It's one of the weirdest truths in football: the most important position in the game is the one you hope you never have to use, your back up quarterback. Sunday week 8 in the NFL drove that point home more than any in recent memory with Cooper Rush of Dallas, Mike White of The Jets and Trevor Siemian of The Saints all stepping in and getting the job done. Side note: Siemian was actually the 3rd string QB of The Saints so extra bonus kudos to him. Earlier this season when Case Keenum of Cleveland had to take over for an injured Baker Mayfield he led The Browns to a win over the Denver Broncos on a short week as it was a Thursday game. After the win Case was asked if he was going to be ready if he was needed to start another game and his response was chef's kiss perfect: "you don't have to get ready if you stay ready." DAMN that was a good one and so true. It's essentially the life of the back up quarterback in a nutshell. You have to act like you're going to start even when most of the time you know you won't. So let's celebrate the guys that got it done on Sunday,
Give it up for Mike White of The Jets. Sunday in his first start all he did was throw for over 400 yards and 3 TD passes along with 2 INTs but let's focus on the positives shall we? White was a 5th round draft pick of The Dallas Cowboys in 2018 but was waived by Dallas in 2019. He was then signed by The Jets and waived not once but twice. Sunday he was pressed into his first NFL start and delivered an incredible performance in a win over The Bengals who came in as a 1st place team in the AFC North. Not only did he get the win, but according to the folks at Pro Football Focus he became the 1st QB dating back to 1950 that threw for at least 400 yards with 3 TDs in his fist ever NFL start. Dating back to 1950 is not a small sample of evidence. Zach Wilson was the 2nd overall pick the draft but at this point White deserves to keep playing until his play takes him out.
Then there's Trevor Siemian. Siemian was pressed into duty after starter Jameis Winston tore his ACL and backup Taysom Hill was in concussion protocol. All Trevor was able to do was find a way to beat Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs. This game was huge for The Saints, it was only their second home game of the season at The Caesars SuperDome. Siemian didn't win the game for The Saints but he didn't lose the game for them either, which in essence sums up the back up QB existence. Trevor has bounced around the league over the last few seasons so it was nice to see him find a way to get back into action. And then, there was the star of Sunday, Cooper Rush.
Sunday night in his first NFL start Rush, filling in for the injured Dak Prescott delivered a massive road win for Dallas over Minnesota. It was an impressive performance by Rush, a 5th year player. He threw for over 300 yards and 2 2ns half TDs in the come from behind win. The game winner was a 5 yarder to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds left. The game winning drive was an actual 8 play 75 yarder with Rush delivering every step of the way. After the game Rush gave us the quote of the weekend: "It was just as good as the dream."
So here's to the dreamers, the backups who go to work every day preparing to play, knowing that almost 100% of the time they won't. The results we saw on Sunday from these 3 QBs were literally the tip of the iceberg. What we didn't see was all the work they put in every week just in CASE they get the opportunity to see the field. Which leads us back to Case Keenum. You don't have to get ready if you stay ready. Money quote for the ages.