The 2021 NFL season is shaping up to be among the most interesting in recent history. As many as 16 teams could have different starting Quarterbacks than they did last season, making the position very interesting. Due to the set up of their team and the way they play, these 3 Quarterbacks will determine their teams success in 2021:
In March, the Rams made a blockbuster trade, sending Jared Goff, who they drafted first overall in the 2016 draft and who helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019, to the Lions for Matthew Stafford.
Goff, 26, went from a top 5 statistical Quarterback in 2018, to below average over the past two seasons. His relationship with head coach Sean McVay was clearly shaky and this offseason, the Rams finally pulled the trigger and acquired Matthew Stafford, who is very talented and has been hurt by the fact that he has spent his entire 12 year career with the Lions.
Stafford comes to a team with playmakers on offense as well as the best defense in the NFL. Led by arguably the two best defensive players in the league, CB Jalen Ramsey and DT Aaron Donald, the Rams defense is in for another top-tier season as they have retained almost every important player from last season.
Offensively, they have 2 top 30 receivers in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp as well as an Offensive Line which Pro Football Focus ranks 3rd in the league. Unfortunately, they lost very promising 2nd year RB, Cam Akers, to a torn achilles though have Darrel Henderson, a capable, elusive RB that they drafted in 2019.
While he was with Detroit, Stafford totaled 4,000+ yards in 8 of the 10 seasons in which he played a full 16 games (for reference DeShaun Watson led the league in 2020 with 4,823 yards). Outside of Calvin Johnson, Stafford had a poor team around him, finishing just 4 seasons with a winning record and losing in the Wild Card round each of the 3 times he made the playoffs.
Stafford, 33, will determines his team's success because the Rams truly can go as far as he takes them due to all of the talent around him. A really good Quarterback is what held the Rams back last season and now that Stafford finally has talent surrounding him, he can take the Rams far in 2021.
After a stellar rookie season in which Daniel Jones took over for Eli Manning in Week 3, Daniel Jones regressed greatly in 2020.
He finished the 2019 season with 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns compared to 2,943 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020.
Jones is among the most criticized players in the NFL, lasting since he was drafted 6th overall in the 2019 draft. One of the biggest criticisms of Jones is his turnover problem which really is not as bad as people think. He had 6 lost fumbles in 2020, the same amount as MVP candidate Josh Allen and 10 interceptions, just 16th most in the league.
Jones now has far more talent surrounding him than he had in either of his first two seasons. In the offseason, the Giants signed WR Kenny Golladay, a very underrated receiver that is capable of being top 15 in the league when healthy. They also drafted WR Kadarius Toney through the draft and star RB, Saqon Barkley is set to return from an ACL injury suffered in Week 2 of last season. The Giants also have receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard which add to one of the deepest WR groups in the NFL.
The Giant's defense has a top 3 secondary, highlighted by former Titans Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson as well as James Bradburry, who is among the best Cornerbacks in the league. The defense also has DE Leonard Williams, who was drafted 6th overall by the Jets in 2016 and subsequently not resigned, but recently has proven his worth with the Giants.
Head Coach Joe Judge is another bright spot for the Giants. Hired last offseason from the Patriots, Judge changed the team's feel and attitude and turned the team into playoff contenders.
Jones has all the tools necessary to have a good 2021 season and his performance will ultimately determine whether the Giants can compete in the rapidly improving NFC East and challenge for a playoff spot.
Tagovialoa spent most of the 2020 season trading games with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 2020 5th overall pick had a shaky rookie season and as a result, was often subbed out in favor of Fitzpatrick in the most important games.
Over the offseason, the Dolphins acquired explosive WR, Jaylen Waddle, through the draft, Will Fuller V through free agency, and are getting Preston Williams back from injury. Their run game was below average in 2020 as many RBs rotated through the lineup.
While Tagovailoa has been mentioned in trade talks and has been questioned on whether he is good enough to be a starter in the NFL, his arm and recognition is clearly good enough. Despite not taking many risks and not having many weapons around him, Tagovailoa went 6-3 in his 9 starts and averaged 200 passing yards per game in 2020.
The Dolphins defense was top 5 in the league in 2020 but are likely to trade CB Xavien Howard, who led the league with 10 interceptions in 2020. Regardless, the team is young (average age of 25.13), has a lot of upside, and will likely have another strong defensive season in 2021. Additionally, Head Coach Brian Flores is possibly the best head coach in the league, managing last years QB situation very well and improving the Dolphins from 5-11 in 2019 to 10-6 in 2020.
All this being said, Tagovailoa has a lot of eyes on him heading into 2021 and I think he will prove the long list of doubters wrong.
Stafford, Jones, and Tagovailoa have talent around them, a great coach, and if they play well, their teams can make a run in 2021.
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