The 53-man roster is set for the upcoming 2009 NFL season and most of the teams, I’m looking at you Cleveland, have named their starting quarterbacks. There are a number of good back-up quarterbacks waiting for their opportunity to play, who are the best back-ups? Check out the list for the top 15 back-up quarterbacks.
This list is compiled on the basis that these back-ups will do the best job this season. So the rookies that are waiting in the background that may be good in the future, wouldn’t fit in on this list. Sadly, Jeff Garcia probably would have came in pretty high on this list, but since he was cut from Oakland, he’s not on the list.
1. Matt Leinart – This list is full of guys that have had a shot at the starting job, Leinart never had much of a chance. He was very inexperienced and the offense that Arizona was running, suited Kurt Warner more than Leinart. If Warner goes down, Leinart can do a very good job and keep the Cardinals in the playoff hunt.
2. Daunte Culpepper – He came into camp looking very good and trimmed down a lot of his extra weight. Unfortunately for him, the city of Detroit wants to move forward and named Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback. Culpepper looked to have finally rebounded from his injuries and could still end up seeing some time behind center this year.
3. Billy Volek – He hasn’t had a shot at the starting gig since he has been in San Diego, but he definitely has an arm. He put up some staggering numbers when he was with the Titans and could repeat those numbers with Chris Chambers at wide receiver. He is a quality back-up, but Phillip Rivers is a Pro-Bowler and the future of the franchise.
4. Derek Anderson – It looks like Brady Quinn will be the starter in Cleveland, but if Anderson wins the job, add in Quinn at this spot. Anderson had a very productive season a few years back, but has yet to win over the coaching staff in Cleveland. He could end up seeing some time this year, but would probably fair better if he ends up on another team.
5. Vince Young – He was the toast of the town during his rookie season, but one tough loss and a night of questionable behavior has made the city worry about his long-term future. He has played well in the pre-season and he should still end up as the starter if Collins goes down or when he retires. He may not have the best arm, but he can make things happen in the offense.
6. Sage Rosenfels – If you forget about the game against Indianapolis last season, he filled in very well for the Houston Texans. The Vikings signed him to a pricey contract for a back-up, as he did show signs of excellence over the past few years. He can pass the ball well and is a model professional as a back-up. If ends up a starter at some point, he can do a good job.
7. Tyler Thigpen – Kansas City was scrambling for a quarterback last season and Thigpen did an admirable job, considering the circumstances. He helped the Chiefs be able to be competitive and had a few highlight reel passes. If Cassel’s injury nags him this year, they’ll be okay, but not great.
8. Troy Smith – He was the starting quarterback going into the regular season last year, but he fell sick and lost weight. Joe Flacco ended up having a great rookie season and Smith is an after-thought. He was a great college quarterback and he can help a team with his legs and arm. Flacco is a better option, but Smith can play the position.
9. Michael Vick – I am rating him this low because he hasn’t played football in a few seasons. He has a great upside, but at this point, he probably belongs at this spot. He will see some action at quarterback this year, but mostly in the wildcat offense. He is currently the #3 quarterback, since Kevin Kolb is the second-string, so Vick would have to leapfrog him to take over as the starter, in case of an injury.
10. Chris Simms – Denver has a lot of problems and Simms seems lost in all of the drama. He can play in this league and if he gets a shot, he could excel. If Josh McDaniels can get maximum effort out of Matt Cassel, there is a chance that he can make Simms into something special.
11. Tarvaris Jackson – After his play this off-season, if Minnesota didn’t sign Brett Favre, he may have ended up with the starting job. He looked like a starter the last few games, but with the large contract that Rosenfels received, he needs to play to earn that deal. Jackson looked like the odd man out around the 53-man roster cuts, but they cut John David Booty. Jackson is a good player, but may not receive a shot.
12. Jon Kitna – He has been a starter in this league for years, even if the last few seasons he played in Detroit. He is now the back-up in Dallas and has a relationship with Roy Williams. If Romo goes down, he can play, but would definitely take a step back in the standings.
13. David Carr – It’s amazing that he’s still able to walk after the punishment that he received when he was in Houston. He was sacked nearly every other snap and now he’s the back-up for Eli Manning. He has never showed that he can be a starter in this league and the jury is still out if he can handle the pressure and I believe that he has permanent happy feet.
14. Charlie Batch – Ben Roethlisberger is always banged up and Batch seems to see more random time than most back-ups in this league. He has been with the Steelers for a few years and has always done a decent job when needed. They are a run-first team, which helps when he is in there. He is getting up there in age and I’m not sure if he can still handle it like he has in year’s past.
15. Mark Brunell – Speaking of quarterbacks that are getting up their in age, Brunell is the poster child. He was once a back-up for Brett Favre and turned himself into a great starter for Jacksonville. He went to Washington and had minimal success and now finds himself as the back-up in New Orleans. If you are a Saints fan, please pray that Drew Brees stays healthy or it could be a long season. They rely on the pass so much that Brunell wouldn’t be a great fit in their offense.