We’re down to the final two weeks of the 2023 NFL regular season, and the quarterback position has been … interesting. Fifty-nine signal-callers have started a game this season, and that number will keep ticking up with Jacoby Brissett and Jarrett Stidham set for Week 17 starts.

That means there is a lot to break down as the season winds down. But we’re zeroing in on 10 situations today, asking our NFL Nation reporters big questions about the game’s most important position. Let’s start with Buffalo, where Josh Allen has the Bills clawing back into the AFC playoff picture. These 10 questions are listed alphabetically by team.

Jump to a team:
LAR | NO | PIT | SF | TB

What has been the biggest change in Allen’s game since Joe Brady took over as the Bills’ playcaller?

Brady has brought energy to the Buffalo offense over the past five games, something that you’ll hear throughout the locker room and something that has reflected in Allen’s game. His playing style more closely resembles the Allen of the previous few seasons, rather than what we saw earlier this season. That includes him putting together late drives when the offense needs it and an increase in designed quarterback runs (16 over the first 10 games compared to 19 in the past five).

Allen’s personality has also been more visible on the field in celebrations, with Brady saying of Allen before last week’s game vs. the Chargers, “I know he’s having a lot of joy playing ball right now.” — Alaina Getzenberg, Bills reporter

What is the biggest way that Joe Flacco has changed the Browns’ offense?

Flacco has brought a veteran confidence to an offense that desperately needed it. But his big arm has also completely transformed the Browns into a dangerous downfield passing attack.

Since Flacco took over, Cleveland ranks eighth in yards per passing attempt (7.4 yards). Before that, it was 31st (5.7). Flacco also leads the NFL over the past four games with 1,307 passing yards. For context, the Browns had passed for only 1,993 in the 11 games prior to Flacco taking over, which ranked 28th in the NFL. — Jake Trotter, Browns reporter

Will the Lions extend Jared Goff after the season?

He still has to close the regular season out strong, preferably with at least one postseason victory, but after leading the Lions to their first division title since 1993, Goff has proven he’s worthy of an extension.

A question remains, though: How long should the Lions extend Goff? Will this be a short-term extension, or something more in the four- to five-year range? Detroit did select quarterback Hendon Hooker in the third round of 2023 draft as a future option. Either way, Goff is certainly the guy for right now, and it makes sense to extend the veteran, who has revived his career in Detroit and made the Lions relevant on the national stage. — Eric Woodyard, Lions reporter

How can the Jaguars improve their protection for a hobbled Trevor Lawrence down the stretch?

There’s not much — if anything — the Jaguars can do because they simply don’t have any options. The offensive line ranks 30th in pass block win rate (49.4%), and the biggest issue has been center Luke Fortner, who ranks 33rd among centers with an 87.2% pass block win rate. He consistently gets pushed backward into Lawrence’s face, which eliminates the quarterback’s chances of stepping up into the pocket. Fixing the offensive line has to be the Jaguars’ No. 1 priority in the offseason. — Michael DiRocco, Jaguars reporter

Where would you rank Patrick Mahomes’ 2023 season among the six he has started in the NFL?

This one is at the bottom, and it really hasn’t been close to any of the others. Things around Mahomes are a mess — including a lackluster receiver corps — and he has clearly been affected.

Statistically, it is his worst season, as he is tied for 18th in yards per attempt (6.9), 30th in air yards per attempt (6.3) and seventh in QBR (63.1). He has already thrown more interceptions (14) than in any of his previous seasons. — Adam Teicher, Chiefs reporter

What has stood out most over Matthew Stafford’s recent four-game hot streak?

He hasn’t turned the ball over. After throwing more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (three) through the first four weeks of the season, Stafford has not had a game with multiple interceptions since then. In the Rams’ past four games — the only loss coming to the 12-3 Ravens, who have the NFL’s best record — Stafford has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The four-game streak with multiple TD throws and zero picks is his longest since he was traded to Los Angeles, per ESPN Stats & Information. — Sarah Barshop, Rams reporter

How can the Saints help Derek Carr start quicker and get going in the first half?

The Saints need to get the run game going. They average only 3.6 yards per carry, which is 30th in the NFL. Running back Alvin Kamara has not had a 100-yard game this season, and quarterback Taysom Hill has rushed for 3 yards combined in the past two games. If the Saints could find a way to play complementary football, they might be able to find more success early, rather than quickly ending up in third-and-long situations on their first few drives. — Katherine Terrell, Saints reporter

Do you expect Kenny Pickett to enter the 2024 season as the Steelers’ QB1?

There’s no denying that Pickett’s second season has been a massive disappointment. His QBR dropped from 53.6 in 2022 to 38.3 in 2023, and he threw just six passing touchdowns in 12 games — one fewer than his rookie season. But the Steelers aren’t an organization that makes rash decisions. And even after the firing of offensive coordinator Matt Canada and Pickett’s ankle sprain and surgery, the QB is poised to enter the 2024 season as the starter in what will be a make-or-break year.

It will then be up to the new offensive coordinator that the Steelers hire this offseason to get the most out of Pickett and his offensive supporting cast, which will give the franchise another opportunity to evaluate Pickett before the fifth-year option decision comes due in May 2025. — Brooke Pryor, Steelers reporter

How is the coaching staff approaching Brock Purdy’s worst game as a pro?

The 49ers are taking Purdy’s struggles against the Ravens as an aberration, not some worrisome sign of future struggles. Coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear he views three of Purdy’s four interceptions as the result of some bad luck (tipped passes and being hit as he threw) and expressed belief that Purdy will bounce back quickly. The sample of Purdy playing well far exceeds his struggles to date, and that’s why the Niners have offered nothing but confidence in the second-year QB following Monday’s loss. He still leads the league in QBR at 71.7 and has already thrown for more than 4,000 yards. — Nick Wagoner, 49ers reporter

What are the percentage chances that the Buccaneers go into Week 1 next season with (A) Baker Mayfield, (B) a draft pick or (C) someone else under center.

It’s 60% Mayfield, 30% draft pick and 10% someone else. The only reason I’m not giving Mayfield an even higher percentage is because the Buccaneers still have to navigate salary cap issues while attempting to re-sign receiver Mike Evans, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Mayfield and his representatives are aware of these cap limitations — the Bucs will have about $47 million in cap space — and Mayfield has indicated how much he loves being in Tampa Bay. The coaching staff and front office have been equally thrilled with what Mayfield has provided. He is completing 64.3% of his throws, and he has 26 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. — Jenna Laine, Buccaneers reporter

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