Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Backup

It’s been said often that the most popular player in town is the backup quarterback for the city’s NFL team. However you don’t hear much of that here in B’more.

Troy Smith certainly has his supporters among fans and on the team. He’s a natural leader and possesses extreme confidence – some say he’s overly confident.

Smith was once described to me this way…

If you see ten players gathered in the cafeteria and nine of them are listening, there’s a good chance that the tenth man is Troy Smith.

He’s charismatic and well spoken. He’s ambitious.

And he’s not your prototypical backup QB.

Long-term backups are often cerebral, less physically gifted than the guy at the top of the QB food chain and they willingly accept their subservient role on the team. Perhaps most importantly they accept who they are and that mindset enables them to contribute in ways that seem subtle, perhaps relatively meaningless to observers yet highly valuable to club insiders.

They are often calming influences in supporting roles.

Todd Collins comes to mind.

Now there’s a guy who was stealth. He collected an NFL paycheck for 15 seasons before retiring last year. He holds the post merger record for time elapsed between NFL starts – 10 years, 2 days. Ten years and 2 days ago Joe Flacco was a freshman at Audubon (NJ) High School.

Collins, drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft, cashed a ton of healthy paychecks for a guy with a career 76.0 QB Rating and 4,479 yards to his credit.

That’s 299 yards PER SEASON!

No, I don’t think that is a role for Troy Smith.

That said, I could see former second round pick John Beck embracing such a career path.

I even thought former Raven Kyle Boller could be that kind of player. Boller offers a great work ethic, dedication, humility, class, toughness, a team-first approach and outstanding athleticism.

And let’s not forget that he can throw the ball through the uprights from his knees 60 yards away.

Think Kyle and his bride-to-be Carrie Prejean would give up their San Diego digs for a townhome in Canton?

Hey, what’s Anthony Wright doing these days?


Jerry B said...

Following Kyle Boller's initial season, I stated that he'd wind up being nothing more than a footnote in the annals of Ravens/NFL football because he lacked the essential ingredients necessary to be a successful NFL QB, i.e., poise, pocket presence and....accuracy! The same can be said for his ability to be a successful backup QB! But, when it comes to taste in women, he's obviously an.....All Pro!