The 15 Worst Backup Quarterbacks In The NFL

The most important position in all of professional sports is an NFL starting quarterback. Teams with an elite quarterback find themselves in the playoffs on a consistent basis, and the Super Bowl usually consists of two of the best quarterbacks in football. Elite athletes such as Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers have a chance to lead their team to a Super Bowl each season just based on their abilities to almost always play at the highest level. For NFL teams to be successful, they also must be prepared to handle a situation in which their face of the franchise cannot play due to injury or suspension, and there are a number of teams that do not have great backup quarterback play.

The backup quarterback is arguably the second most important position on a team’s roster, but there are many backups around the NFL that would not be capable of leading their team to success on the field. Tom Brady as a backup was able to fill in for Drew Bledsoe and deliver the Patriots a Super Bowl. There is also backup quarterback disasters like what happened for the Dallas Cowboys last season, and Tony Romo’s injury caused the Cowboys to win eight less games in 2015 compared to the previous season. Not every team has a capable backup who can manage and win games for them.

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15 Chase Daniel

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Chase Daniel began his career as a backup for Drew Brees in New Orleans, then moved on to Kansas City to backup Alex Smith, and just this offseason joined the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles rewarded Daniel with a contract that will make him one of the highest paid second string quarterbacks in football. This is a little confusing that he would be rewarded with such a good contract, and the confusion comes due to Daniel’s lackluster stat line during his career.

Daniel has only started two games during his seven years in professional football. During all the games he has participated in during those seven years he has lacked a head turning performance, and he has only thrown for 464 total yards, one touchdown, and one interception for his career. Due to his rich new contract Daniel must prove that he is worthy of that big money if there ever comes a scenario where he is inserted in the game during the regular season.

14 Shaun Hill

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Shaun Hill has been in the NFL for 15 seasons now, and has bounced around the league as a backup and starter for numerous teams. Hill has not started a game since 2014 when he was a member of the St. Louis Rams, and due to his number of years in the league he can be a great mentor for the young Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings. With the Vikings now having to turn to Hill with Bridgewater's season ending injury, it is hard to see them being effective through the air. Hill struggled in his last starting gig with the Rams only throwing eight touchdowns and seven interceptions, and his ineffectiveness starting for other franchises in the NFL could show up again with the Vikings if he is thrust into the starter role for an extended amount of time.

With Teddy Bridgewater's horrific knee injury, the Vikings better be looking at other options at QB besides Hill.

13 Derek Anderson

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Derek Anderson has been a starter during his career for the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals, and he has been Cam Newton’s backup for the past few seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season. The MVP play of Cam Newton played a huge factor in the Panthers reaching the big game, and Anderson is only reliable to start a game or two if called upon. A good backup is relied on to be able to manage a game for a team, but Anderson can be erratic with turnovers at times which makes it difficult for him to manage games for a team.

For his career Derek Anderson has thrown for 58 touchdowns and 55 interceptions proving he can be unreliable at times to manage a game. The Panthers are in hopes that Cam Newton can stay healthy for an entire season once again, and if Anderson has to lead the Panthers into the playoffs for any reason there chances at making it back to the Super Bowl would be unrealistic.

12 Kellen Clemens

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Kellen Clemens is a seasoned veteran in the NFL who has not started an NFL game since he was a member of the St. Louis Rams back in 2013. Clemens has primarily been a backup throughout his 11 year career, and has only started in a combined 21 games during his mediocre tenure playing football at the highest level. Clemens has been the backup for stud quarterback Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Chargers have been fortunate that they have not had to turn to Clemens to start during his two years with the team, and in those two seasons Clemens has only thrown the ball nine times.

The 2015 season was a dreadful year for the Chargers organization. Philip Rivers managed to play all 16 games, but the team had an array of problems offensively and defensively. If Clemens is forced to temporarily lead this Chargers team, their win total in 2016 could be even lower than last year.

11 Drew Stanton

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Drew Stanton has only started 12 games during his 11 seasons in the NFL, and is currently a member of the Arizona Cardinals. Stanton was forced into starting for injury plagued Carson Palmer during the 2014 season. The Cardinals seemed to be a team that would be capable of going deep into the playoffs with Palmer at the helm in 2014, but once Stanton took over, the Cardinals took a step down from being an elite team. Stanton started in eight games during 2014, throwing only seven touchdowns and five interceptions, and only completing a horrendous 55 percent of his passes.

The NFL already knows what this Cardinals team would become if the Cardinals lost Palmer to injury again, and the Cardinals do not want to put the added pressure on their defense and watch their hopes of a Super Bowl be crushed again if Stanton was called upon to lead this team into the playoffs again.

10 Colt McCoy

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Colt McCoy unfortunately was one of the many starting quarterbacks of the Cleveland Browns during the 21st century, and since his departure from the Browns he has failed to really grasp another first string job for any other organization within the NFL. His last starts came during the 2014 season with the Washington Redskins. The Redskins were in dismay during the 2014 season losing Robert Griffin III to injury yet again, turning to Kirk Cousins who played well below average, and then turning to the third stringer Colt McCoy to start four games for the team. McCoy did not play bad in his four games throwing for over 1,000 yards and completing 71 percent of his passes. His stint as a starter came to an end when he got hurt, and the Redskins were never inclined to start him again. Kirk Cousins had an amazing 2015 season which cemented his place as the starting quarterback going forward for the team.

9 Matt Cassel

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Matt Cassel first came onto the scene when Tom Brady got hurt in the first game of the 2008 NFL season, and after Brady’s devastating injury Cassel would start the last 15 games of the year for the Patriots. He lead the team to 10 wins in his last year as a member of the Patriots. Cassel then became the starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2012, started sparingly for the Minnesota Vikings, and just last season started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys after they lost Tony Romo for the season. His 60 percent completion percentage is what has stopped him from having much success in the NFL.

He has now been put in the role of mentoring a young second year quarterback in Marcus Mariota. The Titans are looking to win more than three games this upcoming season, and with their backup situation not looking great with Cassel in the fold, the team better hope Mariota can last all 16 games this season.

8 E.J. Manuel

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E.J. Manuel was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and this shocked a lot of experts who thought Manuel was a second round talent at the time. The Bills were in hopes that Manuel would be the teams franchise quarterback for many years. The young quarterback out of Florida State never could adjust to the NFL level, and after his second year in the NFL he had been demoted to a backup role on the team that just two years prior had high hopes for him. Manuel did start two games for the injured Tyrod Taylor last season against the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bills lost both of those games, and Manuel failed to put his team in a position to win either of those games. Tyrod Taylor just signed an extension with the Bills during this offseason. The contract extension ends Manuel’s pursuit of ever starting for the Bills again, and if Manuel has to start a couple games this season the Bills could be looking at another year of missing the postseason.

7 Geno Smith

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Geno Smith is another member of the poor top tier quarterbacks selected early in the 2013 NFL Draft, and has failed to live up to the high expectations that were placed on him after leaving West Virginia. Smith was a starter for the Jets during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and was assumed to be the starter yet again for the 2015 season. Smith got injured in a locker room scuffle prior to the start of the 2015 season, and then Ryan Fitzpatrick started the season as the starter for the Jets. Fitzpatrick played well enough to secure the starting spot for the rest of the year and this upcoming season.

Geno Smith would be lucky to ever get another starting job in the NFL, and his proneness to turning the ball over and inaccuracy make him a tough signal caller to be able to win games within the NFL.

6 Matt McGloin

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Matt McGloin came out of Penn State with almost no hopes of playing professional football for a sustained amount of time in the NFL. He ended up starting six games during his rookie year in 2013, and he did not show that he was capable of leading the Oakland Raiders to wins. The teams quarterback situation was so abysmal during 2013 that the team gave McGloin control of the offense for almost half the season. McGloin has been on the Raiders throughout the entirety of his time in the NFL, and will back up young star quarterback Derek Carr once again.

During McGloin’s brief stint as a starter he threw eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. The troubling aspect of his play during his six starts was his below average completion percentage of 56 percent, and the Raider wide receivers are in hopes that Carr can stay healthy throughout the 2016 NFL season.

5 Scott Tolzien

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Scott Tolzien has bounced around the NFL spending time as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and now the Indianapolis Colts. Tolzien now has the duty of backing up quarterback Andrew Luck, who is coming off a season in which he missed a lot of games. The Colts have had issues with their offensive line ever since Andrew Luck joined the team, and the poor play of the offensive line could possibly make Luck susceptible to injury again in 2016. The Colts last season struggled with backup quarterbacks Matt Hasselback and Josh Freeman.

Tolzien's track record does not give this team hope that he would be able to manage games for the Colts, and during his time in the NFL he has only started in two games. Those two games were not pretty for the Green Bay Packers due to Tolzien throwing only one touchdown and five interceptions.

4 Dan Orlovsky

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Dan Orvolosky has been in the NFL for 11 seasons, and based off of his performance on the field it is a mystery as to how he has lasted so long in the NFL. The Detroit Lions signed Orlovsky prior to the 2014 season, after he had been with the Lions for the first four years of his time in the NFL. The Lions struggled in the year 2008. The team seemed to have a carousel at the quarterback position that season, and Orlovsky started seven games for the team in route to an 0 and 16 record. Orlovsky was extremely imprecise when throwing the ball while only completing 56 percent of his passes.

His eight touchdowns and eight interceptions did not help the Lions offense, and the offense was by far the poorest in the NFL during the 2008 NFL season. Luckily for the Lions Matthew Stafford has been reliable with staying healthy for full seasons.

3 Trevone Boykin

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Trevone Boykin starred for the Texas Christian Horn Frogs, and now likely will have the chance to backup one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Russell Wilson. Boykin is extremely raw when it comes to being a quarterback at a high level. Boykin is hoping too model his game after Russell Wilson so that he can enjoy a lengthy career at the NFL level, but Boykin is not ready to be thrown into the fire in 2016. If Wilson gets hurt and Boykin is forced to start for an extended period, the Seahawks' Super Bowl aspirations could be decimated.

With Boykin at the helm the Seahawks would more than likely commit more turnovers, and this is something that comes with being a rookie quarterback in the NFL. The defense would also have a lot of pressure put on it to play even better than it has been the past few seasons.

2 Tom Savage

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Tom Savage was drafted by the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft, and has never started a game in the NFL. It is difficult to fully critique Savage’s standing as a backup quarterback due his miniscule sample size of NFL production. He has only completed 10 passes during his short time in professional football, and he did not even suit up for a game for the Texans during the 2015 season. He is now in line to be the backup for the Texans new starting quarterback Brock Osweiler. Osweiler himself is fairly unproven, but Savage has not been tested much at all.

Throughout the 2016 NFL preseason he has failed to complete over 60 percent of his passes against second and third string defenses. The Texans do have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins, but not even his greatness would be able to make up for the lack of experience of Savage.

1 Ryan Nassib

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Ryan Nassib has been in the NFL for four years now, and has not yet started a game for the New York Giants. This can be attributed to Eli Manning’s ability to stay on the field. The Giants have not been able to make it to the playoffs since they won the Super Bowl a few years back, and if Manning were to get hurt the Giants more than likely would be doomed. Nassib through the first three games of the 2016 preseason has completed a disastrous 33 percent of his passes. He has also thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions, and these horrendous stats have come against mostly backups and third stringers. It is scary to think that if Nassib were the signal caller against a starting defensive unit that his stat line could be even worse than the aforementioned numbers. His disgraceful preseason performance has warranted him the title of worst backup quarterback in the NFL, and the Giants may want to address this position sooner rather than later.

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