Football can be very strange at times. Every year, many players break out, while others fall flat on their face. We’ll investigate the quarterbacks who may suffer from the latter this season.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
After a stellar rookie season in which he made pro bowl and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, Dak Prescott fell back to the Earth in 2017. He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t stellar with 3324 passing yards, a 22-13 TD-INT ratio, a 62.9 completion percentage while leading to Cowboys to a 9-7 record without having star running back Ezekial Elliot for six games due to suspension. Even though he’ll have Elliot for a full season, there is reason to believe that Prescott will continue to regress. His top two receivers from a season ago, Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten, are no longer with the team. They added Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin. However, all three of them have their issues. Hurns is injury prone and a #2 receiver at best, Gallup is a third round pick who hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, and Austin is more of a running back than a receiver. They drafted tight end Dalton Schultz out of Stanford to replace Witten, but he’s more of a blocking tight end than a receiving threat. With no clear #1 receiver or reliable tight end on the roster, Prescott is set up to fail miserably this season for the Cowboys.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Before tearing his ACL in a week 14 game vs the Cardinals, Ryan Tannehill was on his way to leading the Dolphins to the playoffs. Miami still made the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round and failed to make the playoffs the next year without Tannehill, who missed the whole 2017 season recovering from that injury. Don’t expect Miami to make the playoffs with Tannehill back though. Tannehill was already in the midst of regression before getting injured, as he was on pace for a career low total in passing yards since his rookie year, with a career high in interception percentage. His completion percentage was up, but was most likely due to having Jarvis Landry in his arsenal, who is known for his high catch rate while mostly being used in short yard plays. However, he was traded to Cleveland this offseason. Tannehill also won’t have his starting running back from 2016, as Jay Ajayi was traded to the Eagles during the season last year. Add in the fact that he’s likely to be rusty when he comes back, and Tannehill looks poised to have a rough season for the Dolphins.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
When you’re given a fully guaranteed 3 year/$84M contract, you’re expected to lead your team to a Super Bowl championship. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins may not be able to do that. He was never able to get the Redskins over the hump, as the best he did as their starter was a 9-7 record. He also struggles in the big game, as he collapsed in the playoffs in 2015 and threw a costly interception in a game that would’ve gotten Washington to the playoffs if they won. Yes, he’s thrown for over 4,000 yards in his three years as a starter, but he’s also had double-digit interceptions in each of those seasons as well. Offensive Coordinator John DeFlippo struggled in his only season as offensive coordinator with Cleveland before thriving as Philadelphia’s quarterbacks coach. How well he can adjust will make a big difference, as Cousins relies on an offensive system in place for him to succeed. If DeFlippo struggles to adjust, then Cousins will be a big disappointment in his first season as a Viking.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
The Bills took quarterback Josh Allen at seventh overall to be their quarterback of the future. Allen has a cannon arm and a projectable frame at 6’5” 223 pounds. What he doesn’t have however, is accuracy. He only had a 56.3 completion percentage in his year with Wyoming. If rushed into action too soon, that flaw could be exposed quickly. He also needs a good offensive line and vertical threats so he can work to his strength of throwing the ball downfield. Buffalo doesn’t have that, as they gave up the seventh most sacks last season (and are without left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Richie Incognito) and their #1 receiver is Kelvin Benjamin (who only had 692 receiving yards last year). Allen’s a project who needs talent around him to succeed. Since Buffalo doesn’t have that, Allen will struggle mightily if force to start this season.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
A 11 time Pro Bowler, it seems strange to put Brees on this list. Unfortunately, the reality is that he’s 39 years old and has shown signs of regression. His ability to throw the deep ball is starting to decline, as shown in these videos below:
The first two were easy completions, but in both cases Brees underthrew his target by a lot which resulted in an interception. As for the last one, Packers corner Davon House may have played excellent coverage on Michael Thomas, but that’s a throw Brees makes earlier in his career. Despite a decline, Brees was able to set a completion percentage record at 72%. This is because he had a very effective two-headed rushing attack in Mark Ingram and rookie sensation Alvin Kamara, who were threats in both the running and passing game. Ingram is suspended for the first four games due to the use of PEDs. Head coach Sean Payton has already said that Alvin Kamara won’t get an extra carries, so Brees may be relied upon heavily in the passing game If he is, he may be exposed as shadow of his former self.