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September 04, 2006

Two-QB system not as rare as you might think

There’s been a lot made about the "risky’’ decision the Panthers made to go with only two quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme and Chris Weinke) on their roster. They do have Brett Basanez on the practice squad, but he can’t be activated during a game.

But this move might not be as risky as it sounds. If you look back to last year, it’s rare for a No. 3 quarterback to get into a game. It happened only six times in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Most of those appearances were purely mop-up duty.

In fact, the only time a third quarterback was pressed into duty because of injuries or problems with the other two quarterbacks was when Arizona’s John Navarre played the entire second half of a loss to Houston.

Here’s a look at the circumstances surrounding every one of last year’s appearances by a third quarterback:

Sept. 18, 2005: Philadelphia’s Mike McMahon got some fourth-quarter, mop-up duty behind Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer in a 42-3 victory against San Francisco. He completed his only pass.

Oct. 2, 2005: New England’s Matt Cassel relieved starter Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of an ugly 41-17 loss to San Diego. Cassel was inserted over backup Doug Flutie, who did not play.

Nov. 14, 2005: McMahon was designated as the inactive third QB , but entered the game in the fourth quarter against Dallas after McNabb was injured. McMahon was inserted into the game ahead of Detmer and completed two of five passes in a 21-20 loss. McMahon helped put David Akers into position for a 60-yard field goal attempt that came up short at the end of the game.

Nov. 24, 2005: Detroit’s Dan Orlovsky got to play the final drive of a 27-7 loss to Atlanta. Joey Harrington started that game, but was dismal. He was yanked in favor of Jeff Garcia in the first half, but Garcia couldn’t spark the Lions and Orlovsky got his playing time after virtually everyone had left Ford Field.

Dec. 18, 2005: Arizona’s John Navarre entered the game at the start of the second half after Kurt Warner suffered a knee injury and Josh McCown battled an illness. McCown had entered the game early in the second quarter after Warner’s injury, but was unable to continue after completing just one of four passes. Houston held a 27-10 lead when Navarre entered the game. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and an interception and the Texans defeated the Cardinals 30-19.

Jan. 1, 2006: New England’s Flutie was designated the third quarterback and got to play, but not really as a quarterback. Flutie’s brief appearance was a last hurrah as he drop kicked a field goal in a 28-26 loss to Miami. With a playoff spot secure, the Patriots took Brady out after the first quarter and let Cassel play the rest of the way.

Jan. 7, 2006: New England sent Cassel in for Brady and he took the final two snaps of a playoff victory against Jacksonville.

SHELTON NOT ON I.R. There's been a minor stir since NFL.com posted in its Sunday transactions that the Panthers placed running back Eric Shelton on the injured reserve list. The fact is, they have NOT. It was a glitch, likely stemming from the fact Shelton was placed on the list at this time a year ago. Shelton is on the 53-man active roster.

Posted by Observer Sports on September 4, 2006 at 10:54 PM | Permalink


Thanks Pat for the stats on this. I was like most sorta shocked by the move at first, but that is just fan dogma. Teams ALWAYS have 3 QB's. It is amazing to me that given the rarity of having to actually use that person and the finite supply of active spots on the roster that more, if not all teams, only carry the two QB's. Do you think that it is perhaps coaching dogma as well, or is there some developmental aspect being sacrifed by having one less clipboard on the sidelines?

Posted by: Pantherfanz | Sep 5, 2006 11:46:15 AM

WHAT???? Weinke needs to go!!! He is old as dirt!! Basanez nedds to be signed! Lefors needs traing on the practice squad not Basanez!!

Posted by: truefan | Sep 19, 2006 12:06:36 PM

I agree, Basanez needs to get activated and slowly start to gain the 2nd QB spot

Posted by: Mike | Oct 31, 2006 5:20:03 PM

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