There’s not a more vital position to a team’s success than the quarterback. It’s apparent that great quarterback play has a strong correlation with the win column. However, that concept goes both ways. When football failure presents itself, you’ll often find a quarterback carrying fault on his shoulders. While that’s not always the case, more often than not success and failure follow quarterback play. Through four weeks of the NFL season, some quarterbacks have thrived, proving to be worthy of seemingly constant praise. Others have not been as fortunate, bringing pressure into next week. It’s time to examine what quarterbacks have the most pressure riding on their performance entering Week Five. There’s three that come to mind.
3.) Dak Prescott
For this recipe of some pressure, let’s sprinkle in some great play by a backup quarterback, dubious comments by an owner, and an injury. That combination will surely lead to some steaming hot quarterback pressure. While its temperature doesn’t quite rival that of the other two quarterbacks on this list, it’s certainly not anything to be ignored. According to various reports, it looks like Cooper Rush will get the start once again in Week Five for the Dallas Cowboys. While the team is currently on a three-game win streak with Rush under center, it’s fair to doubt that will continue against the defending Super Bowl champions. However, an upset victory for Rush and the Cowboys would make this situation all the more interesting. If provided another opportunity, Jerry Jones may further try to convince some that there is an actual quarterback controversy in Dallas. While it’s hard to imagine that a controversy could actually exist, the only thing that could create such a situation would be some bad performances by Prescott combined with a continuation of success with Rush. Regardless of how you view the Cowboys quarterback situation, it’s clear that drama could rise if Prescott struggles upon his return. When drama is high, pressure follows like a shadow.
2.) Carson Wentz
Do my eyes betray me, or is Carson Wentz regressing? Looking at his passer rating, Wentz’s has dropped each week since the beginning of the season. From a rating of 101 in Week One to 56.6 in Week Four, the light of optimism seems to be dwindling for Wentz. In addition, his underperforming play is reflected in Washington’s 1-3 record. Although those factors certainly add pressure, they don’t rival what Wentz carried into this season. After being run out of Philadelphia and Indianapolis, Wentz’s stop in Washington is his third in as many years. This leaves Wentz playing for not only his team, but also his career. When your job and your NFL future is on the line, pressure creeps its way in.
1.) Baker Mayfield
The Baker Mayfield saga has brought us from Norman to Northeast Ohio to now North Carolina. There’s no doubt that this journey has seen a multitude of both highs and lows, making it pretty simple to differentiate the two. We can officially and confidently point to Mayfield’s start in the blue and back as one of his low points, maybe the lowest point of his career aside from his ugly exit from Cleveland. Words are words, but data is data. Looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to locate evidence of why Mayfield deserves a starting role in the NFL. A quarterback rating of 15.3 through four games sheds some light on what his 2022 campaign has looked like. What puts Mayfield at the top of this list is the worry that if he fails, he may not be a desirable candidate for a quarterback competition or backup quarterback role. Those jobs seem to favor less outspoken and divisive personalities, making Mayfield an abnormal candidate to say the least. If Mayfield can’t prove to be a viable starting quarterback in Carolina, there will surely be greater consequences beyond this season. Similar to Wentz, Mayfield is not only playing for the now, but his future. With the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers slated to face the Panthers over the next three weeks, Mayfield will have to overcome this intense pressure over some of the league’s best.