NFL Problem Today: Backups Are Screw-Ups Under Center

Cheesy Bruin

CHICAGO, IL – This weekend’s NFL games showcase one position that has deteriorated exponentially in the past 10 years; The Backup Quarterback.

Today, we get to see some of these guys forced into action, and really, they have little shot at helping their team win. It doesn’t matter if it’s an emergency or longer term, they just aren’t up to the task. The John Skeltons and Tyler Palkos of the current NFL are a far cry from Scott Mitchell and Ty Detmer in the ‘90’s. It would be even more embarrassing to compare any of these guys to the Golden Era of 1A QB’s during the 1970’s. Earl Morrall, Don Strock, Steve DeBerg, and a geriatric George Blanda led offenses that didn’t miss a beat when pressed into duty.

It’s common to hear pregame analysts and color commentators now calling these headphone and clipboard-holders mannequins, “relief pitchers,” but the reality is throwing a ball is all they have in common. Baseball’s relievers close the door – if not slam it – Mets relievers notwithstanding, while second-string pigskin passers have enemy linebackers and secondaries licking their chops. So, why is there such a drop-off at what should be a priority position in the NFL? Here are a few reasons:

1) Economics The guy (usually a top-5 draft pick) making $10 million a year gets the starting job no matter how much he may suck over the guy making two mil a year who has a better grasp of the offense. By the time franchises become aware of a mistake, the backup is on another team, starting a revolving door of retreads, has-beens, and projects in recovery mode. See the Oakland Raiders.

2) Rules Changes Back in the day, QB’s like Bradshaw, Staubach, Griese, and Tarkenton got their bell rung often and played through concussions. Defenses were encouraged to beat the shit out of the QB but now offense, particularly the QB, is treated like an endangered species and all efforts are made to conserve their existence. The league knows backups suck and the powers that be have no choice but to act accordingly, by making certain we’re not watching McCown vs Orlovskyon a regular basis.

Shotgun Formation!

3) Intelligence This one goes hand in hand with today’s “athletic student”. If you don’t spend much time in campus lecture halls, you may not have the necessary mental aptitude to play QB in today’s NFL. The age of four-year college starters is ancient history. If you have any skills, you come out early. Education, shmeducation. See Mark Sanchez. It used to be that before you could prove your worth on Sundays, you had to do it on Saturdays. The previous generations may not have had rocket scientists, but they were much more the “student athlete” then today’s crop.

While Texans Head Coach Greg Kubiak could probably suit up for today’s tilt against the Falcons and put up decent numbers, it’s up to T. J. Yikes… I mean, Yates. It may as well be
T. J. Hooker. Enjoy the games provided your team isn’t starting a scrub.

Monday’s starter, West Coast Craig, tomorrow.

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About Cheesy Bruin 491 Articles
A man amongst men. Cheesy Bruin kicked cancer to the curb - twice. The Cheese Man's a big, tough teddy-bear who survived the Bronx despite being an unabashed Boston Bruins fan and Sargent-At-Arms for Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse. Nuff said. Doctors have taken most of this throat and had to make him a new tongue from thigh-meat (his own) and still he won't shut up about the Bruins, Cowboys, Pirates and Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, his kids do love him.