By Nick Ferraro
Only 12 of the 30 starting quarterbacks played in all 16 games last season. With the emphasis placed on pressuring the signal caller, itâ€™s probable that your teamâ€™s backup will see significant time under center. Qualifying for the post-season may hinge on the number twoâ€™s ability to stay above water while the main man is on the mend. Some teams are well prepared for this scenario while others are a snap away from draft mode. We used a Texas Hold â€˜em approach to rating each teams backup quarterback situation. As you can see, some teams are gambling a bit too loosely with your season.
These teams are in great shape to go â€œAll Inâ€¿ toward the playoffs should disaster strike.
Cincinnati Bengals â€“ Jon Kitna, Casey Bramlet
Kitna had a monster year in 2003 before handing the reins over to Palmer, and Kitna held his own in four game appearances last season. His 75.9 rating was only 1.4 points off Carson Palmerâ€™s mark for the year.
Detroit Lions â€“ Jeff Garcia, Dan Orlovsky
Nobody could have played well in Cleveland last year. Garcia can still win and will push Joey Harrington. The talent level in Detroit will be a big boost for Garcia. Orlovsky was a nice pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars â€“ David Garrard, Quin Gray
Garrard played well for the Jags in four game appearances last season. He should improve with another year under his belt.
Pittsburgh Steelers â€“ Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch
Maddox will be ready to step in if Big Ben has any second year blues. The Steelers can win with either.
New York Jets â€“ Jay Fiedler, Brooks Bollinger
Fielder was a great pickup by the Jets. Pennington has not shown any durability. Fiedler will benefit from a better supporting cast in the likelihood that he needs to step in for Chad.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers â€“ Chris Simms, Luke McCown
Chris Simms is the future for Tampa, and heâ€™s capable of handling Grudenâ€™s offense for the present should Brain Griese go down.
Tennessee Titans â€“ Billy Volek
Volek has the talent to be a starter. Itâ€™s a good thing for the Titans since he may end up playing in more games again than the often injured McNair.
Suited Connectors (JQ)
These teams have a solid hand, but will need a nice draw to make it through.
Buffalo Bills â€“ Kelly Holcomb, Shane Matthews
Holcomb completed over 67% of his passes in four games for Cleveland. He can handle the run-oriented Bills offense for a short term. Matthews has experience, but not much more.
Indianapolis Colts â€“ Jim Sorgi, Travis Brown
Sorgi managed a 99.1 rating in four game appearances last year. There are no Super Bowl hope for the Colts without Manning, but Sorgi would be surrounded by enough talent to pull the Colts through a game or two.
Minnesota Vikings â€“ Brad Johnson, Shaun Hill
Johnson is another year older, but can hold the fort for a game or two. Someone needs to replace Moss to make things easier.
New England Patriots â€“ Rohan Davey, Doug Flutie
Davey has some ability and you have to love Flutie. The Champs can compete with either in huddle.
San Diego Chargers â€“ Philip Rivers, Cleo Lemon
Itâ€™s hard to gauge the Chargers situation. Rivers was obviously impressive in college and has great promise, but there is no NFL experience to rate. If Rivers manages to beat out Brees in camp, the Chargers would instantly have the leagueâ€™s best backup.
San Francisco 49ers â€“ Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey
Rattay moved the team well last year averaging 241 yards passing in nine games. He will be solid should franchise QB Alex Smith need some time.
These teams have hope, but the odds are long.
Arizona Cardinals â€“ Josh McCown, John Navarre
McCown had his growing pains last season, but showed ability. Kurt Warnerâ€™s presence will benefit McCown who may develop into a nice starter in this league.
Dallas Cowboys â€“ Drew Henson, Tony Romo
Henson showed little in seven game appearances, but the raw ability is there. Parcells is high on Romo, but he hasnâ€™t done a thing yet.
Denver Broncos â€“ Danny Kanell, Matt Mauck
Plummer was able to take every snap last year. The Broncos are hoping that happens again. Kanell is accurate, but heâ€™s not mobile and has poor arm strength. Mauck is athletic and strong-armed, but heâ€™s not ready to win.
Miami Dolphins â€“ Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels
Frerotte has played well in this league, but it has been a while. Rosenfels is not going to get it done.
Philadelphia Eagles â€“ Koy Detmer, Mike McMahon
Detmer can do just enough to help the talented Eagles win one in McNabbâ€™s absence. McMahon is a good athlete and exciting, but most often for the wrong reasons.
Seattle Seahawks â€“ Seneca Wallace, David Greene
Wallace has enough athleticism to keep the talented Seahawks competitive.
St. Louis Rams â€“ Jamie Martin, Jeff Smoker
Martin is decent and would have talent around him. The defense would need to step up for the Rams to last without Bulger.
These teams are most likely to fold should the starter cash out.
Atlanta Falcons â€“ Matt Schaub, Ty Detmer
The Falcons are done without Vick. Too much of the offense would need to be changed to accommodate Schaub or Detmer.
Baltimore Ravens â€“ Anthony Wright, Derek Anderson
The Ravens are geared for a big season. It all hinges on the performance and health of Kyle Boller.
Carolina Panther â€“ Chris Weinke, Stefan LeFors
Weinke didnâ€™t see the field last year after being drafted to take over the reins just a few years ago. LeFors was brilliant in college, but will not be ready.
Chicago Bears â€“ Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton
Hutchinson is just not going to win anything for you. Orton may be capable at some point, but he will need time.
Cleveland Browns â€“ Josh Harris, Charlie Frye
The Browns have to be on the lookout for someone with NFL experience. Neither Harris nor Frye will be ready to step in during their first year.
Green Bay Packers â€“ Craig Nall, J.T. Oâ€™Sullivan.
Nall was terrific in five game appearances, but the Packers are finished if the NFLâ€™s iron-man, Favre, goes down.
Houston Texans â€“ Tony Banks, Dave Ragonne
The Texans really need to protect David Carr.
Kansas City Chiefs â€“ Todd Collins, Damon Huard
The Chiefs need Trent Green to have any shot. The pressure of compensating for their still porous defense is too much for Collins or Huard.
New Orleans Saints â€“ Todd Bouman, Adrian McPherson
McPherson was a gusty pick. If he stays out of trouble, he has the talent to make it. This will not be the year though.
New York Giants â€“ Jesse Palmer, Tim Hasselbeck
The Giants have the distinction of having the worst backups in the NFL. At least Clevelandâ€™s pair have promise for the future.
Oakland Raiders â€“ Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter
Gannonâ€™s retirement leaves issues for the Raiders. Though the firepower is there to buoy whoever steps in for Kerry Collins, you canâ€™t like the Raiders chances.
Washington Redskins â€“ Mark Brunnell, Jason Campbell
Brunnell was just awful last year. The Skins are hoping Campbell is the future.