What every NFL starting QB focused on this offseason

Both starting QBs Jameis Winston and Aaron Rodgers focused on shedding weight and toning muscles this offseason. USA TODAY Sports

NFL Nation reporters pick the No. 1 thing each of the starting quarterbacks focused on this offseason.

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor: Be more assertive

Taylor is one of the Bills' most soft-spoken players, so one of his top priorities this offseason was to be more assertive on the field. Taylor might never be like Peyton Manning, barking signals from under center, but the low-key quarterback says he believes his greater command of the system will inspire confidence among his teammates. "I feel more control out here, and you're able to point people in different directions, which is something that maybe I wasn't comfortable doing on the first day last year. Guys look to me as the leader now. I have to go there and prepare like it and have to show that I fit." -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill: Work on pocket presence

New coach Adam Gase studied the tape and determined Tannehill can begin taking his game to the next level by working on footwork and pocket presence. "Just focus on the little things -- the details, whether it's footwork, read, progression, protection -- there are so many things that go into playing the position," said Tannehill when asked of his areas of improvement. "I think that [Gase is] an expert in pushing guys to reach their potential, and I'm excited to have him." -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo: Connect with the team

Garoppolo, who starts the first four games of the season in place of Tom Brady, stressed how the QB position is "never-ending physically [and] mentally" and one thing he worked on was making connections with every player because an effective leader should touch everyone in the room. That's easier to do entering his third season in the NFL. "Learning the guys in the locker room off the field, on the field, all that stuff. I know all the guys. The guys know me." -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Sharpen golf game

Fitzpatrick tackled his golf game. Seriously. Engaged in a long contract dispute with the Jets, he wasn't allowed to practice with the team. He found it difficult to train on his own, so he played a lot of golf. "You have to walk 18 instead of taking a cart (on some courses), and there are a lot of hills around here" in New Jersey, he said. That was his conditioning program. That, and chasing around his five kids. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco: Mentally prepare for getting hit

Flacco's focus this offseason was getting over a mental hurdle and not a physical one. That might sound strange given Flacco is coming off surgery to repair two knee ligaments. But Flacco's biggest concern is how he will hold up in the pocket, when pass-rushers are coming at his left knee. "I don't expect to have those kinds of thoughts linger in my head," Flacco said. "But you never know until you get out there and do it again." -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton: Build up arm strength

After using the previous offseason to work on keeping his front-side throwing motion closed, Andy Dalton took time this offseason to simply build upon what he gleaned before. Strengthening accuracy and building arm strength were the big concerns that throwing coaches Tom House and Adam Dedeaux had for Dalton in 2015. When the Bengals quarterback visited them twice this offseason, they focused on keeping those same mechanics sound this summer. The repetitions helped as Dalton worked on throwing again regularly, rebounding from his season-ending thumb injury in Week 14 of 2015.-- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns

Robert Griffin III: Hone fundamental skills

RG III refined his steps and footwork with throwing guru Tom House after minicamp ended. Pep Hamilton, who is in charge of the team's offense, said Griffin's time with House meant the team did not have to work on those elements of QB play in camp. "A lot of the things we've asked him to do from a fundamental and technical standpoint, we were able to facilitate those things through Coach House out in California," Hamilton said.-- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger: Slim down

Big Ben is known for his stature, but after a season that included plenty of idle time in a training room, Roethlisberger relied on cardio to shed about 15 pounds this offseason. At age 34, Roethlisberger still has several quality years left and wants to preserve his career by making the right adjustments. He didn't use any new-age methods for conditioning -- just a traditional treadmill.-- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Brock Osweiler: Learn the offense

After signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans in March, Osweiler has made it his priority to spend his offseason learning coach Bill O'Brien's playbook. He has practically lived in the film room, and has passed quizzes on the offense from O'Brien and offensive coordinator George Godsey. The Texans run a complicated offensive scheme that usually takes quarterbacks a year or two to completely grasp. so the head start Osweiler got in the offseason was necessary. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck: Focus on footwork

It's a toss-up between footwork and getting rid of the ball quicker. Footwork wins out because the offensive line should be better, which means Luck shouldn't have to rush his throws as much. Luck is coming off a 2015 season where he completed only 55.3 percent of his pass attempts and threw 12 interceptions in only seven games. "Some habits, like anything, are hard to kick in a sense," Luck said. "Some come a little faster than others. But again, that's why you practice, why you do individual [drills], why we do drill work during special teams. That's why you focus on your feet before anything else. [QB coach Brian Schottenheimer] does a great job, not just telling you that you need to do this, there's a drill involved in helping get that done. There's a technique involved and he teaches." -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles: Enhance passing efficiency

Bortles' top priority was to become a more efficient passer, especially in the short and intermediate range. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes that traveled up to 10 yards in the air last season and the Jaguars want that number to be 80 percent. Going hand in hand with this is cutting down on interceptions. (He has thrown 35 in two seasons.) If he's a more efficient passer, his INTs should naturally go down. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota: Strengthen lower body muscles

Mariota worked with San Diego trainer Ryan Flaherty on building up three sets of muscles: at his hips, pelvis and VMO -- teardrop muscles (vastus medialis oblique) above the knee. The hope is that strengthening those stabilizing muscles will make him less susceptible to the sort of MCL injuries that sidelined him for four games last season and other potential problems that can result from lateral hits. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos

Mark Sanchez: Improve ball security

The Broncos haven't actually selected a starting quarterback yet, but Mark Sanchez has a slight lead on the power-armed Trevor Siemian at this point, and his ability to keep that lead will hinge on his ability to avoid the kind of turnovers that have plagued him at times in his career. "I think you always know, in this offense, with this team and this defense, you have to take care of the ball and make good decisions with the ball," Sanchez said. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak doesn't want a robot behind center who isn't willing to take a risk from time to time to make a play, but he doesn't want the careless fumbles in the pocket because the quarterback didn't tuck the ball away or interceptions that are a result of poor decisions. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith: Get better at footwork

Footwork, which Smith called "the foundation of throwing" is again an emphasis for the Chiefs' starting quarterback. "Footwork is something that never goes away and you're constantly trying to get better with your feet," Smith said. "For me, I think it's just working on being more consistent from under center or in the gun when I do go back and forth." -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr: Focus on the small stuff

Carr worked on being more efficient this offseason, which might be counter-intuitive, since his greatest strength is also his biggest weakness. Yes, we're talking about his risk-taking ways, because if he becomes more cautious, that takes away from his high-risk, high-reward self. "We have the meat and potatoes of [the offense] down," he said. "Now, all the extra stuff, all the sides ... it's the little things that I'm trying to figure out," Carr said. -- Paul Gutierrez

San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers: Improve accuracy on short throws

Rivers watches a cut-up of each one of his throws from the previous year during the offseason, compiling a list of things he needs to improve. This offseason Rivers focused on improving his accuracy on short throws. Rivers finished with an 81.8 total QBR on throws less than 10 yards in 2015, good enough for No. 10 in the NFL. That's a solid number, but like a gimme putt, Rivers strives for perfection on the easier throws that can turn into chunk plays, putting the ball in the right spot to keep the chains moving. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo: Ramp up conditioning

Despite the internet memes stemming from an unflattering photo at the start of training camp, Romo's main focus was on his conditioning. He delayed his collarbone surgery until March so he could build up his conditioning, and after his return, he picked up things quickly. He did not miss a day of work in the offseason. His quick-twitch, reactionary moves were much better than they have been in recent years because his back is feeling stronger. On the field, however, Romo was working on keeping himself more open to help him get through his progressions faster and be in the proper throwing position at the same time. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Eli Manning: Game plan for red zone plays

In his 13th professional season, Manning's body isn't improving. It's about maintaining. So his focus this offseason dealt more with improving his efficiency in the red zone, where the Giants were ranked 29th in the NFL last season. Manning and the Giants' coaching staff studied it extensively, and Manning has worked on being more decisive near the end zone. The hope is that it leads to more touchdowns and fewer field goals. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Sam Bradford: Study Eagles' offense

The Eagles' QB added some weight and strength during his first healthy offseason in three years, but Bradford's main focus has been mental. With the hiring of Doug Pederson as coach, Bradford is learning his fifth offensive system in seven NFL seasons. By now, he's starting to see similarities in the different schemes. "It's really similar to what I was doing with Pat [Shurmur] in St. Louis as far as the West Coast concepts, which I really enjoy," Bradford said. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins

Kirk Cousins: Establish role as team's leader

Cousins' focus was on taking greater ownership of the team, and becoming a stronger leader, now that he's the clear-cut starter. That's why he reached out to quarterbacks such as Drew Brees in the offseason, getting tips on leadership and approach. But for Cousins this also meant just increasing what he could do: He has worked at improving his knowledge of line calls, for example, so he can reduce pressure on the center to make them and also better know what's going on and where his protection is weak or strong. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler: Reduce turnovers

Cutler has spoken at length about reducing turnovers for a second consecutive year. After giving the ball away 24 times in 2014, Cutler turned it over only 16 times last season, thanks in large part to former offensive coordinator Adam Gase. "I think you can definitely build on that," Cutler said. "I think a lot of it was the system and the way Adam called plays and manipulated the game in that regard. He definitely took care of quarterbacks and receivers and offensive linemen, and just the way he called games." Cutler accepted Gase's recommendation to be more conservative with the football, and not take unnecessary chances. Cutler also credited the Bears' coaching staff, including new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, for improving his fundamentals in the pocket. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford: Gain better command of the offense

It might be odd for a quarterback entering his eighth NFL season to control the offense with more authority, but the Lions deconstructed and then rebuilt their offensive playbook under coordinator Jim Bob Cooter after the season. Cooter installed some of what he wanted to do after he was promoted before Week 8 of last season, but the offseason gave him -- and Stafford -- a chance to retool what they had. "I had the ability to kind of tear it down and start again from scratch with Jim Bob and Cally [quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan] and all those guys. So, I think just the comfort level with what we're trying to do, what we're trying to accomplish," Stafford said. It's a different level of comfort, too, since it's the first time that Calvin Johnson is enjoying retirement instead of catching passes from Stafford in training camp. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers: Slim down and tone up

It's no coincidence coach Mike McCarthy reported that Rodgers is "the best shape I've seen him in." That was the 32-year-old quarterback's focus this offseason. His revamped diet -- which eliminated cheese and other dairy products -- paid off. He's listed as 225 pounds but said this offseason he was around 218. When he reported for training camp, he said: "I'm as light as I've been in a while, but my muscle mass is as strong as it's been when I weighed 10 pounds heavier." -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater: Make changes to throwing mechanics

The Vikings wanted to see Bridgewater make a small change to his mechanics, rooting out his habit of dropping his elbow and letting the ball sail. Bridgewater worked on a more consistent over-the-top delivery during the offseason, and also put on some muscle. The changes, the Vikings hope, will help him drive the ball more effectively on downfield throws and hit receivers when he has to wire passes into tight spaces. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan: Refine footwork

Ryan, who is entering his ninth NFL season, has gone back to the basics in working on his footwork. Ryan talked about simply looking at his footwork in the mirror at times. And on the field, you can see him making a conscious effort to make sure his footwork is on point. Once he gets his feet set, Ryan is dangerous throwing the ball, although he's confident in throwing on the run, too. Said team owner Arthur Blank, "Matt worked really hard this offseason on his own technique." -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton: Concentrate on short pass success

Newton, the reigning MVP, focused on consistency, completing the short dump-off passes, or "gimmes" as team owner Jerry Richardson told him to work on. Newton was dynamic on the deep pass last season en route to a career-best 35 touchdowns. But with defenses adjusting, he'll probably have to complete more of the short, intermediate passes to keep the chains moving. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees: Lengthen career

Even at age 37, Brees is feverish about refining his mechanics and workout habits. Last year, he actually spent two months with his longtime throwing coach, Tom House, after he felt as if his mechanics got out of whack while trying to overcompensate for an oblique injury. They don't always work that extensively together. But Brees says he believes House has helped him with his longevity. "We are trying to beat the aging process," said Brees, who insisted he can play at a high level for another five years, "minimum." -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston: Trim down and improve diet

Winston took it upon himself to get in the best shape possible, losing about 20 pounds this offseason and gaining some muscle. He worked with Michael Jordan's former trainer, Tim Grover, to improve not only his physical conditioning, but his footwork, his core strength and his throwing mechanics. At one point in the offseason, they were working out twice a day. Winston also stopped eating after 7 p.m., exercised better portion control and cut out the potato chips. "This was really my first offseason," Winston said. In college, he would go straight into baseball season, "With the combine and stuff, during my five weeks [off] last year, I was trying to rest and trying to get the offense down pat. But now I just have some time to have some fun and do what I do best, and that's work." -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer: Tinker with footwork

Palmer spent time working on different and additional concepts in the Cardinals' playbook and his endurance, but his focus this offseason has been his footwork. He tried tinkering with some different footwork maneuvers that didn't work at times, but he also tried to time his dropbacks with various routes. "Footwork is always No. 1," Palmer said. "It's always where I start." -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Case Keenum: Show his leadership

Jared Goff: Play under center

Keenum, who probably will start Week 1, has worked on demonstrating the value of his veteran leadership. "He has a great feel for it. Understands the offense, great in the huddle," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He does all those little, extra, subtle things that you need to do as a quarterback." Goff, meanwhile, has worked to become comfortable under center in an NFL offense after playing mostly in shotgun in college at Cal. It's a big adjustment for the No. 1 overall draft pick. Said Fisher: "It's just the reps and getting experience and completing balls and making decisions -- and making mistakes." -- Steve Dilbeck

San Francisco 49ers

Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick: Master the offense

Well, for the 49ers the first objective is to figure out whether Gabbert or Kaepernick is the starter. Both players' top priority this offseason was grasping new coach Chip Kelly's offense, and the player who executes it better during training camp and the preseason will win the job. Kaepernick had the additional focus of trying to get healthy and regain weight he lost while injured, something he was able to accomplish. For Gabbert, the focus was on consistency and handling the uptempo approach of Kelly's offense. Within that context, things that Kelly will be looking for are consistent accuracy, wise decision-making and airtight ball security. "Who can move the team the best?" Kelly said. "That's what you're always looking for. Which quarterback can handle what they're doing and get the team in the end zone. Obviously, you have to protect the ball in doing that. So, we're excited to see it." -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Improve durability

Wilson has not missed a game or practice in four NFL seasons, and he wants to keep it that way. That's why he placed an emphasis this offseason on durability. "I want to play 15-plus more years," Wilson said. "And a big part of that is taking care of my legs and getting stronger, but also getting more flexible, more mobile." Wilson has been sacked 195 times in his career and run the ball on 462 occasions. But he has managed to stay healthy. If the Seahawks are going to get back to the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons, they'll need Wilson's durability streak to continue in 2016.-- Sheil Kapadia