Nobody's particularly excited about Gus Frerotte as the Rams new backup QB. How could you be; it's a backup QB. There are much bigger things going on with the Rams that actually merit getting excited or worried about, a one year deal for close to the league minimum with a backup QB just doesn't top the list. I'm not really defending Frerotte, but I'm not beating him or the team up over it either. It is what is.
First of all, there really weren't many other options out there for the job. Here's the list. Do you really see anyone on there that you'd want to make a long-term starter? The problem with the young guys on the list, is that they'd need work and time from the coaches, something they can't really afford to invest in a backup QB given the multitude of other tasks at hand. In case you haven't noticed, they're essentially rebuilding this franchise from the ground up, a task requiring a great deal from coaches et al.
Frerotte gives the Rams a QB who understands the basic playbook, a QB who doesn't command the coaches efforts to bring him up to speed, and someone that won't froce them to restrict the plays they can run should he be called upon to replace Bulger. Few teams that turn to their backup QB can say things are going well, and for the Rams, who even with a successful draft, still won't be ready to contend in 2009.
What about a QB to push Bulger? Well, that sounds like a fine theory, and probably is not without merit. However, the Rams just hired a new coach (and coordinators) in part because the team as a whole had been anything but consistently motivated through the last few seasons. Spagnuolo is the one who's got to push Bulger, and get the players on the roster to push each other, which it sounds like he's already starting to do in minicamp this week.
Frerotte doesn't preclude the Rams from drafting a QB this year or next. In fact, drafting one this year would give the player a chance to learn the offensive system while remaining relatively sheltered behind Bulger and Frerotte.
Still, drafting a QB is outside of the point I'm trying to make here. Don't worry about Frerotte. It's a distraction. I'd be really upset if the Rams were bringing in an aging veteran to start at a key position like QB or RB or C or LT. In fact, Devaney and Co. have pursued quite the opposite strategy, jettisoning aging vets and abandoning the previous regime's haphazard approach to free agency by signing young players in the prime of their career like Jason Brown, James Butler, and (re-signing) Ron Bartell, players the team can depend on as they build for the future.
The real reason Frerotte is drawing so many groans around Rams Nation is because he's not the replacement for Marc Bulger, who's performance the last two seasons, on the heels of a big contract, has left lots of fans with a bad taste in their mouth. Hard to blame anyone for that, though I'm reasonably hopeful Bulger can be adequate enough to assuage those memories. But that's a discussion for another time. As far as Frerotte goes, say it with me: It is what it is.