2011 NFL Power Rankings: The Top 10 QB Tandems
There's been a lot of talk about quarterbacks during this offseason, with some teams struggling to find one good quarterback while others have a plethora of good quarterbacks.
Backup quarterbacks may not seem all that important at face value, but in essence they're more important than you may think.
Injuries are a part of the game, and there have been numerous times when teams have had to lean on their backup quarterbacks to make it through the season.
These ten teams are fortunate enough to be at least moderately safe at quarterback, even if their lead signal-caller gets knocked out for the season.
10. Denver Broncos
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Years of Experience Combined: 14 years
Combined Career Stats: 86 TD's, 60 INT's
No other team has received more attention at the quarterback position than the Denver Broncos this offseason. In fact, they could probably start their own soap opera to run in primetime on FOX.
All kidding aside, it looks that Kyle Orton is the unquestionable starter for 2011. Orton isn't flashy, but he knows how to manage games.
Lining up behind him you have all the potential in the world, but just need to translate that into production on the field.
Quinn has actually looked pretty good this preseason, while Tebow has received as much criticism as a guy can get from the media.
In reality, all three of these guys have the talent to be starters in the NFL. Most teams don't have that luxury.
9. New York Giants
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Projected Depth Chart: Eli Manning, Sage Rosenfels, David Carr
Combined NFL Experience: 29 years
Combined Career Stats: 251 TD's, 213 INT's
Almost 30 years of NFL experience is always a good thing when you look over a group of quarterbacks on your roster.
Not to say that losing Eli Manning to injury wouldn't be a big deal, but at least the Giants know they have veteran experience lining up behind him if something bad does happen.
Sage Rosenfels has actually enjoyed some moderate success as a starter, and David Carr still has some tools to play if he absolutely has to. Of course the Giants hope it doesn't resort to that.
8. Houston Texans
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Projected Depth Chart: Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, TJ Yates
Combined NFL Experience: 14 years
Combined Career Stats: 97 TD's, 72 INT's
The Texans have had one of the best passing offenses in the NFL over the past few seasons thanks to Matt Schaub under center.
If he were to go down, they've got Matt Leinart. The last time Leinart was a full-time starter in the NFL, he didn't look all that great. With that said, he still has enough talent to get the job done as a solid backup.
T.J. Yates was drafted this year out of North Carolina, and he'll be a long-term project before he'll be ready to see any kind of consistent playing time. He does have a lot of potential.
7. New York Jets
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Projected Depth Chart: Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Greg McElroy
Combined NFL Experience: 22 years
Combined Career Stats: 213 TD's, 141 INT's
Mark Sanchez showed a lot of improvement from his rookie season in 2010, and he's only going to get better in 2011 with the addition of a big target in Plaxico Burress.
Sanchez has the tools to be an elite quarterback, and he could end up taking a huge step towards that status this season.
Lining up behind him you have two quarterbacks that are on opposite sides of the spectrum in Mark Brunell and Greg McElory.
Brunell has been there and done that. He can manage the game effectively if called upon, much like Kerry Collins did for the Titans for a couple seasons.
McElroy is a major project, but he's looked good so far in preseason. He also has that winner's mentality after being undefeated as a starter for much of his high school and collegiate careers.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
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Projected Depth Chart: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon, Charlie Batch
Combined NFL Experience: 35 years
Combined Career Stats: 263 TD's, 176 INT's
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the best organizations in football, and their group of quarterbacks shows that.
I'm not sure if the Steelers keep all four quarterbacks, but they should able to get something in return for one of them.
Ben Roethlisberger is still the starter for a long time to come, and you have to take the good with the bad when you're dealing with Byron Leftwich.
Charlie Batch has stepped in several times and played well for the Steelers, particularly last season when Roethlisberger was serving his suspension and Dennis Dixon was knocked out with an injury against the Titans.
Dixon is a quarterback that still needs to work on his mechanics, but he should have a bright future ahead of him.
5. New England Patriots
Projected Depth Chart: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer
Combined NFL Experience: 15 years
Combined Career Stats: 262 TD's, 104 INT's
You always have to prepare for the worst, and if you're the Patriots then it would be losing Tom Brady.
That happened just a few seasons ago, and Matt Cassell stepped in and got them 11 wins unexpectedly.
Out of all the rookie quarterbacks, you could make an argument that Ryan Mallett is the most NFL-ready.
His 6-foot-6 frame gives him a great advantage at seeing the field, and he's got a rocket for an arm. It was questions about his character that had him slip all the way down to the Patriots.
If Mallett doesn't end up winning the backup role to Brady, then Brian Hoyer will be the backup. Hoyer has very little experience, but he did step in on mop-up duty for Brady last season against the Dolphins and chalked up a 111 QB rating in that game.
4. Detroit Lions
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Projected Depth Chart: Matthew Stafford, Drew Stanton, Shaun Hill,
Combined NFL Experience: 18 years
Combined Career Stats: 63 TD's, 53 INT's
It's ridiculous how many viable quarterbacks the Lions have on their current roster. I didn't even mention Zac Robinson who going into his second season out of Oklahoma State.
Unfortunately for Robinson, I'm just not sure there's enough room for him on the roster.
Lions fans are hoping that Stafford can finally have an injury-free season, because the sky is the limit to how good he can be.
Drew Stanton played well last season considering the circumstances as he finished with a 78 QB rating over six games played. That might seem bad, but there's plenty of other starting quarterbacks who had worse ratings than that.
Then you have the veteran Shaun Hill who played the other 11 games for the Lions last season and put up 16 touchdowns during that time.
3. San Diego Chargers
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Projected Depth Chart: Philip Rivers, Billy Volek, Scott Tolzien
Combined NFL Experience: 20 years
Combined Career Stats: 163 TD's, 73 INT's
The Chargers have not only one of the NFL's best starting quarterbacks in Philip Rivers, but they also have what many could say is the best backup quarterback in Billy Volek.
Let's not forget that Volek led the Chargers to a playoff-win over the Colts by marching them 78 yards for a touchdown in 2007. He can get it done if his number is called upon.
Scott Tolzien is the Chargers' rookie project this season, and he could be a good one in three or four years. The Chargers are planning ahead by having a guy like Tolzien on the roster.
2. Green Bay Packers
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Projected Depth Chart: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell
Combined NFL Experience: 11 years
Combined Career Stats: 90 TD's, 35 INT's
There may be a lot of youth in the three quarterbacks the Packers have, but they're all highly talented players.
Aaron Rodgers took a giant leap into elite status last season by taking the Packers to their first Super Bowl win since 1997. He should be an early favorite for MVP along with Tom Brady.
Matt Flynn really impressed me with what he did against the Patriots last season, which nearly led to an unprecedented upset. He finished that game with his first three touchdowns passes of his young career.
It's safe to say that Flynn can be relied on whenever Rodgers has to come out for whatever reason.
Graham Harrell is heading into his second NFL season, and he's been productive in two preseason games so far.
He won't see any playing time for a while, but he's still a good young quarterback.
1. Dallas Cowboys
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Projected Depth Chart: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee
Combined NFL Experience: 27 years
Combined Career Stats: 298 TD's, 225 INT's
No other backup quarterback in the NFL is more qualified to be a starter than Jon Kitna, and he stepped in last season in a horrible situation had put up an 88 QB rating.
In other words, the guy can still get it done at age 38.
We all know what Tony Romo is capable of, and at times he looks like one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL.
Stephen McGee is one of the better third-string quarterbacks in the NFL, if there is such a thing. He got the opportunity to get some valuable experience in two games last season.
The completion percentage was horrendous, but that's why he's a third-string quarterback.
If you're the Cowboys, you couldn't ask for a better trio of quarterbacks.
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Tennessee Titans (M.Haselbeck, J.Locker,R.Smith): It was really tough not to include the Titans on the list, but an aging quarterback coupled with two unproven quarterbacks wasn't enough.
Philadelphia Eagles (M.Vick, V.Young, M.Kafka): The Eagles may have one of the biggest playmaker in NFL history at starting quarterback, but Vince Young hinders this team more than he helps it.
Indianapolis Colts (P.Manning, C.Painter, D.Orlovsky, N.Davis): It's safe to say that without Peyton Manning, the Colts are an average team at best. For the first time in his career, Manning could miss a game due to an injury. The Colts backups have never looked good, and their preseason records have always illustrated that. Still, it's always tough to leave Manning off any list involving quarterbacks.