Quarterbacks poised to improve, regress in 2024: Patrick Mahomes’ numbers to rise; step back for Brock Purdy?

Playing quarterback in the National Football League is one of the hardest things to do in professional sports.

That’s why there is so much volatility at the position in terms of year-to-year production, even for the NFL’s best.

Just look at Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He won the league’s MVP award in 2022 after leading the NFL in passing touchdowns (41) and passing yards (5,250), but he took a noticeable step back in 2023, throwing under 30 touchdowns (27) and barely over 4,000 yards (4,183).

Quarterbacks poised to improve, regress in 2024: Patrick Mahomes' numbers  to rise; step back for Brock Purdy? - CBSSports.com

With that in mind, 20 of the NFL’s projected starting quarterbacks are set to either make noticeable improvement or undergo a noticeable regression in 2024. The improvement group will be sorted into two categories, one designating a 2024 season improvement as a result of returning from injury, like New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who played four snaps in 2023 before an Achilles injury ended his season — or for natural improvement for reasons surrounding their experience, their supporting cast, etc.

Obviously 12 NFL teams’ starting quarterbacks are being excluded from this exercise, but it is for specific reasons. Rookies clearly can’t be judged on their NFL improvement or regression because it’s their first season, so that precludes Caleb Williams (Bears), Jayden Daniels (Commanders), Drake Maye (Patriots), J.J. McCarthy (Vikings) and Bo Nix (Broncos) from these groupings. There is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, whose on-field supporting cast hasn’t changed that much, but his coaching staff has, thus creating uncertainty about where to put him.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones returns from a torn ACL, but we may have already seen the best of him in 2022. There are teams in quarterback competitions like the Pittsburgh Steelers (Russell Wilson vs. Justin Fields), Las Vegas Raiders (Gardner Minshew vs. Aidan O’Connell) and the Minnesota Vikings (Sam Darnold vs. McCarthy). Then you have quarterbacks like Josh Allen (Bills), Dak Prescott (Cowboys) and Matthew Stafford (Rams), whose situations have marginally changed from last season, thus making their 2024 season projections similarly consistent to their 2023 output. Yes, Buffalo did trade Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans, but he wasn’t a significant factor in their offense the second half of the 2023 season (Week 10 through the postseason), recording only one receiving touchdown and failing to surpass 90 receiving yards in his final 10 games of the year.

Without further ado, here are the NFL’s 20 quarterbacks set to bounce back from injury, improve or regress in 2024.

Aaron Rodgers’ 2023 season, as mentioned above, only lasted four snaps. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history without a completion in a season after starting the season opener, joining Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joe Gasparella (1951).

Outside of Rodgers’ four plays from 2023, he did win the NFL MVP in each of his last two seasons with Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator on the Green Bay Packers in 2020 and 2021. It’s also worth noting Hackett wasn’t calling the plays like he does in New York — Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is Green Bay’s play-caller — but Hackett obviously had significant responsibility in helping put the offensive game plan together each week. In 2020 and 2021, Rodgers threw 85 passing touchdowns (led the NFL) to just nine interceptions (led the NFL in touchdown to interception ratio) while completing 70% of his passes, resulting in a 116.7 passer rating (led the NFL). The Packers won 26 of Rodgers’ 32 starts in those two years.

The Jets have also significantly beefed up their offensive supporting cast at starting and backup spots around Rodgers from 2023 to 2024.

Jets’ offensive improvements this offseason

Signed eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith
Signed Baltimore Ravens offensive guard John Simpson
Traded for Baltimore Ravens right tackle Morgan Moses
Signed Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams
Drafted Penn State All-American left tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu 11th overall
Drafted Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley 65th overall (third round)
Drafted Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen 134th overall (fourth round)
Plus, Rodgers had begun to rely less and less on his mobility over the past few seasons, so an Achilles injury may not be as much of a killer for him as it may be for other quarterbacks. It’s very easy to improve upon a season in which no passes were completed.

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