NFL 2013: Year of the backup quarterback

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 10/24/2013, 05:42pm

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It’s been a crazy season so far at the quarterback position. Whether it’s injuries or poor play, there has been a revolving door under center, with a handful of QBs being recycled off the scrap heap (sorry, Brady Quinn, but there’s no way to sugar coat it).

With Jay Cutler’s injury, the Bears signed Jordan Palmer to back up Josh McCown. His resume includes a grand total of 15 NFL pass attempts and he hasn’t been on a regular season NFL roster since 2010.

Also this week, 43-year-old Jeff Garcia offered up his services to the Cleveland Browns, and the Rams reached out to 44-year-old Brett Favre. So we had to ask: Is the depth at quarterback really that bad this year?

A statistical analysis indicates the situation isn’t as dire as some may think. We compared the quarterbacks listed as No. 1 on the depth chart in week 1 to the 19 backups who have seen action. All in all, their stats compare favorably, even despite the Josh Freeman train wreck on Monday night. He gets the distinction of bringing down the numbers in both the starter (Buccaneers) and backup (Vikings) categories.

The completion percentage across the NFC is nearly identical, while the AFC backups are only a few completions off from keeping pace with the original starting QBs.

There is a decent dropoff in yards per attempt — indicating the backups lack the ability to pull off the big play and go in for the kill.

In the NFC, the backups’ TD to INT ratio dips a bit, despite Eli Manning’s best effort to bring down the numbers of the original starters. And the NFC backups’ ratio is just as good as the AFC’s original starters, despite older brother Peyton’s ridiculous 8.33 TD to INT ratio.

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