NFL Players With the Most to Prove in 2014
Griffen needs to prove that he is a capable QB for making the Redskins competitive in the NFC East.
The NFC East is maybe the weakest division in the NFC. He took the Redskins to the playoffs in 2012, barely beating out the Cowboys for the spot. He showed that he is a mobile QB that is capable of success. The NFC East should be a lot more competitive in 2014 with the expected revival of the Giants and Redskins, the Cowboys with their usual 8-8 season, and the Eagles on the rise with LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles.
With the addition of DeSean Jackson, the Redskins have all the pieces necessary to make it back on top in the division. RGIII has no excuse not to lead the Redskins right back into the mix of things in 2014.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers experienced a breakout year in 2013. Although their defense has remained dominant throughout the offseason, the wide receiver core was desolated with the team cutting Steve Smith and the departure of Ted Ginn Jr, Brandon LaFell, and Dominick Hixon.
However, they have made progress in signing former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerricho Cotchery, former Philadelphia Eagle Jason Avant, and drafting Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State. Although the new Panthers receivers look worse than the old, they are still a group of capable receivers on the roster.
But for the Panthers to get back to the playoffs, it is going to take a lot from Cam Newton. He needs to completely take over this offense. He proved in 2013 that he is the Panthers Franchise Quarterback, but in 2014 he can make yet another breakthrough. If Cam Newton leads the Panthers to the playoffs in 2014, with this depleted receiver corps, he will prove that he is an elite QB.
Richard Sherman has a lot of pressure on him in 2014.
Maybe the most out of any Defensive Player in the league.
He just signed a monster contract with the Seahawks, making him the highest paid Corner in the NFL. He has kept up a breakneck pace of interceptions, good for best in the league. With this new contract, the Seahawks will be looking for even more work than he has put out. The expectations are enormous for Sherman in 2014, because of his mouth, his previous success, and his supreme NFC West competition. He really put himself in this position in the NFC Championship, broadcasting his trash talk of an elite receiver to the world. He better live up to his talk.
Steven Jackson has been given full reigns of Atlanta’s running game, and he sort of ran that horse into the ground last year.
The Falcons’ running game brings up the rear in the NFL right now. Although Jackson is old, he is experienced and capable. The Falcons know that, and that is why they signed him. But he is yet to prove himself on the team, yet to prove that he has anything left in the tank. The Falcons’ running game is potentially the only weak link in their whole offense next season, and there is pressure on him to bring that aspect of the team up to speed with the rest of the team.
This is Steven Jackson’s year to either put up or get out. He is in the process of mentoring young backs, such as Jacquizz Rodgers, but it is time he leads by example.
Clowney is maybe the most hyped Defensive End to enter the NFL ever, so of course he is on this list. He will need to have a monster impact on every game to live up to expectations. And that is no metaphor.
He will be expected to be as good or better than JJ Watt, one of the best Defensive Ends in the League. He also has a big mouth, naming QB’s that are “scared of him” a year ago and being overly dramatic over the disaster it would be if he were not selected number 1. Many analysts have said that he has “once in a decade talent”. That general public opinion, plus his decision to basically slack off his junior season has increased the pressure. In 2014, Jadeveon Clowney must prove that he was worth the hype.
Eli Manning threw 27 interceptions in 2013.
27. Worst in the league.
And when you play in a city like New York, this kind of play creates restlessness in the organization. The Giants definitely helped him out in the draft, taking Odell Beckham Jr., who could turn out to be the best receiver in the draft, who is an all-around player with great route-running skills and agility to go get Eli’s throws. They also took a great, heavily underrated Running Back in Andre Williams out of Boston College to possibly take some pressure off Manning in what was a disappointing running game in 2013. He could continue this slump, and people will forget all about the Super Bowls and start wondering if he was adopted. Or, Manning has the chance to get back to the Super-Bowl winning Eli that we are used to, and simply brush this one off as one bad year of a great career.
Trent Richardson came into 2013 as a top 10 Running Back on the Cleveland Browns who was expected to be the focal point of that offense. He leaves 2013 as a back that shares time with Donald Brown on the pass-heavy Indianapolis Colts.
He was traded to the Colts in what was one of the biggest surprises in the season transactions. He did not live up to expectations on the Browns or on the Colts. He was just a decent back in 2013, nothing more, nothing less. After this year, Trent is the one on this list with the least amount of pressure on him, but still has a lot to gain. He has the chance to prove himself as the feature running back on this top AFC offense.
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