Let's face it, every quarterback in the NFL is expected to win games.
But to me, the following five QBs are expected to do way more than that in 2012. These guys not only have to perform, but perform well. Either to prove their critics wrong, or in some cases -- keep their jobs.
1. Peyton Manning
|Photo by: Ed Andrieski|
2. Michael Vick
Vick is heading into the 2012 campaign with much of the same "dream team" he had last year. But really, the Eagles were better in 2010 before they even added half of those guys. The bottom line is, the pressure is on Vick to perform well this season, or coach Andy Reid will be out of a job. And if Vick doesn't play well, he might be out the door right behind him.
3. Matt Schuab
Schuab has pressure because the Texans showed last year that they can get it done without him under center. They made the playoffs for the first time in team history in 2011, and even got a win with rookie T.J. Yates at the helm. Schuab has to bounce back and stop being so injury-prone. Houston is one of the early favorites to win the AFC this year, so anything short of a Super Bowl appearance will be a disappointment. Now it's up to Schuab to deliver it.
4. Alex Smith
Smith showed last season that he has the goods to be a franchise-type quarterback, but the question is -- can he do it again? With the additional weapons the 49ers added on offense this offseason, there's no reason to think he can't. The 49ers were basically a muffed punt away from the Super Bowl last season, so almost anything short of the Super Bowl this year will be considered a disappointment. The pressure is on Smith to get them there.
5. Matt Cassel
In 2010, the Chiefs appeared to be an up-and-coming team, winning the AFC West with a 10-6 record. But injuries plagued them throughout last season, with Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, and Eric Berry all missing major time. Since joining the Chiefs, Cassel has been sporadic at best. He has to be way more consistent this season if Kansas City is going to compete for a playoff spot. If he's not, he probably won't be the starter in 2013.
For the record, I also considered putting Drew Brees at No. 5, mainly because the pressure will be on him to get the Saints past the whole Bounty Gate scandal. But unfortunately, I really don't expect much out of him or New Orleans in 2012. It would be awesome if they could make it to the Super Bowl and play in their home stadium, but I don't see it happening.
Sorry Saints fans.