Getty Images

Every NFL season, all 32 teams are under some level of pressure. For contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, it's basically Super Bowl or bust. For rebuilding clubs like the Carolina Panthers and Washington Commanders, even slight steps forward might be considered big wins.

But what about specific people? Think coaches, players, and others in between. Quarterbacks tend to draw the most attention, but here's a look at 12 other key names who figure to be heavily scrutinized and/or burdened with high standards in 2024:

12. Ravens DC Zach Orr

Baltimore boasted an elite defense in 2023 en route to its AFC title-game appearance, but Mike Macdonald is gone, leaving Orr to maintain a championship-level pace in his first gig as a defensive coordinator. Just 32 after only three years of experience as a position coach, the former Ravens linebacker is highly regarded but has plenty to prove as an entire unit's play-caller.

11. Giants OLB Brian Burns

New York also has Kayvon Thibodeaux to help the pass rush, but Burns got a lucrative commitment after arriving via trade; specifically, his $28.2 million-per-year average ranks third among all edge rushers, behind only Nick Bosa and Josh Allen, even though he's had double-digit sacks in just one of four NFL seasons. With Brian Daboll's offense still a work in progress, he could be critical to their trajectory.

10. Browns HC Kevin Stefanski

The two-time NFL Coach of the Year has done a relatively solid job over four seasons, especially considering Deshaun Watson's lack of availability and/or reliability. But Watson cannot be fully detached from Stefanski, either; entering Year 3 of their polarizing partnership, it feels like now or never for the Browns coach to squeeze something worthwhile out of the oft-injured quarterback.

9. Broncos HC Sean Payton

There's a difference between being under pressure and having little job security. Payton appears to have plenty of the latter, considering team ownership just last year spent draft picks to acquire him, then allowed him to handpick this year's top-15 draft pick at quarterback. His 8-9 debut, however, was ugly and drama-filled, and if he's gonna have the keys to the operation, there'd better be progress.

8. Texans WR Stefon Diggs

In truth, Houston would've been a popular pick among contenders even if it hadn't landed Diggs via trade. But now that he's in tow as a potential No. 1 for C.J. Stroud alongside Nico Collins and Tank Dell, the pressure is on the Pro Bowler to prove he's still elite going on 31 and coming off a disgruntled ending in Buffalo. With 2025 free agency on the horizon, can he fully restore his market?

7. Eagles C Cam Jurgens

For as loud as the Kelce brothers are in today's media space, it's kind of astounding how little we've actually discussed what it means for Jason to be missing from the center of the Eagles' vaunted offensive line, post-retirement. Jurgens is well-regarded, and Philly is noted for its O-line guru Jeff Stoutland, but still, these are big shoes to fill for the youngster.

6. Titans WR Calvin Ridley

Even though his Jacksonville Jaguars debut in 2023 proved more streaky than special, Ridley commanded top dollar this offseason, securing $23 million per year from Tennessee going on 30. That's a sizable bet for a team that just last season looked years away from truly competing. DeAndre Hopkins is also onboard, but Ridley could be key to quarterback Will Levis' development.

5. Panthers HC Dave Canales

On one hand, it'll be pretty hard for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator not to oversee improvement in Carolina, one year after Frank Reich was quickly axed and No. 1 pick Bryce Young flailed his way through a 2-15 season. On the other, there's a fair amount of pressure on Canales to "fix" Young and/or provide the youngster with a legitimate offensive setup.

4. Steelers OC Arthur Smith

Relieved from his head position with the Atlanta Falcons, Smith certainly has better options at quarterback in Pittsburgh: the savvy, newly motivated Russell Wilson and the ultra-athletic Justin Fields. Even still, his skill weapons are so-so, and a year after Kenny Pickett went to waste amid an in-season coordinator change, all eyes will be on how his play calls help -- or hurt -- Steel City's playoff hopes.

3. Eagles HC Nick Sirianni

Three playoff runs in three years, with the third-best winning percentage among all active coaches, and Sirianni is under pressure? You bet he is. That's what finishing last season 1-6, including playoffs, will do. The Eagles' coordinator overhaul (and not-so-quiet consideration of Bill Belichick) says it all: With an all-star lineup, Sirianni needs this team to make another deep run to restore true confidence from up top.

2. Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Not so dissimilar to Sirianni, his fellow NFC East figurehead, McCarthy has all the numbers to justify a top job, with three straight playoff bids under his belt. He also has just a single postseason victory in his last six seasons as a head man. With Dak Prescott also on the hot seat as he enters a contract year, McCarthy is under pressure to finally make good on owner Jerry Jones' roster, and deliver a big-stage win.

1. Everyone on the New York Jets

There's no team under more pressure to go the distance, and frankly it doesn't feel that close. A year after they went all in on Aaron Rodgers, only to see all their sudden title hopes evaporate within minutes of the quarterback's anticipated debut, the Jets obviously remain dependent on their aging but decorated signal-caller. But Rodgers was onto something when he joked this offseason that everyone will probably be exiled if he doesn't live up to his standard in 2024. Coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas, in particular, have once again put all their chips on the former Green Bay Packers star staying healthy, unless of course new backup Tyrod Taylor has a Super Bowl run left in the tank.