Nick Foles won Super Bowl LII for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. Fast forward two seasons later and there are backup quarterbacks starting for seven different teams. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes that the quarterback situation in the NFL is crazy right now and that this is only the beginning. With all the changes that have taken place in just five weeks, are backup quarterbacks becoming a commodity in 2019? Let’s look at some of the backups and their situations.
Are Backup Quarterbacks Becoming a Commodity in 2019?
Nick Foles (2017)
Nick Foles, the backup quarterback to Carson Wentz who tore his ACL earlier that season, won a super bowl for the Eagles back in 2017. I wrote an article that year prior to that win, on why Foles was destined to win that game. The stars seemed to align for Foles that year and he was able to hoist the Lombardi trophy. Since then, there have been a plethora of backups who have done more than that. They have made some franchises question whether they are better to suited to start than the current number ones.
Bridgewater is backup to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and has actually played well in Brees’ absence. The Saints are 3-1 without their star who hurt his thumb week one causing him to need surgery and miss six to eight weeks. Of course, no one could ever replace him but why not have a guy like Bridgewater to back you up? During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, he completed 650 passes, threw 28 touchdowns, and had 6,150 yards. He would have done more had he not dislocated his knee and tore his ACL in 2016.
Quarterbacks like Bridgewater are a commodity to teams like New Orleans because he is capable of both running and throwing the ball as he needs to. Another great thing about him is the fact that he has a high football IQ and he’s aware of what’s going on in the games, knows how to read defenses well, and that he can make plays in motion. His 22 interceptions in Minnesota don’t create a winning case for him but it seems like he’s a sure thing. Are backup quarterbacks becoming a commodity in 2019? In this case, no. But he does set the standard for the new wave of backups.
Minshew is a rookie for the Jacksonville Jaguars who is backup up to well, Foles who suffered a broken clavicle the first week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Through his five starts, Minshew has recorded nine touchdowns to just one interception, 1,279 yards, and an average quarterback rating of 105.4. He’s only 2-3 after losing a difficult game to the Carolina Panthers last week, but he is still a solid number two. Is he a commodity in 2019? He could be. Foles was supposed to be their saving grace after the Blake Bortles debacle, but the injury snuffed that four-year, $88 million deal back in March.
If Minshew continues to do positive things for the Jaguars’ offense, he could once again make Foles a second thought in Jacksonville. Of course, it may be to soon to tell, with Minshew sitting under .500. But his progress is undeniable and the Jaguars have been in quarterback trouble for a while now. If they think they have something with Minshew, they wouldn’t hesitate to pursue it.
Obviously, Jones wasn’t the favorite for New York Giants fans back in April when he was picked sixth overall. In fact, they booed him. But the Giants decided to bench Eli Manning after two starts this season. Jones hasn’t had the most perfect track so far and he lost Saquon Barkley almost three weeks ago with an ankle injury. Nonetheless, he has a strong arm and the ability to make the plays Manning couldn’t.
Through five games, Jones has thrown 921 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions. Not the most impressive stat line, but what Jones has done was get Giants’ fans to get over Manning. Sure, he won two super bowls for his team (against the New England Patriots of all teams), but this is a make or miss league much like the NBA. Is Jones a commodity in 2019? Yes. He is the perfect distraction from the problems the Giants have, plus he is a huge excuse for why they may not be a contender in the playoffs.
The Panthers haven’t even missed Cam Newton which could pose a problem. Allen has had one of the better stretches of a second-year quarterback going 3-0 in 2019 and winning the only matchup in an eight-game skid last season. And it isn’t just the fact THAT he’s winning, it’s the way he’s done it. He went to Greg Olsen twice in his first game because he was comfortable with him. What did he get? Two touchdowns from the OG. The next game was more of a defensive effort, with some struggles from the young quarterback, but his ability to keep the ball on their side and the six sacks the defense got on Deshaun Watson allowed him to secure that one. Then, last Sunday he battles Minshew and they win that one.
Is Allen a commodity in 2019? Absolutely. This is another situation where a quarterback maybe hasn’t performed as well over a stretch and then the number two guy comes in and does well and then there’s the talk of the starter losing his job. Allen has all the tools to win football games for the Panthers, but how well does he do down the stretch? That will determine if he’s truly ready to take his team over. For now, he’s the backup.
Are Backup Quarterbacks Becoming a Commodity in 2019?
They are. Teams are picking the best guys in drafts and putting them behind the Tom Bradys and Ben Roethlisbergers of the league so they are well prepared. Quarterbacks like Jacoby Brissett who, in the blink of an eye, became the starter for the Indianapolis Colts. He, like many other backups this season, have surprised people with how well they’ve played this year. There has already been a change on one team and if some starters aren’t careful, there could be a significant shift to the backup quarterbacks around the league.
Embed from Getty Images