Even before the NFL season began, some teams were facing acute quarterback problems, most notably the Arizona Cardinals, who were waiting for Kyler Murray to recover from knee surgery and, just a few plays into the new season, the New York Jets had Aaron Rodgers sidelined with a torn Achilles.
Over the first half of the season, the quarterback injuries have kept mounting – in Chicago and in Indianapolis and in Las Vegas, and on and on. In Week 8, the Minnesota Vikings were struck when starting quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles and was lost for the year. If Minnesota sports betting were legal, positive wagers on the Vikings might have been lost as well.
The fill-ins have been a veritable list of Who’s-He. For instance, there’s been Tommy DiVito (Giants), Tyson Bagent (Bears) and Clayton Tune (Cardinals). The Vikings, at least immediately, have had Joshua Dobbs show up in a trade with Arizona. A guy whose career record as a starter had been 1-9 over three-plus seasons, Dobbs engineered an improbable 31-28 comeback win over Atlanta.
The Vikings -- 5-4 in the NFC North -- were scurrying to replace Cousins and desperate for a signal-caller who can keep their playoffs hopes alive. With Cousins’ original backup, Nick Mullens, on IR (back), that desperation had the Vikes looking to Arizona just to fill up the quarterback room.
Then, Vikings rookie Jaren Hall, who was the planned starter against the Falcons, was knocked out in the first quarter (concussion). Enter Dobbs, without the benefit of any first-team practice reps. Stunningly, he won the game with a fourth-quarter TD drive.
Fans might recall that the San Francisco 49ers reached into their depth chart last year and came up with Brock Purdy, the last player taken in the 2022 draft. Purdy came off the bench and has a 10-3 record so far as a starter. But anyone watching the uneven performances of this year’s fill-ins realize how rare the Purdy Experience is in the NFL. Even more rare is the miracle that Dobbs performed.
However, in addition to the Who’s-He quarterbacks, there are some Where-Are-Theys, meaning quarterbacks who have extensive experience and, in some cases, even have pedigree as Pro Bowlers. One of them, Carson Wentz, finally landed this week with the Los Angeles Rams.
MinnesotaBets.com – your source for news on Minnesota sports betting apps – scoured the field to see which other recognizable names are out there.
Veteran Quarterbacks Still Available
Here is a list of guys at home on the couch who might be in the conversation for teams hoping to salvage their seasons.
- Nick Foles. Recalling a magical baseball moment, the late Don Larsen was described as the imperfect pitcher who just happened to pitch the perfect game. Of course, Larsen made history as a New York Yankee in hurling the only perfect game in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956. His career record was 81-91 but he’s part of baseball lore. Getting back to quarterbacks, Foles – who is almost 35 – has played for six different NFL teams (one of them twice). His regular-season career record is 29-29 and his playoff record is 4-2. But like Don Larsen, he sparkled at the right moment on the big stage. Foles won a Super Bowl for the Eagles against Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. Foles last played for Indianapolis last season.
- Joe Flacco. Staying with Super Bowl winners, Joe Flacco was playing in the NFL last season with a barely competitive New York Jets team. Flacco, now almost 39, won a Lombardi Trophy for Baltimore after the 2012 season, and in the twilight of his career, was 1-3 as a starter for the Jets in 2022. But that one win was a 31-30, come-from-behind victory over Cleveland when the Jets were down by 14 points with less than two minutes to play. In that game, Flacco threw for more than 300 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.
- Matt Ryan. Ryan also went to a Super Bowl with Atlanta against Brady and the Patriots, and he would have won it, too, with some help from head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Instead, it went down as the greatest collapse in Super Bowl history. After 14 seasons with the Falcons (120-102 as a starter), Ryan spent last season with a so-so Indianapolis team and was 4-7-1. This season, the 38-year-old Ryan is broadcasting for CBS.
- Colin Kaepernick. OK, Kaepernick is 35, but he hasn’t been getting beat up for the last six-and-half seasons. He last played in the league in 2016. The controversies are well understood, but they are also more than six years in the past, and Kaepernick’s views are shared by many, many folks in American society. So, what’s the deal, here? Well, in his last two seasons as a starter for San Francisco, he was 3-16 as a starter. Before that, though, he took the 49ers to a Super Bowl.
- Colt McCoy. Through much of the offseason, McCoy was the expected replacement for Arizona’s healing Murray. However, McCoy, 37, is a career backup who has had his own health problems, alternately reported as neck/concussion/elbow. He was released by Arizona. McCoy is 11-25 as a starter and has been on five different rosters.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard-educated Fitzpatrick last played in the NFL in 2021 for Washington. More recently, he’s been seen in numerous TV commercials for DraftKings and Little Caesars Pizza. Almost 41, Fitzpatrick is 59-87-1 as starter over 17 seasons. Considering his second career as a TV pitch man, and his Harvard degree, Fitzpatrick is probably too smart to consider getting behind center again.
- Tom Brady. In case you’re wondering, he’s 46. Not happening. At least, let’s hope not.
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