Poets on Sports


by Justin Carter


Peyton Manning is the best QB in the league, right? YAWN. YAWN WORLD.

Kirk Cousins is the best backup? Or maybe Michael Vick is? We know it isn’t Blaine Gabbert! Still, it’s pretty boring to debate backup quarterbacks, because most of them are known entities. We know pretty well what Matt Moore will do if he ends up in a game, or what Curtis Painter won’t do. Let’s talk the guys who are even farther down on the depth chart, & let’s do it via a ranking of– not necessarily how good they are, but just how– how something they are.

I’ll be using this list as a guide. If someone on here is a backup now or a Hamilton TiCat now, blame them.

Also, because WHO THE FUCK ARE SOME OF THESE GUYS, I’m doing this by tiers & not numbers, because who am I to say that Keith Wenning (??? WHO) is one spot better than Brad Sorenson!


I’m just going to list some names that I’m too lazy to look up. I assume none of these guys will see playing time this year, & if their teams top two guys get hurt, someone else will get called in.

Keith Wenning (BAL), Tyler Bray (KC), Brad Sorenson (SD), Kellen Moore (DET), Sean Renfree (ATL) [although, TJ Yates is did enough to fall to third on the Falcons’ depth chart), Matt Blanchard (CAR), Ryan Griffin (NO), Mike Kafka (TB) [did I just put the ENTIRE NFC South on this list? I did. Three of those teams have their franchise QB already, but I’m not sure what Tampa’s excuse is], Austin Davis (STL)

The Ryan Lindley Tier

I should have put this tier below the previous one, but maybe some of those guys are worse than Lindley? Probably not. Career TD to INT ration of 0:7. Lindley probably gets cut soon anyway, since Logan Thomas is in town. Put an asterisk beside this.

The PLZ Don’t Let Us Have To Play Them Tier

Rex Grossman (CLE), Landry Jones (PIT), Chandler Harnish (IND), Matt Barkley (PHI)

Rex Grossman led the Bears to the Superbowl once, but, like– he was also one of (who am I kidding? he was) the worst QBs to play in a Superbowl. PLUS! He has a realistic chance of playing this year. Hoyer’s coming off a knee injury. Manziel fits the RGIII mold of guys who might get knicked up & miss a game or two. We’re conceivably looking at Grossman starting a few games & at me having to drop Jordan Cameron from my fantasy team!

I have no faith in Landry Jones or Chandler Harnish.

I debated Barkley’s spot. I gave most of the young QBs the benefit of the doubt, but Barkley looked SO bad for the Eagles last year & he’s a USC quarterback. Those don’t work too well, unless their name is Carson Palmer, & even then– YIKES. Quick sidebar: let’s look at all the USC starting QBs since Palmer:

Matt Leinart: Drafted by Arizona, but spent most of his time there backing up Kurt Warner. When Warner retired, he lost the starting job to DEREK ANDERSON. Played one game for a Texan before a season ending injury. Backup in Oakland. Couldn’t beat Jeff Tuel for a spot on the Bills. Isn’t signed to a team but REX GROSSMAN is.

John David Booty: 5th round pick. Didn’t play an NFL game.

Mark Sanchez: BUTT FUMBLE. The Jets were good with Sanchez at QB, but it was sort-of in spite of Sanchez. Got replaced by Geno Smith.

Mitch Mustain: CFL.

So, yeah.

The Serviceable Old Guys Who Should Probably Not See The Field Tier

Brady Quinn (MIA), Colt McCoy (WAS), Josh Johnson (SF)

I debated putting Josh Johnson in one of the later categories, because he’s a better player than the 49ers #2 guy (Blaine Gabbert), but ultimately stuck him here.

Oh hey, all three of these guys have been Cleveland Browns. Maybe I should stick Jeff Garcia & Jake Delhomme on here too.

The Youngsters With Upside Tier

Jeff Tuel (BUF), Jimmy Garroppolo (NE), AJ McCarron (CIN), Tom Savage (HOU), Zach Mettenberger (TEN), Zac Dysert (DEN), Ryan Nassib (NYG)

Most of these guys are too fresh to really make sense of. Savage has a big arm. McCarron is McCarron. Garroppolo is the next Tom Brady, says no one except Patriots fans.

I like Mettenberger, of this group, to jump forward to the next tier.

Tuel showed enough promise as a Bill to land here. Dysert & Nassib are on here, but they’re in danger of joining Matt Barkley’s tier.

The Aren’t Terrible Tier

Matt Simms (NYJ), Ricky Stanzi (JAX)

Okay, so at first I thought Matt Simms was just Chris Simms & was ready to put him last on this list (or at least in the Lindley tier), but he’s actually Chris Simms’ brother. He’s been decent in his few minutes as a Jet. We’re ranking third stringers, so decent counts.

Ricky Stanzi– wait, I just confused Stanzi with Drew Tate. Ricky Stanzi didn’t play in that crazy 2006 Alamo Bowl. Okay, well I don’t know why I put Stanzi here now, but I’m leaving him.

The Conundrum Tier

Jimmy Clausen (CHI), Terrelle Pryor (SEA)

I don’t know what to think about these guys. Clausen was a high(ish, being taken at the top of round two) pick by the Panthers, struggled in limited action in his first season, & was then replaced by Cam Newton. The numbers say he isn’t a good NFL player, another Blaine Gabbert essentially, but he’s got so little game tape on him that maybe– maybe he could turn it around. He’s probably not getting another chance, but he’s picked the right team just in case.

Pryor is fast. He isn’t a great passer, but DAMN– he can make players miss. He’s going to get some playing time as a change of pace, probably, though not as much as he would on a team that had a more traditional pocket guy starting.


Matt McGloin (OAK), Caleb Hanie (DAL), Scott Tolzien (GB), Christian Ponder (MIN)

I keep picking on Gabbert, but he’s just so bad!

Matt McGloin looked decent last season, throwing eight TDs & eight picks, completing 56% of his throws. He’s not a great player, but it seemed odd that Oakland brought in Matt Schaub. McGloin could have competed with Derek Carr for the starting job, played five or six games, then let Carr take over, & Oakland would have been better off. Matt Schaub’s probably expected to mentor Carr, but LOL. NO. NO MATT SCHAUB.

I’m giving Hanie credit still for stuff he did years ago on a different team.

Tolzien looked pretty pedestrian for the Packers last season, but he probably deserves another chance? I don’t know. I’m tired. I don’t know much about him. Moving on.

Christian Ponder probably wins the award for best third stringer. His career numbers: 38/34, a 77.3 passer rating. Injuries gave Matt Cassel the starting job last season, & the drafting of Teddy Bridgewater forced Ponder to the third spot on the depth chart. The Vikings have solid depth at QB, but no star– really, Cassel & Ponder are closer to a wash than it might seem. Bridgewater is the franchise’s big hope, so he’s got that second spot locked down. Ponder could be a solid backup QB in a lot of places around the league if he gets away from Minnesota.




About juscart

Justin Carter is the co-editor of Banango Street & an MFA candidate in Poetry @ Bowling Green State University. He enjoys the Rockets & Texans. He sometimes enjoys the Astros. His poems appear in Hobart, Red Lightbulbs, & Revolution House.

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2014 by .
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