I know. I know. Why in the world would we want David Carr on our sidelines? The depth of the quarter back position in the NFL is perhaps the shallowest of all positions. At any one time in the NFL, teams have between 2 and 3 quarterbacks on their roster. Since the rule change for the "emergency quarterback" for the 2011 season, most teams carry 3 quarterbacks on their active roster. So, by assuming that each team carries 3 active quarterbacks on the game day roster, we are looking at a total of 64 men playing backup QB. How many of these QBs are quality backups? About one third have played a full game in their NFL career, and the other two thirds are newly drafted or only good for holding the ball during a field goal try.
The backup quarterback isn’t supposed to be a star. The journeyman QB position has traditionally been used to slow the bleeding and allow the starting QB to heal. The backup should be able to come in and manage the team to an even .500 record while the starter is on the mend. With the new pass happy NFL, quarterbacks are out for shorter periods of time, making the backup quarterback seem less like a priority for the teams and their fans. Who are the Rams backups and what have they done in the NFL?
Tom Bradstater: Age 27
Games Played: 1 (as a backup)
Pass Attempts: 2 Completions: 0
It’s way too early to give up on Tommy Boy, as this is only his second year with the Rams. His 6’5" 222lbs frame is good and his knowledge of the game and arm strength are above average.
Kellen Clemens: Age 28
Games Played: 28 games over a 6 year career
Pass Attempts: 375 Completions: 195
Completion Percentage: 52 Yards: 2,232 Touchdowns: 7 QB Rating: 63.1
Now those are just the raw numbers. Not much to look at there. Some will say that Clemens makes sense due to his experience with Shotty’s offense. That is a valid point which can be discussed in the comments. This article is after all, about David Carr.
David Carr took the football world by storm in the days leading up to the 2002 NFL draft. Coming out of Fresno State, Carr was the first pick for the expansion Houston Texans. He would be the face of the newborn franchise for the next five years. The Texans never gave Carr much in the way of protection and became a tackling dummy for opposing defenses as he has been sacked 266 times. He didn’t help his team out however, as he "created" sacks as well by staring down his progressions and not looking off safeties. Despite getting thrown to the ground on a very regular basis, Carr has put up these career numbers.
Starter: Games Played: 76 Attempts:2070 Completions: 1243
Completion Percentage: 59.82 Yards: 13,391 Touchdowns: 59 QB Rating: 75.02
Backup: Games Played: 16 Attempts: 194 Completions: 108
Completion Percentage: 57.7 Yards: 1042 Touchdowns: 6 QB Rating: 79.9
Now those numbers might not tell you much besides he’s consistent in his completion percentage and he has improved his QB rating since his starting days. He has also been a bit mobile, having run for 1331 yards with 9 touchdowns and 4.41 yards per attempt.
Why would he be a good backup? That question could best be answered by Tom Coughlin and the Giant’s front office. The NY Giants brought Carr in as a backup to two time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning in 2008 and 2009. The Giants let him go in 2010 and he signed with the SF 49ers. The NY Giants thought so highly of Carr that they brought him back in 2011 and placed Sage Rosenfels on the injured reserve list. David Carr could possibly come in and manage the team to a .500 record during his tenure, but more importantly he could help Sam Bradford navigate the ups and downs of a championship season. Carr was right alongside a champion quarterback for three seasons, one during a title run. Having that experience, watching the work ethic of Manning is invaluable. He may not be a flashy big name free agent. But he is what he is, a free agent option, a backup.