Injuries in football are nothing new, but it seems like the 2023 season has been marred by star players — especially quarterbacks — going down for weeks on end, if not the entire year. We saw Aaron Rodgers tear his Achilles on the fourth snap of the New York Jets’ season opener. Joe Burrow tore a ligament in his wrist during Week 9 against the Buffalo Bills. Kenny Pickett just had surgery for a high ankle sprain. The list goes on and on across the league of countless teams having a revolving door at the QB position. Mitch Trubisky is the 53rd signal-caller to get a start this season. Due to injury, poor performance, or any other number of other reasons, let’s see how many quarterbacks have started for each team across the NFL.
Allen has been one of the most dominant QBs since he entered the league six seasons ago. Dangerous as a thrower and a ball carrier, his ability to see the field is arguably unmatched. ESPN’s Seth Walder has Allen as an under-the-radar MVP pick this season. However, Allen has thrown 13 picks, which is only one fewer than Sam Howell has.
Tagovailoa aimed to rebound in 2023 after dealing with multiple concussions from hard hits last year. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards this season and has revitalized a Dolphins team that has a serious chance to do some damage in the postseason, as Tagovailoa continues to deliver on every offensive front head coach Mike McDaniels asks for.
Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe
We have all seen the press conference of a defeated Jones talking about his performance this season. Benched this season after going 2-10, Zappe came in and led the Pats to victory against the Steelers on Dec. 7. It is tough to get wins in this league, but head coach Bill Belichick hasn’t given up hope (although may have lost out on the first overall pick of next year’s draft).
Perhaps the toughest rotation to watch this season, after Rodgers goes down, Wilson comes in. Wilson gets benched, and Boyle comes in. Boyle gets cut, and Wilson is back as the starter. Still, Wilson’s biggest struggle is accuracy, completing 55 percent of his passes during his career. He’s also had to deal with a report from The Athletic that said he didn’t want to go back to being Gang Green’s QB1, fearing injury.
After an offseason filled with contract drama, Jackson got paid and is giving the Ravens great ROI. He’s got 18 total TDs on the year as Baltimore sits atop the AFC North.
Joe Burrow and Jake Browning
Burrow’s injury against the Bills seemed as though it would be more catastrophic for the team than it was. Jake Browning has come in and led the team in an overtime win over the Browns and has no plans to stop his success there. “I would like to reiterate that it was one good game,” Browning said Wednesday to ESPN. “So let’s stack some of those back to back and not just be the guy who had a good Monday night game and then just kind of fell off. I’m very paranoid about that.”
Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, PJ Walker, and Joe Flacco
This is the third time since 1950 that the Browns have started four quarterbacks in a season. Watson is done for the year. Dorian Thompson-Robinson and PJ Walker have both struggled this season with interceptions largely outweighing touchdown passes. Cleveland was so desperate for a healthy signal-caller that it signed the 38-year Flacco off the scrap heap.
Richardson was a gamble at No. 4, but the Colts were high on his potential. However, he was injured in every game except the opener, and a Week 5 shoulder sprain ended his rookie campaign. Minshew has stepped in as a serviceable backup, and Indy has won its last four games.
Lawrence was injured in Week 13, and is a game-time decision for Sunday. If he can’t go, CJ Beathard would get the nod against Cleveland. Lawrence finally seems to be reaching his potential under head coach and QB whisperer Doug Pederson. The Clemson product has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 14 TDs.
Tannehill’s days as a starting QB — certainly for the Titans, if not elsewhere — could be numbered. The 35-year-old veteran was benched in favor of Levis, who is fondly remembered for two things: His love of mayo in his coffee, and falling to Day 2 of the 2023 Draft. Levis, who usurped Malik Willis as QB2 before becoming Tennessee’s starter, has shown he has potential, but he needs to get better at protecting the ball by trusting his footwork to avoid being sacked and extending plays like he did in college. Defense could help him out in that regard, but Levis excels at throwing the ball.
Wilson has played much better after severely regressing in 2022. He was an integral part of Denver’s five-game win streak, as the veteran signal-caller didn’t throw a pick in that timeframe. Wilson was picked thrice in the Broncos’ 22-17 loss to Houston, but has shown he can get back on track.
The Chiefs already have more losses than they suffered during last year’s run to a Super Bowl title, and Mahomes isn’t putting up the same video game numbers. But he’s still started every game for KC, passing for 3,127 yards, and 22 TDs.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Aidan O’Connell, and Brian Hoyer
The Raiders brought Jimmy G in to replace longtime starter Derek Carr, and reunite Garoppolo with his former Patriots coach Josh McDaniels. How has that worked out? McDaniels was fired and that same day, Garoppolo was benched. Hoyer is never going to wow anyone, and Las Vegas is getting a look at O’Connell to see if he is part of its future plans at QB.
We know he’s talented, but under Brandon Staley, it’s going to be difficult for Herbert and the Chargers to dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC West. The Bolts are 5-7 despite Herbert’s 3,038 yards and 20 TDs.
Prescott has played well enough to enter the MVP conversation. However, a great regular season isn’t going to be enough for rabid Cowboys fans, who haven’t experienced a Super Bowl appearance or victory since the 90s.
Arguably the best quarterback in the league. After a trip to the Super Bowl last season, Hurts and the Eagles have their foot on the gas to return to the Big Game — and actually win it.
Howell has thrown for the second most yards so far this year (3,466) — rewarding the Commanders’ faith in making him QB1 — but he also leads the league in INTs (14). Washington, though, has lost its last four and needs to improve in several areas.
The Bears decided to trade out of the No. 1 overall pick and stick with Justin Fields. Unfortunately, it’s been a strange season in Chicago, with drama surrounding the coaching staff, and an injury to Fields. Bagent has a feel-good story — undrafted out of Division II Shepherd University — but doesn’t look like the QB of the future. Fields is inconsistent, but he also has flashes of greatness when he combines his size, speed, and athleticism.
The Lions are much improved, and part of that is thanks to Goff’s play. Detroit sits firmly atop the NFC North at 9-3 behind the QB’s 3,288 yards and 20 TDs. Goff has several weapons, including Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, and Jahmyr Gibbs.
The Jordan Love era in Green Bay was highly anticipated, and the young QB has delivered. The Packers have won five of their last four, and may have found their QB of the future.
Cousins went down with an Achilles injury that ended his season. Hall stepped in, was injured, and was replaced by Josh Dobbs. While Dobbs came over from Arizona and led Minny to victory — despite not knowing his teammates’ names, and barely looking at the playbook — he’s struggled with turnovers.
Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke
This duo has led the Falcons to the top of a very weak NFC South. Ridder has played in 11 games to Heinicke’s three, and the QBs have combined for 2,527 passing yards, and 11 TDs. Ridder has added 180 yards on the ground, rushing for four more scores.
Bryce Young and Andy Dalton
Young was the near-consensus top QB in the 2023 Draft, and Carolina traded up to take him No. 1 overall. He hasn’t played nearly as well as Stroud, but has the support of owner David Tepper. The Panthers are arguably the worst team in the league, and fired head coach Frank Reich after a 1-10 start.
Mayfield is on his fourth team in seven years, and had huge shoes to fill replacing the retired — seems like for good this time — Tom Brady. He’s been serviceable, throwing for 2,750 yards and 18 scores, though he’s been picked off eight times.
Josh Dobbs, Clayton Tune, and Kyler Murray
Dobbs is in Minnesota and Murray is back from an ACL injury. In four games, he’s thrown for 864 yards, and three TDs against two picks. Murray has also rushed for 106 yards and three scores on 23 carries.
Matthew Stafford and Brett Rypien
The Rams have won their last three games and are knocking on the playoff door. Stafford’s health remains key in Los Angeles getting there. He’s got two fantastic weapons in Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua. Rypien is now with the Jets.
From Mr. Irrelevant to MVP? Purdy is now the award favorite as San Francisco has gotten back on track and recently put a hurting on the Super Bowl runner-up Eagles.
Smith (groin) will be a game-time decision come Sunday. If he’s ruled out, it’ll be Broncos bust Drew Lock at QB1 for Seattle, who sits at 6-6 and third in the NFC West.