Is Kyle Orton the best backup quarterback in the NFL right now?
Knowing the identity of most backup quarterbacks in the NFL is usually far down the list of hot topics that football fans talk about, until a starting quarterback is lost due to a serious injury.
Once the starter goes down, fans are quick to rally behind the No. 2 guy, or rush to the waiver wire to save their fantasy football team.
Some examples of injuries that kept a starter out of the lineup for an extended time during the past decade include Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford. The results of how the backups fared were quite varied.
The Colts didn't have an adequate backup for Manning, and it cost Indianapolis GM Bill Polian his job. Reaction to that situation was a wake-up call to the rest of the league that you better have an adequate backup on board, or else.
Then there are raging debates about backup quarterbacks that strain relationships and put loyalty to the test. These arguments are the subject of great controversies that divide NFL locker rooms and teams' entire fan base. Tim Tebow caused quite a stir when he became a member of the New York Jets, but that wound up being much ado about nothing.
Today, we will look at every NFL team and rank their backup quarterback situation. The rankings will be in a team slide format, which allows us to discuss the No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks, when appropriate.
Since this is written in the middle of free agency, the rankings will be moving targets based on every subsequent draft pick, free-agent signing and veteran being released. Consider the rankings as a snapshot in time, where things stand on March 25, because they could be obsolete as of April 28.
Pro Football Reference.com and ESPN.com were the sources used for compiling stats for this report. ESPN.com was the source used for team rosters. Spotrac.com was the source of any contract information disclosed.
While some injuries are of the season-ending variety, others are limited to a two- or three-game stretch, as was the case with Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. Most of the time the starter gets his job back, but obviously not every time.
Once Colin Kaepernick was allowed to prove to Jim Harbaugh that he was the real deal, there was no opportunity for Smith to reclaim his job. Kaepernick was able to prove his worth week in and week out. If he came up short, that would have left Coach Harbaugh in a very awkward situation.
You have classic situations over the years such as the Joe Montana versus Steve Young debate with the San Francisco 49ers. Both quarterbacks were Super Bowl winners, but it took Montana going to the Kansas City Chiefs for Young to get his opportunity.
How about a relatively inexperienced Jeff Hostettler subbing for the injured Phil Simms late in the season and leading the Giants to a win in Super Bowl XXV? Then there was the Drew Bleadsoe injury that led to Tom Brady's debut and the rest was history.
Only one guy can be QB1, and these debates wind up with somebody being traded away, or leaving in free agency, to end the madness.
At the risk of dating myself, I remember as a kid a hot debate in Buffalo (1963-1966) over starter Jack Kemp and his backup Daryle Lamonica.
Lamonica lost out. The "Mad Bomber" became a member of the Oakland Raiders, and was voted AFL MVP in 1967 and 1969. He led the Raiders to an appearance in Super Bowl II.
Kemp wound up retiring from the NFL in 1969 and moved on to the world of politics. Kemp was ultimately named as the vice president running mate to Bob Dole in the 1996 election, which Dole and Kemp lost.
Lamonica continued to play for the Raiders until 1974. Both quarterbacks won AFL Championships in the 1960s, which was their ultimate goal at the time.
Drew Brees has his family, but no backup quarterback on roster.
Current Starter: Drew Brees
Current Backup: None
Analysis: New Orleans lost Chase Daniel to free agency. He was the only other quarterback on the Saints roster, so the team will obviously need to replace him.
According to NFL team rosters on ESPN.com, the Saints are the only team in the NFL currently without a backup quarterback on the roster.
As a result, they get our bottom ranking because of default.
Matt Blanchard is the sole backup right now for Jay Cutler.
Current Starter: Jay Cutler
Current Backup: Matt Blanchard
Analysis: The Bears' backup quarterback in 2012 was Jason Campbell. Campbell is a free agent and according to this Twitter update from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, other teams like the Jets and Browns have expressed interest in Campbell. Whether or not he returns to Chicago is up in the air.
The only other quarterback on the Bears roster right now is Matt Blanchard. Who? Exactly.
Blanchard has never appeared in a NFL game, so the Bears would be in trouble if Cutler went down to injury again. They still have time to add a free agent or draft somebody next month to back up Cutler.
Austin Davis is Sam Bradford's only backup in St. Louis.
Current Starter: Sam Bradford
Current Backup: Austin Davis
Analysis: Davis is the only other quarterback right now on the Rams roster. St. Louis hasn't signed last year's backup Kellen Clemens to a new deal, which means that Davis is now elevated to the backup role.
Davis hasn't thrown a pass yet in the NFL, so he has no stats to speak of.
Aaron Corp currently backs up Tarvaris Jackson in Buffalo.
Current Starter: Tarvaris Jackson
Current Backup: Aaron Corp and Wildcat QB Brad Smith
Analysis: Now that the Bills have parted ways with starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tarvaris Jackson becomes the starter by default. Expect the Bills to draft a rookie in either the first or second round of the upcoming draft.
Corp was signed in the offseason as a project for Buffalo. He has never appeared in a NFL game, so he has no experience or stats to speak of.
Brad Smith isn't much of a quarterback option. He has appeared in 24 games as a Wildcat QB, and has actually thrown the ball nine times in that formation over his career. He has completed four of nine passes for a 44.4 completion percentage with one touchdown and two interceptions and has thrown for a grand total of 51 yards.
The cupboard is pretty bare in Buffalo right now for quarterbacks.
Dominique Davis is only other QB on Atlanta roster.
Current Starter: Matt Ryan
Current Backup: Dominique Davis
Analysis: In 2012 the only quarterback that threw a pass in Atlanta was Ryan. With no regular-season experience to speak of, Davis can continue his development in exhibition games and on the practice field.
There hasn't been any talk of the Falcons looking to add a veteran backup in the offseason, so Atlanta may want to draft another quarterback to offer Davis a challenger for the backup role.
Scott Tolzien is the only backup behind Colin Kaepernick.
Current Starter: Colin Kaepernick
Current Backup: Scott Tolzien
Analysis: The quarterback position got very thin in San Francisco immediately after the 49ers traded Alex Smith to Kansas City. The 49ers still have Scott Tolzien on the roster, but it would not be a surprise if the team signs a free agent or drafts another quarterback in April.
With the way that Jim Harbaugh can develop quarterbacks, the team can invest in a project and let Harbaugh do his thing.
Tolzien doesn't have any stats yet in the NFL, so he is about as green as you can get.
Graham Harrell backs up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Current Starter: Aaron Rodgers
Current Backups: Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman
Analysis: Harrell is another inexperienced backup quarterback in the NFL. In two years at Green Bay, Harrell has seen action in four games to date. He has attempted just four passes so far, and completed two of them. Like many Packers quarterbacks before him, he's still waiting for his "Matt Flynn" audition.
Harrell hasn't started a game, nor has he thrown a touchdown pass or an interception so far.
Coleman was a rookie in 2012, and has even less experience than Harrell, since he has never appeared in a game.
If Peyton Manning goes down, Brock Osweiler is up.
Current Starter: Peyton Manning
Current Backup: Brock Osweiler
Analysis: NFL analysts were surprised that the Broncos were willing to go through the 2012 season with only Osweiler backing up Peyton Manning. Manning had multiple surgeries on his neck, and there wasn't any guarantees that he would survive the season. But everything worked out and the Broncos were one desperation pass away from the AFC Championship Game in 2012.
As a rookie in 2012, Osweiler got his feet wet by appearing in five games. He didn't receive any starts. In those appearances, Osweiler completed two of four passes for 12 yards. He didn't throw any touchdowns or interceptions last year in his limited snaps.
With so little experience under his belt, you would think that the Broncos should be in the market for a more experienced backup if Manning were to get hurt in 2013.
Tyrod Taylor is the Ravens only backup to Joe Flacco.
Current Starter: Joe Flacco
Current Backup: Tyrod Taylor
Analysis: Joe Flacco signed his six-year deal before free agency started, ensuring that the Ravens have their starter locked up.
Taylor has appeared in nine games over his career, but has yet to start an NFL game. During his appearances, Taylor has thrown for a mere 197 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception in his career.
He has completed 60.0 percent of his passes, but in the grand scheme of things, he is very green in terms of experience. But at least he has something that very few starting quarterbacks own, which is a Super Bowl ring. Okay, he will have one, when they are presented...
Carson Palmer has the arm, Terrelle Pryor has the legs.
Current Starter: Carson Palmer
Current Backup: Terrelle Pryor
Analysis: Carson Palmer remains the Raiders starting quarterback, but he has a cap figure of over $15 million in 2013 that is making life difficult for GM Reggie McKenzie.
If the Raiders ever decide to part company with Palmer because they can't afford him (or preferably work out a deal to restructure his contract), they will draft another quarterback this year to offer some competition for Pryor and let the best man win.
Pryor is very green and needs a lot of work to become a solid NFL quarterback.
For now, Pryor remains the only other quarterback on the roster. He has appeared in four games and started one of those. He lost in his only start last year. Pryor completed 46.7 percent of his passes in 2012 and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He passed for 155 yards in 2012 action.
Chase Daniel leaves New Orleans for Kansas City.
Current Starter: Alex Smith
Current Backups: Chase Daniel, Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney
Analysis: The Chiefs have done as much to improve their quarterback position in the short-term as well as the long-term, by releasing Matt Cassel, trading for Alex Smith and signing free agent Chase Daniel.
Daniel hasn't been afforded many live snaps in the regular season due to the reliability and grit of Drew Brees. Daniel has been paying his dues, and was in a great position to learn from Brees and Sean Payton.
In three years serving as the backup to Brees, Daniel never received one start. He did get in enough games to attempt nine passes, which is the extent of his NFL action. He completed seven of those nine passes for 55 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Once you get past Daniel, there isn't anything much to discuss. Neither Stanzi nor Tanney has ever thrown a pass in a NFL game yet.
What are the chances that Smith goes down with a concussion, and Daniel took the job and ran with it, never looking back?
It takes a while for 6'6" Ryan Mallett to wind up.
Current Starter: Tom Brady
Current Backups: Ryan Mallett and Mike Kafka
Analysis: To date, none of the backups behind Tom Brady has ever started a NFL game or thrown a touchdown pass, but they know how to throw interceptions. Between Kafka and Mallett, they combined for zero touchdowns and three interceptions in their careers so far.
Brady hasn't missed a single start in the last four years, so the odds aren't very good that they will gain any meaningful experience in 2013 unless disaster strikes.
If you check out the Cleveland slide in this presentation, we referenced a story where the Browns want to trade for Mallett. That might have been possible if the Patriots had signed Matt Cassel after Kansas City released him, but he went to Minnesota instead. Trading Mallet now would leave the Patriots in a vulnerable position if something ever happened to Brady.
Kafka has completed 11 of his 16 attempts for 107 yards and two picks.
Mallett has completed one of four passes for 17 yards and one interception.
Patriots fans hope that if either of these guys see action in 2013, it is mopping up the end of games in garbage time.
Josh Johnson is backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
Current Starter: Andy Dalton
Current Backups: Josh Johnson and Zac Robinson
Analysis: The Bengals signed Johnson to give the team an experienced backup after losing Bruce Gradkowski to the Pittsburgh Steelers during free agency. Backup quarterback is one roster position that Mike Brown likes to save money on. You get what you pay for.
Johnson has been in the league for four years. He has appeared in 27 games, but started just five of them. His career record is 0-5. Johnson has five touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. He has thrown for 1,042 yards in his career and has a completion percentage of 54.2.
Robinson has no career stats yet in the NFL. If Dalton were to do down to injury, the team would turn to Johnson. Good luck with that, Bengals fans.
Charlie Whitehurst continues to back up Philip Rivers.
Current Starter: Philip Rivers
Current Backup: Charlie Whitehurst
Analysis: Whitehurst is the only backup on the Chargers roster behind Philip Rivers. Whitehurst has started four games in his NFL career, going 1-3 in those starts.
Whitehurst has thrown three touchdowns, four interceptions and completed 54.2 percent of his passes. He has passed for a total of 805 yards in his career to date.
Maybe the Chargers can convince Billy Volek to dust off his right arm and give it another go at backing up Rivers.
Dan Orlovsky backs up Josh Freeman in 2013.
Current Starter: Josh Freeman
Current Backups: Dan Orlovsky and Adam Weber
Analysis: The Buccaneers weren't completely sold on the way that Freeman played in 2012, so if they can find a way to challenge him for the starting job in 2013, they will open things up. Whether that means adding a free agent, or drafting somebody in April, all options are open.
For now the main backup is Orlovsky, who has started 12 games over his NFL career, with a record of 2-10. He has thrown for 2,931 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His career completion percentage is 58.5.
Weber has never thrown a pass in the NFL to date, and so is far down the pecking order right now at No. 3.
Kirk Cousins played well in his 2012 starts.
Current Starter: Robert Griffin III (assuming he has completed his rehab)
Current Backup: Kirk Cousins
Analysis: There is a reasonable chance that Cousins could be the Week 1 starter in 2013 in the event that Griffin hasn't been cleared by team doctors to play. Griffin is ahead of schedule in his rehab from the torn ACL and LCL injury he suffered at the end of the 2012 season.
Right now Cousins is the only other quarterback on the Redskins roster. Rex Grossman is a free agent and the team hasn't decided if it will bring him back yet. Part of that holdup may be due to the Redskins' tenuous salary cap position due to the $18 million chunk that Commissioner Goodell levied against the team.
Cousins appeared in three games in 2012 and started one of them. He won that lone start and looked very good in his other appearances. In total, Cousins threw for 466 yards, completing a whopping 68.8 percent of his passes in his small sample size. He threw four touchdowns and three interceptions in his brief run last year.
The Redskins appear to be set at quarterback for years to come.
Bruce Gradkowski stays in AFC North by signing with Steelers.
Current Starter: Ben Roethlisberger
Current Backups: Bruce Gradkowski and John Parker Wilson
Analysis: Besides getting younger on defense, the Steelers applied the same logic to the backup quarterback job. Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich are free agents in 2013 and aren't expected back. The Steelers have turned a page on their quarterback rotation, by signing free agent Gradkowski to backup Roethlisberger.
Gradkowski has 20 career starts under his belt, which is a good thing since Roethlisberger finds a way to get hurt by holding onto the ball too long. His record in those starts is 6-14. Gradkowski has thrown for 4,057 yards and has completed only 52.9 percent of his throws. He has 21 touchdowns to 24 interceptions in his career.
Wilson doesn't have any experience and is a developmental project at this point.
Matt Flynn didn't get many reps in 2012.
Current Starter: Russell Wilson
Current Backup: Matt Flynn
Analysis: Wilson emerged from the three-quarterback open competition at training camp last year with the starting job. Prospect Flynn emerged as the backup when the Seahawks traded away Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo for a late-round draft pick.
Flynn goes from backing up Aaron Rodgers to Wilson in the span of one year. Some guys just can't catch any breaks. Flynn started two games in his career, with a 1-1 record. He has thrown nine touchdowns, five interceptions and 1,083 yards so far. His career completion percentage is 61.7.
Seattle could be tempted to trade Flynn due to his potential at some point down the road, but they won't trade him unless they have another competent backup on the roster.
Brian Hoyer and Drew Stanton vie for starting gig in Arizona.
Current Starter: Drew Stanton or Brian Hoyer (to be determined)
Current Backups: loser of Stanton vs. Hoyer battle, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley
Analysis: For the sake of this presentation, we will honor the sentiments of reigning NFL Head Coach of the Year winner Bruce Arians, who feels that Arizona already has a good starting QB in Stanton.
There remains the distinct possibility that Arians is creating a ploy with his comments. It could be a big smokescreen, so that the Cardinals can surprise everybody by using their No. 7 overall draft pick on grabbing the quarterback of their choice in the draft.
So that leaves Arizona with a trio of backups in Hoyer, Skelton and Lindley. All three have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. They have combined to throw 17 touchdowns, 35 interceptions and have a collective starting record of 9-13.
Here is the individual breakdown:
Hoyer has appeared in 15 games over his career, with just one career start to his credit, which he lost. He's thrown two touchdowns, three interceptions and for 616 yards. Completed 59.4 percent of his passes. In a story by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers regret that they waived Hoyer during the 2012 season. Arizona claimed him and signed him to a new deal in 2013.
Skelton—the most experienced backup of the bunch—has 17 starts in his career, with a record of 8-9. He's thrown for 15 touchdowns compared to 25 interceptions, passed for 3,707 yards with a 53.2 completion percentage, and appeared in a total of 20 NFL games so far.
Lindley—the worst ratio of any quarterback—has thrown seven interceptions already, but is still looking for his first touchdown pass. He's thrown for 752 yards with a completion percentage of 52.0. Lindley has appeared in seven games, starting four of them, and has a 1-3 record.
Chad Henne must enjoy playing in Florida.
Current Starter: Blaine Gabbert will battle Chad Henne for the starting job in 2013
Current Backup: Whoever loses the battle for starting quarterback
Analysis: Depending on which report you want to believe, the Jaguars starting quarterback job in 2013 has been rumored to be an open competition, or Gabbert's job to lose. With the job far from secure, let's address both quarterbacks to see if there is anything noticeable about the production of either option.
There is also the possibility that the Jaguars could draft another quarterback to enter the competition. It seems highly unlikely that Jacksonville would do that in the first round, but after that it all depends on their grades and who represents a good value pick on their big board.
According to this story by Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, there is a growing sentiment around the Jaguars facilities that nothing is ever Gabbert's fault. His supporters have since left the team so Gabbert is standing on thin ice.
Gabbert has started in 24 games since he came into the league in 2011. His record in those starts is 5-19. Gabbert has thrown for 24 touchdowns compared to 21 interceptions. He has passed for 3,876 yards, with a completion percentage of 53.8.
Henne has started 37 games and appeared in 46 games in total. His record as a starter is 14-23. Henne has 42 touchdowns and 48 interceptions in his career. He has passed for 9,198 yards and has a completion percentage of 59.1.
T.J. Yates has a playoff win under his belt already.
Current Starter: Matt Schaub
Current Backups: T.J. Yates, Case Keenum and Stephen McGee
Analysis: The Texans have an interesting blend of young talented quarterbacks backing up Schaub, who signed a five-year last September. Based on how these backups play in the preseason, Houston could trade away some of their depth at quarterback to secure extra draft picks or address other needs.
Yates came on as a rookie in 2011 to replace the injured Schaub and led Houston to their first playoff win in franchise history. He has appeared in 10 games and started five of them, with a record of 2-3. Yates has thrown three touchdowns, four interceptions and 987 yards. His completion percentage is 59.7.
Surviving a playoff game and winning one will speed up your development as a NFL quarterback.
McGee played in three games during his two years with Dallas. In his career, McGee has a favorable ratio of three touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown for 420 yards, and has a completion percentage of 56.1.
Keenum set all kinds of records at Houston University, but in Houston he will have to take a number and wait for his turn in line.
Derek Anderson offers starting experience behind Cam Newton.
Current Starter: Cam Newton
Current Backups: Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen
Analysis: Anderson is one of the more experienced backups in the NFL, as he has 43 career starts, with a record of 18-25. Anderson has provided a positive influence on Newton, who has started every game since he became QB1 in Carolina.
In his career Anderson has thrown for 9,206 yards, 53 touchdowns compared to 55 interceptions. His completion percentage is 52.8.
The Panthers invested a second-round draft pick on Clausen, and after one season, the Panthers quickly decided he wasn't the answer. In his career, Clausen started 10 games, with a record of 1-9. Threw for three touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Notre Dame quarterback has passed for 1,558 yards and has a completion very similar to Anderson's, at 52.5 percent.
Colt McCoy waits for another chance to start.
Current Starter: Brandon Weeden
Current Backups: Colt McCoy and Thad Lewis
Analysis: According to a report from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the latest is that the Browns still want to work out a deal with the New England Patriots to acquire backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. The idea is that Mallett would be viewed as an upgrade over Weeden. The new regime in the front office didn't draft Weeden, and they aren't exactly in Weeden's corner.
If a trade can't be worked out, then the upcoming draft is another possibility for Cleveland to bring a challenger for Weeden. The Browns have other needs, but drafting a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick seems like a stretch due to the lack of talent in the 2013 draft class at the position.
McCoy seems to be a forgotten man in Cleveland. He has appeared in 24 games and has started 21 of them. His record as a starter is 6-15. McCoy has completed 58.3 percent of his passes and thrown for 4,388 yards. His ratio of 21 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions isn't great, but at least he has more touchdowns than picks. There is something to be said for that, especially when you see the results of other backups around the league.
Lewis was rewarded with a start to finish off the 2012 season at Pittsburgh. The Browns lost 24-10. Lewis didn't embarrass himself in the game, completing 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards, which is an outstanding completion percentage of 68.8. He threw one touchdown and one interception in the game. That was the only NFL regular-season game he has appeared in.
Nick Foles raised some eyebrows with his play in 2012.
Current Starter: Michael Vick
Current Backups: Nick Foles, Trent Edwards, Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne
Analysis: The Eagles are matching the Jets in trying to corner the market on quarterbacks, as both teams have five on their current rosters.
Philadelphia has a combination of youth and veteran backups that all have some degree of starting experience that they can turn to in a pinch. With Michael Vick's ability to get hurt on a regular basis, it makes sense that the Eagles have decent backups ready to go at a moment's notice.
Foles came on a rookie in 2012 and started six games, going 1-5 in those starts. He threw for 1,699 yards and completed 60.8 percent of his passes. Foles had six touchdowns and five interceptions, while showing off his big arm. Obviously he needs more game experience to improve his numbers.
Edwards has only started one game since he left Buffalo early in the 2010 season. In his career, Edwards has started 33 games and his record is 14-19. He has passed for 6,033 yards and has completed 60.6 percent of his passes. "Captain Checkdown" as he was known in Buffalo has thrown 26 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his career.
The last time Dixon saw action was back in 2010 with Pittsburgh. Now in Philadelphia, Dixon gets to reunite with Chip Kelly, who served as the offensive coordinator at Oregon when Dixon was a senior. Dixon has three career starts to his credit, with a record of 2-1. He has thrown for 402 yards, completed 59.3 percent of his passes and has one touchdown and two interceptions in his career.
Kinne has no NFL experience and is buried on the depth chart.
David Garrard was brought in to challenge Mark Sanchez.
Current Starter: Mark Sanchez
Current Backups: David Garrard, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms
Analysis: The Jets have been rumored to have been interested in every quarterback that has hit the streets in free agency in 2013. While Rex Ryan claims that Sanchez will be the starter when the Jets open up their offseason schedule, there are no iron-clad guarantees any longer for the regular season.
The Jets brought in veteran David Garrard to challenge Sanchez, and they be tempted to invest in another quarterback at the upcoming draft.
Garrard has a ton of starting experience, but opted to sit out the 2012 season to recover from nagging injuries. He has started 76 games with a record of 39-37. He has thrown 89 touchdown passes to 54 interceptions, which is a favorable ratio. Garrard has completed 61.6 percent of his passes and thrown for 16,003 yards. Depending on how he holds up physically, Garrard can beat out Sanchez for the starting job.
Tebow is still on the roster, but for how longer? Out of every quarterback in this study, nobody else has received multiple starts in the league and had a completion percentage in the 40's, but that is where Tebow is. He has completed 47.9 percent of his passes so far. Thrown 17 touchdowns to nine interceptions, which is a better ratio of almost 2:1. Passed for 2,422 yards in his career to date.
We can't forget about the contribution that Tebow makes with his legs. Tebow has carried the ball 197 times for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has averaged five yards per carry.
McElroy has played in two games and started once. He lost that start. McElroy has completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 214 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Simms hasn't thrown a pass yet in any NFL games.
No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr re-signed to back up Eli.
Current Starter: Eli Manning
Current Backup: David Carr and Curtis Painter
Analysis: Carr was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Houston Texans in the 2002 draft. From 2002-2007, Carr started 79 games in the NFL. He was sacked quite often, and wound up losing far more than he won, with a starting record of 23-56. That might help to explain why he has been content to be a backup. Carr hasn't started a single NFL game in the last five seasons.
In his career, Carr has thrown 65 touchdowns to 71 interceptions. He has passed for 14,452 yards and has a career completion percentage of 59.7.
Then we come to Curtis Painter, who is the closest thing you can come to for a guaranteed loss. In his career to date, Painter has started eight times, and is 0-8. Never winning a start is a good reason why you bounce around from team to team.
Painter has thrown six touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. He has passed for 1,624 yards and completed only 51.7 percent of his passes. Ouch.
Matt Cassel goes from starter to backup in 2013.
Current Starter: Christian Ponder
Current Backups: Matt Cassel, Joe Webb and McLeod Bethel-Thompson
Analysis: The Vikings signed the veteran Cassel to come in and serve as Ponder's backup. There is no open competition at Minnesota for the starting job, as per coach Leslie Frazier. Ponder isn't afraid to run the ball, but that can lead to getting hurt. If that happens, Cassel shouldn't have any trouble stepping in and executing the offense.
Cassel obviously served as Tom Brady's apprentice, so he is in a good position to pass on some knowledge for Ponder to ponder. Apologies for the pun.
Cassel has started 62 games in his career and his record is 29-33. He has thrown 82 touchdowns to 57 interceptions, passed for 13,495 yards in his career and has a completion percentage of 58.9.
Webb has started three NFL games to date in the regular season, and his official record is 1-1. Webb has thrown for 853 yards in limited action, with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Bethel-Thompson hasn't thrown a pass in the NFL and is buried on the depth chart.
Ex-Dolphins starters Matt Moore and Chad Henne reminisce.
Current Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Current Backups: Matt Moore and Pat Devlin
Analysis: Football fans watched how the quarterback battle in Miami played out in 2012 via HBO's "Hard Knocks" show. In 2013, Tannehill will still be starting and Moore surprisingly came back to be his backup, even though other teams might have viewed him as a potential starter. Some people must have a hard time leaving Miami.
Moore has started 25 games in his career and has a record of 13-12. He has a positive ratio of 33 touchdowns to 26 interceptions. Moore has passed for 5,268 yards and has a career completion percentage of 59.1.
Devlin is buried on the depth chart, as the Dolphins will turn to Moore in a heartbeat if there is ever an issue with Tannehill. Devlin has never thrown a pass in a NFL game to date.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is another starter turning into a backup.
Current Starter: Jake Locker
Current Backups: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Rusty Smith and Nathan Enderle
Analysis: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel are all examples of starting quarterbacks that have agreed to take a back seat in 2013.
Fitzpatrick was quickly scooped up by the Titans after the Bills decided to release their starter for the last three years. Fitzpatrick is comfortable in either a starting job or backup role. He continues to rack up starts in either role, as he has surprisingly amassed 67 starts over his career. His record as a starter is 23-41-1. Fitzpatrick has thrown 92 touchdown passes, 81 interceptions and passed for 14,336 yards in his career. His completion percentage is 59.5.
Smith has started one game in his career, which he lost. He has thrown for 234 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. He has completed just 51.1 percent of his passes, which means that he doesn't have much time left in the NFL at this rate.
Enderle hasn't thrown a pass yet in the NFL, so he can challenge Smith for the No. 3 job.
Shaun Hill is a solid backup QB.
Current Starter: Matthew Stafford
Current Backups: Shaun Hill and Kellen Moore
Analysis: Shaun Hill is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Scanning the career production of all backups, Hill is one of the few quarterbacks in the presentation that has anywhere close to a 2:1 ratio of touchdowns (41) to interceptions (23).
Hill has started 26 games in the NFL, and he has a very respectable .500 record at 13-13. He has passed for 6,381 yards in his career, and his completion percentage is 61.9 percent. If Stafford ever goes down to injury again, Lions fans can rest easy knowing they have somebody competent to come in off the bench.
Moore was a rookie in 2012 and has no NFL snaps or experience to speak of. The Boise St. southpaw went undrafted last April and serves as the No. 3 quarterback for Detroit.
Matt Hasselbeck now will be with the Colts instead of against them.
Current Starter: Andrew Luck
Current Backups: Matt Hasselbeck and Chandler Harnish
Analysis: The Colts learned their valuable lesson about what happens when you don't have a solid backup quarterback plan in place in 2011. No doubt they won't let history repeat itself anytime soon.
The Colts signed Matt Hasselbeck in the offseason to not only backup Andrew Luck, but also to serve as a mentor to him. Hasselbeck has seen it all in the NFL, due to starting in 152 NFL games in his career. Hasselbeck has thrown for 34,517 yards, 201 touchdowns and 147 interceptions. His career completion percentage is 60.4.
Based on all the hits Luck took in 2012, Colts fans should have no qualms about Hasselbeck coming in cold and delivering.
Harnish was a rookie in 2012, and has not attempted a pass yet in any NFL games.
Kyle Orton remains the backup in Dallas to Tony Romo.
Current Starter: Tony Romo
Current Backups: Kyle Orton and Nick Stephens
Analysis: Dallas has one of the better backup situations in the league. Orton could be starting for a number of teams, but for some reason his agent talked him into being content as Romo's backup. With all of the holes on the Cowboys, there is real value in Orton's contract, so it is something of a surprise that the Cowboys haven't explored trading Orton to capitalize on his value to teams desperate for a QB.
Orton has appeared in 72 NFL games, and has 69 career starts. He has a winning record as a starter, at 35-24 which tells you why he should be starting elsewhere. He has passed for 14,621 yards, and thrown for 81 touchdowns compared to 57 interceptions in his career. His completion percentage is 58.4. Orton is 30 years old, so he still has a number of years left. He doesn't become a free agent until 2015.
Stephens doesn't have any stats yet in the NFL.
Thanks for checking out the presentation. Follow me on Twitter—@DanVanWie