Every year, there are players who breakout and players that disappoint. In this article, let’s look at some quarterbacks who struggled last year, but should do much better this year.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
A major reason that the Giants went from 10-6 in 2016 to 3-13 in 2017 was the regression from Eli Manning. After three straight seasons of 4,000 passing yards and 25+ touchdowns, Manning only threw for 3498 yards last year with 19 touchdowns. He was even benched last season for a game vs the Oakland Raiders in favor of Geno Smith. Needless to say, last year couldn’t have gone any worse for Manning. Luckily for him, this offseason couldn’t have gone any better for him. Instead of looking to replace the 37-year-old Manning, the team decided to build around him. They hired an offensive minded coach in Put Shurmer, who as the offensive coordinator was able to build a top ten offense in points per game with a journeyman in Case Keenum as the quarterback. They then signed left tackle for Nate Solder, who only allowed two sacks last season protecting Tom Brady’s blind side. Then instead of drafting the heir apparent to Manning, they drafted running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Barkley is a can’t miss prospect, who can run inside and outside and is an elite pass catching threat. Add in the fact that superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be back after missing most of the season with an ankle injury, and its safe to say Manning’s supporting cast is significantly better. With an improved supporting cast and the support of the front office, expect Manning to have a bounce back season this year.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Last year wasn’t quite the rookie year Mitchell Trubisky wanted to have after being drafted number two overall in the 2017 draft. After replacing Mike Glennon as the starting quarterback in Week 5, he only threw for 182 yards a game and had a passer rating of 77.5. However, he wasn’t exactly set up to succeed. He had a defensive minded head coach in John Fox, and his best receiver was Kendall Wright. This year though, Trubisky’s supporting cast will be much improved. The Bears hired an offensive minded coach in Matt Nagy, who was previously the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs. As a young and smart offensive minded head coach, Matt Nagy could easily follow in the foot steps of Sean McVay, who turned the Rams from a laughing-stock to an elite team in just one season. Chicago also added two receivers via free agency in Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Robinson is a true #1 receiver, but is coming off a torn ACL. If he returns as the same player though, he could be Trubisky’s go to guy. Taylor Gabriel on the other hand is an exceptional slot receiver that excels in running after the catch. Setting up screens for Gabriel could take a lot of pressure off of Trubisky. Also via free agency, they added tight end Trey Burton. from the Eagles Burton was a backup in Philadelphia, but was extremely productive and is a great receiving tight end. Quality tight ends are critical for quarterbacks to have, especially in the red zone. Lastly, the Bears added two offensive players in the draft in offensive lineman James Daniels and wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round. Both are first round talents that should start right away. Daniels will likely play left guard and will open up the running game, while Miller is a polished receiver that gives some an Antonio Brown feel. Overall, Trubisky has a much better supporting cast, and the hiring of Matt Nagy should help his development tremendously.
Andy Dalton, Cincinatti Bengals
Andy Dalton was a big disappointment last season. After throwing for 4206 yards the year prior, that total fell to 3320 last year. His quarterback rating also dropped all the way down to 42.0, which is a major red flag. It wasn’t entirely his fault though, as Dalton was constantly pressured as the Bengals offensive line was one of the worst in football. He was sacked 39 times, and 8 of those came from opposing defenders who were facing Cedric Ogbuehi, the left tackle who took over for pro bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who signed with the Rams in the prior offseason. To put it in perspective, Whitworth didn’t allow a single sack in 2016. Luckily for Dalton, the Bengals may have found their answer at left tackle in Cordy Glenn, who they acquired from the Bills. Glenn only played in six games last year, but has the reputation of one of the game’s best tackles. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge upgrade over Ogbuehi. They also drafted center Billy Price out of Ohio State in the first round, who should help open up the running lanes for second year running back Joe Mixon. With an improved offensive line, Dalton should have much more time to throw and thus should have a significantly better season that he did last year.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns
To be fair, Taylor didn’t have a bad season last year. He guided the Bills to the playoffs and threw only four interceptions. There were several bumps in the road, as he was benched mid-season for Nathan Peterman and then inserted back in after Peterman threw five first half interceptions to the Chargers. He also only threw for 187 yards a game and 14 touchdowns. With a better supporting cast in Cleveland (Yes, I know that sounds crazy), he should see his totals go up. The Browns traded a third round pick to get him mostly to be a bridge starter and a mentor for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who the team selected first overall in the draft. Taylor can’t be overlooked though. In Cleveland, Taylor will better receivers in Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, a better offensive line, and a three-headed running attack with Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb, and Duke Johnson. Taylor is the type of player that needs talent around him to thrive, and he’ll have that with the Browns. Expect him to half off Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback for most of the season while also leading the Browns to at least 4-6 wins, a big upgrade their 0-16 record a season ago.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
You’re probably thinking: “Jimmy Garoppolo went 5-0 as a starter and just got given a 5 year/$137.5M extension, why does he need to have a breakout season?” Well, Garoppolo’s extension was criticized by many due to the fact he’s only started seven games, so this first season will give us more of an indication on how good of a player he is. Expect him to thrive, as he’s in a perfect situation in San Francisco. Not only does he play for an offensive mastermind in head coach Kyle Shanahan, but the 49ers built around him this offseason. They brought in running back Jerick McKinnon, a speed receiving threat out of the back field who is a great check down running back for Garoppolo that he didn’t have a season ago. Plus, the 49ers added to their once weak offensive line by signing center Weston Richburg in free agency and drafting right tackle Mike McGlinchey. Now, there will more time for the brilliant plays drawn up by Shanahan to fully develop. Lastly, wide receiver Pierre Garcon will be fully recovered from his neck injury he suffered a season ago most likely. Garoppolo never got to play with Garcon, who gives Garoppolo a solid #1 receiver that had 1041 yards in 2016 and was on pace for 1000 yards last season. There’s a lot of pressure for Garoppolo to succeed, but he’s in a great position to do so.