There are two sure things in the NFL: Quarterbacks will be talked about more than players at every other position combined and some of those quarterbacks will find themselves on the sidelines wearing a headset instead of under center taking snaps.
Last season, the 32 NFL teams combined to start 51 different quarterbacks, everyone from the good—Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning—to the bad—Matt McGloin, Matt Cassel, Kellen Clemens—to the ugly—Kyle Orton, Blaine Gabbert, Josh Freeman.
A little more than half of the teams in the league, 17 to be exact, started the same quarterback in every game last season. Not coincidentally, nine of those 17 teams were in the playoffs.
Four teams started three different quarterbacks. Those teams included:
- Buffalo (E.J. Manuel 10, Thaddeus Lewis 5, Jeff Tuel 1)
- Cleveland (Jason Campbell 8, Brandon Weeden 5, Brian Hoyer 3)
- Minnesota (Christian Ponder 9, Cassel 6, Freeman 1)
- Oakland (Terrelle Pryor 9, McGloin 6, Matt Flynn 1)
Additionally, one team—the Green Bay Packers—started four guys. There was Aaron Rodgers for nine games, Flynn for four, Scott Tolzien for two and Seneca Wallace (yes, the immortal Seneca Wallace) for one.
For the record, the three teams that made the postseason starting more than one quarterback were the Kansas City Chiefs (rested Alex Smith in Week 17 and started Chase Daniel), the Philadelphia Eagles (started Nick Foles in place of an injured Michael Vick, who became last year’s Wally Pipp Award winner) and the Packers (Rodgers missed seven games with a broken collarbone before making it back in time for the end of the regular season).
So with it being a given that some quarterbacks will wind up being replaced as starters at some point this season, here are the five most likely candidates to have to change their resume from “NFL starting quarterback” to “NFL quarterback”: