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Backup QB Rankings: Which team has the best back-up quarterback in the NFL?

Andy Dalton back-up qb
Is Andy Dalton of the Dallas Cowboys the best backup QB in the National Football League?

By: Josh Shippen, Sid Kalyani

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  1.  Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton is the embodiment of a quarterback that plays as well as his surrounding talent, and boy does Dalton have some great surrounding talent in Dallas. Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Ceedee Lamb will be a great trio for Dalton to work with, including an All-Pro running back in Ezekiel Elliot.

  1.  Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota was once looked at as the franchise QB for the Titans, now he is the backup to Derek Carr, who is looking like a MVP candidate. Even if Carr goes down, I believe that Mariota will be able to hold the fort on his own given how much talent he has.

  1. Jameis Winston

Winston is not known for his startling accuracy, being the first quarterback to enter the 30-30 club (over 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions), but Winston has a really good arm, his mistakes have to do with decision making. With coaching, Winston can be a very solid QB for a team, maybe not a 16 game starter, but if you needed him for 5 games he could keep your season alive.

  1. Mitch Trubisky

Every Bears fan is out there wondering what would happen if they drafted Patrick Mahomes, or Deshawn Watson, or anyone else, but all they can do is sit back and look at Trubisky. He had one good year, which was the year Khalil Mack came to Chicago, so he has proven that he can play well.

  1. Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa had a pretty big fall from grace going into 2021, due to the fact that he suffered a startling injury that kept him out for the remainder of his college season, and kept him out of the combine. That being said, Tua has the most potential out of anybody who came out of the 2020 draft. Tua should be put in as soon as possible, and I personally cannot wait to see him play

  1. Tyrod Taylor

I feel terrible about Tyrod Taylor. The man shouldn’t even be on this list, if it weren’t for that Chargers doctor that punctured his lungs, and now that Herbert is playing like a ROY candidate, Taylor will have to work extra hard to get his starting spot back. Taylor did show signs of hope for the Chargers organization, so we will have to see who is the starter once Taylor is healthy. 

  1. Case Keenum

Case Keenum probably should’ve stayed in Minneapolis. His one good season was with the Vikings, and he led the Vikings to the Conference Championship. Having this on bis resume shows that Keenum can ball out, but he needs to have the right coach and players around him to succeed.

  1. Jacoby Brissett

The Indianapolis Colts love Brissett the person, but have not gotten behind Brissett the player for whatever reason. Brissett honestly is not all that bad, he’s got decent athleticism, he’s a semi accurate passer, he’s pretty much exactly what you should look for in a backup quarterback 

  1. Nick Mullens

Now with Jimmy G playing bad, it’s now time for the Nick Mullens show in San Francisco. Mullens showed sparks of growth when Garoppolo was out with his ACL injury, but he seems to be having trouble now. I don’t think 49er fans should be worried about this just yet, but it is something to look at as the season gets on. 

  1. Dwayne Haskins

Haskins is a bust, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is the worst QB ever. Haskins has shown in moments that he shows flashes of being more than mediocre. However they are just flashes, and Haskins probably will not be making any progress on a Washington team that is not going anywhere.

  1. Robert Griffin lll

Does anyone remember when RG3 was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for a year. Yeah that was really cool. Now he’s an above average backup, how sad. Lamar is not going to be benched anytime soon, reigning MVP’s often don’t, and nobody is going to adopt Griffin as a long term starter, given a mix of personality and injury issues.

  1. Joe Flacco

Flacco looks like he has 10 pound weights on his cleats when he moves, but that’s neither here nor there. Flacco certainly had a fall from grace after being ousted out of the starting spot in Baltimore by Lamar Jackson. Flacco no longer brings a spark as a starter, but having him as your backup is certainly not the worst you can do.

  1. Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer was definitely not the answer against the Chiefs. The playbook was designed for Cam Newton, and Hoyer is nowhere close to Newton. If Cam doesn’t come back soon, then I believe that Hoyer will be benched for Stidham. Hoyer needs to play better if he doesn’t want to be benched.

  1. Matt Schaub

Schaub has been re-signed over and over again by the Atlanta Falcons, and I am 100% convinced that he has to be a great locker room presence because he’s just not all that special on the field aymore. It is fair to point out that he did throw for over 400 yards in his only start in 2020.

  1. Chase Daniel

Chase Daniel came in and out for injured QB Mitch Trubisky on the Bears. Now on the Lions, it is perfectly possible he lands himself a few starts with Stafford’s injury concerns last year. Daniel has been a very average backup, sometimes he has even been speculated to make the leap at QB. At this point in Daniel’s veteran career, that seems unlikely

  1. Brett Rypien

The story of the Broncos QB carousel continues with the newest addition, Brent Rypien. Now that Drew Lock is feeling better, there might be a chance for him to start over Rypien, but I don’t see that happening. Rypien will have to put on a show against the Patriots in order to secure his starting spot over Lock. 

  1. Brett Hundley

Hundley’s short starting stint came with the Packers in 2017. While you never want to see practically any quarterback start over the great Aaron Rodgers, Hundley was somehow even more disappointing. His terrible passing more than makes up for his great mobility.

  1. Jalen Hurts

Many people think that Hurts was drafted early, and in a weird circumstance. Nobody knows why Howie Roseman decided to pick up the young QB, but it certainly seems like the right move. We will probably get to see Hurts in action if Wentz keeps screwing up in big spots.

  1. Colt McCoy

Colt McCoy is still here folks. After his time with the Browns and the “Redskins” (The Washington National Football Team), McCoy has seemed to have lost his touch and is being passed around the league. 

  1. Matt Barkley

Barkley has been in the league since 2013, and has bounced around to many, many teams. To give you some perspective, Barkley has a 10-21 TD-INT ratio. In all fairness, he hasn’t been all that bad with the Bills but he certainly isn’t the cream of the crop for backup quarterbacks.

  1. Chad Henne

Chiefs fans have to be pretty happy with having Chad Henne as their backup. When Mahomes was out for 3 weeks with his leg injury last year, Henne played well enough to keep the Chiefs in contention for the number one spot. If Mahomes does get injured again, then Henne will be ready to keep the torch lit for them.

  1. Geno Smith

Geno Smith is the straight up definition of the ultimate up and down quarterback. Smith was the starter for the New York Jets for a few years until poor play and being a bit of an ass ran him out of town. Now Smith sits behind the rarely injured Russell Wilson, and will probably not land anything more than a bench spot barring a miracle of some sort.

  1. Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph was a meme to remember last year. He got Myles Garrett suspended, and the hit he took from Earl Thomas probably made his brain get deformed. Even without all that commotion, Rudolph was not the answer the Steelers were hoping for.  

  1. Jordan Love

Jordan Love reminds me of Brett Hundley, remember him? Love has really bad interception issues, and to be frank mobility means absolutely nothing if you can’t throw the ball to the receivers instead of to the other team( (not Nathan Peterman bad but still). Love should not be considered the future for this, or any franchise.

  1. Will Grier

Will Grier started a few games over the struggling Kyle Allen in Carolina, and looked like a quarterback drafted in the late round of the draft who isn’t expected to do all that much. Would you like to know why? It’s because he’s a quarterback drafted in the late rounds who isn’t expected to do that much.

  1. AJ McCarron

When Andy Dalton got injured the last time the Bengals made it to the playoffs, AJ McCarron played pretty well. Even if he doesn’t play, he would still be considered an ok choice for a backup, though why he decided to sign with the Texans is a mystery on its own.

  1. Blaine Gabbert

Gabbert is infamous for being terrible. On the Around the NFL Podcast, there is a term used called the “Gabbert Zone”, which refers to a quarterback’s average yards per throw being 5 yards or under. So yeah, that should tell you all you need to know about Gabbert.

  1. Ryan Finley

Finley came in relief of a struggling Andy Dalton in 2019 (which wasn’t Dalton’s fault that team sucked), and didn’t look all that special on an awful 2-14 Bengals team. To be quite honest, there isn’t that much to see with that team so he could be better than we think…

  1. John Wolford

Wolford was an undrafted free agent in 2018 for the New York Jets, played with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF, and now is on the Rams. He was a pretty OK starter for the Hotshots, but the AAF and NFL are two vastly different leagues.

  1. Jake Luton

Luton was drafted in the 6th round of the 2020 Draft, and came from Oregon State University. He threw for 28 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions so there might be a small chance he turns into a viable backup at the NFL level.

  1. Logan Woodside

Woodside played for the San Antonio Commanders of the AAF, and was an average to below average starter. Woodside is not an NFL quarterback, and why he is a backup is beyond me.

  1. Sean Mannion

Mannion is terrible, he has been terrible in the preseason and has shown nothing at all to make us believe he is ready to be anything but a third-string quarterback.


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