Mid-Season Report: Disappointing Young Quarterbacks

With Week 9 over and done with, the NFL is officially halfway through the 2022 regular season. That means it's time to check in on the progress of various teams and players. Here are three young quarterbacks whose brutal performances should have their organizations questioning their long-term potential.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was sensational in his first year, leading all rookie passers in passing yards and passing touchdowns while guiding the Patriots to their first playoff appearance of the post-Tom Brady era. His encore has been far less exciting. Jones' numbers are down across the board, except for his turnovers, which are way up. Jones is passing for 190.0 yards per game this year after managing 223.6 last year, and he's throwing an interception on 4.2% of his passes compared to 2.5% last season. He even briefly ignited calls for a permanent quarterback switch. At 5-4, the Patriots still have plenty of time to right the ship, but unless he improves, the incredible promise Jones showed in his first year could soon fade into a distant memory.

Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans

Maybe it wasn't fair to expect much from rookie quarterback Malik Willis; he was only the Tennessee Titans' 86th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, after all. But he quickly erased any hopes he could prove an upgrade over Ryan Tannehill in his relief duty this year. Willis has netted an embarrassing 103 passing yards on his 36 dropbacks this season for last year's top-seeded Titans, averaging a cringe-inducing 2.86 net yards per attempt. The Titans scored a mere 34 total points despite rushing for a colossal 486 rushing yards in his two starts. It's definitely a passing league, folks.

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Many fans and pundits blamed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive struggles last year, but this season has demonstrated the team had deeper issues. First-round rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has appeared completely overwhelmed in his four starts, tossing eight interceptions and leading the team to a 31st ranking in points per game. At 2-6, the Steelers appear all but certain to finish with a losing record for the first time since hiring head coach Mike Tomlin.
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