AFC North: 2012 backup quarterback AFC

Steelers: Backup QB plan

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
12:00
PM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Pittsburgh Steelers' backup quarterback situation if Ben Roethlisberger is injured and misses time.

Few teams have the luxury of going into training camp with two experienced backups like the Steelers. Byron Leftwich is the best insurance policy at quarterback in the AFC North. He has started 49 games (24-25 record) and passed for 10,260 yards and 58 touchdowns. The challenge for Leftwich is to remain healthy. He injured his knee in the 2010 preseason finale and broke his arm in last year's preseason. Even though Leftwich has major durability questions, you have to be equally unsure whether Charlie Batch can hold up for an extended period at 37. Still, Batch is as dependable as you can get. He is 5-2 as a spot starter since joining the Steelers in 2003. The backup quarterback position is an important one for the Steelers. Roethlisberger has played all 16 games only once in his eight-year NFL career.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Roethlisberger goes out for extended period: 71.

Ravens: Backup QB plan

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
11:15
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Baltimore Ravens' backup quarterback situation if Joe Flacco is injured and misses time.

The Ravens haven't been consistent in the amount of importance they've placed on the backup quarterback position recently. Baltimore went from having one of the most experienced and expensive backups in Marc Bulger in 2010 to a rookie sixth-round pick in Tyrod Taylor last season. Taylor has completed one pass in three brief appearances. To be fair, this spot has been irrelevant on the Ravens, because Flacco hasn't missed a start in his four-year career (73 starts, including the playoffs) and has proven to be among the most durable quarterbacks in the league. The Ravens added more veteran depth by signing Curtis Painter this offseason, although it's unknown whether he'll beat out Taylor for the No. 2 spot. Painter played last season under new Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis, where he was benched after failing to win in eight starts.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Flacco goes out for extended period: 18.

Browns: Backup QB plan

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
9:05
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Cleveland Browns' backup quarterback situation if Brandon Weeden is injured and misses time.

The Browns will have to determine who their backup is going to be this season, because it's unlikely they'll keep both Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace. McCoy's showing as a starter last season didn't endear him to the front office. The Browns were looking for an upgrade all offseason after he finished with a 4-9 record in 2011 and the 25th-best quarterback rating. Still, McCoy has the potential and the mindset to serve as a capable backup. He's seven years younger than Wallace and has as many starts (21). But Wallace has been a favorite of Mike Holmgren since their days in Seattle, and that could give him the edge for the No. 2 spot. The problem is Wallace looked ragged last year when he replaced McCoy (remember him not spiking the ball in Baltimore to stop the clock before halftime and set up a field goal) and has a 1-8 record as a starter the past three seasons.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Weeden goes out for extended period: 46.

Bengals: Backup QB plan

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
8:15
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Cincinnati Bengals' backup quarterback situation if Andy Dalton is injured and misses time.

The Bengals are very comfortable with Bruce Gradkowski as their backup. Well, at least offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is. Gradkowski played under Gruden for two years when both were in Tampa Bay, so there is a strong familiarity with his offensive system. There might be some concern if Gradkowski had to start several games. He has a less-than-stellar 6-14 record while starting for three teams. But Cincinnati wouldn't think twice about giving the ball to Gradkowski if Dalton gets hurt late in a game, because it has already happened. In last year's season opener, Gradkowski led the Bengals to a come-from-behind victory over the Browns, which included a 41-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green off a quick snap in the fourth quarter.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Dalton goes out for extended period: 63.

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