The upcoming 2023 NFL season is primed to be more unpredictable than most years for a few reasons. Chief among them? The quarterback shuffle that has taken place this off-season across the league.
Quarterback Battles Across the League
Notable Veteran QB Changes:
–Aaron Rodgers in New York
–Jimmy Garoppolo in Las Vegas
–Derek Carr in New Orleans
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–Bryce Young (1st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft) in Carolina
-CJ Stroud (2nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft) in Houston
–Desmond Ridder in Atlanta (drafted in 2022-only has started four games)
–Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh (drafted in 2022, but has the true starting job in 2023)
Coming off of the 2022 season, the NFC South was the clear weak link of the league. What does this mean? It’s wide open for the taking for the Bucs, Falcons, Panthers, or Saints. Being that Tampa Bay is the only division team with a QB contest, they are faced with extra urgency. In their team’s depth chart, it lists Mayfield OR Trask; something that I have never seen in years past.
Trask, drafted out of Florida in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Bucs, was brought in in the midst of a wavering (retiring and unretiring) Tom Brady. He has had zero starts during his time in Tampa, but one can assume learning under Brady was vital. Does this translate to executing well? Only time will tell. The QB has had some nice reports from Bucs training camp.
Baker Mayfield, on the other hand, was scooped up from the Los Angeles Rams in 2022 in order to bring in that veteran presence in the QB room. Mayfield was the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (Cleveland) and has had quite a tumultuous journey since.
- Five seasons with the Cleveland Browns
- Carolina – July 2022
- LA Rams – December 2022
- Tampa Bay – March 2023
Though his experience in the NFL is valuable, his numbers are less than pedestrian as of late. Of Mayfield’s last 24 starts, he has lost 16 of those games and averaged (of those 24) a lowly 79.5 passer rating.
Prediction: Mayfield starts week one, but Trask takes over by midseason.
Brock Purdy vs. Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers)
I won’t lie. I definitely thought that Trey Lance would have been traded by now. Just two years ago in the 2021 NFL Draft, San Francisco traded quite a haul in order to move up to the third spot and snag Lance out of North Dakota State University. Unfortunately, at the start of 2022 (week 2), Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury and would be sidelined for the remainder of the year which would cut his starting role before he even got started.
It seems as though Lance (and let’s not forget Sam Darnold) is simply there as a reserve should Purdy need more time for his elbow to heal. In all honesty, this QB competition is the least intriguing as it seems pretty clear that they want Purdy back under center as he forged a run to the NFC Championship game in 2022: in part due to a sledgehammer defense and weapons like CMC and Aiyuk/Deebo on offense.
Prediction: A healthy Purdy will start week one.
Sam Howell vs. Jacoby Brissett (Washington Commanders)
This is quite possibly the most intriguing quarterback battle in the NFL considering the Commanders are coming off of a top-10 defensive performance and have some serious weaponry on offense (McLaurin, Gibson, Robinson, Curtis to name a few). This newly-owned Washington team is one competent QB away from a potential playoff run. Let’s not also forget that they brought in the offensive mind of Eric Bienemy this offseason.
Sam Howell, the North Carolina product, was drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft in round five. He has only one NFL start to his name and that was week 18 against a rival Cowboys team who already had punched a ticket to the postseason.
Brissett, however, has had some decent starts over the years despite the fact that he’s had quite the national tour.
Jacoby Brissett’s Timeline:
- Drafted by New England in 2016 to back up Brady and Garoppolo
- Indianapolis – 2017
- Miami – 2021
- Cleveland – 2022
- Washingon – 2023
During his multi-city tenure, he alternated as both a starter and backup. His most impressive years (2019-Indy and 2022-Cleveland) were both 88.0 and 88.9 respectively.
Prediction: I do believe this Washington team is going to go with a week one Howell start. After all, if EB is as impressive as he was in Kansas City, Howell should be well-equipped and ready to fire.