Power Ranking All 32 NFL Backup Quarterbacks
It always helps to have a good backup.
Case in point: The New England Patriots.
When Drew Bledsoe was with the team, there was the young Tom Brady waiting in the wings.
When Tom Brady took his place, Matt Cassel was waiting.
When Cassel got his chance in the 2008-2009 season, the Patriots went so far as to place the franchise tag on him after all was said and done.
Kerry Collins has been around for ages. He now resides with the Tennessee Titans, his fifth team in his 16 years in the league.
You'd be astonished at the number of quarterbacks on this list that you could reasonably be comfortable giving the game to. There's not very many, I'll tell ya that.
So, without further ado, here are the top 32 backups (one from each team) in the NFL.
Keep in mind, this is as of this season.
32. John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals
It's hard to tell who the No. 2 quarterback is on this team.
Max Hall went down with injury, giving way to Skelton.
But Hall had one touchdown and six interceptions in six games before getting injured.
Is he really the No. 2?
Either way, the Cardinals' backups are bad.
In his three games taking over, Skelton has completed 46.1 percent of his passes, with no touchdowns and an interception.
31. Chase Daniel, New Orleans Saints
Hard to rank a player very high when the only action he's gotten in the NFL is a 16-yard run.
Daniel hasn't thrown a pass in his NFL career, yet he's gotten sacked.
30. Jordan Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals
The younger brother of Carson Palmer, I have a theory that the only reason Jordan Palmer got in the league is because of his brother.
Drafted in the sixth round in 2007, Jordan has attempted only 15 passes in his NFL career. He's thrown two interceptions in these 15 passes.
But he completed three of three passes this year!
29. Brian Brohm, Buffalo Bills
Drafted in 2008, Brohm has only had 29 attempts in his two years in the league, with two interceptions.
He's had zero attempts this year.
He wasn't able to beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick this season when Trent Edwards was sent away.
28. Curtis Painter, Indianapolis Colts
Curtis Painter probably could have painted a better picture than being drafted by the Colts and having to languish behind Peyton Manning.
But he's probably happy to be drafted at all after being selected in the sixth round.
Considering he only completed eight of 28 passes last season with two interceptions, he's probably even more happy that he somehow has a job.
27. Brian Hoyer, New England Patriots
The next Tom Brady or Matt Cassel?
I'm not betting on it.
Hoyer went undrafted out of college and has only 29 attempts in his career.
He had two attempts this season. One resulted in an interception.
26. Charlie Whitehurst, Seattle Seahawks
Drafted out of Clemson in the third round, Charlie Whitehurst has a cool name. He has a cool beard.
But he does not have a cool game.
He completed just 53.3 percent of his 45 attempts this season, with one touchdown and three interceptions.
It can't help that he's on the Seahawks.
25. Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers
"Promoted" when Matt Moore went down with injury this year, Jimmy Clausen, a second-round pick this year, hasn't done much to win the job over.
He's completed just over 50 percent of his passes, and has two touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games.
He doesn't appear to be getting any better either.
24. A.J. Feeley, St. Louis Rams
A.J. Feeley hasn't played in game since the 2007-2008 season.
The only season he got a real shot (with Miami in 2004), he threw 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
Doesn't really inspire confidence.
23. Todd Collins, Chicago Bears
You know Tom Collins Mix?
Well, Todd Collins Mix is not the same.
While Tom Collins Mix can lead to giddiness and a smile, mixing Todd Collins into the starting lineup only leads to depression (and too much drinking of Tom Collins Mix).
Todd Collins has never really done anything since his rookie season of 1995-1996, but somehow he still stays in the league as a backup.
This year, he's thrown zero touchdowns to five interceptions in relief of Jay Cutler.
22. Josh Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Johnson had his shot last year with the Bucs.
It led to four touchdowns and eight interceptions in six games and a 3-13 record.
Good thing the Bucs have Josh Freeman.
21. Trent Edwards, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trent Edwards has never really had a good year, even as a starter for the Buffalo Bills.
After throwing one touchdown to two interceptions in two games for the Bills this season, he was sent packing in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
He proceeded to throw zero touchdowns and two interceptions in two games for the Jaguars.
20. Dan Orlovsky, Houston Texans
I actually think Orlovsky has a little talent, and he's not a bad backup.
In the 2008-2009 season, he threw eight touchdowns to eight interceptions in 10 games for the Detroit Lions.
Unfortunately, he hasn't seen the light of day with Matt Schaub at the helm for the Texans.
The Texans also have Matt Leinart on the bench, if he ever shows up again. He's currently the inactive third-string QB but the Texans coaches reportedly like him.
19. Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns
With Colt McCoy taking the reins again in Cleveland, I think it's safe to say Delhomme's REIGN is over.
Once a decent starter, Delhomme has just not been the same since he lost receiver Steve Smith of Carolina.
He's thrown just 10 touchdowns to 25 interceptions in his 16 games with the Browns the last two years.
18. Mark Brunell, New York Jets
Once a star with the Jacksonville Jaguars (and for a season with Washington), Mark Brunell is just really, really old now.
He turned 40 in September and as good as it must feel to have a veteran presence behind Mark Sanchez, it's only a matter of time before this clock ticks its last tock.
17. Troy Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Who's the starting QB, Alex Smith or Troy Smith?
I can't even tell anymore.
But Troy has started less games (five), so I'm gonna say he's the No. 2 QB.
In his five games starting with the Niners this season, Troy has thrown four touchdowns to three interceptions, and has 18 rushes for 93 yards and a TD.
He also led the 5-9 Niners to a 3-2 record when he was starting.
16. Marc Bulger, Baltimore Ravens
The two-time Pro Bowler and former Rams QB, Marc Bulger used to be a pretty good quarterback.
But age has caught up to him.
He hasn't thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season since 2006-2007, and he hasn't played at all for the Ravens in the 2010 regular season.
15. Sage Rosenfels, New York Giants
Formerly a backup/starter for the Houston Texans, Sage Rosenfels isn't a bad backup to have behind Eli Manning.
He threw 15 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in just nine games with the Texans in 2007-2008.
14. Chris Redman, Atlanta Falcons
Chris Redman hasn't had many chances to shine while with the Atlanta Falcons, but when he's been given the chance he's delivered.
In 20 games dating back to the 2002-2003 season, Redman has thrown 21 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
I still don't think he's going to get many chances with Matt Ryan at the helm this season.
13. Kyle Boller, Oakland Raiders
The former Baltimore Ravens starter, Kyle Boller hasn't done much the last four years, but he still has some talent and I would trust him more than some of the other quarterbacks on this list.
12. Billy Volek, San Diego Chargers
The only chance Volek hasn't ever gotten to prove himself for an extended period of time was in the 2004-2005 season with the Tennessee Titans.
He threw 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 10 games.
He's a solid veteran to have on a team, and he still probably has some good years left in him.
11. Brodie Croyle, Kansas City Chiefs
Brodie Croyle's still fairly young (he was drafted in 2006), and he's shown some sparks of what he can do on the field.
If he continues to mature under the guidance of Matt Cassel and the Chiefs, I could see him break through somewhere.
10. Tyler Thigpen, Miami Dolphins
Tyler Thigpen hasn't done much to gain the Dolphins' trust this season, but given the year he had in Kansas City just two years back (18 TDs, 12 interceptions), he still has talent and is a decent backup to have.
But making him a starter for good doesn't seem to be in the cards.
9. Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers
Byron Leftwich is trustworthy. That's one of the highest compliments you can give a backup QB.
He rarely throws interceptions, and although he may not be too flashy, there's a reason he stuck around so long with the Jacksonville Jaguars and is now a backup on the Steelers: He keeps you in the game.
8. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings
Will Tarvaris Jackson ever get his chance?
Being a dual-threat, he has the susceptibility to get injured, and Brett Favre will have to get dragged off the field before he ever retires.
But, for the moment, Jackson isn't a bad backup, and has the athleticism to make things happen when there's nothing there.
He's thrown 24 touchdowns to 22 interceptions in career thus far.
7. Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
Can you honestly doubt Matt Flynn's ability with the way he took over for the injured Aaron Rodgers last game against the Patriots.
He threw for 251 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and came close to beating the vaunted Patriots in a 31-27 nail-biter.
I think it's safe to say Flynn proved himself in Week 15.
6. Shaun Hill, Detroit Lions
Still only 30 years old, Shaun Hill plays like a veteran, and has the ability to put up big points as well.
With a defense like the Lions have, that's invaluable.
Whenever you sleep on Hill, he always seems to surprise you.
5. Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles
There's no question Kevin Kolb has the talent to start.
If it only wasn't for that Michael Vick guy...
Despite being a backup, Kevin Kolb could start for most teams.
4. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans
"The Ageless Backup."
Despite being in his 16th season, Kerry Collins took over for Vince Young this season and proceeded to throw 10 touchdowns to six interceptions in eight games.
Regardless of the team's situation, Collins always is a consistent producer
3. Jon Kitna, Dallas Cowboys
Have you SEEN what the Cowboys have done under Kitna's control?
In eight games since taking over, Kitna has thrown for 13 touchdowns.
He's also been a catalyst for the Cowboys resurgence in the second half of the season.
Like Collins and Hill, Kitna's that veteran who still has plenty left in the tank.
2. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins
After his demotion for the likes of Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb is officially the backup in Washington.
Any other year, if McNabb was the backup he'd be No. 1 on this list.
But he's thrown 14 touchdowns to 15 interceptions this season, and clearly hasn't been the same player.
To say he's struggled would be an understatement.
1. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos
Despite the great season Orton has had this year, the Broncos appear ready to hand over the reins to Tim Tebow for good this season and see how he progresses.
Orton threw 20 touchdowns to just nine interceptions this season and was the only bright spot in an awful season for Denver before sustaining a rib injury.
Now as the backup, he deserves the No. 1 spot.