Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome back to the Four Verts column. This week, we’re feeling thankful for Patrick Mahomes, Jacoby Brissett, and many, many more things. But first, we start off with teams that aren’t very thankful for their current quarterback situation. Or at least shouldn’t be.
AFC West still belongs to the Chiefs
The AFC West was supposed to be a dogfight this season, but it has been anything but that. The Chargers have suffered through poor coaching and a slew of injuries, the Broncos’ offense has been an affront to humanity, and the Raiders lost to Jeff Saturday. The Chiefs, however, are still the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes has assumed the mantle as the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL.
This is still the Chiefs’ division. They've been the beneficiary of a wonderful truth this year: As long as they have Mahomes, they should be AFC West favorites and the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Right now, Mahomes should be running away with the MVP award. A lot of pieces around Mahomes changed this year, but their production and wins have not.
This is not the AFC West that people expected to see coming into the season. This division was supposed to be the best in the entire league, filled with four playoff contenders. Instead it has two. Justin Herbert is doing whatever he can to keep the Chargers relevant and he deserves a whole lot of credit for the quality of his play this year in poor circumstances, but as a whole the Chargers are not very good.
It’s hard to pinpoint one reason why the AFC West isn’t where it should be, but each of The Other Three teams misevaluated key pieces of their offseasons. For the Chargers, it was the quality of their free agents they brought in on the interior defensive line. For the Raiders, they woefully missed on how good their team was outside of the Davante Adams and Chandler Jones additions. For the Broncos, they just got the entire coaching carousel wrong and may have traded the farm for an over-the-hill quarterback.
Not good! Especially in a division where the best team has a quarterback that is simply automatic. For now, and maybe until the end of days, the AFC West will remain under the control of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Looking back on Jacoby Brissett’s run with the Browns
Jacoby Brissett assumed the mantle for the Browns as the starting quarterback after Deshaun Watson was hit with an 11-game suspension to start the season. Brissett's had an up-and-down season, but the Browns haven’t really been able to survive what he’s given them up to this point, sitting at a woeful 3-7 and essentially out of the playoff picture.
While the Browns’ season has certainly been a disappointment, in some weird ways it's been a success for Brissett considering the expectations based on his play. According to Ben Baldwin of The Athletic, the Browns rank sixth in expected points added per play on offense (0.077) and ninth in success rate (46.9%). They’ve been able to move the ball effectively and score points fairly well for the majority of the season, and that was not necessarily a given based on what Brissett has done in his most recent stops.
Brissett has really done his share of work as Cleveland's quarterback, including some legitimately good moments of play. As his watch over the starting job comes to an end, the Browns and their fans should really be appreciative of some of the work he did on the fly — and to remember the real culprit of why the team is 3-7: their defense.
The Browns' defense has been a masterclass of disaster this year, to the point that not many quarterbacks would be able to navigate this team to a winning record. In spots where they've needed to hunker down and protect their backup quarterback, Browns defenders haven’t been able to do that whatsoever. This defense allowed Joe Flacco to drink from the fountain of youth and zip down the field for two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of a game. In terms of expected points allowed per play, they’re the worst defense in the league (0.126). Their run defense has shown the necessity of investing in interior defensive line play and their secondary has been a massive disappointment.
Brissett and the offense were more than good enough to keep the ship afloat while Watson served his suspension, and that’s really all the Browns could ask for him. Now, they need the quarterback they traded three first-round picks for to come in and save their season before they fork over a top-10 pick to the Texans. Not off to a great start here, but the on-field ramifications of this trade won’t truly be known until next season. And Brissett's done his part.
Which NFL teams should be looking to add QB talent?
Eleven weeks is more than enough time for a team to come to the conclusion on if they have some serious quarterback issues going into next season. Not every team will feel this way, but some teams just have to make a change at the most important spot, or at least add competition in a way that allows them to continue moving forward as a franchise instead of sputtering in the mud. Every other position in football is under intense pressure to perform, but quarterbacks often get a longer leash to try and prove themselves.
Here are the teams that should be considering an addition of quality quarterback play, whether it comes via the NFL draft or another avenue.
Marcus Mariota has had his moments for the Falcons, but clearly there’s a level of production to their passing game that they’re missing out on. Maybe Desmond Ridder is the competition that they’re looking for, but it’s a bit troublesome that he hasn’t gotten a chance to play up to this point.
This one does not need to be explained.
Russell Wilson will be the starting quarterback for this team for the next few seasons, but they still need to hedge their bet here a little bit. It’s doubtful that they’ll be able to find someone that can actually push Wilson given the assets they have, but it’s worth looking into.
Jim Irsay might change his mind on Matt Ryan 20 more times. They clearly need to find someone that will get Irsay to chill out for a bit.
Any time you’re headed for a top-five pick it’s time to reevaluate your quarterback position, even if Derek Carr is not the biggest problem that the Raiders have.
Bill Belichick doesn’t seem quite sold on this Mac Jones experiment. The Patriots' passing game leaves a whole lot to be desired, and someone to push Jones for next season is best for the team.
Well. They’re willingly starting Andy Dalton.
Daniel Jones has played well enough to get a shot to be this team’s quarterback next year, but a healthy competition is probably the way to address their 2023 quarterback room.
Just head on over to the SNY Jets Twitter account to see what’s going on over there.
Kenny Pickett may prove to be the long-term quarterback for the Steelers, but the 20th overall selection is not a huge investment in a quarterback. Bring someone in who can keep Pickett on his toes.
Everything we should be thankful for this season
The 2022 NFL season has been an interesting one for sure, and as the weeks tick by and we get closer to the playoffs, it’s important to sit back and reflect on all the things we’re thankful for this season.
The good and the bad should be appreciated here as we attempt to encompass the entire season. So, here’s everything I’m thankful for.
The Falcons currently have a better record than the Saints.
Justin Fields’ breakout this season has been an incredible joy to watch.
Arthur Smith has a higher career winning percentage than Dennis Allen.
Patrick Mahomes has ascended to the Peyton Manning tier. As long as he is on the field the Chiefs will probably win.
The Saints thought that they would win the Super Bowl with the quarterback duo of Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton.
Josh Allen continues to be the rollercoaster of entertainment that we’ve come to enjoy.
The Saints went all in on this roster, can you believe it?
The Lions have made enough progress where Dan Campbell won’t be fired after the season, meaning we get more Man Campbell quotables next year.
The New Orleans Saints traded away what is almost guaranteed to be a top-10 pick.
The Jets somehow found a way to have a midseason meltdown during their best season in years.
Mark Ingram is still getting carries for the Saints.
The Falcons are scoring more points than the Saints so far this season.
Lamar Jackson is still showing why he is the most important player on the Ravens.
Ahahahah, oh Saints.
The NFC East finally having good teams is amazing because the NFL is obsessed with putting those franchises on primetime.