Assessing AFC East backup quarterbacks

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
12:00
PM ET
The interesting news of Vince Young working out for the Buffalo Bills this week made me think about the rest of the division.

Here is a look at backup quarterbacks in the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills

Starter: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Backup: Tyler Thigpen

Thoughts: I understand the reason the Bills are searching for another backup. For starters, Buffalo only has one on its roster. Two, the Bills didn’t find a developmental quarterback in the draft. The Bills probably won’t carry just two quarterbacks on the roster. Thigpen played well as a part-time starter in Kansas City but hasn’t earned much of a shot since. Either way, they need another body.

Grade: C-

Miami Dolphins

Starter: TBD

Backups: Matt Moore/David Garrard and Ryan Tannehill

Thoughts: The Dolphins are going to have a very strong backup with whoever loses this battle in training camp between Moore and Garrard. Moore won six of his last games last season and proved that he can fill in well in relief. Garrard is a battle-tested veteran who has won in the playoffs. Perhaps Miami’s problem is both are probably very good backups at this point and average starters. Tannehill waits on his turn in the background, but it’s a strong support group.

Grade: B+

New England Patriots

Starter: Tom Brady

Backups: Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett

Thoughts: Hoyer and Mallet are both unknowns. But Hoyer has showed himself well in limited opportunities. The Patriots were high enough on Hoyer to place a second-round tender on him. Mallet was a quarterback I liked in the draft. Questions before the draft made him fall to the third round, and the Patriots were happy to get him to see if he can learn a few years behind Brady.

Grade: B-

New York Jets

Starter: Mark Sanchez

Backups: Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy

Thoughts: Say what you want about Tebow, but he’s a winner in the regular season and the playoffs. He is fine as a backup quarterback in New York, which will run the Wildcat package. It’s time to worry when Tebow becomes the starter and is forced to throw the ball more. McElroy had a successful college career but was injured as a rookie. He’s most known for his infamous comments on the Jets locker room issues.

Grade: B-

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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