Heading into the 2023 season, there are three quarterbacks that are trying to re-establish their careers with new franchises. Aaron Rodgers is one as he enters year one with the New York Jets. The other two are coming into their second seasons as Russell Wilson was with the Denver Broncos in 2022 as was Deshaun Watson, who played six games with the Cleveland Browns.
Eric Mangini — former NFL head coach and current analyst for the 33rd Team — recently released a season preview for the Browns and he drew the comparison between the three veteran quarterbacks. While he said all have the tools to get back to the top, he stated that Watson is in the "best spot" to have success.
The first reason that Mangini went into was age. Watson is younger than both Wilson (35) and Rodgers (39). He enters the year at just 27 and will be 28 before it ends.
Despite being younger, he also has the advantage of low expectations. Mangini said while we all hear about Wilson in Denver and Rodgers in New York, the conversation surrounding Watson has been minimal.
"The great thing for Watson is where he falls in this discussion. He’s not part of it. He doesn’t have the same pressure the other two guys have." — Mangini on Watson
Whether it's due to his lackluster six-game performance in 2022 or just the negative attention he brings due to his off-field issues, the truth is, the lack of expectation will only help him find success on the field.
Watson was suspended for 11 games in 2022 and got his first start in Week 13 against his former team. He was rusty and while he continued to improve, he never looked like the player we saw in Houston.
So far in camp, reports say he's been much more confident and the offense is being built around him.