NFL | NCAA Football

3 NFL Quarterbacks under the Most Pressure for 2014-2015

I chose to not take the fish-in-a-barrel route with this piece. You’re not going to find slam dunk names such as Geno Smith, Jake Locker, Mike Glennon or Robert Griffin III on this list. What if the Quarterbacks I discuss have a combined 5 Superbowl titles between them?

Tom Brady

When you initially look at Tom Brady the last few years and compare him to anyone else on this list, he seems the furthest stretch to even be considered like this. Since 2002 the worst 3 records on the Patriots resume are a 9-7 in 2002, 10-6 in 2005 and 10-6 in 2009. Brady is assuredly going to finish in everyone’s eyes as one of the greatest QB’s of all time. His obvious declines this past season have really only been in consistent throws and a slight slip in completion percentage. During the 2013 season, Brady would consistently overthrow or underthrow wide open receivers while getting no significant pressure from the opposing defense. Couple this with his completion percentage overall dropping about 2% each year since 2011 (65-63-60), Brady has been on the slow decline. Overall, this is not a shock for a 37 year old QB with 12 years’ experience.

Brady’s biggest hurdle is just going to be getting back and winning an elusive 4th Superbowl title. 10 years is a long time between big wins and although he has gotten back twice (only to be thwarted but someone else on this list), winning the big one is the one and only thing that matters for his upcoming season. To be frank, he did this to himself. Tom Brady (and Peyton Manning) are so great that anything but a Superbowl victory is a disappointment this late in their careers. You just can’t win 3 Superbowls and then produce a big goose egg for the next 10 years. Ultimately, Tom Brady will have free reign to do as he pleases in New England. I would equate it to Brett Favre’s end with the Minnesota Vikings. Brady will let the Patriots know when he is done rather than the other way around.

Maybe I am also a tad intrigued because of Ryan Mallet (3rd round draft pick – 2011) and Jimmy Garoppolo (2nd round pick – 2014) lying in wait on the sidelines.

Temperature of the Hot Seat: A cool, breezy April day in New England

Matt Ryan

Matty “Ice” checks in for almost the same reason I have Tom Brady on my list. Except that Matt has no Superbowls and 0.6% of the overall playoff wins that Brady has.  He needs to win a big game….any big game….just not in the regular season. 6 years in the league has yielded Ryan a 1-4 playoff record. Overall Ryan has a very impressive regular season win record as a starting QB (60-34), touchdown/interception stat line (153/77) but it’s the playoffs that are dragging down any of the career highlights of this near 30 year-old QB. He just signed a 5 year extension worth a little over a $100 million a few years ago so I don’t expect a drastic move from the Falcons but going 4-12 last season really caught my attention.

The defense did need retooled and injuries plagued the Falcons with Julio Jones, Roddy White but Matt Ryan himself was only able to pry out 4 wins last season? He couldn’t even scratch and claw that team to 7-9? I can give him a pass because one bad season does not define an entire career and one can argue that even with Jones and White healthy that no one was going to top Seattle or Denver when it came to the Superbowl. Hot off his first playoff win in 2012, Atlanta was predicted to roll the NFC South, walk into the playoffs and be a mortal lock for the NFC Title game. The absolute worst case scenario happened last year and Ryan needs to rebound and consistently put some playoff wins on the resume.

Temperature of the Hot Seat: a hot day in the middle of June in Atlanta with an air conditioner on the fritz.

Eli Manning

Manning has had a pretty dismal last 2 seasons. The Giants themselves have now missed the playoffs 2 consecutive years after winning it all in 2011. Manning’s overall completion percentage has steadily declined since 2010. It was as high as 63% and was as low as 57.5% last season. The 63% completion season landed the Giants as the 8th best passing team in the NFL. This past season, at 57.5%, saw the Giants checking in at the near bottom of the league (28th).  Since winning his first Superbowl in 2007, Eli has been 4-1 in the playoffs with another Superbowl win. 4-1 and a Superbowl you say? Well that’s not bad at all…right?

In theory, no it’s not that awful.  It does make that record smaller when you look at it as over the course of almost 7 seasons that he only has played in 5 playoff games. Eli has made a name for himself with big time Superbowl wins and I can’t take that away from him but the NFL is more and more a “what have you done for me lately” league. What’s the bottom line with Eli? He enters the season being 33 years old and has only played into January twice in the last 7 years. He needs to get back to an elite regular season form and not the form of last year where he amassed over 20 interceptions for the third time in his career.

Temperature of the Hot Seat: A few more Ryan Nassib jerseys appearing at the stadium each week

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Tony Bitkowski

Contact Tony on Twitter @TonyBitkowski.

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