NFL Backup Studs, Starting QB Duds


This NFL season has seen more injuries and changes to quarterbacks through the first three weeks than any other season. This past week, the NFL saw longtime quarterbacks Eli Manning, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger all not starting for the first time in 5,748 days (Week 17, 2003).

This is a testament to how reliable they all have been over the years, but a new era is starting to find it’s way through. Many backup quarterbacks were in action this past week. There are some who delivered performances that have people turning their heads.

Backup QB Performances

  • Josh Rosen: 18/29 – 200 yds – 0 TD – 0 INT
  • Luke Falk: 12/22 – 98 yds – 0 TD – 1 INT
  • Kyle Allen: 19/26 – 261 yds- 4 TDs – 0 INT
  • Daniel Jones: 23/36 – 336 yds – 2 TDs – 0 INT
  • Teddy Bridgewater: 19/27 – 177 yds – 2 TDs – 0 INT
  • Mason Rudolph: 14/27 – 174 yds – 2 TDs – 1 INT

When looking at these numbers, it shows that between the six “backups”, they threw 10 TD to 2 INT. If Josh Rosen and Luke Falk are excluded from that (neither threw a touchdown), then it’s still 10 TD to 1 INT.

These aren’t the only players that could be looking to take over the starting spot. With as unpredictable as injuries have been this year, it can be anyone’s chance at any given moment. However, there are some struggling veterans who could see there time cut short sooner rather than later.

Struggling Veterans

There have been a handful of veterans who have had poor performances so far this year. There are a few specifically that have struggled more consistently or their team could be looking for a chance.

Season Stats

  • Joe Flacco: 76/110 (69.1%) – 773 yds – 2 TDs – 2 INTs
  • Case Keenum: 86/124 (69.4%) – 933 yds – 7 TDs – 3 INTs
  • Marcus Mariota: 56/92 (60.9%) – 706 yds – 4 TDs – 0 INT
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Joe Flacco

The Denver Broncos have started the season at a surprising 0-3, and the play of Flacco has not helped their cause. Through three games, he only has 2 TD. Flacco, 34, is in his 12th NFL season. With the way he is playing, it seems more practical to move onto someone younger.

The Denver backup is Brandon Allen. He is in his third year and hasn’t played a snap in the regular season of the NFL. The idea of a backup looking over Flacco’s shoulder is minimal. This doesn’t mean a quarterback change isn’t on the table, because at this rate, there’s a chance it will happen.

Photo by NBC Sports – Sports Washington

Case Keenum

Keenum finds himself in a similar situation to Flacco, as he is sitting at 0-3 with the Washington Redskins. The difference is that Keenum has been somewhat productive in his play. He has posted almost 1,000 yards, and has 7 TD through the first three games. However, what’s hurt Keenum’s cause is the turnovers. In those three games, he has 5 turnovers (3 INTs, 2 fumbles lost).

It doesn’t help Keenum that Dwayne Haskins is on the roster. Haskins is a rookie the Redskins used a first-round pick on. Washington invested in Haskins for the future, but his time could be coming sooner than later.

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Marcus Mariota

The Tennessee Titans aren’t 0-3, but they do hold a losing record at 1-2. Both losses are within the AFC South. Mariota has been far from sharp, as he boasts a 60.9% completion percentage; the worst of his career. Not all the blame can be put on his shoulders, but it is his fifth NFL season.

Mariota is the only of the three with a former starter as the backup in Ryan Tannehill. He formerly started at Miami and was traded to Tennessee to be the backup. Tennessee has dropped two straight games, and if that trend continues, then a change at quarterback could be on the horizon.

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Tyler McDonald

Tyler McDonald is a student at Ringling College of Art and Design, where he is studying and pursuing a degree in film. He began his writing career with The Athletes Hub.

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