Josh McCown took the NFL by storm last year as backup who turned a great season-long performance into a starting job. Who might have that same opportunity in 2014?
Mark Sanchez – Philadelphia Eagles
It really is puzzling why Mark Sanchez chose to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. Granted, getting a chance to learn under Chip Kelly is a nice opportunity but given the season Nick Foles had in 2013 it’s really hard seeing Sanchez even get on the field, let alone playing well. The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football and a passing attack designed to keep the quarterback clean. Unless Foles completely implodes, which isn’t likely, then Sanchez will be holding a clipboard all year.
Brandon Weeden – Dallas Cowboys
A lot of this depends on what will happen with Kyle Orton but Brandon Weeden isn’t such a crazy though. He’s younger than McCown was last year and he’s sitting behind a quarterback in Tony Romo who’s recovering from back surgery and has a tendency to take a beating every year. It only takes one of those hits to put his 34-year old body out of action again, at which time Weeden would be throwing to Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and handing it to DeMarco Murray. It’s a great opportunity for a comeback story.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III expects to have a rebound campaign in the 2014 NFL season and with good reason. His arsenal has been upgraded and expectations are for new head coach Jay Gruden to better protect him with personnel and play calling. However, RGIII remains a runner and he takes his fair share of hits. Withstanding them hasn’t been his strong suit, which means third-year backup Kirk Cousins could again have an excellent shot to get his name out on the circuit.
Shaun Hill – St. Louis Rams
It really is a shame that NFL fans don’t appreciate Shaun Hill more. The career backup always seems to play well when given the chance but his lack of “flash” as a quarterback typically gets him passed over for somebody else. This despite having a 41-23 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his career. Not even Josh McCown could say the same. Hill landed with the St. Louis Rams, whose starter Sam Bradford is returning from a torn ACL and is loaded up with questions about his future. In such a vacuum backups tend to get a chance to thrive. Hill should have a talented roster around were that to happen, and given his history he’d know what to do with it.
Jordan Palmer – Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman was known as a quarterback guru when he took over and he was the one who brought McCown’s career back from the dead. So why is it impossible to think he can’t do it again? Jay Cutler is signed long-term but he has a history of missing time during the season, having not played a full 16-game schedule since 2009. Jordan Palmer was a no-name to many outside being the brother of former Pro Bowler Carson Palmer but there is no reason to think he can’t follow the same path as McCown. Jordan is 6’5″ with a strong arm and by all accounts a very intelligent man. If Trestman could work that same magic he used on McCown, Palmer has the tools to succeed.