Why Rex Grossman Is The Best Backup QB In The NFL
Did the headline shock you? Good, because it should. There are a number of things I could write about now, my Lacrosse game tomorrow (my last game as a student-athlete ever,) the movie Sex Drive, which I saw tonight (a complete ripoff of Eurotrip, Road Trip, and Superbad all in one,) but one thing that happened tonight stood out.
My friend actually uttered the words (minus the why) in the title. And then we had a solid argument over it, but because I wasn’t quickly ready with stats to counter his claims, each of my comments was refused. He kept saying the fact that Grossman is young, and has already already appeared in a Super Bowl, automatically made him the best backup quarterback in the league. Here’s why he’s wrong.
Even though it was plainly obvious to any football fan that when the Bears reached the Super Bowl after the 2006 season that it was their defense that led them there, not their QB, my friend still said that made him worthy. How did Grossman perform in that Super Bowl? 20/28, 165 yards, 1TD, 2 picks, one of which was returned for the game-clinching touchdown, oh and he also lost a fumble. Just saying…
Unfortunately for Grossman, his horrendous performance in the Super Bowl was amplified even more, because when you have such a dominating D and special teams like the Bears did, you expect an easy Super Bowl victory.
My friend also argued that Grossman had great stats during the regular season that year. Great season? That year Grossman had a 54.6 completion percentage, threw for just under 200 yards per game, and had 23 TDs and 21 picks, giving him a QB rating of 73.9. Not exactly MVP-caliber stats. But we can’t always live in the past. His original statement was that Grossman was CURRENTLY the best backup quarterback in the league, citing only his Super Bowl appearance and youth as qualifiers.
Grossman doesn’t exactly scream “experience.” Saying what he said, with the Super Bowl appearance as his main basis, is like saying Sarah Palin has foreign policy experience because Russia is close to Alaska. I’m sorry, but that’s true. But after all this, I don’t want to be made out to look like a fool, so I’ll do my research. Let’s look at the QB backups around the league and see if Rex is really better than all of them.
Arizona Cardinals – Matt Leinart: This is an interesting case. Leinart showed a lot of promise coming out of USC, but hasn’t had the NFL career many experts predicted. He started 11 games a rookie in 2006, and actually put up eerily similar stats to Grossman (56.8 completion percentage, about 212 yards per game, 11 TDs, 12 picks, and a QB rating of 74.0.) Even though he hasn’t had an excellent carreer, I’m sure many coaches would prefer Leinart based on potential alone. Even now, if I were an offensive coordinator, I would rather Leinart run my offense than Grossman. Winner: Matt Leinart.
Atlanta Falcons – Chris Redman: When you’re starting a rookie QB, it’s doubtful your backup is any good. Still, serving mainly as a backup his entire career, Redman’s numbers have not been horrible. He has a career completion percentage of 56.2, 17 TDs to only 10 picks and a QB rating of 79.5. But the carreer backup (who is born on 7/7/77, and ironically wears the number 8 ) is untested…and 31. This may be a close one, but… Winner: Rex Grossman.
Baltimore Ravens – Troy Smith: Yet another team starting a rookie QB. Second-year pro Smith is a former Heisman winner (who won the Heisman with his legs, and not his arm) who seems destined for a career as a backup. His skills were fine in college, but this formula doesn’t always work in the NFL (just ask Seneca Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, Hines Ward, Brad Smith, and others, who conceded defeat and moved to receiver.) Still, his speed is intriguing, but in a win-now situation, unfortunately he loses. Winner: Grossman.
Buffalo Bills – J.P. Losman: Since losing his job to current starter Trent Edwards, Losman has been riding the Bills’ bench. But in his last full season as a starter, 2006, he actually put up better stats then Rex Grossman. (62.5 completion percentage, 19 TDs, 14 picks, and a QB rating of 84.9.) They’ve both actually had pretty similar careers, so it seems to close to call. Winner: Tossup.
Carolina Panthers – Matt Moore: Next! Winner: Grossman.
Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Fitzpatrick: Even though Fitzpatrick is the technical starter, he is only keeping the seat warm for for former Heisman winner and 1st overall pick Carson Palmer (who is out with an injury.) He has been unimpressive thus far for the winless Bengals. Thankfully for him, he still has that Harvard education. Winner: Grossman.
Cleveland Browns – Brady Quinn: Drafted late in the first round in 2007, Quinn was expected to take over the Browns pretty quickly last season. Unfortunately for him, Derek Anderson took off, and Quinn was relegated to clipboard duty for the season, throwing only eight passes. He hasn’t thrown a pass this season, but despite his lack of experience, this shouldn’t be a difficult choice for any coach or analyst. Winner: Brady Quinn.
Dallas Cowboys – Brad Johnson: Though he’s the starter now, he’s stilll just a backup when Tony Romo returns from injury. The aged veteran has a career passer rating of 82.8, ranking him 26th all-time. “Johnson holds a 72-51 career record as a starter, currently the 4th best win-loss ratio among active QBs with over 100 starts. He has also connected on over 60% of his passes for 13 straight seasons (1995-2007), the first quarterback in NFL history to do this. He has been twice selected to Pro Bowl: in 1999 and 2002. He has eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark five times” (Wikipedia.) Though he has indeed taken a team to a Super Bowl, but unlike Grossman, actually won, “Checkdown Charlie” at this point in his long career, loses out to the younger Grossman. Winner: Grossman.
Denver Broncos – Patrick Ramsey: When you have a starter like Jay Cutler, you usually don’t care who your backup is. Though Ramsey has had a decent career, he hasn’t seen much time under center since 2004, when he was starting for the Redskins. Winner: Grossman.
Detroit Lions – Dan Orlovsky: Though former starter Jon Kitna is our for the year, Orlovsky is still technically the backup. With Kitna nearing the end of his career however, it looks like Detroit will have no choice but to go QB early in Round 1 this year. I’m sorry, but as bad as both Orlovsky and Detroit are, I refuse to write anymore on them. Winner: Grossman.
Green Bay Packers – Brian Brohm/Matt Flynn: After Brett Favre’s “retirement,” career backup Aaron Rodgers took over. With no other Quarterback’s on their roster, the Packers drafted two rookie QBs; Brian Brohm in the second round, and Matt Flynn in the seventh. After a promising but injury-plagued college career, Brohm looks to be stuck behind Rodgers for a very, very, long time. Winner: Grossman, by default.
Houston Texans – Sage Rosenfels: Aside from the devastating end to his week five start, Rosenfels has shown promise taking over for Matt Shaub. He’s had decent career stats, and has shown he can be more than a capable backup, maybe even a starter on some teams. Only problem though? He’s 30. Winner: Tossup.
Indianapolis Colts – Jim Sorgi: Hahahahaahahaha. Winner: Grossman.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Cleo Lemon: Wow. I’m beginning to think my friend might actually be right. The quality of backups in the league is horrendous. Winner: Grossman.
Kansas City Chiefs – Tyler Thigpen: There’s a reason they have one of the worst offenses in the league. My job is getting a lot easier. Winner: Grossman.
Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne: I actually really like Henne. Before the signing of Chad Pennington, he was the next in a long line of Dolphins starting QBs, and I believed he could turn them around. Looks like Pennington is slowly doing the job, but when he’s done Henne, who showed extreme promise at Michigan, will be more than ready to take over. Winner: Chad Henne.
Minnesota Vikings – Gus Frerotte/Tavaris Jackson: Does it even matter? Winner: Grossman.
New England Patriots – Matt Cassel: Everyone knows this is Tom Brady’s team, but while he is out for the year, Cassel has done a fine job, keeping his team in contention with a 5-2 record. The career backup spent his college years backing up Heisman winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, and his entire NFL career backing up future HOFer Brady, but he is more than a backup. Winner: Matt Cassell.
New Orleans Saints – Mark Brunell: Not every team is as lucky as the Patriots. Thankfully, they have Drew Brees. Winner: Grossman.
New York Giants – David Carr: Oh boy. As a Texans fan who suffered through years of Carr at the helm, I can imagine how crushed Giants fans would be if Super Bowl winner Eli Manning succumbed to injury. Winner: Grossman.
New York Jets – Kellen Clemens: When Favre retires sometime in the next few years, the Jets better hope they have someone better to take over. Winner: Grossman.
Oakland Raiders – Marques Tuiasosopo: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Why is this man still on an NFL roster? Can someone tell me please? Winner: Grossman.
Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Kolb: The Eagles reached for Kolb at the top of the 2007 draft when far better options were available. When McNabb retires, I doubt Kolb will be ready to follow in his footsteps. Winner: Grossman.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Leftwitch: There’s a reason that the Jags went with the unproven Garrard over Leftwitch at the start of last year’s training camp, and it wasn’t that coach Jack Del Rio was in love with Garrard. Leftwitch should not start a game the rest of his career, and he deserves the clipboard duty. Winner: Grossman.
San Diego Chargers – Billy Volek: He was semi-decent as a Titans starter a few years back, but that’s all he has. Winner: Grossman.
San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith: A former first-overall pick as their backup? Their starter must be amazing! Um… nope! Winner: Grossman.
Seattle Seahawks – Seneca Wallace: Wallace was thrust into the starting role after Matt Hasselbeck went down with an injury, and if this team weren’t so bad, Grossman might actually have some competition here. Winner: Grossman.
St. Louis Rams – Trent Green: He’s so bad, even the Chiefs didn’t want him. Enough said. Winner: Grossman.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Brian Griese: Though he’s injured and extremely old, Griese was performing well enough in practice for coach Jon Gruden to decide to start him over Jeff Garcia. Looks like that didn’t exactly payoff, seeing as he’s now injured. Winner: Grossman.
Tennessee Titans – Vince Young: After Young got injured, Kerry Collins took over this team, and now has them as the only undefeated team left in the league. Looks like Young will be a backup for at least the rest of the year. Despite issues with his mental health and injury problems, Young’s core skill set is still a weapon, though I think his career might be over already. Still, with the potential still there… Winner: Vince Young.
Washington Redskins – Todd Collins/Colt Brennan: I’m very intrigued by Brennan, after the career he had at Hawaii. Still, because he has yet to start a game or even throw an NFL pass, Grossman wins yet again by default. Oh. And Collins is really old. Winner: Grossman.
Wow. Against all backups in the league, Grossman is actually 24-5-2, with 3 of those wins being against teams with no backup with NFL experience. Is Grossman actually better than the backups for 24 teams? That’s just sad. I’m starting to question my belief in NFL coaches. Do they not realize that almost 75% are screwed if their starters go down? How do you think it makes them feel that REX GROSSMAN is more than likely better than their own backup.
When my friend said what he did, I expected to do the research and find that Grossman was the worst backup i nthe league, but I was wrong. The backup’s in this league are horrible, so the Bears should be thankful they have Rex as their backup.
Even if its only to motivate their o-line not to let Kyle Orton get injured.