Carrying Two NFL Starting Quarterbacks Is The Wave Of The Future

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On an NFL roster, each position has multiple players that are expected to be able perform to the requirements of a starting player, but when it comes to the quarterback position it has been taboo for teams to carry multiple starters.

First and foremost, there is a difference between having two capable quarterbacks on the roster and an actual two-quarterback system. A system will alternate quarterbacks during a game depending on momentum, while having a competent backup, which is like an insurance policy.

Running the system will never work in the NFL, but carrying multiple starters could become a trend in the coming years. The rules are protecting quarterbacks better than ever. They now are almost untouchable, which leads to them playing into their late 30s. And in some cases (Tom Brady) their 40s.

Older quarterbacks are playing longer. At the same time, young quarterbacks are more prepared to play right away because of the coaching they are receiving from a young age nowadays.

 

There is currently a 17-game regular season, and there are speculations that the ultimate goal is to have an 18-game regular season. Football is one of the most physical sports, so the addition of more games increases the chances of injury.

In football, a team’s morale hinges on the quarterback. If an injury sidelines their starter for weeks, then a team could lose their shot at the playoffs. Carrying the second quarterback keeps teams in playoff contention and the starter is able to sit out another week to fully recover.

The past season we saw how this unfolded with the Cleveland Browns. Baker Mayfield suffered an injury and felt rushed to return after unproductive backup Nick Mullens lost to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15. Cleveland ended up going 1-3 in their last four games and missed out on the playoffs.

The Ravens were rolling with Jackson at QB, and then Jackson was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 14 loss to the Browns and didn’t play again. With his departure, the Ravens’ playoff hopes also went out the door. Backup Tyler Huntley was serviceable, but he’s not a starter.

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Tom Brady is the ultimate standard for the quarterback position. He will be 45 years old at the start of the 2022 season and never wants to miss a snap. Football has gotten easier for Brady because his pre-snap preparation allows for him to know what will happen before he receives the snap.

This shapes up as a perfect opportunity for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, because they could draft a quarterback to sit behind Brady. Any team with a quarterback in his late 30s should be drafting a quarterback to learn behind a veteran.

The knowledge Brady could pass down to a quarterback-in-waiting could be more valuable than any coaching a young quarterback would ever receive. The strategy has proved to work in recent years, which started back in New England when Belichick would draft a QB every other year.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s experience as Brady’s backup allowed him to be prepared for his opportunity. Brady was obviously not ready to give up the keys, so Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He led the Niners to the Super Bowl and was back in the NFC Championship last season.

Other franchises may have a young quarterback ready to play immediately. Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson took the league by storm and were putting up video game-like numbers. Their ability to do a little bit of everything adds a new dynamic to quarterback play.

These young quarterbacks are entering the league more ready than ever because football has become a year-long sport. High school quarterbacks have their own trainers now and attend 7v7 camps during the offseason. These QBs can transition easier since the NFL is replicating the style of play of college where there are more RPO’s and spread concepts.

There can only be 32 NFL starting quarterbacks, although with the development and protection quarterbacks are receiving, teams are shifting toward having two capable starters as an an insurance policy to ensure their Super Bowl hopes stay alive no matter the circumstance.