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Friday, July 10, 2020

8 NFL quarterbacks who will disappoint in 2019

Jimmy Garoppolo

The NFL has been a quarterback’s league for many years now, and teams typically go as far as their QB will take them. For franchises like the New England Patriots, that is a comforting feeling. For others like the Denver Broncos who are facing uncertain situations at the position, it leaves fans not knowing what to expect.

Like every season, there are going to be quarterbacks who exceed expectations in 2019 and those who fall well short. Here are several we believe could leave fans disappointed this upcoming season.

1. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Garoppolo is working his way back from ACL surgery, which is never easy. Like we have seen countless times with quarterbacks in the past, he will likely have to work through some rust no matter how healthy he is. It should also be noted that Garoppolo was not playing all that well before he got hurt last year, as he had just five touchdown passes and three interceptions in three games.

The 49ers were linked to both Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason because they have serious question marks at the wide receiver position. They tried to address that by drafting former South Carolina star Deebo Samuel in the second round, but the questions remain. Between the time off and the inexperience around him, Garoppolo may have trouble living up to his massive contract in 2019.

2. Carson Wentz, Eagles

Wentz was an MVP candidate before he tore his ACL late in the 2017 season, and it looked at the time like the Philadelphia Eagles were going to have one of the best quarterbacks in football for years to come. While that may still be the case, it’s impossible to ignore the former No. 2 overall pick’s injury history. Between the surgically-repaired ACL and stress fracture that ended his 2018 campaign prematurely, Wentz has plenty to prove heading into 2019. But will he stay on the field?

With Nick Foles now out of the picture, there will be no debate over who should start at QB in Philly. That should be a good thing for Wentz, but he admitted in April that his back still is not completely healed. While the Eagles have made it clear that they are not concerned about his long-term health, Wentz has to prove he can make it through a full 16-game season. We wouldn’t be surprised if the back issues linger and he has an uninspiring year.

3. Joe Flacco, Broncos

Were Flacco’s struggles in Baltimore a product of a stale offense, or is his game simply slipping as he gets older? Sure, Flacco has a Super Bowl ring, but no one has ever considered him part of the top tier of QBs in the NFL. If fans in Denver are expecting him to come in and lead them on a deep playoff run like Peyton Manning did when they acquired him in 2012, they’re going to be disappointed.

Flacco’s passer rating of 84.2 in nine games last season was actually his highest mark in four years. Perhaps a new situation will rejuvenate him, but the Broncos have serious question marks at the wide receiver position with Emmanuel Sanders recovering from a torn Achilles and 2018 second-round pick Courtland Sutton having struggled to make an impact in his rookie year. Thinking Flacco, at age 34, is going to come in and fix things in Denver seems a bit unrealistic.

4. Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Jackson took defenses by surprise last year with his play-making ability, but it’s not uncommon for quarterbacks to struggle in their second year when opposing teams have more film on them. We expect that to happen with Jackson in 2019, especially if he cannot become more efficient passing the ball. The former Louisville star recently admitted that he has been struggling with throws in practice, and that isn’t a good sign. Jackson averaged just 7.1 yards per attempt last season and completed 58.2 percent of his passes. The Ravens are looking to cater a system to his abilities under offensive coordinator Greg Roman, but that will be a challenge if he continues to struggle with accuracy and making plays from the pocket. Until he works through some of those issues, there’s no reason to think Jackson can lead Baltimore further than he led them last season.

5. Marcus Mariota, Titans

Mariota has battled some nagging injuries through his first four NFL seasons, and that is one of the reasons the Titans traded for Ryan Tannehill this offseason. But it would be pretty naive to think the trade wasn’t motivated in part by a lack of trust in Mariota and a desire to put pressure on him. The Titans have been patiently waiting for the former No. 2 overall pick to make the leap, and it just hasn’t happened. Mariota threw for just 2,528 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 14 games last season as he battled an elbow injury, and Tennessee missed the playoffs. He had 13 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions and a passer rating of just 79.3 the year before that. The Titans have a new offensive coordinator this year, and this could be Mariota’s last chance to prove he’s a viable starter. If the struggles continue, it won’t be long before Tannehill is under center.

6. Eli Manning, Giants

Many believe that Manning is not going to turn back the clock and lead the Giants to his third Super Bowl championship, but you’d swear it was possible based on what head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman have said. We’ve heard so much about poor offensive line play and Odell Beckham being a locker room cancer as the reasons for the Giants’ downfall that some people might actually start to believe it. But don’t let Manning’s 92.4 passer rating last fool you. He’s gone as far as he can go with the Giants, and it would not be a surprise if he’s the first starting QB to lose his job in 2019. The G-Men obviously think very highly of former Duke star Daniel Jones, who should be ready if Eli starts tossing up duds.

7. Derek Carr, Raiders

The Raiders have publicly committed to Carr despite rumblings that Jon Gruden wants to go in a different direction, but you have to wonder how much slack he will be given this season. While Carr’s 4,049 passing yards in 2018 was the highest mark of his career, Gruden was openly frustrated with him on numerous occasions. The fact that Carr was not drafted by either Gruden or new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock doesn’t bode well for his future with the team. Unless there’s some sort of complete turnaround in his second year under Gruden, Carr’s career average of 6.7 yards per passing attempt probably isn’t going to drastically improve.

8. Sam Darnold, Jets

Darnold struggled to protect the football in his first NFL season last year, which is to be expected of any rookie starting quarterback. He finished the season with 17 touchdown passes, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of just 77.6. And if you think the addition of Le’Veon Bell is all it will take for Darnold to make the second-year leap, think again.

The Jets still have a very suspect wide receiver group led by Quincy Enunwa and free agent acquisition Jamison Crowder, who wasn’t nearly as productive last season without Kirk Cousins in Washington. Enunwa saw his season cut short by a neck injury last year, and he is reportedly off to a rough start in practice. Robby Anderson is also returning and has showed some big flashes of potential over the past two seasons, but he has gotten himself into plenty of trouble off the field. While the addition of Bell will obviously help, the Jets may not have enough weapons for Darnold even with new head coach Adam Gase taking over.

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