Ranking the NFL’s 12 best backup quarterbacks
Finding a reliable backup quarterback has proven to be a daunting task for a lot of NFL teams. It’s not easy to track down a quarterback who will be a team player in spite of sporadic playing time, can get loose in a heartbeat and fits the offensive scheme implemented for the starter.
Some teams are in much better shape that others when it comes to the No. 2 QB. So, which backups provide the most secure safety net?
For our purposes here the 2013 rookie QB class has been separated — in an earlier Audibles post, in which we delved further into their individual situations. Sans guys like Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel, Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson, here are the top 12 backup quarterbacks in football, entering the 2013 season:
12. Colt McCoy, San Francisco 49ers: That notion of fitting the offensive scheme mentioned above? McCoy landed in just such a situation when he signed with the 49ers this offseason. Replacing Alex Smith as Colin Kaepernick’s backup, the athletic McCoy could buy San Francisco a little time if Kaepernick’s banged up at any point in 2013. There’s also still potential here — McCoy is 25 and in only his fourth NFL season.
Oh, and for the record: No. 13 on the list of best backups was Philadelphia’s Nick Foles, just outside the official “rankings” here.
11. T.J. Yates, Houston Texans: Yates proved his mettle when pressed into duty late in the 2011 season, as a rookie. Of course, he fired three interceptions in a playoff loss at Baltimore that year, but his 61-percent completion rate in five starts and a relief appearance was impressive. The Texans could win some ballgames if Yates had to fill in for Matt Schaub, at least in a short stretch.
10. Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots/Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos: Grouping these two together, because they’re both tall (Mallett’s 6-foot-6, Osweiler 6-7), strong-armed QBs stuck behind legends — Tom Brady in New England and Peyton Manning in Denver. Some people are really high on Mallett, despite the fact that he’s never thrown a regular-season pass. Maybe he should be higher, but any attempt to assess either of these guys is speculative.