Recently the first series of NFL depth charts came out giving us an accurate list of QB2's around the league. The pundits would have you to believe that the Dallas Cowboys are lagging far behind the bulk of the NFL and are in serious jeopardy if Tony Romo goes down while other squads are well prepared for the possibility of losing their top passer. To steal a phrase from Ronald Reagan, that is a load of what Bess Truman spent 35 years trying to get Harry to call fertilizer.
Let's take a look at some of the men who will be the next man up if some of the better quarterbacks in the league go down to injury.
In the NFC East Eli Manning, Sam Bradford, and Kirk Cousins are backed up by Ryan Nassib, Colt McCoy, and Chase Daniel. I don't know about you, but Eli is the only passer in the division that I would feel semi comfortable turning my offense over to. Cousins is coming pretty close to being on that list and if he develops as he did in 2015 I would rank him ahead of Eli, but he is not quite there yet. As for the understudies in those other cities, they are the quarterback equivalent of just a guy. None were bad college QBs but there is college good and NFL starter good. They were college good.
Moving to the rest of the NFC we find the pickings slim behind other top notch quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers is backed up by Brett Hundley. I wonder if Packer fans feel that he is capable of stepping in to replace Rodgers and lead the cheeseheads to January football. In the Crescent City the Saints have Luke McCown behind Drew Brees while in Carolina the defending conference champion Panthers will rely on Derek Anderson if anything happens to Cam Newton. Something tells me that if he is pressed into action the Panthers will experience the same success with Anderson as did the Cleveland Browns. Perhaps the NFC team best suited for success with a back up would be the San Francisco 49ers. Former back up turned starter Colin Kaepernick once again fills the QB2 role although things could easily flip-flop and Blaine Gabbert could lose the starting job.
Setting pretty in the other conference we find the New England Patriots. I say setting pretty because I can see Jimmy Garoppolo finding success in Tom Brady's place. He will have the added benefit of being the starter for the first four games of the season. Beyond Jimmy G the pickings are slim in the American Conference as well. If Brock Osweiler should falter in Houston, the Texans will fall back on Brandon Weeden while Tennessee backs up Marcus Mariota with Matt Cassell. I know that pair fill Cowboys fans with confidence in their abilities. Notable AFC North quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton will have Landry Jones and A J McCarron as their back ups while Ryan Mallett will be Joe Flacco's understudy.
It is not just the Dallas Cowboys who will find themselves in dire straits if the starting quarterback is lost to injury. To win at this level without a starting quarterback takes a complete team. Last year the Denver Broncos had assembled a team that was capable of winning with a pedestrian under center and they did so. Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler, it did not matter. The Dallas Cowboys, and most other franchises, are not at the level of the 2015 Broncos. The teams in this league are only going as far as the starting QB will take them. The possible exception this year would be the Patriots. The hooded one may be able to win with Garoppolo at quarterback, but I doubt that any other squad is capable of doing so.
It is easy for the pundits to set and critique how the Cowboys are handling the situation behind Tony Romo. It involves Dallas so it will generate site visits and comments so it is good for business. That is all it is good for. Rare is the team that wins with its QB2 starting. It can and has been done, but few teams are built for that kind of success. That makes the back up quarterback controversy a moot point. i don't care if you are in Dallas, New York, or any other football city, your starter is the started for a reason and if the back up was capable of success in the league he would not be your back up for long.