Football is a team game. No one knows that better than Matthew Stafford who enjoyed a career resurgence in 2021, his first season with the Rams after spending his first dozen NFL seasons with the Lions. Stafford's first season in Los Angeles -- which ended with him winning his first Super Bowl -- proved that a quarterback is only as good as his supporting cast.
NFL teams know the significance of surrounding their quarterback with talent. Some teams made concerted efforts to increase the odds of their quarterback having a big 2022. Other teams, however, simply did not do enough to help elevate their quarterback. With the 2022 season just around the corner, here's a look at the three teams that did -- and three that did not -- do enough to help their quarterback during the offseason.
Three teams that helped their QB the most
Last offseason, the Bengals helped Joe Burrow by drafting his former college teammate, Ja'Marr Chase. They also brought in three new offensive linemen that included second-round pick Jackson Carman. The result was an MVP-caliber season from Burrow and arguably the greatest season in Bengals history.
The offensive line still needed some work this offseason despite the Bengals' run to the Super Bowl. Burrow was sacked 70 times and, had he had a little more time late in Super Bowl LVI, he likely would have gotten the ball to Chase (who had streaked past Rams CB Jalen Ramsey) for a go-ahead score. The Bengals responded by signing three veteran linemen who between them have 150 career starts.
Each player also knows what it takes to block for a talented quarterback. Ted Karras won two Super Bowls while helping protect Tom Brady in New England. Alex Cappa won a ring with Brady during the Buccaneers' 2020 championship season. La'el Collins blocked for both Tony Romo and Dak Prescott during his run with the Cowboys. Each player should help provide even better protection for Burrow, which should lead to more success for the Bengals.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders sent shockwaves throughout the NFL when they managed to swing a trade with the Packers to acquire Davante Adams, arguably the NFL's best receiver. Adams is reunited with Derek Carr, his quarterback at Fresno State. During their last two college seasons together, the duo connected on 233 passes for 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns. Expect both players to pick up where they left off in college, as Carr and Adams have a close bond that extends beyond the football field.
The Raiders didn't stop with the addition of Adams. They further bolstered their receiving corps by adding veteran wideouts Keelan Cole and Demarcus Robinson. To better protect Carr, Las Vegas spent its first draft pick on guard Dylan Parham, who did not allow a sack in 545 protection snaps during his final year at Memphis.
Like the Raiders, the Dolphins swung big and hit big by acquiring one of the league's best receivers. Following a highly decorated run in Kansas City, Tyreek Hill is bringing his talents to South Beach. Specifically, Hill brings speed and explosive playmaking to a Dolphins offense that finished 22nd in the NFL in scoring in 2021. Hill completes a talented Miami receiving corps that also features second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle, tight end Mike Gesicki and veteran Cedrick Wilson Jr., a former Cowboy who was signed earlier this offseason.
Miami gave Tua Tagovailoa yet another weapon during the draft when it selected former Texas A&M wideout Erik Ezukanma in the fourth round. The Dolphins further increased Tagovailoa's chances of a big season by signing veteran offensive linemen Terron Armstead and Connor Williams and running backs Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel and Raheem Mostert. The offense will be highly influenced by first-year head coach Mike McDaniel, who enjoyed a successful run as the 49ers offensive coordinator.
Three teams that helped their QB the least
Instead of signing a top-flight receiver, the Ravens traded away their best receiver -- to the ire of QB Lamar Jackson -- during the NFL Draft. Baltimore parted ways with Jackson's favorite receiver, Marquise Brown, then failed to draft or bring in anyone who can replace him. Baltimore's top returning wide receiver is Rashod Bateman, who as a rookie last season caught 46 passes for 515 yards and a touchdown.
It should be noted that the Ravens did beef up their offensive line during the draft by selecting former Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round and former Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele in the fourth round. The Ravens also added to their receiving corps by selecting tight ends Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely in the fourth round.
Green Bay Packers
Don't feel bad for Aaron Rodgers. Life is largely good for Rodgers after the reigning two-time league MVP penned a record-setting contract extension earlier this offseason. That being said, it's never easy to lose your top receiver, especially one as good as Adams, who enjoyed a prolific partnership with Rodgers during their eight seasons together.
With Adams gone, the Packers are hoping for several things to fall in their favor. They'll need Randall Cobb to stay healthy after the veteran missed five games in 2021. Green Bay is also hoping that Sammy Watkins, who is coming off two largely disappointing seasons, can return to his 2019 form that saw him help the Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
The Packers will also need solid contributions from their young receivers, led by Christian Watson, the 34th overall pick in this year's draft. Amari Rodgers, a 2021 third-round pick, is looking to make more of an impact this year after catching just four passes as a rookie.
Kansas City Chiefs
With Hill gone, Patrick Mahomes will likely lean more on Travis Kelce, at least until he gets more comfortable with his revamped receiving corps. The Chiefs are hoping that JuJu Smith-Schuster can return to the form that made him one of the league's most complete receivers during his first few years with the Steelers. Along with Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs also brought in Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was likely signed to help fill the voids left by Robinson and Byron Pringle's offseason departures.
Similar to Green Bay, Kansas City will look to a high draft pick to help replace its departed star. For the Chiefs, that player is Skyy Moore, who was selected with the 54th overall pick. The 5-foot-10 Moore caught 95 passes for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns during his final season at Western Michigan.