top of page

DJ’s Five Burning Questions Heading into the NFL Season

Fall is approaching, so you know what that means… It’s football season! The NFL is back in full gear on Thursday, Sep.7 with the Detroit Lions taking on the defending Super Bowl Champions the Kansas City Chiefs. There are a lot of questions heading into the 104th season of the NFL such as can the Chiefs become the first team to repeat since Tom Brady did with the New England Patriots in 2004 & 2005?

After becoming the highest-paid player in the league, can Los Angeles Chargers star quarterback Justin Herbert lead the Chargers to some playoff success? How much does 4-time MVP Aaron Rodgers have left in the tank to help lead a young, jubilant, and multi-talented New York Jets team that’s received a lot of buzz this offseason? These are a few burning questions I have heading into the season… Let's get into them.

Can the Chiefs become the first team in 20 years to repeat?

(AP Photo/Marcio J. Sanchez)

What else needs to be said about the Chiefs that hasn’t been said already? “Powerhouse”, “Juggernaut” and “Dynasty” to name a few. Around this time last year, many media members were questioning if Chiefs megastar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was still “The Guy” in the league as the best player, as the Chiefs lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2022 AFC Championship Game to Joe Burrow, JaMarr Chase, and the crew.

Many were pondering that the Bengals were the new team the beat as they defeated the Chiefs three consecutive times, including the AFC title game where they came back from a 24-0 deficit. There was also noise that the Chiefs wouldn’t be as dynamic offensively as in years past with the departure of the now Miami Dolphins star wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

So what did Mahomes do? He heard all the noise and critics who doubted him and hushed all the naysayers by becoming the only quarterback to win two league MVPs (2019, 2023) and Super Bowl MVPs (2020,2023) in the first six seasons of his illustrious career. He also became the first black quarterback to win multiple Super Bowl MVPs.

The Chiefs will always have a shot to win a title with a healthy Mahomes but he can’t do it himself. They’ve lost some key pieces such as All-Pro offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr (Bengals), and wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster (Patriots), and Mecole Hardman (Jets), to name a few, who both acquainted for a combined 1,200 receiving yards and 100 catches that’ll be lost.

The Chiefs did add some key additions this offseason such as OT Jawaan Taylor (Jacksonville Jaguars), LB Drue Tranquil (Chargers), and edge Charles Omenihu (Houston Texans) to name a few. The Chiefs also added some depth to their defensive frontline with Byron Cowart (Indianapolis Colts), resigning Derrick Nnadi, to take pressure off All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, who’s been holding out due to a contract dispute.

Taylor comes in as a replacement for Brown, which will be big shoes to fill, but Taylor ranked top-15 in pass blocking (76.7) and pressure rate allowed (5.2%) last season.

Omenihu adds another edge rusher that the Chiefs can use, but they won’t have his services for the first six games due to being suspended for domestic violence. Tranquil is coming off a productive season with the Chargers where he accumulated 95 solo tackles, 51 assisted tackles (good for 146 total tackles), and five sacks.

The Chiefs will also look to some young players such as wide receivers Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney (meniscus) to step up this season with the departures of Scantling and Schuster. The reigning champs also added some rookies who seem like they can make an immediate impact such as the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Felipe Anudike-Uzomah, who dominated last season at Kansas State with 46 total tackles (11.0 for loss), along with 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Add in former SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice, who made waves in training camp, and former Oklahoma offensive tackle Wanya Morris. Rice will provide another potential passing option that the Chiefs desperately need, especially with Toney being out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Morris adds more depth to the Chiefs' stellar offensive line, while Uzomah adds another potentially elite pass rusher to pair with Jones assuming he returns.

The Chiefs also had a big front office change this offseason with former offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (2018-2023) moving on to become the offensive coordinator and assistant coach for the Washington Commanders with former Chicago Bears coach and quarterback assistant for the Chiefs, Matt Nagy, getting promoted to fill the void.

Nagy has big shoes to fill as Bieniemy’s offense helped lead the Chiefs to two Super Bowl titles and five consecutive AFC title games, helping transform Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill into elite players bound for the Hall of Fame, and had the team lead the league in points per game (30.1), and yards (406.2)... No pressure.

Overall, the Chiefs will have a chance to repeat, as you can’t count out the Mahomes-Kelce duo that has wreaked havoc on the league for years, paired with Andy Reid running the helm on the sideline.

Defending the pass better and their new primary receivers stepping up in order for them will be key components to repeat.

Can Herbert become a top-five quarterback?

Coming off a lucrative deal this offseason that made him the highest-paid player in the league, Justin Herbert has a lot of eyes on him and the Chargers this season.

We’ve known from the moment that he came into the NFL that he was a special talent as he has proven that at an elite level, becoming the only player in NFL history with over 1,300 completions (1,316), 14,000 passing yards (14,089), 100 combined passing-rushing touchdowns (102), and the most 300-yard games (22) through their first three seasons.

My top five quarterbacks heading into this season are Mahomes, Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, and Aaron Rodgers in that particular order. Mahomes and Rodgers have proven they can win by being champions and multiple-time MVP winners, each winning the last two MVP awards.

Burrow has been to a Super Bowl, making it in 2022 where he defeated Mahomes and the Chiefs that year in the title game and was on the brink of making it again last season. Hurts had an MVP-type year last year, exploding into a franchise leader for the Philadelphia Eagles, helping them make their first Super Bowl appearance since 2018. Allen has been in the MVP convo the last three seasons and has at least made an AFC title game.

Herbert is a tremendous talent with arguably the strongest arm in the league (yes rivaling Mahomes), a tremendous stat stuffer, and a quiet, humble, down-to-earth guy… But it’s time to start winning. Through his first three seasons, the Chargers have yet to win a single playoff game since his arrival in 2020.

The Chargers blew a 27-0 advantage to the Jaguars in the Divisional Round which called many to criticize head coach Brandon Staley’s decision-making as a coach (rightfully so), and if Herbert has the “Winning Intangibles” to be a leader of a championship-caliber team.

These are the questions to the test Herbert must excel at and pass if he wants to get to the upper echelon of the quarterbacks mentioned above ala Mahomes, Burrow, and so forth as they all have won MVPs, titles, or helped their teams to deep playoff runs… The Pressure is on Herbert, Staley, and the Chargers this season can they deliver? We’ll find out.

Are the New York Jets a Super Bowl Contender with Aaron Rodgers?

The Jets are coming in with an elevated level of excitement for the 2023-24 season, and rightfully so due to the addition of former Super Bowl XLV Champion and 4-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers gives the Jets a star quarterback they’ve been lacking for quite some time now, as second overall pick of the 2021 draft, Zach Wilson, has been disappointing as a top pick his first two seasons and has now been demoted to a reserve role as expected with Rodgers now at the helm.

Rodgers wasn’t the only marquee addition this offseason for the Jets as they also added former Minnesota Vikings running back and four-time Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook who ranked sixth last season in total rushing yards (1,173) on 264 attempts (6th), and finished with eight rushing touchdowns (tied-6th) according to StatsMuse.

He also had two receiving touchdowns and will be a dynamic weapon that the Jets can use as they ranked 25th in rushing yards, 26th in attempts, and 21st in touchdowns last season according to Lineups.

The Jets also stole away from the reigning AFC and Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs by signing former Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million.

The Jets also have a transcendent defensive talent in the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year cornerback Sauce Gardner who’s getting much consideration as potentially winning the Defensive Player of the Year, ranked fifth by Bet MGM.

The Jets also have the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year in Garrett Wilson who had 83 receptions for 1,103 yards for four touchdowns.

The offensive line this season for the Jets will need to step it up if they want to see the full potential they can possess as an offense with Rodgers and the crew as they checked in at 24th according to Sharp Football Analysis, allowing 7% of dropbacks, which ranked 29th.

The Jets do have one of the better defenses in the league though with Gardner wreaking havoc on opposing offenses passing plans along with D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter II, who make for the best corner trio in the league. Their defensive frontline is probably their strongest unit consisting of elite pass rushers in Michael Clemons, Quinnen Williams, and John Franklin-Myers to name a few.

The Jets overall have the talent to be a true Super Bowl contender, it’ll be up to if Rodgers can return to any resemblance of his MVP form from two seasons ago and the development of their young players. It’s the first time in a long time we’ve seen a New York football team with his talent so let us enjoy the ride… Go New York Go New York Go!

Can Lamar Jackson help propel the Baltimore Ravens with new weapons?

Coming in off a polarizing offseason that saw a lot of turmoil between the Ravens and their superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson over a new contract, the two sides were luckily able to agree on a new five-year deal worth up to $260 million with $135 million guaranteed. Jackson has pretty much done it all as a quarterback from becoming the second unanimous MVP ever in 2019 (Tom Brady ‘10), breaking records, and so forth, but has yet to reach a Super Bowl.

Much of that has had to do with a lack of elite wide receivers to take pressure off Jackson to have to use his unique dynamic running style that terrifies opponents weekly. History has shown that a primarily running quarterback who doesn’t possess an elite arm doesn’t last long in the league, but Jackson is trying to break the mold.

He already broke the mold by becoming the highest-paid player in the league at the time he signed his contract without agent representation, with his mom representing him.

The Ravens hired a new offensive coordinator Todd Monken and tried upgrading its receiving department with former All-Pro Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round draft pick Zay Flowers who both can hopefully take some of the load off the Ravens star tight end Mark Andrews.

The Ravens are hoping Beckham can return back into form to play a quality role for the team as he’s coming off a torn ACL he sustained while with the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl victory against the Bengals.

The Ravens also have fullback J.K. Dobbins who makes a substantial contribution to the team and they should expect no different from him as long as he’s healthy.

They’ve also added Jadeveon Clowney (LB), Ronald Darby (CB), and Melvin Gordon (RB) to name a few.

The Ravens did lose some key pieces though, such as Justin Houston (LB), and Calais Campbell (DE) (both combined for 15 sacks last season).

Their star cornerback Marlon Humphrey will be sidelined for a while with a surgically repaired foot, and that could hurt them defensively considering they also lost cornerback Marcus Peters.

Of course, we can’t forget arguably the greatest kicker of all time Justin Tucker who has broken numerous records and is someone they can always count on to get them three points on the board when Jackson and the crew fail to score.

The Ravens' defense might take a step back this season with the departure of Campbell, Houston, and Peters, and the injury to Humphrey, but they should still be in the mix as a contender with Jackson being the most dynamic dual-threat quarterback in the game has ever seen and ability to improvise.

Which team will be lucky enough to land Caleb Williams?

(USC Athletics/John McGillen)

There’s already a ton of great quarterback talent in the league. From elder statesmen such as Aaron Rodgers to guys in their primes such as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, to young studs such as Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence… There’s no shortage of talent.

Teams are always looking for the next great quarterback, and the next one seems to be on the horizon in USC Trojan superstar quarterback and reigning 2022 Heisman Winner Caleb Williams.

He’s coming off a Heisman season that saw him throw for 4,537 yards, completing 333 of his 500 passing attempts (66.6%) for 42 touchdowns and only five interceptions, finishing with a 168.5 passer rating.

Williams through two games thus far Williams looks like the runaway favorite to repeat as the Heisman Winner, as the Trojans are off to a 2-0 start. In those two games he has done the following:

  • Nine touchdown passes

  • 597 passing yards on 49 total pass attempts in two blowouts

  • And a 73.5% completion rate with no interceptions

When you’re making plays like this, with pass rushers swarming at you, NFL teams are going to tank to get your services.

So which teams could be in a position to land such a sublime talent this season? Well according to FOX Sports in July, the team favored to land the No.1 pick to select Williams are the Arizona Cardinals at +340 odds.

That’s surprising considering they still have their star quarterback Kyler Murray on their roster who they just named captain of the team for the fourth consecutive season despite still rehabbing from a torn ACL.

Williams does offer more size (6’1) compared to Murray’s 5’9 miniature frame. Williams also possesses a higher ceiling and is a dual-threat quarterback similar to Murray, Jackson, and Mahomes whom he’s most compared to.

Other teams such as the Houston Texans (+900), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+950), and Los Angeles Rams (+1000) are the other three teams slotted after the Cardinals with the Washington Commanders (+1300) closing out the top five.

Williams has looked incomprehensible to start this season, currently possessing a jarring 236.4 passer rating. With his mindset, talent, versatility in the pocket, and work ethic.

This NFL season should be an exhilarating one with old faces in new places to new fresh young talent on the rise. Grab your popcorn ladies and gentlemen and let's get ready for some football!


bottom of page