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Monday, August 4, 2008
A look at the backup QBs in the AFC West


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The NFL phrase of the day is "quarterback controversy." While the world is turned upside down in Green Bay, I started to think about the quarterback situations, particularly the backup quarterback, in the AFC West. While Brett Favre may become the most famous backup quarterback of all time, there some interesting backup quarterbacks in the AFC West. Here's a look at the backups in the division:

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are very pleased with Patrick Ramsey as their backup quarterback. Of course, he doesn't have a chance of catching third-year player Jay Cutler as the starter. But Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is more than pleased with Ramsey. Ramsey is a hard worker and is an intelligent player. He was effective in a limited role at Detroit when Cutler was hurt last year. Shanahan has often said the offense would not change if Ramsey, a former first-round pick in Washington, had to play.

Kansas City Chiefs

This is the one interesting quarterback situation in the division. The Chiefs are giving Brodie Croyle the chance to become the long-term quarterback. But if Croyle fails, the Chiefs will have a quick trigger finger. Many in the organization are intrigued by Tyler Thigpen and some believe he could eventually chase Croyle. Former starter Damon Huard is the No. 3 quarterback and could be trade bait before the season starts. While Thigpen is not chasing Croyle at the moment, this could be a developing situation down the road.

Oakland Raiders

With former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell beginning his first full season as the starter, the only work available in Oakland is as a backup. That's why Marques Tuiasosopo came back this offseason. He is a good practice player and he is an essentially a coach on the sideline. But he has never truly been effective when he's played. Former starter Andrew Walter is fighting with Tuiasosopo and is having a good camp. He could end up being the backup in Oakland or perhaps even being intriguing trade bait himself if he has a good preseason.

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers situation is a lot like Denver's. Billy Volek is a capable backup, and if Philip Rivers went down the Chargers will feel like they would be in good hands. Volek helped the Chargers in a divisional playoff win at Indianapolis last season after Rivers was hurt. There's a lot of confidence in this backup quarterback. Unlike in Green Bay, however, there is no controversy here.