4 Options for the Chicago Bears to Replace Backup QB Jason Campbell
Last week the Chicago Bears saw their 2012 backup quarterback Jason Campbell leave Chicago to sign with the Cleveland Browns. Despite the team re-signing veteran Josh McCown, the team could still be in the market for a veteran number two quarterback.
McCown spend part of the past two seasons with the Bears, serving mostly as the team's third quarterback, but did get two starts at the end of the 2011 season following an injury to Jay Cutler and overall ineptitude from then backup Caleb Hanie.
Campbell struggled last season when thrust into the lineup, partly due to a porous offensive line and partly due to overall bad play. In recent years the Bears have struggled without Cutler starting with his backups going 2-6 in his absence.
The team could always stand pat with McCown and could also draft a quarterback, but given Cutler's fragility as of late, the team could benefit from a backup quarterback that can help the team win games.
Here are four options for the Bears to replace backup quarterback Jason Campbell:
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A former third overall selection in the 2006 draft, Vince Young started off his career with a bang, winning the league's offensive rookie of the year that season as well as notching his first career Pro Bowl selection.
Young threw at the Texas Longhorns' pro day, and according to Gil Brandt (h/t NFL.com), Young "put on a show" and was "magnificent" passing the ball in the pocket and on the run.
He could be seen as a bit of a risk but given that the team likes Josh McCown and the fact that he will likely come on the cheap, he could end up being a low-risk, high-reward signing.
His ability to run and get outside of the pocket would add a nice dimension if he had to fill in for Jay Cutler, and he has enough accuracy to be productive throwing the ball underneath in the West Coast offense.
He did struggle in Philadelphia getting used to running Andy Reid's West Coast style offense, but after spending two years learning that system, the adjustment to Marc Trestman's West Coast offense should not be that difficult.
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A former seventh overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003, Byron Leftwich never lived up to the hype of being a top-10 draft pick.
He was plagued by poor play and injuries early in his career but has found a nice niche being a backup in the league in recent years.
He has spent the last three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and has some familiarity with running the West Coast offense under Steelers offense coordinator Todd Haley.
Leftwich's strong suit has never been the short accurate throws that the West Coast offense relies on, and because of his long release, he is better suited for a team that likes to throw the ball down the field.
Even though the Bears are expected to run a version of the West Coast offense, it is unknown how much head coach Marc Trestman plans on sticking to the script. If nothing else, Leftwich provides quarterback Jay Cutler with someone who has spent time backing up one of the best quarterbacks in the league (Ben Roethlisberger) and has enough experience that, if called upon, he could help the team win a game or two in a pinch.
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One of the most highly touted collegiate athletes in recent years, Matt Leinart has failed to live up to the hype of a Heisman trophy and a top-10 selection in the 2006 draft.
Leinart had a shaky but not terrible rookie season, throwing over 2,500 yards, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 starts for the Arizona Cardinals in 2006.
Injuries, poor play and the reemergence of Kurt Warner put Leinart on the bench before he was cut prior to week one of the 2010 season.
He spent 2010 and 2011 with the Houston Texans, getting one start in place of injured starter Matt Schaub, but he subsequently fractured his collarbone and was placed on injured reserve.
He served 2012 as Carson Palmer's backup in Oakland.
Leinart has experience in a version of the West Coast offense during his stops in Houston and Oakland. While at USC they utilized short accurate passes that allowed their explosive receivers to make plays. His accuracy is at its best in the short to intermediate game which translates best to the West Coast offense.
At just 28 years of age, Leinart still has plenty of years left in him, and considering the injury history of Cutler in recent years, he could see the field and show teams that he still has the abilities that made him a top-10 selection.
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Much like the others on this list, Brady Quinn has failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a first-round draft pick.
A stellar collegiate quarterback from Notre Dame, Quinn was expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2007 draft but dropped to the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick.
In his three seasons in Cleveland, he threw for just under 2,000 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions before being traded to the Denver Broncos in 2010. In his two seasons in Denver, he failed to beat out Kyle Orton and never saw the field.
He spent the 2012 season with the Kansas City Chiefs and started eight games, throwing for just over 1,100 yards, two touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Quinn isn't the most ideal fit in Chicago given his struggles with accuracy throughout his career, but he's been around the league long enough to be a legitimate number two quarterback. If the other options are unavailable, he may just end up as the team's last option.