NFL preseason is underway, and all 32 teams are ready and motivated to get back on the field.
However, some players and coaches are receiving some tough love from Chris Broussard, who is “just telling like it is” with his latest “Under Duress” list.
The “First Things First” host recently shared the three individuals who he thinks need to hear some honesty as they head into the 2023 season.
Let’s get to it!
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The outlook: Mayfield has yet another chance to prove himself and win a starting quarterback spot after joining the Bucs ahead of the 2023 season following a very short stint with the Los Angeles Rams after he was released by the Carolina Panthers late last season. In Carolina, Mayfield completed 57% of his passes with six touchdowns and six interceptions, but was subsequently let go due to the losing season.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been riddled with inconsistent playing since his last season with the Cleveland Browns. The 28-year-old is entering his sixth year in the league and vying for the coveted spot of QB1 against Kyle Trask, as the Bucs look to fill the gigantic cleats of retired future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
Broussard’s thoughts: “This is it, Baker! … Your last chance to be a legitimate starter in the NFL. The pressure [is] on, not just to win the job, but to keep the job. You won the job in Carolina, but you couldn’t keep it. You got to keep it this time. I do think, Baker, that you have matured enough. I think you’ve been humbled enough, as your coach Todd Bowles said, to accept that if this doesn’t go well [you’ll need] to accept a backup role for the rest of your career.”
2. Ron Rivera, HC, Washington Commanders
The outlook: The Commanders are heading into a new era with a new owner in Josh Harris, but there still seems to be tension to work out within the organization following a drama-filled offseason. Head coach Rivera, who will enter his fourth year with the team this season, has been vocal about his concerns in the past and most recently landed in hot water after publicly criticizing then walking back comments about new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s coaching style.
In addition to building team moral, Rivera has a difficult job ahead of him as the Commanders look to improve from the fourth place finish in the NFC East last season and a record of 8-8-1 that once again kept them out of playoff contention.
Broussard’s thoughts: “Now Ron, I think you mean well. I think you’re an honest guy, … too honest though. You don’t have to tell the public and the media every little disagreement, every little dispute that is going on within your building because now you have created distractions. … It’ll come down to your record, too.
“Ron, your last five years as a head coach have had losing records. New ownership there in Washington, too. New ownership a lot of the time means new coach, so Ron is under duress to have a great season.”
49ers HC Kyle Shanahan headlines Broussard’s “Under Duress” List
1. Kyle Shanahan, HC, San Francisco 49ers
The outlook: The Super Bowl-winning coach has named second-year quarterback Brock Purdy as the starter for the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. The 23-year-old will play his first game since December 2022 after suffering an elbow injury in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game. Trey Lance, who also suffered an injury this past season when he fractured his ankle in Week 2, made his comeback during camp and was given some first-team reps alongside Purdy and veteran QB Sam Darnold. The three will continue to battle it out for the regular season job with both Purdy and Lance looking to once again regain that starting spot glory. The Niners finished last season atop the NFC West with a 13-4 record but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the postseason.
Broussard’s thoughts: “You have gone out on a limb, brother, and picked a former Mr. Irrelevant (Purdy) over a No. 3 pick (Lance) that you guys traded three first-round draft picks and other stuff for — and you have put him on the bench. I think you’re making the right move, but some people are mad skeptical. I’ve got to be honest. … I don’t know where Trey’s mind is at. … I get it that it’s big-boy football and you’ve got to overcome some stuff, but his mentality must be like, ‘Man, do they believe in me?’ It can work out if Brock plays well, but if he gets hurt [or] if Darnold doesn’t play well, where is his (Trey’s) mind going to be at? … I do believe in you because I believe in Brock Purdy, but I hope you got this thing right.”
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