clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Best Backups, and Developmental, QB's


So in this down time we have as OTA's are coming to an end and before training camp starts I wanted to go through a few lists. Today I wanted to look at two different groups, backups and developmental QB's. Now some teams have both but most have on or the other. Take the Broncos for example, I'm not giving Brock Osweiler a spot on my top backup QB's because he doesn't have experience and is an unknown commodity but he is on my top developmental QB list because he has a high ceiling. Some QB's overlap, Colt McCoy and Dennis Dixon would fit that mold because they have starting experience but are still young and haven't reached their ceilings.

So lets get to the definitions

What Makes a Good Developmental QB

When I was looking at this list I wanted my developmental QB's to have three things:

- Be sitting behind a cerebral or very experienced QB
- Have a high ceiling
- Be with a good offensive coaching staff

With these three criteria you provide the best situation to develop a young QB into his highest potential. All great developmental QB's had this situation from Steve Young (4 years behind Montana, high ceiling, Shanny/Reid/Holmgren) to Phillip Rivers (2 years behind Brees, high ceiling, M. Shotty) and even Aaron Rodgers (3 years behind Favre, high ceiling, Sherman/McCarthy). You want to develop a QB, this is what you need. Something you need to remember about this, it's not so much about the player, only one of the three categories is an individual item, a lot of it has to do with the situation. Very few QB's develop in a bad situation.

What Makes a Good Backup QB

When I was looking at this list I wanted my backup QB's to have three things:

- Have at least a year of experience
- Have experience in a variety of offensive schemes
- High work ethic and high football IQ

These are the things you want in a backup QB for obvious reasons. #1 and #2 allow for a rapid integration of the backup should the QB go down. A young, inexperienced QB will have growing pains if they have no starting experience and aren't used to leading a huddle. Also experience in a variety of schemes will help you adapt to the team you are on, giving you more utility. The last item is a good thing because it will help your starting QB continue to grow as well, plus it helps you prepare for the game even if you aren't playing. You see the QB's talking on the sideline? It's because the backup came prepared

Let's get to these lists

Top Developmental QB's

In no particular order:

Brock Osweiler
- Osweiler is in the perfect situation. He was very raw entering the draft, and likely cost him money and a chance to start earlier, but he's doing pretty good. He has the situation of choice, behind a very smart QB (though Peyton, like Favre and Montana, isn't big on mentoring) whom he can watch and study. He's got a fairly young and smart QB coach/OC in Adam Gase who has experience with some smart offensive minds in Josh McDaniels and Mike McCoy.

Ryan Nassib
Similar to Brock, Nassib is in a good situation, he's behind another smart Manning, has a high ceiling but is raw, and has a fantastic offensive coordinator in Kevin Gilbride, who has coached some fantastic offenses in New York, Pittsburgh and Houston coaching the likes of Eli, Kordell Stewart and Warren Moon. While he might not start for a long while, especially since Eli is one tough QB, he's in a good position to develop.

Ryan Mallet
Mallet is in a unique position in that Bill Belicheck doesn't really keep other QB's around for long but Mallet fits my idea of a good development QB for a few reasons. Mallet has possibly the highest ceiling of all of these guys. He's a huge, big armed QB that just needs polish to help him develop his flaws. Mallet is also working with possibly the best offensive staff in New England with Josh McDaniels and Chad O'Shea. Plus with a strong system in place, if Mallet can stick around till Tom Brady retires, he's in a good situation to succeed.

TJ Yates
Yates has already gotten a playoff win under his belt but with a proven vet Matt Schaub in front of him he's got at least another year or two before he starts. But that works in his favor. Schaub is seen as one of the smartest QB's in the league currently and working with head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will end up being a good thing, those are two guys who know how to build a system to help their QB succeed. Yates' biggest flaw maybe he doesn't exactly have a high ceiling but if he can stay in his current system in Houston things are set for him to develop into a starter.

Kirk Cousins
Like Yates, Cousin already has some playing time in his career. Also like Yates Cousins is working with a fantastic offensive staff in the Shanahan's. The biggest issue here is the lack of an experienced QB ahead of him but the constant competition with Robert Griffin may help his development, even last season he was outplaying Griffin in OTA's, camp and the pre-season. This is a bit of a double-edged sword though as his good play may not earn him the starting spot he deserves, which could hurt his motivation.

Top 5 Backup QB's

I'll include a table for this group since we actually have some data on these guys. As with the developmental QB's, they are in no real order.

*This is a sortable table*

Here are the criteria I included:

- Name
- Winning percentage
- Games started
- Different schemes played in
- Touchdown percentage (touchdowns divided by attempts)
- Interception percentage (interceptions divided by attempts)
- Net yards per attempt
- Passer Rating

Win %
Diff. Schemes
M. Hasselbeck 0.526 152 4 4.0% 2.9% 6.1 82.2
K. Orton 0.507 69 3 3.7% 2.6% 5.9 79.7
M. Moore 0.520 25 2 4.4% 3.4% 5.9 80.5
S. Hill 0.500 34 3 3.6% 3.3% 5.7 77.7
C. Batch 0.454 55 3 3.8% 3.2% 5.8 77.2

This is a list that shouldn't be too debatable. This is a list of former starters who are now backups. Obviously the Broncos know about Orton and only the biggest haters will disagree with him being here. On a team as talented as the Cowboys he has shown he's a fine backup. Matt Moore and Shaun Hill are guys who have experience and would likely be starting if they were on different teams in situations where they were actually allowed to compete. Charlie Batch has been around forever but I'm sure Mike Tomlin and Big Ben are glad to have him on the team. As for Matt Hasselbeck, that should be pretty obvious. He's incredible smart, has the most experience of any backup and was actually a pretty dang good QB when he does start.

A Bit of Both

Now there are a few QB's who fit both, as a I mentioned earlier but aren't young enough to be purely developmental and don't quite have enough experience to be competent backups either. This is that list:

Tavraris Jackson
- Jackson is in a tough situation in Buffalo and isn't as young but has potential in the right system and has a high ceiling and has shown he can succeed. He isn't young enough to be developmental but hasn't played enough to really back anyone up very well, poor guy.

Dennis Dixon
A guy who never really got a shot to start in Pittsburgh but is still young and developing, Dixon may have his best shot with his former Oregon coach now that they are both in Philly. Dixon is extremely talented and smart but when you are behind an entrenched starter, like he was with the Steelers, it's hard to really know if he can be a good backup. Like Jackson he's a bit older (he's 28 right now) but hasn't likely reached his potential as a player yet.

Colt McCoy
McCoy is actually in a good situation in San Fran, much improved over his situation in Cleveland, because he has a good coaching staff and has the skill set to run their current offense under Kaep. McCoy doesn't have the highest ceiling but has a talent level that hasn't been reached yet and has shown potential, plus he's still young at 25. Heck had he stayed in Cleveland he'd be the developmental QB behind Old Man Brandon Weeden despite more experience.