Has Mac Jones turned a corner? Reason to worry about Josh Allen? Our reporters debate 12 QB questions

The 2022 NFL season’s playoff race is simply beginning to warmth up, and lots of eyes will probably be on every contender’s quarterback down the stretch. Some passers are actually hitting their stride, whereas others have seen potential issues creep into their video games. And some groups face tough selections surrounding their QB state of affairs, whether or not or not it’s over the remainder of the season or within the upcoming offseason.

We referred to as on our NFL Nation reporters to reply 12 large questions across the sport’s most vital place via two thirds of the season. Can the Giants alleviate among the pass-rush strain on Daniel Jones, will the Payments work out Josh Allen’s sudden crimson zone turnover woes, and may the Chargers unlock Justin Herbert’s downfield throwing? How will the Packers, Jets and Seahawks strategy offseason selections? Can the Vikings and Patriots maintain successful with marginal quarterback play? What’s subsequent for Justin Fields, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa? And at last, what is the Saints’ plan below heart for the remainder of the season?

Let’s dive in, beginning with a rising concern for one of many NFL’s finest signal-callers.

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Are crimson zone turnovers turning into a difficulty for Buffalo’s Josh Allen?

Sure, it is turning into a sample. Now, not all of that’s on Allen — the offense as a complete has not seemed the identical for the reason that group’s bye in Week 7. And Allen’s proper elbow damage can even proceed to linger, which has performed an element in his efficiency. Nevertheless it does not clarify away the variety of crimson zone turnovers that simply weren’t there earlier in his profession.

Allen has been intercepted within the crimson zone in 4 of the previous 5 video games, in comparison with simply twice in his earlier 67 video games. The 4 picks lead the NFL and are probably the most by any participant since 2019, not together with a further fumble. The Payments are coming into an important stretch with three straight AFC East video games, and correcting the crimson zone turnovers will probably be important. — Alaina Getzenberg, Payments reporter


Was the key to unlocking Justin Fields’ sport so simple as getting him on the transfer extra usually?

Chicago’s offense wasn’t capitalizing on Fields’ dynamic dashing talents throughout the first six weeks of the season. Now he’s on tempo to interrupt the Bears’ single-season quarterback dashing report (968 yards) and presently ranks seventh amongst all gamers with 834 dashing yards via 11 video games. The Bears personal the NFL’s No. 1 dashing offense, and Fields is an enormous a part of that together with his 11.1 makes an attempt per sport.

The following a part of serving to Fields attain his full potential will probably be growing his expertise as a passer, although. He has proven he could make performs occur exterior of the pocket and on the run. Getting him to win from the pocket will take his sport to the subsequent degree. Subject’s QBR from exterior the pocket is 61.8 (sixth within the NFL) this season, but it surely drops to 25.0 (thirty first) from inside it. — Courtney Cronin, Bears reporter


Is Joe Burrow poised to hit one other degree as soon as receiver Ja’Marr Chase returns to the Bengals’ offense?

It appears that evidently method. The Bengals have received three of the previous 4 video games regardless of Chase’s absence and quietly become probably the greatest offenses within the league. Burrow has executed effectively with out his prime goal, with Cincinnati rating fifth in passing yards per sport (257) and fourth in factors per sport (28) since Week 8. However he’s twenty third amongst qualifying QBs in air yards per try (6.7) in that point.

If Chase might help the Bengals turn into extra explosive offensively — since he entered the NFL, 23.4% of Chase’s receptions have gone for 20-plus yards — it may very well be a large increase for a group with Tremendous Bowl aspirations. — Ben Child, Bengals reporter


What are the possibilities the Packers decide up Jordan Love’s fifth-year possibility?

Normal supervisor Brian Gutekunst has already been on the report saying he does not envision a state of affairs through which Love and Aaron Rodgers are each on the Packers’ roster in 2024. It will be far too price and cap prohibitive. The Packers will know earlier than the choice deadline in Could about Rodgers’ standing for 2023, however even when he returns for subsequent season, he is not more likely to determine then what he desires to do in 2024.

Unbiased of the Rodgers side, the Packers would possibly nonetheless must see Love play extra this season earlier than they will make a remaining name on his possibility. Love nonetheless has simply 80 cross makes an attempt over his profession since being drafted within the first spherical in 2020 (three landing passes, three interceptions). — Rob Demovsky, Packers reporter


Will Mike Williams’ return imply Justin Herbert lastly begins throwing downfield extra this season?

Maybe, but it surely’s removed from sure. Herbert is averaging 6.5 yards per try, which ranks thirtieth within the NFL. And his 6.1 air yards per try ranked thirty fourth of 35 qualifying quarterbacks, forward of solely Matt Ryan.

Coach Brandon Staley stated many components have contributed: “It is a mixture of how defenses are enjoying us. It is a mixture of the transition inside our offense from a personnel standpoint and making an attempt to play to the strengths of our group that’s on the market in a given week.”

A part of the transition within the offense has been the absences of not solely Williams but in addition receiver Keenan Allen — who was sidelined many of the season earlier than returning in Week 11 — and left sort out Rashawn Slater (on injured reserve and changed by a rookie). It’s truthful to assume, nonetheless, that Williams’ eventual return will permit Herbert to look downfield extra usually. Amongst receivers with 250 or extra targets since 2020, Williams’ 12.5 air yards per goal ranks fourth. — Lindsey Thiry, Chargers reporter



Stephania Bell and Subject Yates focus on why Justin Herbert is poised for appreciable fantasy success over the subsequent a number of weeks.


Who has made an even bigger affect in Tua Tagovailoa’s leap this season, receiver Tyreek Hill or coach Mike McDaniel?

It is an inconceivable query, however McDaniel will get a slight edge right here. Not solely did he design this offense, however he additionally took it upon himself to assist rebuild Tagovailoa’s confidence over the offseason. Sure, the Dolphins’ offense would probably be much less efficient with out Hill in it — the Miami receiver is main the NFL in receiving yards with 1,233, and in response to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, his 30% goal share is the third highest within the league — but it surely’s laborious to say whether or not it will even work in any respect with out McDaniel on the sideline.

None of this, after all, takes away from Tagovailoa’s personal improvement since coming into the league. His 82.8 Whole QBR by far paces the league, and his 69.7% completion proportion trails simply Geno Smith. — Marcel Louis-Jacques, Dolphins reporter


The Vikings are 9-2, however Kirk Cousins is simply No. 23 in QBR. Can Minnesota proceed to achieve success with common/inconsistent QB play?

Cousins is the primary to confess he has not performed effectively sufficient to fulfill the requirements of a division-winning group. However he’s coming off finest particular person QBR efficiency of the season (84.8 in a 33-26 victory over the Patriots), and it is truthful to venture continued enchancment as he grows extra comfy in coach Kevin O’Connell’s scheme. Extra importantly, Cousins has made distinctive throws throughout key fourth-quarter and time beyond regulation possessions, and he is an enormous motive the Vikings are 8-0 in one-score video games this season. — Kevin Seifert, Vikings reporter


Let’s reset the place the Patriots are with Mac Jones: Are they entrenched of their perception that he is their long-term reply?

Jones is coming off his finest outing of the season, regardless of the loss to the Vikings (28-of-39 for 382 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions). He confirmed shades of 2021, when his promise had excited the fan base and training workers. There was no indication that the Patriots have wavered that Jones is the long-term reply, particularly amongst gamers.

“This yr has been robust at instances, going via an damage and battling his method again. The chief he’s, we proceed to experience him. … I am glad he is our quarterback,” veteran tight finish Hunter Henry stated.

Jones’ 35.3 QBR ranked twenty eighth within the NFL, however he’s finishing 69.2% of his throws (third) and has executed sufficient to maintain New England proper within the playoff image. — Mike Reiss, Patriots reporter


Will we see Jameis Winston below heart for the Saints once more this season?

It isn’t out of the query. Saints coach Dennis Allen overtly contemplated the potential of switching quarterbacks final week however in the end determined to stay with Dalton, which prompted Winston to publicly lament dropping his beginning job due to damage. Dalton’s beginning place has appeared contingent on the Saints’ offense performing effectively, and it is probably no one’s job is secure after a shutout loss to San Francisco on Sunday. Nonetheless, the problems in opposition to the Niners went effectively past Dalton’s play, and it appears unlikely he’d be focused because the wrongdoer for that loss. — Katherine Terrell, Saints reporter


What can the Giants do to lighten the pass-rush strain on Daniel Jones?

Jones is being pressured on the third-highest fee (38.5%) this season, but he has a completion proportion over expectation within the blue (plus-0.2%), through to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats monitoring. The Giants getting their beginning offensive line wholesome ought to assist a little bit; it is doable three starters return this week in opposition to Washington. That will not essentially enhance their cross blocking in a dramatic method, however will probably be an enormous increase to their run sport given the strengths of the person gamers. And getting Saquon Barkley again on monitor (61 dashing yards over the previous two video games) ought to barely ease the strain on Jones. — Jordan Raanan, Giants reporter


Have the Jets already realized Zach Wilson is not the reply? Might they draft one other QB in April?

The Jets clearly have some questions on Wilson, or they would not have benched him in the course of a playoff push. However they’re additionally not going to draft one other quarterback and begin over so quickly. The Jets see themselves as a win-now group and do not wish to restart the rebuilding cycle.

In the event that they do exchange Wilson, it will be with a confirmed veteran like, say, Jimmy Garoppolo. However they have not even reached that time but. Publicly, the Jets insist Wilson is their future regardless of a 44.4 QBR and 4-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season. — Wealthy Cimini, Jets reporter


Is it extra probably the Seahawks re-sign Geno Smith after his large season or draft a quarterback early in Spherical 1?

It is too early to make a name on this with any diploma of confidence due to all of the unknowns at play. The Seahawks would little doubt wish to re-sign Smith if he maintains his play from the primary half of the season, however what is going to his market appear to be after one robust season that adopted seven as a backup? Will Smith drive a tough discount in an effort to make up for all the cash he did not earn whereas enjoying on minimum-salary offers? He is presently fifth in QBR at 64.2 and is main the NFL in completion proportion at 72.8%.

Understand that Seahawks GM John Schneider got here up with the Packers below Ron Wolf, who drafted quarterbacks frequently regardless that Inexperienced Bay had Brett Favre entrenched because the starter. So it is believable Seattle may maintain Smith both on a multiyear deal or a franchise tag and additionally draft a quarterback early. The Seahawks have the Broncos’ first-rounder, which is presently projected to be No. 2 total, per ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index. — Brady Henderson, Seahawks reporter