NFC North: 2012 backup quarterback

Vikings: Backup QB plan

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:59
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Minnesota Vikings' backup QB situation if Christian Ponder is injured and misses time.

Sage Rosenfels might be the No. 2 quarterback for Minnesota right now, but Joe Webb is far more intriguing. That being said, Ponder needs to be the guy Minnesota builds its team around, and I believe Ponder is the right guy for the job. If Ponder were to go down, though, and the Vikings were in contention, I bet Rosenfels would take over with Webb being used as a specialty player here and there. Although very mistake-prone, Rosenfels is better equipped to lead an offense than Webb due to his league experience. Rosenfels’ squads have won six of the 12 games he has started in the NFL. But if Ponder were to completely flop or get hurt when the Vikings were out of contention, putting Webb behind center and giving this playmaker a ton of snaps would be prudent. Webb is very difficult for opposing defenses to prepare for because he has a huge arm and wide receiver-like athletic ability. Webb has made plays consistently when given the chance but has started only two games.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Ponder is out for an extended period: 60.

Packers: Backup QB plan

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:40
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Green Bay Packers' backup QB situation if Aaron Rodgers is injured and misses time.

Green Bay has Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman behind Rodgers. That is a far cry from having Matt Flynn, and frankly, they should be keeping their eyes open for another option before training camp starts. Of course, neither of these guys is anywhere near Rodgers’ class, but the drop-off in Green Bay is about as drastic as with any team in the league. While I am not a fan of Harrell, who has yet to start an NFL game and has underwhelming tools, I do applaud the late-round draft choice of Coleman. Coleman very well could develop into a high-end No. 2 quarterback. Even though he's making a very difficult transition to the NFL from a small college, Coleman certainly could pass Harrell on Green Bay’s depth chart. But for now, the cupboard behind the league’s best player is quite bare. Clearly the best thing Green Bay does is throw the football. That would be compromised a great deal without Rodgers. The Packers have more weapons than they know what to do with, but just one quarterback.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Rodgers is out for an extended period: 10.

Lions: Backup QB plan

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:20
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Detroit Lions' backup QB situation if Matthew Stafford is injured and misses time.

Shaun Hill is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL, and Detroit obviously is very aware of Stafford’s injury history. Even though Stafford just completed the first 16-game season of his career, having a strong backup quarterback is imperative for this up-and-coming organization, and it does. Hill is nowhere near as physically gifted as Stafford, but his teammates respond to him and he consistently moves the offense. In Hill’s 26 starts, his team has won half of those games. He doesn’t possess a big arm, but he is aggressive and will not hesitate to go downfield, especially with the Lions’ receiving corps. Detroit’s fantastic passing attack would remain formidable with Hill behind center, but surely the Lions would increase the percentage of plays on which they run the football.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Stafford is out for an extended period: 70.

Bears: Backup QB plan

June, 5, 2012
6/05/12
11:00
AM ET
NFC Backup QBs: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Assessing the Chicago Bears' backup QB situation if Jay Cutler is injured and misses time.

With the beating Cutler has taken in a Bears uniform and the present state of the offensive line, I commend Chicago for adding Jason Campbell to the mix. He's one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Campbell has bounced around the league quite a bit thus far, and there could be an argument that he was never truly given a legitimate chance to thrive in one system. But Campbell plays the game slower than needed to be a true starter. He has a big arm and is a strong deep passer, which works well with the Bears’ now-bigger wide receivers. Campbell has started 70 games in the NFL, with his team winning 31 of them. The Bears also have the veteran Josh McCown and youngster Nathan Enderle, who could be the odd man out since both Campbell and McCown have starting experience. McCown has 33 starts at this level.

Confidence rating (out of 100) if Cutler is out for an extended period: 70.

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