NFL AM: Backup Playoff QB’s Pitiful On Sunday


Bad Day For Backups

It was going to be a tall task for either the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders to make an extended playoff run.  The Dolphins and Raiders are without starting quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr respectively, while the Texans made a quarterback switch a few weeks ago to Tom Savage, who now has all of two career starts.

We had another look at the fill-ins for each team on Sunday and the results were less than impressive.

Oakland had the most on the line with their matchup with the Denver Broncos on Sunday as a win would secure their first AFC West title since 2002 and the subsequent No. 2 seed in the AFC which comes with a first-round bye.  Instead of winning or even playing a competitive game, the Raiders were blown out by a Broncos team with nothing to play for, 24-6.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Oakland lost backup turned starter Matt McGloin to a shoulder injury in the first half and rookie Connor Cook had to come in and relieve him.  McGloin struggled mightily prior to his injury as he completed just six of 11 throws, for 21 yards.  Cook wasn’t much better, although he did navigate the team to their only score.

“He has a shoulder injury,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said of McGloin. “He couldn’t come back so [QB] Connor [Cook] went in. I thought there were some positives with Connor’s possession. There were some mistakes with the ball security, but I thought Cook did a pretty good job for being thrown in there. I don’t have a sense of McGloin’s availability for next week. At this point, I don’t have an answer for that. We’ll be back and regroup tomorrow, and look at everybody and see where they are and make a determination from then. It’s his left shoulder.”

Oakland will travel to Houston to play the Texans, and at this point, we don’t know exactly who their quarterback is going to be.

Texans quarterback Tom Savage was forced to leave the team’s 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans as he was placed into concussion protocol.  While he was in, Savage fumbled which was recovered for a touchdown and completed just five of eight throws, for 25 yards.

The man who Savage replaced, Brock Osweiler, replaced Savage and was his usual inconsistent self. Although he didn’t have a turnover, Osweiler completed just 21 of his 40 throws, for 253 yards and a touchdown.

“He did a good job,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said of Osweiler.  “He did a good job for the team, unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out.”

As usual, O’Brien didn’t give any clue to who would be starting their playoff game next weekend.

“We’ll talk about that with the staff,” he said. “I don’t know.

“Injuries happen, it’s a contact sport.  I haven’t talked to any of the doctors and we’ll find out about them tomorrow.”

The one thing that we do know is that either Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, Matt McGloin or Connor Cook will be a starting quarterback in a divisional round playoff game.  Chew on that for a while.

It’s somewhat understood that the Miami Dolphins are in the best shape of the three teams with their backup-turned-starter situation, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be heavy underdogs next week at Pittsburgh.

Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore was the only one of the backups to get through his game healthy, but he couldn’t move the offense much early on in the team’s 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots.  Moore wasn’t atrocious, as he as 24 of 34, for 205 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, but Miami was down 20-0 early and were not really in the game for more than a few minutes.

“We just need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” offensive tackle Branden Albert said. “That was the main thing we did today. We turned the ball over. You can’t do that against that team. Everybody knew that. Now we’re going to the playoffs. Everybody needs to focus and if we lose another game, we’re out for good, for the rest of the season. So we need to focus on what we need to focus on, a lot of small things. We can’t beat ourselves.”

Miami is going to be a significant underdog against the Steelers, a team they beat at full strength in the regular season.  They would be even with Tannehill, and without him, they’re going to need a career day out of Moore, and there’s a reason why he’s a backup.

Chargers Let Go Of Mike McCoy

The San Diego Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and after the game dismissed head coach Mike McCoy.

“Mike McCoy is a man of high character, and we thank him for his dedication to the Chargers,” said Chargers President – Football Operations John Spanos.  “The decision to dismiss Mike was made in the best interests of our franchise.  Our team’s disappointing performance has not matched this team’s potential and has fallen short of the demanding standards that we seek to impose throughout our organization.  Our comprehensive search for a new head coach begins immediately.”

“I want to thank Mike for his tireless work and commitment to this organization,” said General Manager Tom Telesco.  “He instilled a culture of work ethic and togetherness that we can build on for years to come.”

McCoy is an excellent X’s and O’s coach who ran into horrific injury luck over the past two years as he finished 4-12 and 5-11 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.  Over his three-year career in San Diego, he compiled a record of 28-38 (.424), including 1-1 in the postseason (2014).

He never really had a chance this season as the Chargers lost several starters to injury and still had his team competitive just about every week.  He might not be a candidate for any of the open jobs this year, but he will be a hot name as a potential coordinator hire.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.