What's your opinion of what a backup QB should be?

No wrong answers here, so let’s not make this a pissing match, eh? I’m just curious about people’s opinions of what a backup QB should be, and why.

Every team seems to take a unique approach based on their situation. i.e. the savvy veteran that mentors a rookie, the capable starter that is waiting in the wings behind a shaky starter, the mid round rookie that could turn into a starter or trade chip.

My own opinion is it should be someone capable of leading the team to a .500 record in the absence of a starter. This is my realistic, salary cap driven, outlook. Someone who won’t break the bank and won’t be a disaster if called upon.

This question was inspired by LineBusy.

Feel free to go into as much detail as you want, just curious about different tastes :wink:

I like a mobile dude, as a backup, because it presents a new set of problems that they haven’t planned for. Billups goes to the bench, here comes Lindsey all up in your ass…not the same floor general, but a total shift in energy with the full court pressure, sneaky and defensive oriented.

I really liked Drew Stanton for the price. I liked Hill, but he was expensive. Stanton was happy as a backup, and wasn’t ever gonna fight for the starter spot. I like the idea of having a guy that is around long enough to know the offense really well. It makes a huge difference when someone knows the system, and they come in cool and calm, and have experience w/the WRs (timing down), and have a feel of what they can/can’t expect from the OL.

Musical backups leads to chaos, and almost feels like a “token QB” that really doesn’t mean anything. That’s how much of my life has felt, regarding backup QB.

Let’s bring in a young smart guy that can help Goff see some stuff, and be calm and at peace back there, establish chemistry w/the OL and /WRs…and who the team will want to fight for, if he needs to be out there.

I am in the gun slingin’ veteran camp… Fitz magic mold, BUT I saw what Mariotta did when Carr went down, and you’re right: it wasn’t that Mariotta was suddenly Mahomes, but the defense had plotted and schemed against 3-5 steps back and throw. They were defeated as soon as that changed. In today’s game, there are far more “mobile dudes” than there are quality gun slingers, so I’m with you.

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If I had a rookie or inexperienced QB I’d want a veteran back up QB worthy of helping in the film room and capable of winning 50% of his games if forced to start. Someone smart enough in film study to help develop my starter.

If I had a veteran QB like Goff (or better) I’d want a young back-up QB with future trade, or starting, potential. Someone who can be a game manager for a couple games if the starter goes down. Hopefully good enough to pull off a win or two in his absence before teams figure out a way to beat him.

With that in mind I’d like to add that I think football IQ, poise, leadership skills and accuracy are more important than arm strength and mobility.

I firmly believe fans tend to put too much emphasis on mobility and arm strength. While not enough on accuracy, poise, grit, leadership and football IQ.


I would like someone that can run a good red team offense. Someone that can emulate the style of Love and Fields (whenever he starts).

That kind of QB makes much more of an impact throughout the season. If Goff goes down the season is over, IMHO. No use getting a guy really knows the standard offense. At least this year.

I like a mobile guy as a backup and spot starter. I think of Kordell Stewart, Rich Gannon types. For a full time starter, not so much. So much of throwing with accuracy comes from your legs that I’ve always felt the quarterback that runs has a short shelf life. The percentages are against them having long careers, exceptions being like Randall Cunningham (who was pretty darn good at the end of his career) and Gannon, rather than guys who flamed out like Duante Culpepper being what I perceive to be the normal career arc of a mobile quarterback.

Interesting take. Certainly one I could get behind.


Another good take. Young Jeff George had a cannon arm, but cracked under pressure and his teammates hated him, and remember Ryan Leaf had a better arm than that Manning guy.

Definitely a thoughtful take I could get behind as well.

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The first thing I’m looking for is a guy that’s good in the QB room and will be an asset to the starting QB. The next thing is I want a guy I feel I can go 2-2 with if he had to start 4 straight games. Which means I’m definitely passing on guys like Daunte Culpepper who struggle reading defenses and I am also passing on guys like Kellen Moore who I don’t think I can go 2-2 with.


I think a quality back-up should be able to play the piano.

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This reminds me of a great Tom Moore quote. While at training camp in Indy years ago a reporter noticed that Peyton Manning was getting like every team rep at QB. So the reporter asked… “shouldn’t the backups get more reps to be ready if Manning goes down?” His response… “if 18 goes down we are all f####ed. We don’t practice f####ed.”


How about dudes that run out of the back of the end zone and “stretch the field”. LOL. Gotta love “outside the box” thinking, man!

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I think this often gets overlooked by fans. Just how important it is to not just help the QB but help the defense—by being smart enough to effectively emulate a different QB and offense every week running the scout team.

Backup QB is not like backing up any other position. You have to be a coach and student and teacher and capable player all at once, it’s a serious gig.


Or you try to build a complete teams with a strong scheme like the Pats had for a while…

I loved them going 11-5 with a back up… and then that back up didn’t fair so successfully afterward upon being traded to another team to start …

If you have a solid running game and oline and overall decent D… and you groomed whatever back up you got properly… you stay somewhat competitive imho

What’s funny is that backup QB was literally a career backup up to that point. He never started a game in college (unless you count baseball). He was “discovered” at USC’s pro day and the Pats took him in the 7th round with rumors that the Titans were targeting him as an UDFA.

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I’ve been told you need a backup to threaten the starter.

Matt always sucked because no one was there to challenge him, and the only reason Erin was any good last year was because the presence of Love forced him to be good for fear of losing his job.

Did I do it right?

I’d say someone like Kurt Warner would be the ideal backup! Lose your starting QB in preseason and still win the super bowl with the backup! You don’t see that every year.


Shaun Hill baby

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Moore had everything you want in a back-up… except an NFL arm. He just couldn’t make the NFL throws required. Which is why he had to go into coaching.

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I’ll see your Hill and raise you Dave Krieg. :laughing:

Is there a guy with a cool name available? Something like Savage or a phallic reference? Possibly another Wakandan, or a flagrant sexual reference? Makes for better offseason discussion.