Week 5: Who is in Backup Purgatory?

Week 5 is in the books, and 6 backup QBs were earning their money this weekend.

Despite the absence of their highest profile player, which teams have kept their season on track?


Derek Anderson for the Panthers

Anderson might not have expected to start in Monday Night Football until the surprise early announcement that reigning MVP Cam Newton wouldn’t progress out of the concussion protocol in time. Anderson is one of the better backups in the league, but consistently made poor decisions throughout an ugly home loss to the Buccs. The Panthers will hope to have Newton back next week, but their season is already on the rails following a shocking 1-4 record.

Charlie Whitehurst for the Browns

Clipboard Jesus seems to have a career that will never end, but his time in Cleveland might be over after just 1 game. Whitehurst was only brought into the building a week ago, with the Browns already having RGIII, Josh McCown and Cody Kessler struck down in the opening 4 weeks, but he was forced to look into the abyss, as Tom Brady returned to guide the Patriots to an easy win. Charlie’s performance will be instantly forgotten in a game no-one expected them to win, while one of McCown or Kessler will surely be back on the field in week 6. But with a 0-5 record, who is starting under centre is just one of the Browns many problems.

Brian Hoyer for the Bears

The Bears looked like a rudderless ship under Jay Cutler in the opening games of the season, but while they suffered another defeat, Hoyer (with a little help of surprise breakout RB Jordan Howard) is reinforcing his reputation as a strong backup / low level starter. Hoyer kept his side competitive through Week 5, albeit against an equally average Colts side. The Bears seem to finally be looking at life beyond Jay Cutler, but Hoyer isn’t going to kill them while on the field, and it seems he might keep the job for a longer spell despite the imminent return of #6.

Drew Stanton for the Cardinals

Stanton has not been a lucky charm for the Cardinals, but he managed to get the job done in Week 5. Despite only throwing for a measly 124 yards, he managed to lean on the skills of the evergreen Larry Fitzgerald, and the boisterous running of David Johnson to get the Cards a priceless division win over San Francisco. I’m not sure even the Cards think he can repeat the act, and they’ll be desperate for a healthy Carson Palmer this week.

Paxton Lynch for the Broncos


The Broncos aren’t just the reigning SuperBowl champs, they’ve been the best team in the league for over a year, and so far this season the unlikely starter Trevor Siemian has been the surprise success story. Ultimately the long term job should end up in the hands of 1st round pick Paxton Lynch, but he looked nervous and unprepared against the high flying Falcons. With Siemian due to return, expect things to get back to normal in Denver, but this preview of the future already has some concerns.

Dak Prescott for the Cowboys


Some might have already forgotten that Prescott is a backup – the rookie has started the season like a seasoned pro, and Cowboy fans are already talking about the next superstar QB/RB combo in fellow rookies Prescott and Elliott. But on the sidelines there is a big grinning reminder of who really sits at the top of the depth chart – Tony Romo is sure to return when finally healthy, but this might be his last year to try and win something with the Cowboys – Prescott is building a glowing resume, and won’t be holding the clipboard for long.

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