Each NFL team's most pressing quarterback question entering 2022

·6 min read

In just less than a month, the NFL will kick off the 2022 regular season. As always, quarterbacks will command the brightest spotlight.

This offseason featured no shortage of intrigue at the game’s most important position. From retirements and an un-retirement to trades, draft selections, contract standoffs, megadeals, and a suspension watch, we’ve seen it all.

Things have gradually fallen into place since the start of training camp, but a degree of uncertainty hangs over just about every team’s quarterback outlook for one reason or another.

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From the defending Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams all the way to 2021’s last-place Jacksonville Jaguars, here’s a look at the most pressing question looming over each team at quarterback.

Los Angeles Rams

How serious is Matthew Stafford’s ongoing elbow injury (which the Rams have acknowledged is unusual while also trying to downplay it), and will it wind up derailing the champs? If Stafford’s elbow is indeed a non-factor, then the focus turns to the 34-year-old’s ability to live up to the new, lofty expectations of a franchise and fan base hungry for a repeat.

Cincinnati Bengals

Will the Super Bowl runner-up Bengals’ offseason moves offer Joe Burrow improved protection after the second-year pro was sacked a league-high 51 times in 2021?

Green Bay Packers

After losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason, does Aaron Rodgers have a strong enough arsenal of pass catchers to make his elusive return to the Super Bowl?

MORE: Green Bay Packers' young receivers bounce back after being called out by Aaron Rodgers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After retiring, un-retiring and taking time off during training camp, does Tom Brady still have the mental edge needed to defy Father Time once again? And will the head coaching change from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles further position Brady and OC Byron Leftwich for success?

Dallas Cowboys

Can Dak Prescott overcome injuries at wide receiver and shaky offensive line enough to make his team a contender?

Kansas City Chiefs

Can Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense remain prolific after an overhaul of their wide receiving unit this offseason, and can they remain atop the AFC West despite the improvements made by their divisional competition?

Tennessee Titans

Is this the last hurrah for Ryan Tannehill with the Titans following another shortcoming in the playoffs, the trade of A.J. Brown and drafting of Malik Willis?

Arizona Cardinals

Can Kyler Murray play like an elite quarterback? The Cardinals paid him like one, but he has repeatedly fizzled down the stretch of seasons.

Buffalo Bills

Is this the year that the steadily-ascending Josh Allen finally gets the talent-rich Bills over the hump in their quest for a Super Bowl?

Las Vegas Raiders

Will the offseason arrivals of Adams and Josh McDaniels help Derek Carr take the leap to the ranks of the elite as the Raiders have longed for?

New England Patriots

With no named offensive coordinator or quarterback whisperer after McDaniels' departure, does Mac Jones have the support necessary for significant growth in Year 2?

San Francisco 49ers

Can Trey Lance elevate the 49ers to the next tier of Super Bowl contenders in Year 1 as a starter in a fashion similar to what Mahomes did in 2018?

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh.

How long before hometown favorite and first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett wrestles the starting job away from Mitch Trubisky?

Indianapolis Colts

Does Matt Ryan have enough left in the tank to do what Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz proved incapable of doing and usher a strong roster into the ranks of the contenders?

Los Angeles Chargers

Is Justin Herbert ready to join the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks and help the Chargers dethrone the six-time defending AFC West-champion Chiefs?

Miami Dolphins

Can rookie coach Mike McDaniel and new speedster target Tyreek Hill turn Tua Tagovailoa into the quarterback the Dolphins envisioned when drafting him fifth overall in 2020?

New Orleans Saints

Will Jameis Winston recover from knee surgery and a training camp setback to help the Saints compete in the post-Sean Payton era?

Philadelphia Eagles

Can Jalen Hurts consistently make the NFL-caliber throws that the Eagles need so they can challenge Dallas for the NFC East crown?

Baltimore Ravens

Will Lamar Jackson get his deal done by his self-imposed Week 1 deadline? And if not, will his gamble wind up paying off or costing him following this season?

Cleveland Browns

How long of a suspension will Deshaun Watson serve? And can Jacoby Brissett or another unexpected option (Jimmy Garoppolo?) keep things afloat in his absence?

Minnesota Vikings

Can Kirk Cousins capitalize on the hiring of head coach Kevin O’Connell (his position coach in Washington in 2017) and finally lead the Vikings to the promised land?

MORE: How analytics help Vikings' Kwesi Adofo-Mensah embrace uncertainty

Atlanta Falcons

Can Marcus Mariota revive his career as the new starter of this rebuilding team led by second-year head coach Arthur Smith?

Denver Broncos

Will Russell Wilson put the roster that Broncos officials view as Super Bowl-ready over the top?

Seattle Seahawks

Can Geno Smith or Drew Lock serve as anything more than placeholders for Pete Carroll as the post-Wilson era begins?

Washington Commanders

Will Carson Wentz manage to capitalize from a fresh start, end the long-running quarterback carousel in the nation’s capital and reclaim the spot he once held among the game’s best passers?

Chicago Bears

Can Justin Fields take a step forward in Year 2 despite playing for a rookie head coach and first-time offensive coordinator?

Carolina Panthers

Can Baker Mayfield take over in Carolina and achieve vindication while also saving Matt Rhule’s job?

OPINION: Panthers say they have a QB competition, but Baker Mayfield is the no-brainer selection

Houston Texans

Is Davis Mills the answer for this rebuilding franchise, or are the Texans simply positioning themselves for the No. 1 pick in 2023?

New York Giants

Can new coach Brian Daboll help Daniel Jones avoid the bust label and instead flourish as Daboll’s former pupil Josh Allen has in Buffalo?

New York Jets

How much will surgery to repair a torn meniscus set Zach Wilson back in the second-year pro’s quest to establish himself as a franchise quarterback?

Detroit Lions

Can Jared Goff build on the homestretch of last season, when he won three of his last four starts, and help the Lions exceed expectations?

Jacksonville Jaguars

After a tumultuous rookie year under Urban Meyer, will Trevor Lawrence look more like a top overall pick under new coach Doug Pederson?

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL quarterback questions: One for every team entering 2022 season