No one ever cares about a backup quarterback until it’s too late. After a devastating wave of injuries hit the NFL in Week 2, many fans are wondering which quarterbacks were held back in reserve or are riding the bench. Do you know who your backup quarterback is? Good thing we compiled a handy list of all the backup QBs in the NFL.
Having a good backup is often a catch-22. You want someone who is competent and who can fill in at a moment’s notice. At the same time, they can’t be too good, otherwise you’ll have a QB controversy on your hands. Whenever the media gets a whiff of a QB battle, it’s a proverbial zoo. It’s difficult to retain a perfect backup, because if they’re good or want a contract bump, they’ll quickly move on to another team.
Some backup QBs know their role as a perpetual understudy. Career backup QBs never ascend to the ranks of a traditional starter, but they’re just smart enough and talented enough to hold down one of the 30 or so backup jobs in the NFL.
Third stringers are a motley crew of quarterbacks who are about to age out of the NFL, injured QBs fighting to regain their foothold as a starter or backup, or inexperienced noobs who have yet to earn the trust of their coaching staff. Not every team carries a third-stringer on the roster.
Week 2: Herbert, Driskel Backup QBs Called to Action
A couple of backup QBs like Justin Herbert and Jeff Driskel were already tapped to relieve starters. Even Andy Dalton stepped onto the field in Week 2 after Dak Prescott missed a few plays against the Atlanta Falcons.
Herbert didn’t find out he would start until less than five minutes before the kickoff of the LA Chargers and KC Chiefs game. Herbert, a rookie out of Oregon, earned his first start against the Super Bowl champions. To his credit, he did an excellent job with the Chargers holding a lead heading into the fourth quarter. Tyrod Taylor, the Chargers’ starter, suffered a punctured lung during warmups when the team doctor made a huge error while administering a painkiller injection.
Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos went down with a shoulder injury, so Jeff Driskel stepped into action. The Broncos recently added Blake Bortles to bolster the bench If Lock is out for any significant time.
Last season, Ryan Tannehill came off the bench to replace a struggling Marcus Mariota. Tannehill led the Tennessee Titans to the AFC Championship game.
Alex Smith: Back in Washington
The feel-good story of the season so far is the return of Alex Smith to the Washington Football team.
Smith suffered from a compound leg fracture during a game in 2018. He had numerous surgeries and nearly died from an infection. He almost had his leg amputated, but persuaded the doctors to let him keep the limb. His road recovery baffled his doctors, but he battled back and recovered. Everyone thought his career was dunzo, but Smith defied the odds with a heck of a comeback.
Smith is currently the third-stringer at Washington behind Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen.
Backup QBs – AFC
Cam Newton (OUT COVID)
Sam Darnold (OUT)
Gardner Minshew II
Jeff Driskel. Blake Bortles
Backup QBs – NFC
Dak Prescott (OUT)
Bookmark this link and come back throughout the season. We will update this page week to week. Last update: Week 5.