Connect with us
Home » news » ranking the backup quarterbacks in the nfl


Ranking the Backup Quarterbacks in the NFL

QB is the most important position in sports. What happens if your team’s QB goes down? We rank the backups.

John Owning



The NFL is a quarterback’s league as the success of each NFL team largely depends on how well their starting quarterback plays. However, we always see a couple starting quarterbacks go down with injuries, which then put a ton of pressure on the backup quarterback.

Typically, the job of the backup quarterback is to not mess things up. It is rare to have a backup that can come out and put the team on his back to win a stretch of games. Usually, they are asked to not turn the ball over and be safe with the ball.

Some teams are better off than others, but the fact remains that no team wants their starter to go down. With that in mind, let’s rank the NFL’s backup quarterbacks.

1. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Glennon has been hampered by a Buccaneers team that is devoid of talent, but he still has the talent to go out and win games for his team. He’s better than some team’s starting quarterbacks and he might find a starting job once his contract is up.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

Fitzpatrick may be a better quarterback than Geno Smith, but there is no way he will start this season. Fitzpatrick has shown the ability to put up some big numbers and he can help his team get through a few games.

3. Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots

We haven’t seen much of Garoppolo, but what he has shown has been encouraging. Garoppolo has the talent to develop into a very good starter down the road and we may see a glimpse of that if Brady’s suspension holds up.

4. Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles

Mark Sanchez is helped a ton by Chip Kelly’s scheme, but he proved that he can beat good teams with his arm. Sanchez’s biggest question mark is that he makes too many ill-advised mistakes. If he could routinely make better decisions he would be the perfect backup quarterback.

5. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos

A lot of people may think that this is too high, but Osweiler’s talent have the Denver Broncos’ coaching staff very excited for the future. He has shown that he has a big arm and that he can make all the throws. Thone biggest question is whether he can sustain it for a lengthy period of time.

6. Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts

Matt Hasselbeck is the perfect veteran backup quarterback in the twilight of his career. He knows how to handle any situation and he can be more than capable of taking over for a game or two in the case of injury to the starter.

7. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans

Zach Mettenberger has been up and down during his short career, but he has the talent to be very good in spot duty. He isn’t a quarterback that you have to shrink the playbook for, which most teams would want in a backup quarterback.

8. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel can really go anywhere on this list. He has the ability to be a great quarterback, you don’t know how prepared he will be on Sunday, which makes him hard to trust as a backup.

9. Ryan Mallet, Houston Texans

Ryan Mallet is in the midst of a quarterback competition with Brian Hoyer, but it appears as though he is slightly behind. Mallet has a big arm to stretch the defenses in case they load up against the run.

10. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Just like with Sanchez, Kirk Cousins would be a perfect backup if he could learn to stop throwing the ball to the other team. Cousins has good pocket presence and he can make some incredible throws when he is on his game.

11. Tavaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks

Tavaris Jackson is the perfect backup for Russell Wilson. He can still run the read-option and he has the ability to make timely throws outside the pocket. Jackson is not a great backup, but he is more than capable of making some plays off the bench.

12. Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers

Derek Anderson has shown that he can be a productive quarterback when asked. He isn’t going to make any big mistakes and he will won’t be the reason his team loses.

13. Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins

Matt Moore is the type of quarterback that you won’t win because, but that you can win with. he is going to be smart with the football and not turn the ball over. He’s not going to light up the scoreboard, but he can string together some wins if his defense plays well.

14. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars

Chad Henne wasn’t a good starter for the Jaguars, but he showed that he could put up some good numbers in the right situations. You can do much worse than Henne as a backup for your team.

15. Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals

Drew Stanton is another quarterback who won’t win the game for you, but he won’t be the reason you lose, which is perfect with the defense the Cardinals have.

 16. Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams

Austin Davis started well in his stretch as a starter last year, but he really faded once teams were able to discover his tendencies. He is a decent option in spot duty.

17. Kellen Moore, Detroit Lions

It is a toss-up as to whether Kellen Moore or Dan Orlovsky will win the backup job in Detroit. Moore has a noodle arm, but he is very accurate in the short and intermediate games and he doesn’t make mistakes.

18. Chase Daniel, Kansas City Chiefs

Chase Daniel looks like a potential starter at times and looks like a potential starter in the CFL at other times. What he does have is great pocket presence and he’s not afraid to make any throw.

19. Shaun Hill, Minnesota Vikings

Shaun Hill has proven that he is not a capable starter in the NFL, but he can keep the ship afloat for a few quarters if he is asked. He doesn’t stretch the field enough and a team would have to have a great running game for him to have much production.

20. Kellen Clemens, San Diego Chargers

Kellen Clemens is a journeyman quarterback who hasn’t been able to stick on a team for very long. If he has time he can make some nice throws, but if you put any pressure in his face, he is rendered useless.

21. Christian Ponder, Oakland Raiders

Christian Ponder was once thought to be a very good young quarterback, but his inability to develop and work better in a muddy pocket have destroyed any potential he had.

22. Matt Cassel, Buffalo Bills

The Bills’ quarterback situation is a huge mess and it is anyone’s guess as to who will win the job. Outside of his one season as a starter in New England and one good year in Kansas City, Cassel has struggled mightily when he is asked to play.

23. Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers

Scott Tolzien may not be the backup in Green Bay for long, with Brett Hundley waiting in the wings, but his experience gives him the nod for now. He was extremely poor in 2013, but Mike McCarthy has said that he has improved.

24. T.J Yates, Atlanta Falcons

T.J. Yates is a very smart quarterback who doesn’t like to stretch the field. It is hard to move the ball when your quarterback struggles with accuracy after 10 yards.

25. Bruce Gradkowski, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bruce Gradkowski has been a backup quarterback for his entire career and he hasn’t done a terrible job. He isn’t flashy, but he can manage the team to a win behind a strong running game.

26. A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals

Some really liked McCarron before the draft, but he hasn’t shown anything noteworthy in his limited time. He can stretch the field, but he makes too many mistakes and struggles with accuracy too much to be trusted.

27. Ryan Nassib, New York Giants

Another player who some really liked before he was drafted, but hasn’t shown anything that should give anyone any confidence in his ability to win a game. The Giants are in huge trouble if Nassib takes any meaningful snaps.

28. Luke McCown, New Orleans Saints

Luke McCown is a shaky backup at best. He doesn’t do many things well and his team will need everyone to elevate their play if they hope to win when he is in the game.

29. Brandon Weeden, Dallas Cowboys

Brandon Weeden proved that he isn’t a capable backup last year with the Cowboys. He had one of the most talented offenses in the NFL, but he failed to take advantage of the multitude of opportunities he had.

30. Matt Schaub, Baltimore Ravens

At one time, Schaub was a very good quarterback, but his arm and confidence look to be done now. He struggles to move the ball at all and he really handcuffs his offense.

31. Jimmy Clausen, Chicago Bears

Jimmy Clausen was a very good college quarterback, but he has been below average at best in the NFL. He doesn’t do much well and he makes it hard for his team to get a win.

32. Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers

There is no nice way to put it, Blaine Gabbert is an awful quarterback. He struggles mightily in preseason against players who will never play in the NFL.  He’s not someone who should ever see meaningful time in the NFL.

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Buccaneers admit mistake, boot Aguayo




In the NFL, it’s always better to admit a mistake than to compound it. For the Buccaneers, the decision to burn a 2016 second-round pick on kicker Robert Aguayo has proven to be a mistake. The Buccaneers made the definitive admission of their error on Saturday, cutting Aguayo. He exits with $428,000 in fully-guaranteed salary [more]

Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk

Powered by WPeMatico

Continue Reading


Did Bucs put too much pressure on Aguayo?




After the Buccaneers surprised everyone by taking a kicker with the 59th overall pick in the draft, G.M. Jason Licht explained the move by heaping superlatives on the player. “I was very excited along with my staff and coaches about Roberto for a very long time,” Licht told PFT Live in May 2016. “It’s not [more]

Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk

Powered by WPeMatico

Continue Reading


Broncos holding their breath on Derek Wolfe




Only two days after losing Billy Winn for the year with a torn ACL, the Broncos are now sweating out another potentially serious injury along the defensive line. Via multiple reports, Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe was carted off the field during practice on Saturday. It’s being described as a right ankle injury by coach [more]

Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk

Powered by WPeMatico

Continue Reading

The NFL On Twitter

Insiders On Facebook

Trending Now

Copyright © 2021 Insider Sports, Inc