According to ESPN, the most pressured NFL quarterbacks in 2023

The NFC should be fairly wide open in 2023, with any number of teams swapping out quarterbacks, retooling coaching staffs or making a commitment to a signal caller to build around. And ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky took a crack and assessing which NFC quarterbacks have the most pressure to succeed or raise their game this season.

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The five quarterbacks that Orlovsky landed on run the gamut. There are highly-paid veterans who need to show their current teams something, a newly-extended quarterback who is still a gamble and a pair of young up-and-comers with oodles of ability who need to display it on the field.

Here are the five NFC quarterbacks under the most pressure in 2023 (in descending order), according to ESPN.

  1. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
  2. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
  3. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
  4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  5. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

For Murray, the task is simple, according to Orlovsky: Show the new coaching regime in Arizona that you’re worth the hefty contract you’re currently playing on.

“So the Arizona Cardinals are going to have, likely, two Top 5 picks in next years NFL Draft. And this is moreso, kind of prove that you’re adult enough off the field. That you’re engaged. We’ll see if he’s healthy enough to get on the field. But Kyler, to that new regime, has got to prove ‘I’m worthy of you not using one of those picks on an early quarterback next year.’ He’s got a big offseason when it comes to leadership,” Orlovsky said.

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Prescott, easily the most accomplished and best quarterback of the five, needs to show the Cowboys he can elevate his game and, in turn, the team, Orlovsky said.

“Now a little part of this is, do the Cowboys give him a contract extension? His number next year is absolutely astronomical. This team doesn’t have a ton of flaws. This conference isn’t absolutely loaded. He’s got a new offensive coordinator. They’ve got a bunch of pieces around him. Can he go elevate? That is the big question in relation to Dak Prescott, right now. Can you be somebody that we haven’t seen before?” Orlovsky said.

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Jones was signed to a four year, $160 million extension this offseason after the Giants made the playoffs. The other options were to tag or move on from Jones, without many suitable replacements. After throwing for just 15 touchdowns last season, Orlovsky wants more from Jones as one of the higher-paid NFC quarterbacks.

“They upgraded their offense. Jalin Hyatt, they draft him out of Tennessee. They trade for Darren Waller. Here’s the reality: 15 touchdowns won’t be good enough next year,” Orlovsky said. “The lack of turnovers, that’s not going to be good enough. Because of the contract, you are expected to prove, ‘Alright, it wasn’t a fluke.’ Now go be a different guy.”

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Fields has struggled behind patchwork offensive lines and with changing coaching staffs in Chicago. Fields’ physical talent is undeniable and he has a much better situation around him with the Bears this season. Now he needs to cash in on it.

“No one is a bigger fan of Justin Fields than me right now. I think he’s going to play MVP-caliber football. And if you look at this offensive roster, there’s not a lot of flaws. Good backs, solid receiving corps. The addition of DJ Moore. This is a much improved offensive line. He’s playing a scheme under Luke Getsy that always elevates quarterbacks a little more than their talent level. Now, he’s an incredibly talented player and in that system he should play great football, but he’s got to go prove it,” Orlovsky said.

Orlovsky thinks Love has the most pressure on him among NFC quarterbacks. The Packers spent a first round pick on him, let him sit for several seasons and extended him prior to becoming the starter. He’s been handed the keys after Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers was eschewed and needs to deliver, according to the ESPN analyst.

“You’ve got two really good young receivers, a rookie draft pick in Jayden Reed. Two young, rookie tight ends. A very healthy roster. And again, in a conference and division that is not loaded, the expectation shouldn’t be that Jordan Love’s OK. The expectation should be that Jordan Love doesn’t skip a beat to what the Packers have been. This is a team that, still, has been to the NFC title game two of the last three years. He should play tremendous football,” Orlovsky said.

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