Backup QB Rankings (cont.)
11. Chad Henne, Miami -- Henne is a great example of a young passer who is fairly well thought of, and the Dolphins still consider him their quarterback of the future. But the reality is, no one has ever seen him deliver in the NFL, so we're just projecting him as an upper tier backup. Given Chad Pennington's history for not staying healthy for long, Henne figures to play at some point this season and prove us right or wrong.
12. Kellen Clemens, New York Jets -- It doesn't take much reading of the tea leaves to figure out that Mark Sanchez's future is now, and that means Clemens figures to lose yet another Jets QB competition. Now in his fourth season in New York, Clemens knows the system and has shown flashes of being able to spark the offense in past relief appearances. He did start three of the Jets' four wins in 2007.
13. Troy Smith, Baltimore -- Before Flacco-mania took hold last year, Smith was in line to be the Ravens starter, but then he got sick and opened the door for the rookie. The rest is history. I did like what I saw the other night from Smith against the Redskins, when he threw for 200 yards and a touchdown. But then, everyone looked good against Washington that night.
14. Dan Orlovsky, Houston -- Everyone seems to agree the Texans overpaid the ex-Lion when they signed him during free agency, and of course it's hard to think of him without seeing him running obliviously out of the back of the end zone last year in Minnesota. But Orlovsky does have some skills, and he'll probably get to show them off some this year in Houston, where starter Matt Schaub always misses a game or three.
15. Brodie Croyle, Kansas City -- I was at Chiefs camp on day one this summer and the conventional wisdom at that point was that Croyle was going to have to fight to win the No. 3 job behind Matt Cassel and Tyler Thigpen. But Croyle has had a good preseason, and now there's even some speculation about whether he could wind up pushing Cassel. I don't think that happens, but Croyle looks like he's firmly ahead of Thigpen right now.
16. Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh -- Remember it was Byron Leftwich who stepped in and kept the train moving for the Steelers last season when Ben Roethlisberger was banged up. Batch was on IR. Dennis Dixon looks like the guy the Steelers want behind Big Ben in the future, it's just too early to tell if the future has arrived.
17. Jim Sorgi, Indianapolis -- He's no Peyton Manning, but who is? Sorgi has never embarrassed himself the few times he's had to play, and the Colts never seem to feel the need to upgrade the position. They drafted Purdue's Curtis Painter in the sixth round this year, but the Colts usually go with just two QBs on the roster, and that's at least a sign of their faith in Sorgi.
18. Chris Redman, Atlanta -- Matt Ryan's spectacular rookie season made Redman invisible in 2008, but the year before the long forgotten ex-Raven revived his career with 10 touchdown passes and a 90.4 passer rating in seven games of action. There are plenty of teams that don't have anyone with that kind of potential coming off the bench.
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo -- It's an indictment on how bad J.P. Losman was in the backup role last season that the Bills were thrilled to land Fitzpatrick as an upgrade. In 12 starts after Carson Palmer went down in Cincinnati last season, Fitzpatrick was profoundly mediocre, with eight touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 70.0 passer rating.
20. Matt Flynn, Green Bay -- Flynn, a seventh-round pick in 2008, seized the Packers backup job in the preseason and never let go, beating out the much more highly regarded Brian Brohm, a second-round selection last season. Green Bay is pretty high on Flynn, and the former LSU star knows what it's like to sit and wait your turn. He backed up NFL draft picks Matt Mauck and JaMarcus Russell in college, but won a national championship as a senior starter.
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