They say the most popular guy in town in most NFL cities is the backup quarterback.
Drew Stanton is certainly high on the popularity list among fans of the Arizona Cardinals.
Of course, the man ahead of Stanton is Carson Palmer, who just happened to lead the team to a franchise-record 13 wins and a trip to the NFC Championship Game while finishing second in the league’s MVP voting, so the backup knows his opportunities for playing time may be scarce.
When he has been called on, Stanton has delivered. In Palmer’s absence for both a shoulder injury and a torn ACL in 2014, Stanton guided the team to a 5-3 mark while completing 55 percent of his passes and posting a QB rating of 78.7.
At a base level, Stanton gives the Cardinals a chance to win when he’s in there, which is more than can be said for a lot of understudies in the NFL.
Field Yates ranked the 32 backup quarterback situations in the NFL in an ESPN Insider piece, and he’s got Stanton and the Cardinals ranked second.
I believe that Drew Stanton is one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL. Trouble is, the former Michigan State QB is slotted behind Carson Palmer, one of the best quarterbacks in the league (top-five, perhaps, but certainly top-seven). Stanton will have to wait his turn because Palmer is signed through 2018. Matt Barkley is a suitable third quarterback whom the team added via trade last year.
Stanton had an opportunity to explore starting jobs around the league before he re-signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals this offseason.
“I knew I wanted to come back here,” Stanton told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM earlier in training camp. “Obviously, being a part of this organization for the past three years and knowing the type of men that are running this organization — and really the direction it’s headed — I wanted to be a part of it.”
Yates ranked the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup quarterback situation as the strongest in the league. Sam Bradford is penciled in as the starter, while veteran backup Chase Daniel and second-overall pick Carson Wentz wait in the wings.
The Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers round out the top five.
Yates ranks the Seattle Seahawks’ backup situation — currently manned by undrafted rookie Trevon Boykin and journeyman Jake Heaps — as the worst in the league. It should be pointed out that Seahawks starter Russell Wilson has started 74 straight games, including the playoffs.