July 21, 2017

The Coming Quarterback Question

The backup quarterback. The captain of the clipboard and backward baseball cap. Every team has one or two. While the other 51 guys on the roster are expected to produce to keep their jobs, everyone hopes that these guys will never have to step onto the field to earn their checks. And like every team, the Bengals will have to make one of three decisions about theirs.

1. Keep Just One Backup

Last year, the Bengals made the unusual decision to keep Bruce Gradkowski as the only backup QB, which freed up a roster spot for an extra guy at another position. With all of the talented rookies that the Bengals drafted, an extra spot would provide additional flexibility, such as carrying an extra receiver or an extra DB. The inherent risk, of course, is if — knock on wood — Dalton should have an injury, Gradkowski is the only option. But more than that, Gradkowski is only signed through this year. If he is the only backup this year, then next year they either have to bring him back or bring someone brand new into Gruden’s system to backup Dalton. Not that bringing back Gradkowski is the worst thing they could do.

2. Keep Two Backups

Reports on Zac Robinson and Tyler Hanson have been pretty good so far. Neither of them are going to challenge for Dalton’s job, obviously, but perhaps one of them could become the Bengals’ version of Jim Sorgi, backing ip Dalton for years to come. The tradeoff, though, is one less guy to field somewhere else. Honestly, how often is a third QB going to see the field? An extra WR or DB might actually get a few snaps.

3. Get Unconventional

How often has any NFL team was forced to resort to their third QB? It’s a low number for sure. If the Bengals want to have a third option and yet maintain that extra roster spot, they could work out Mohamed Sanu at the position. He has played a little bit of QB at Rutgers (not great, but aren’t most third stringers not exactly great?) and could be called upon in a serious pinch. And it might be interesting to add a little Kordell Stewart type of wrinkle to the play book.

The coaches are going to have to decide what is more important to them: creating room for an extra guy, perhaps a speedster like Kashif Moore; more depth at QB and getting a third, young option (who would ultimately be the successor to Gradkowski) familiarized in Gruden’s system; or having a gadget play guy who could distribute the ball as poorly as any other third string QB.

Which would you choose?


  1. bbalreff says:

    Go with two quarterbacks and see if Zac Robinson or Tyler Hanson make it to the practice squad. One of them, not both. I would prefer seeing Tyler Hanson on the PC