Whether it be from injury or poor play, there are more backup quarterbacks playing in Week 7 of the NFL season than many expected or could have predicted. Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Allen have been holding down the fort for their NFC South teams. Gardner Minshew has electrified the Jaguars’ faithful and Daniel Jones shows promise in the Big Apple. Oh, and Marcus Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. The DC Sports staff is here to tell you who the best backup in the league is at this point.
The best backup QB has, without a doubt, been Kyle Allen for the Panthers. After starting 0-2 under Cam Newton, the Panthers have won four straight and sit right behind the Saints in the NFC South at 4-2. While CMC has been putting up MVP numbers to help the team out, let’s not discredit what Allen has been doing in Newton’s absence, racking up 900 yards with seven TDs and no INTs during their win streak. He has been instrumental in bringing a team that had no expectations coming into the season, and putting them right back into playoff contention. Even more impressively, compared to other backup QBs Allen has earned his wins with little help from his defense and without a star wide receiver like the Saints have in Michael Thomas. Allen has performed so well that this may be one of those rare cases where, even after Newton returns from injury, Allen might (and should) retain the starting job because he has looked that good, something no other current backup can say for themselves.
Teddy Bridgewater has proven that he can lead an NFL team despite being the backup in New Orleans. After a devastating knee injury in 2016, many thought his career was all but over. Bridgewater was able to miraculously recover and signed with the Saints to back up Drew Brees. The team’s Super Bowl hopes came to a halt after Brees suffered a thumb injury, which threatened to keep him out for two months. Bridgewater has been able to keep the season alive and then some. While under center, the Louisville product has a record of 4-0, and the Saints currently sit atop the NFC South. Although his performances have not all been spectacular, the team is winning. Stepping into a position in which the expectation is a deep playoff run, it is easy for many to crumble. Bridgewater has proven to be yet another valuable component of the Saints star-studded roster.
I’ve been waiting all season for the opportunity to write about the aviator- and jockstrap-clad enigma. Like it or not, Minshew Mania is real and here to stay. Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew II has exceeded all expectations since taking over for the injured Nick Foles during Week 1. There were literally no expectations for Minshew, a sixth-round pick, this season. Very few knew who he was when the product of Washington State lined up under center for the first time; however, it didn’t take long for the mustachioed signal caller to capture the hearts of football fans with his striking appearance, legendary folklore and most importantly, fantastic play on the field. The surprise Rookie of the Year candidate has thrown for 1,442 yards (240.3 per game), nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. Though Jacksonville has struggled to win games this season (2-4 this season, 2-3 with Minshew as the starter), it isn’t Minshew’s fault. He shares a QB rating of 97.5 with a guy named Tom Brady, who in case you didn’t know, throws the ball for the 6-0 Patriots. If you put Minshew in Kyle Allen or Teddy Bridgewater’s position, he’d have more success than either backup QB.
If we’re still counting Gardner Minshew as a backup (since he technically did start the season as the No. 2 QB on the Jacksonville depth chart), then he has my pick all day. The Washington State alum certainly has the stats to back up a claim as the backup as he has thrown for over 1400 yards, nine touchdowns and just two picks with a 64% completion percentage. Yes, he does have six fumbles, but he’s also been sacked 14 times in just six games and played against a beast Saints front last weekend. The most important thing that Minshew brings to the Jags cannot be measured in any statistic—his “Southern Man” swagger and the confidence he has brought to the entire organization. Jacksonville sports pundit Dan Hicken said that Minshew looks like “the guy that 95% of Jacksonville wants to go drink a beer with,” and that has got to count for something.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @teddy_bh2o Instagram.