Backup/Young QBs Coming to the Forefront


The picture was clear for Ken Whisenhunt and the Tennessee Titans. Mid-season was the perfect time to casually insert Zach Mettenberger under center. Jake Locker has been the prospect and he got the first crack. Whether he can play at this level or not, he is a fragile signal caller. When he went down, journeyman backup Charlie Whitehurst held the fort to transition between the two young quarterbacks. Coach Whiz is an offensive guru that works directly with QBs, so when he drafted Mettenberger in the 3rd round, this was obviously coming. Coach did the right thing by giving Locker a shot, then Whitehurst, and now he gets to play his guy for half a season.

The doors should start to open. Mike Glennon got his opportunity due to injury. Josh McCown was thought to be a viable starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, simply because he outplayed Jay Cutler in relief for the Chicago Bears a year ago. It’s not like the Bucs are are in the mix for a playoff spot, so it was only a matter of time before Glennon hit the field too. His time just happened to come sooner, but you get the feeling that things weren’t going to turn around with McCown at the helm.

It was clear that Derek Carr won the starting gig in the preseason over Matt Schaub. That is a positive situation for the Oakland Raiders, and Carr looks like he’s going to be their franchise guy. Any experience is valuable for a rookie and he is gradually taking on more of a leadership role.

Third pick in the draft, Blake Bortles, replaced Chad Henne after the Jacksonville Jaguars were getting blown out of every game. It was a good plan, yet another obvious strategy that came to fruition. With rookie linemen and receivers, and an inexperienced backfield, Bortles can lead and grow with his offensive teammates accordingly.

Teddy Bridgewater replaced the injured Matt Cassel, leap-frogging former first round pick, Christian Ponder. Bridgewater is part of a shell-shocked offense, playing without star running back, Adrian Peterson. His receivers haven’t gotten the separation needed to really evaluate Bridgewater. One thing he has going for him, he gets to learn from offensive guru, Norv Turner.

When a team struggles, they should turn to the young backup on the roster. At the very least, you get to evaluate him with the starters. He gets to prepare as the leader, and hopefully you feel confident moving forward with him like Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Something the St. Louis Rams might have found in Austin Davis. The rookie filled in for Sam Bradford, who is in a contract year, and backup Shaun Hill. Davis has played outstanding and like Carr, he will get the rest of the season to prove he should start beyond 2014. He looks like a steal.


The Washington Redskins got the answer to the question they have been waiting for, Kirk Cousins did not take advantage of extended playing time this season. Now, Colt McCoy gets the nod with Robert Griffin on the brink of returning to the lineup.

Something different occurred in Buffalo as the Bills moved on from former first round pick, E.J. Manuel. Choosing to roll with the veteran Kyle Orton has paid immediate dividends. He is getting rid of the ball and giving his teammates a chance to make plays. Manuel was holding onto the ball with indecision, and the offense was stagnant.

This is the fine line that Geno Smith is walking on in New York. Smith played half a season with Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. The team discovered Chris Ivory at running back is working out better, and the Jets trading for Percy Harvin, now has Michael Vick on deck. Smith probably has two more weeks to puts some wins on the board.

A couple other teams that could, or should, play a backup quarterback to see what he has to offer, are the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.

The Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment has resulted in a 3-4 start. Coach Bill O’ Brien has gotten a look at the veteran, who has not been capable of getting the job done. With Pro Bowler Andre Johnson and sophomore first round pick, DeAndre Hopkins, the passing game could do a lot better. O’ Brien got to work with Ryan Mallett in New England behind Tom Brady, hence why he traded for the young QB. Yes, the Texans were 2-14 last season, but before that they were a playoff team for years. There is little excuse for a Houston quarterback not to capitalize off of Arian Foster on play action.

Brian Hoyer is in a contract year. The man once behind Tom Brady, had very good starts in 2013 and 2014. Last week’s dismal performance surrendered the first win of the season to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It could have been just a setback, but it may just take one or two more of those before Johnny Manziel gets his number called.