NFL Backup QB's: Philadelphia Eagles' Vince Young Is the Best
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A broken thumb here, a snapped ankle there, a tangled foot somewhere else.
Despite the NFL's best attempts to protect each team's No. 1 asset—the starting quarterback—hurlers have been poked, pummeled, pulverized and pancaked in 2011.
Chicago, Oakland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Miami, Kansas City and Houston all head into Week 12 with their No. 1 quarterback on the bench, sidelined with a season-ending injury (Cutler may see action late in the year), while Arizona, Philadelphia and Tennessee all must wait to see if their leaders will play Sunday.
Should the Eagles take the field Sunday against the Patriots with their starting quarterback still on the sideline with a pair of cracked ribs, Young leaves Philadelphia in better hands than the other squads fielding their No. 2.
While Young's passing numbers do not mimic those of an elite quarterback, his winning percentage does.
Despite a career 75.1 passer rating with 44 touchdowns and 46 interceptions thrown, Young sports an impressive 31-17 record as a starting quarterback.
Among other backups expected to play in Week 12, Young's win percentage is tops. According to Pro Football Reference, behind Young are the Dolphins' Matt Moore at 7-6 (.538), the Chiefs' Kyle Orton at 33-33 (.500), Raiders' Carson Palmer at 48-54 (.471), the Texans' Matt Leinart at 7-10 (.412), the Colts' Curtis Painter at 0-7 (.000) while the Bears' Caleb Hanie is about to make his first-ever start.
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Though Young statistically does not measure close to those names, his performance in the fourth quarter certainly does.
In 48 career starts, Young has led seven fourth-quarter comebacks and 13 game-winning fourth-quarter drives, according to Pro Football Reference. In games in which Young played hero, he threw 17 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
In comparison to game-winning drives by the rest of the reserve quarterbacks taking the field in Week 12, Hanie and Painter have never led a game-winning drive, Leinart has led just two, Moore has three to his credit and Orton has seven.
Even the Raiders' Palmer, a former MVP candidate now playing not only as a reserve but also a quarterback-of-the-franchise's future role, has led just four more game-winning drives than Young with 17.
If Young's passer numbers do not set him apart from other No. 2 guys, his experience and charisma with the game on the line certainly do.
Meanwhile, with the rest of the league sending in question marks in the case of quarterback injuries, the Eagles enjoy the luxury of playing a proven winner.
Aside from what Young can do, what his teammates can also do around him also gives the Eagles' backup an edge. Unlike many teams trotting out their backup, Philadelphia's offense has little weakness.
The offensive line has been solid in allowing just 17 sacks this season, fifth-least in the NFL.
The Eagles' run game, surprisingly, has been the best in the league. Led by the NFL's current leading rusher LeSean McCoy, the Birds' 168 rushing yards/game are the most in the league.
Young also has one of the more talented wide receiving corps in football, led by speedster DeSean Jackson and the sure hands and crisp routes of Jeremy Maclin.
With such a complete team around him, Young is put in a position to win every time he steps on the field.
Paired with his physical and mental attributes, Young and the Eagles are a combo with the least reason to worry when the team's No. 1 can't suit up.
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