new and surprising Tua. The Fallback – The Dolphins have more teams than most. They have two first-round picks in the ’23 draft and have the muscle memory of chasing Tom Brady to become their quarterback for the past two years. And next year Brady is a free agent.

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB: Mitchell Trubisky. Situation – Ben Roethlisberger withdrew, so Trubisky signed up for what is basically a one-year trial deal. If he plays well, the Steelers have him signed for ’23, but if he doesn’t, they can cut him and save $ 8 million in cap space. It is a bet on a former No. 2 absolute choice that has vanished in Chicago. The Fallback – The Steelers picked Kenny Pickett in the first round of the draft last week.

Tennessee Titans: QB — Ryan Tannehill. Situation – Tannehill was not a good playoff quarterback and last year’s 3 interceptions game was particularly striking. The Titans sniffed around as they tried to trade with Aaron Rodgers, but were quickly pushed back. If Tannehill fails to hit his $ 38.6 million salary cap, this will likely be his last year with the team. The Fallback – The Titans picked Malik Willis in the third round of the draft last week.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones puts himself under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, November 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, NJ

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones puts himself under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, November 28, 2021, in East Rutherford, NJ
(AP Photo / Corey Sipkin)

Houston Texans: QB-Davis Mills. Situation – Mills is only in his second year, which suggests he deserves more time, especially considering the fact that he’s been good at four of his last five games. But it’s a tough point because the Texans have been losing for a while and they need results from everyone, including him. So he needs to turn in some to keep his job. The fallback: Texans have two first-round picks in the 2023 draft.

Washington commanders: QB — Carson Wentz. Situation – Washington has been digging through other teams’ QB trash hoping to find treasure and Wentz is the last guy the club pulled out of the bin. Wentz has faded to Philadelphia and Indy and probably doesn’t get a leash that extends beyond 2022 unless he plays well. The Fallback: The Commanders picked Sam Howell in the fifth round of the draft, but who knows?

Giants of New York: QB – Daniel Jones. Situation – He has a new manager and a new GM and they are said they are confident in Jones but they are not showing that confidence because they refused to exercise the fifth year option on his rookie contract. So he’s likely to be put up or goodbye for Jones. The Fallback – The Giants are one of only two teams on this list with no obvious fallback plan if their QB doesn’t perform.

Detroit Lions: QB – Jared Goff. Situation – It looked bad for Goff and the Lions that a trade that sent Goff to Detroit and Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams resulted in the Rams winning the Super Bowl. So Goff, not good enough last year, has to play to a higher standard because Lions can save up to $ 26 million in maximum space in 2023 by cutting him. The Fallback – Lions have two choices in the first round in 2023.

Atlanta Falcons: QB — Marcus Mariota. Situation – They traded Matt Ryan and hired Mariota, who vanished in Tennessee and was a backup in Las Vegas. It’s a great opportunity for Mariota to play for Arthur Smith, his former Tennessee offensive coordinator. But if he plays like he did in Tennessee, it won’t be enough. The fallback: no obvious path to an upgrade.

Carolina Panthers: QB – Sam Darnold. Situation – he He was faded with the New York Jets and was a disappointment in Carolina last season. The Panthers tried to find a replacement by mistaking for Deshaun Watson but he didn’t want to come. So if Darnold doesn’t make it work now, both he and coach Matt Rhule could be out. The Fallback – The Panthers chose Matt Corral in the third round of the draft.

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Seattle Seahawks: QB – Drew Lock. Situation – They swapped or were forced to swap (depending on who you think) Russell Wilson in Denver and that ended a beautiful era in the team’s history. They got Lock as part of that trade, but they tried to get into the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. He wasn’t interested. Lock has 25 TDs and 20 interceptions in three seasons, so he has to stop spinning or this is probably his last chance to be an NFL starter. The Fallback – The Seahawks have two picks in the first round and two in the second in next year’s draft.