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Rating the Backup Quarterbacks – NFC Edition
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

Rating the Backup Quarterbacks – NFC Edition

Heading into the regular season, most teams feel that with the new year, comes a new opportunity to make a Super Bowl run. Every potential champion, however, is often only as good as the quarterback who leads the team. Each team is painfully aware that their starting QB is often only a play away from a season ending injury. Should something happen to the starter, a team will have to rely on their backup, whether they be a young gun, a journeyman, or an aging veteran at the end of an productive career.

In this article I try to rank each of the backup QBs, but do is based on their respective level of experience. For purposes of categorization, I have broken the backups into three groups, as mentioned above – Young Guns, Journeymen, and Veterans. I use these rather loosely as there is some overlap. But a Young Gun is generally a QB with under 3 years of experience that has potential but needs grooming. A Veteran is, as you’d expect, a QB who is in the twilight of his career as serves as an experienced second-stringer in the event the starter is hurt. The Journeyman category is a little harder to define, as it generally is a guy who has jumped around from roster to roster. However, it may also include a guy who is too old to really groom, but hasn’t had significant experience. We actually don’t have a lot of veteran QBs who have a lot of experience, so for the sake of this article, I’ve placed a few 30+ QBs in the ‘Veteran’ category who could also be described as Journeymen. No biggie.

In putting together these rankings, I’m not really looking at their actual statistics, but mostly their attributes. We’ve all seen guys who play above and below what we’d expect from their Madden numbers, but as there are no actual ‘intangible’ qualities to these computer generated field generals, I’ve focused mostly on their AWR, THP, and THA. I may take into account other factors, but these three are the ones I’m relying on mostly. So please don’t start arguing about how that guy I ranked above your guy is a scrambler and too short and all that – just sit back and enjoy the read.

One last note – I saw several teams with only 2 QBs on their roster, so that’s what I worked with. If you are about to finalize a free agent signing and it’s not represented here, well, wait for the 2015 edition.

What that, I give you the Rankings:

VETERANS
1. Derek Anderson, Rams. Unlike the AFC which has a lot of solid vets, the NFC seems focused on younger guys. Anderson is the best of the vets, would be below average as a spot starter.
2. Brodie Croyle, Cardinals. Wasn’t sure if Croyle or Parker was backing up Ponder, but either way, the Cardinals need to keep their starter healthy.
3. Charlie Whitehurst, Panthers. Similarly, either Whitehurst or Cousins is up if Barkley goes down. Not good for Bill Cowher’s job security.
4. Shaun Hill, Lions. It’s bad when your QB’s AWR is in the 70s and is better than his THP.

YOUNG GUNS
1. Colin Kaepernick, Giants. The Giants have their QB of the future and he looks like he’ll be a good one.
2. Jimmy Clausen, Packers. Clausen is the only Young Gun with 90+ THP and THA. If he gets some playing time, watch out.
3. Ricky Stanzi, Cowboys. Good awareness and accuracy, but doesn’t have an elite arm.
4. Brandon Weeden, 49ers. Weeden looked like the 49er QB of the future…for a year.
5. Kellen Moore, Eagles. The smartest of the young guns, though nobody’s quite sure what to do with his 77 THP.
6. Drew Powell, Saints. Drew Powell is like Kellen Moore light.
7. Brock Osweiler, Falcons. That 93 THP looks pretty, but the 54 AWR and 70 THA looks like a defensive back’s dream.

JOURNEYMEN
1. Brian Hoyer, Bucs. Just like AF to get the best in one of the categories.
2. Bruce Gradkowski, Redskins. At 31, doesn’t have much left on the ball, but he has decent AWR and is among the most accurate backups.
3. Max Hall, Bears. Slightly below average across the board. His career 17 TDs and 18 INTs sounds about right.
4. Hunter Cantwell, Seahawks. Not sure if the Seahawks prefer Cantwell who started a few games in SF or Grossman who is on his 4th team in 5 years. Either way, hold on!
5. Tony Pike, Vikings. Pike is the only other QB on the roster right now, so hopefully they sign someone else so they don’t have to see is 49 AWR and 80 THA in action. They *traded* for Pike?
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