If the NFL season happens this season, backups are going to be more important than ever. If a few players test positive for COVID-19, the goal is going to be able to continue the season, not just shut it down for a couple of weeks.
That means all across the board, depth is going to be important, especially at quarterback. Losing a rotational player on the defensive line could probably be overcome, but there are some teams who won’t be able to overcome it if they lose their starting quarterback.
Let’s take a look at the five NFL teams in the worst position if their starting quarterback is lost for a week or two because of COVID-19.
Honorable mention: Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers drafted Jordan Love to be the starting quarterback a few years down the road, but if he had to start a game or two now, it wouldn’t go well and it might actually hurt his long-term development.
Coming into the draft, Love was considered a project quarterback, and he needs to wait at least a year until he gets into an NFL game. If he starts a game or two, struggles, and throws a few interceptions, his confidence could be shot.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals traded away Andy Dalton, which was a big mistake in the first place. All signs point towards Joe Burrow being the starting quarterback for the 2020 season. With a young quarterback, it’s good to have a veteran sitting behind him, and they had that before letting Dalton go.
Ryan Finley was a rookie last season, and the Bengals tried to see if he could be the future quarterback, but he flopped big time. Finley completed only 47.1 percent of his passes for 474 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. If Burrow goes down and Finley has to step in, he is going to lead the Bengals to some losses.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Some people still aren’t sold on Jacksonville Jaguars having Gardner Minshew under center, but he is no doubt the best option on the roster. The Jaguars have Mike Glennon, Jake Luton, and Joshua Dobbs also on the roster, none of which can be trusted to come in and win a game. Glennon at this point seems the most likely to be the backup when the 2020 NFL season starts.
Glennon was originally drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft, and at one point, he signed a three-year deal worth $45 million with the Chicago Bears. He might get lucky and win a game, but there is no chance he should be expected to lead the Bengals to success.
3. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans hope they have their franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, but with Marcus Mariota no longer on the roster, if Tannehill were to get injured or test positive for COVID-19, the Titans are going to be in a lot of trouble. Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald are the two other quarterbacks on the roster.
McDonald played for Hawaii last season, and he is a project. He very well could end up being a good quarterback, but if he is expected to start the season, the Titans are in trouble. Woodside was a standout with Toledo, but he still hasn’t thrown a pass yet in the NFL. He doesn’t have great arm strength, and in a year where veteran leadership is ultra important, Woodside doesn’t offer that.
2. Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins gets a lot of heat for his play, but he is a solid quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Sean Mannion, Jake Browning, and Nate Stanley are the other quarterbacks on the roster. Mannion is the only veteran quarterback on the roster, and although veteran NFL quarterbacks are extra important this year, he hasn’t done anything to prove that he would win games for the Vikings.
He struggled last season during the preseason against the backups. He started one game for the Vikings in 2019 and threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Jake Browning showed some flashes at Washington, but it’s hard for him to trust to make the throws that Cousins did. Nate Stanley is mostly a project quarterback that also can’t be trusted.
1. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams have Jared Goff who they have faith in, but if he is sidelined with an injury or COVID-19, their season is over. The Rams have John Wolford, Josh Love, and Bryce Perkins on their roster. Josh Love and Bryce Perkins are in no position to be a starting quarterback yet, and John Wolford is a big question mark.
Wolford played his college football at Wake Forest, where he was just an average quarterback. He was the starting quarterback for the Arizona Hotshots in the AAF when that was still a thing. Sean McVay expects a lot from his quarterback, something that Wolford won’t be able to give the Rams if he’s put into the starting role.