NFL training camps open next month, and there will be many storylines to dissect and analyze before kickoff of the first regular season game. Heading into the season there are some players at the game’s glamour position that will be on the hot seat for one reason or another.
Who are the five quarterbacks on the hot seat heading into the season?
#5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
The most accomplished quarterback on this list, a two-time Pro Bowl player and the third-ranked quarterback last season in Football Outsiders DYAR and DVOA stats. Prescott’s inclusion on the list isn’t about losing his job.
It’s about all the pressure that comes with being the starting quarterback on that football team.
The Cowboys as an organization and their fans have an overinflated opinion of themselves. The media covers them more than any other NFL franchise and they have the nickname “America’s Team.”
Owner Jerry Jones believes Super Bowl titles are their birthright. They haven’t won a title since 1995, and since Prescott became the starter in 2016, he’s won one playoff game. He’s not in danger of losing his job like the other players on this list, but they expect a lot out of the Cowboys starting quarterback.
#4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
To be fair to Hurts, he has had a consistent offseason (same head coach) for the first time in his short career. Head coach Nick Sirianni named him the starter last season and looks like he’s hitched his wagon to the third-year quarterback.
Now it’s on Hurts to prove that Sirianni was right. He’s in the last year of his rookie deal, and if he improves on last year’s play where he was 8-7 as a starter and led the team to the playoffs, he will earn an extension.
Hurts ranks 17th in DVOA and DYAR which is good for a young player in his first year as a starter. Now the pressure will be on to improve and show that he is a long term starter.
#3. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
The 27th ranked quarterback in DYAR and DVOA last year regressed. His yards per attempt were down and interceptions doubled from the previous year. He’s also 34 with an injury history.
The Titans have had good teams around him but he hasn’t been able to elevate them to that next level. The closest they got was in 2019 where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game.
Last postseason he threw three interceptions in a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round.
Then, of course, the Titans drafted Malik Willis, an exciting quarterback prospect from the 2022 NFL draft, and Tannehill wasn’t too thrilled about possibly being a mentor to his eventual replacement.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) May 3, 2022
#2. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
This is the season that Jones has to prove he’s an NFL starter. After showing promise during his rookie season in 2019, it has been poor play and injuries that have highlighted the past two seasons.
Jones ranks 26th in DVOA and DYAR. He’s thrown just 21 touchdowns against 17 interceptions over the past two seasons, going 12-25 as a starter with the Giants overall, and he has a fumbling issue. He’s put the ball on the ground 36 times in 38 games.
He has the opportunity to impress the Giants’ new regime of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. But he does not have a contract beyond this season.
#1. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
It seems almost criminal to put a 2020 draft pick at No. 1 on this list. He’s barely had time to get his feet wet. But these are the breaks when you’re a high draft pick and play quarterback.
He’s been a part of a tumultuous franchise, and there were reports of friction with fired head coach Brian Flores, the man who is suing the NFL and the Dolphins, among other teams, for racist hiring practices.
On the field Tagovailoa has been OK and even good at times. He ranks 18th in DYAR and DVOA, has a 13-8 record as a starter and a 66 percent completion rate. But he struggles to get the ball down the field. He was 25th in yards per pass attempt last season.
But the Dolphins believe in him. They brought in an offensive coach in Mike McDaniel, franchise-tagged tight end Mike Gesicki, traded for Pro Bowl receiver Tyreek Hill and signed Terron Armstead, Cedrick Wilson Jr., Connor Williams, Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.
If they struggle on offense, Tagovailoa will bear the brunt of the criticism.