No, not Tim Tebow.
With so many holes needing to be filled around Philip Rivers, everybody seems to be forgetting the big glaring hole behind him: Backup Quarterback. While backup QB may not be a top priority for the Chargers, it shouldn't be thrown aside so easily. For as bad as the offensive line played last year, it was a miracle that Rivers didn't suffer a serious injury.
Different teams have different needs when it comes to backup quarterbacks. Some choose to have a veteran with experience who can contribute in the meeting room as well as on the field. Other teams choose to go with a younger, talented player who could compete for minutes and someday develop into the starter. Charlie Whitehurst is none of these things.
Whitehurst spent the first 4 years of his career with the Chargers before starting 4 bad games over 2 years with the Seahawks. Last year, Clipboard Jesus resurrected his way back onto the team's depth chart. With Norv Turner and his system gone, so too should be the idea that Charlie Whitehurst was anything more than a coach's backup.
The Need For Competition
Philip Rivers knows he's the starting quarterback on this team but it doesn't mean he should feel comfortable. It wasn't that long ago that Drew Brees was considered a bust and the Chargers brought in a young Rivers to be groomed into the starter. Rivers' first start was 2 years later. Why? Because putting a very capable quarterback on the roster lit a fire inside of Drew Brees and started to develop him into the NFL's sweetheart he is today.
Who's Out There?
With the right backup, Philip could rise to the occasion and show why he's still an elite quarterback in this league. Most reputable backups are already signed for the upcoming season, so that means finding one now likely means trading for one. The quarterback that I see working best in this scenario is Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's only going into his 2nd year, but Foles got some quality starts in his rookie year. Combining a new system and regime in Philadelphia with Michael Vick and Dennis Dixon being there, and many mock drafts having the Eagles taking Geno Smith at number 4 overall, I could see Nick Foles being cut or available for a future late round pick.
Many of you are already wanting to draft a replacement for Rivers but, with other more pressing needs, it isn't likely the Chargers use an early round pick to try and find a quarterback. But there are a few quarterbacks that might be worth taking a late round flyer on.
- Landry Jones, Oklahoma- 6'4" 225 lbs. Started a ton of games for the Sooners. Considered to be a "natural passer."
- Collin Klein, Kansas St.- 6'5" 226 lbs. Had a breakout a year for Kansas St. last year. Is considered to be an athletic running quarterback.
- Zac Dysert, Miami (OH)- 6'3" 230 lbs. 4 year starter. 48 TD's in his last 2 seasons. Solid, nothing flashy. Matt Hasselbeck like.
If the Chargers' biggest concern being keeping their franchise quarterback upright, which it should be, wouldn't it be wise to have a good backup plan just in case they don't succeed?