Backup Veteran Quarterbacks

By Zack Cimini
(Article was written in mid July)

All around the NFL this year you?ll see different quarterbacks starting for a team. Who knows if they can produce, or stay away from injuries. Except for a couple of quarterbacks, almost everyone goes down at some point during the season. That?s why the majority of NFL teams have solid backup quarterbacks. Plenty of the backups are quarterbacks that started most of their careers. Now they?re old, and helping out the young starting quarterbacks. Others are quarterbacks that showed promise early in their career, but have been inconsistent. All of these quarterbacks we?ll be ready to come in and steal their starting position back. If you think a quarterback enjoys being a backup you?re wrong. All that talk Drew Bledsoe said when he backed up Tom Brady during the Patriots Super Bowl year was garbage. No quarterback supports the starter, and that?s why he went to Buffalo and turned his career around. Take a look at these quarterbacks, you?ll probably find yourself picking up one of them during the season.

Doug Flutie, San Diego:

We all know Flutie?s story. He had a couple of solid years in Buffalo, and was even a Pro Bowl quarterback. His size has always been a big problem, and he eventually lost his job in Buffalo to Rob Johnson. The Bills made a big mistake in that decision, but at least they made up for it by bringing in Drew Bledsoe. Then Flutie came to San Diego as a starter, but he knew it wouldn?t be for long when Drew Brees was brought in. Last season Brees proved he was the better quarterback, and will be the leader for this team for many years. The way Flutie?s career has gone, I don?t expect him to just fade off as a 40 year old backup quarterback. That?ll likely happen though, if Brees stays healthy.

Steve Beuerlein, Denver:

Here is a quarterback that has bounced from starter to backup his whole career. Through it all though he comes prepared and ready to play. He was very successful in Carolina, and it?s surprising that he still isn?t there. Rodney Peete is a sack away from his career ending. Beuerlein knows the system very well in Denver, and replaced Brian Griese last year when he struggled. Jake Plummer has struggled his entire career, and if he can?t produce with the talent he has Beuerlein will step in. Mike Shanahan has no patience for his quarterbacks.

Chris Chandler, Chicago:

Here is another quarterback that has stayed in the NFL over ten years. I don?t think another quarterback in the NFL has taken a beating like Chandler has. He doesn?t let it bother him though, and just goes on to another team. His most successful season had to have been when he led Atlanta to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately that success ended, and he eventually lost his job in Atlanta. Kordell Stewart has struggled as a quarterback every year, so expect Chandler to get in some games.

Brian Griese, Miami:

Griese doesn?t have ten years under his belt, but he is considered a veteran. He came in after John Elway, and learned a lot from Mike Shanahan. Jay Fiedler has been injury prone throughout his career. If it happens this year, he might not step on the field again as a starter. Fiedler doesn?t scare defenses, even with Ricky Williams as his running back. The Dolphins know that if they are going to win the Super Bowl the time is now. Griese could become the next quarterback to leave a team and win a Super Bowl, like Brad Johnson.

Gus Frerotte, Minnesota:

Ever since Frerotte slammed his head into the wall, he has been a backup. Daunte Culpepper is a strong quarterback that never gets hurt. His style of play could change that in a hurry. His always taking on defenders, and that turf he plays on doesn?t help. Frerotte is a pocket passer, and could put up numbers with Randy Moss out there.

Vinny Testaverde, New York Jets:

Testaverde?s career has gone up and down like a roller coaster. Up until his losing streak at the beginning of last season, it looked like he would finish his career as a starter. Now he is a mentor for Chad Pennington. Who knows what the reason for Testaverde?s early season slump was. Regardless he is a proven quarterback and knows how to play the game. He has ran this offense for many years, and wouldn?t miss a beat if he had to play a game or two.

Rob Johnson, Washington:

Here is a quarterback that has done nothing with his career. Besides a solid playoff game against Tennessee a few years ago, his career has been horrible. He has had numerous opportunities to be a starter. This year he will backup Patrick Ramsey. Johnson should expect playing time though, with the way Spurrier threw in quarterbacks last season. Johnson has the arm to play the game, he is just missing the mental part. Maybe in Spurrier?s fast paced throwing offense Johnson will succeed.

Trent Dilfer, Seattle:

Many people still can?t believe Dilfer won a Super Bowl a few years ago. They could have had Akili Smith as quarterback and still won the Super Bowl. In fact many people say he is the worst quarterback to have ever won a ring. The ring he has can?t be taken away, no matter how the rest of his career goes. He has accomplished what a lot of quarterbacks haven?t. Dilfer has seen playing time as a Seahawk, but it looks like Holmgren is finally settled on Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck finally showed some promise last season. Out of all the veteran quarterbacks, Dilfer is probably in the worse situation. He will only receive playing time if Hasselbeck goes down.

Shaun King, Tampa Bay:

Wasn?t it just a few seasons ago that King almost led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl? Yes, that?s how fast a quarterback?s career can change if he doesn?t produce. Just imagine how he must have felt last year when they did win it. After that year he became inconsistent and eventually was buried on their roster. With Rob Johnson gone, he is now the backup. With the season Brad Johnson had last year, it could be awhile before King steps in. Even if he does, he has to show that he has matured as a quarterback.

Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh:

Batch has always had tremendous potential, but like Jake Plummer he can?t stay away from interceptions. He is at the point in his career where he can change it around, or be out of the NFL. Tommy Maddox was injured twice last year, and Batch seems like he?d be the better quarterback anyways. Pittsburgh is loaded with talent, and Batch should be the future of this team. There was definitely a big reason why Bill Cowher found a different backup quarterback besides Kordell Stewart.


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