Friday, September 24, 2010

Countdown Friday: Backup Quarterbacks

Definitely a 7-figure job

Sometimes people joke about how being a backup quarterback is one of the easiest jobs in sports. These men make millions to watch NFL games from the sidelines, sip Gatorade, and hold a clip board. However, this year we have already seen backups play a factor in the futures of their teams, and they suddenly have value.

Look to Philly, where Michael Vick has stepped up for a concussed Kevin Kolb and stolen his starting job. There's another QB controversy in Oakland, where coach Tom Cable has deemed Bruce Grodkowski to be an improvement over Jason Campbell, and owner Al Davis disagrees. The Titans benched an inept Vince Young for veteran Kerry Collins. Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch have the Steelers at 2-0 despite missing 2-time Super Bowl champ Ben Rapelisberger. And even in Detroit, a place that's somehow worse than Cleveland, they've found that they have something in Shaun Hill, who looked very good in the Lions last game while filling in for an injured Matt Stafford. For all of these teams, having a solid backup plan has been a very important part of their season so far, and these moves will have a large impact on their progress this season.

The value of a quality backup can not be overstated, especially in a sport as dangerous as football. And sometimes, you find that your backup is ever better than your starter. Right 2001 Patriots fans? Anyways, all of this got me thinking, who are the best backup QBs in the NFL? So, here we go:

5) Tavaris Jackson
He's almost been a starter so many times, I have to think that he's at least decent.

4) Bruce Gradkowski
He outplayed Jason Campbell last week. And while that may not be hard to do, his career numbers are better than most backups. He has gotten some time as a starter, and over the past 4 years has completed 54% of his passes.

3) Shuan Hill
He's got a 23-10 TD-INT ratio, a career QB rating of 91, and is 10-6 as a starter. Someone's going to overpay him or give up one too many draft picks in a trade soon enough.

2) Charlie Batch
He's appeared in 25 games in his 6 years with the Steelers so far, and has gone 3-1 in his starts. He takes care of the ball, with only 0.88 INT/game started over the course of his career. He gives teams a legit shot to win games.

1) Michael Vick
He's a former #1 pick, and he can still play ball. He's quick, creative, and still has a rocket of an arm. If he can improve his accuracy a tad and become a more consistent decision-maker, he should be a starter in this league for the next few years.

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