The NFL is a “coffee’s for closers” world, and that notion that particularly applies to the quarterback position.
You could write down the name of every starting QB in this league and in some fashion or another describe the unique pressure they’re under. Perhaps only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger are immune.
In a recent column on the pressures facing Carson Palmer, SI’s Don Banks suggested that no QB in the league is facing as much of it as the Cards signal caller.
“Even if his pass protection manages to keep him pristine in the pocket, no quarterback in the NFL will face the unrelenting pressure that Arizona’s Carson Palmer will be subjected to this season. And there won’t be any escaping it, at least until January rolls around, when he could make it all go away.
That’s the stark reality that Palmer faces in 2016. It boils down to this: After an MVP-level season, Palmer experienced a monumental meltdown in the playoffs for a Cardinals team that was on the cusp of a Super Bowl. And in built-to-win-now Arizona, the Super Bowl remains the goal. There’s pressure of varying degrees on a host of starting quarterbacks this year, but for Palmer, the heat on him is at a whole different level. And it can’t be dismissed for months and months.”
I jotted down 14 quarterbacks that are under a type of pressure beyond the norm and ranked the top five. It is a highly subjective, wholly debatable list. But then aren’t they all?
1. Carson Palmer. The ticking clock of father time. The window to win of the Arizona Cardinals. The way it all ended and all the steps the organization took to load up for a run in 2016. Yep, it’s Carson.
3. Brock Osweiler. I got 37 million reasons why he’s on the list. He was the QB in waiting for the Super Bowl champs but left it behind for the big payday. The small sample size of work has a Kevin Kolb-feel to it and we all know how that worked out.
4. Sam Bradford. The Eagles QB could be hearing all sorts of things in 2016. The potential wrath of Eagle fans upset by his trade demands. The scorn of the media pointing out his unwillingness to compete. And the footsteps behind him of Carson Wentz. All while trying to justify a huge payday and impress his next employer. Have fun with that.
5. Jared Goff. The number one pick in St. Louis doesn’t make the five. The number one pick for L.A.’s new (or old) NFL team? Absolutely. Especially for a team that is thought to be just a quarterback away.
Others receiving votes: Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor.