Plan B: Breaking Down The Backup Quarterback

Eddie RossellCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2008

I don't think anyone that is a fan of football at any level wants their team's backup quarterback to start or even come into a game at all. They are usually young and don't have much experience and are unfamiliar with the offense.

Now, only six weeks into the NFL season, at least five teams have had to or will have to start their backup quarterback in place of the starter for at least two games.

Fortunately for some teams, their backup has had starting and sometimes playoff experience.

Kerry Collins: Tennessee Titans

Kerry Collins came in to start in place of Vince Young. He has had starting experience before making the Titans a fortunate team as I mentioned before. He has had so much experience because he is 35 years old, a little on the old side even for a backup.

It has not been his play in particular that has lifted the Titans to a 5-0 record atop the NFL, throwing for only three touchdowns and three picks, but rather his ability to lead the team as a whole.

If you have a backup that can come in and has the experience to effectively lead their team, then you are one lucky team. Very few backups have ever received much playing time at the professional level.

Matt Cassel: New England Patriots

Matt Cassel falls into the inexperienced category. He had not started a game since high school until week two after Tom Brady tore his ACL in the Patriots week one win against Kansas City.

He has shown that he can play in the pros, but has not been great. He has thrown four interceptions and just three touchdowns in five games. He has thrown for almost 1000 yards in those five games, though.

The Pats are 3-2, not out of the playoff race yet, but if Matt Cassel cannot lead the team or receive enough support from his teammates, New England will have some problems down the road.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Cincinnati Bengals

As if anything else could go wrong for the Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback Carson Palmer is going to be out yet again this week, giving Ryan Fitzpatrick his third start of the year.

He has not looked good at all for the still winless Bengals throwing only one touchdown to three picks in his two starts. It doesn't help that he has been on the turf a lot. He has been sacked eight times in just two starts and he hit the ground five times last week against the Jets.

Fortunately for the Bengals, if their horrible play keeps up, they could get the No. 1 pick in the draft next year.

Brad Johnson: Dallas Cowboys

This week the Cowboys lose two big players for four weeks, Tony Romo and Adam "Pacman" Jones. Unlike Romo, Jones did not get hurt, but got in trouble with the law yet again and was suspended.

This is where Brad Johnson comes in. He is Tony Romo's backup and a solid one at that. A seasoned veteran is much better to have than an inexperienced rookie to come in and lead the team. 

Brad Johnson will be around for around four weeks, depending on Romo's injury recovery. The Cowboys have so many stars on offense that they can carry the team even with Romo out.

Gus Frerotte: Minnesota Vikings

Does it really matter who the quarterback is when you've got Adrian Peterson running the ball? Tavaris Jackson played terrible early this year and the Minnesota coaching staff made the right decision in replacing him with the old man Gus Frerotte.

Frerotte has been around for a long time; long enough to gain some experience, and long enough to play for eight different teams.

Frerotte has looked OK for his Vikings, throwing three touchdowns and three picks in his four starts this year, but who needs to be great when Adrian Peterson is on the team?

The backup quarterback position, if you can call it that, has become more and more important in the NFL as of late. With injuries more and more prominent and defenses being so big, no team should expect their starter to go every game of the season.

This is why it is important to have a decent backup that has experience and is not on the team just to warm the bench. At any time, any player can go down with an injury, so be prepared, have a backup that can lead the team and look good doing it.

Who knows, you could find the next Tom Brady the next time your starter goes down.