NFL mailbag: Backup QB power rankings, terrible takes and more

This week in Verderame’s Verdicts, we talk backup quarterback power rankings, terrible takes, Joe Flacco and why a hippopotamus would be a great nose tackle.

The backup quarterback is the most underrated and overtalked about position on the roster.

Every fan of a team with a middling starter demands change, only to typically watch the backup come in and stink up the joint. It’s predictable, and it happens in multiple cities every season. All that said, any team hoping to compete for a title is crazy not to have a quality backup. Just ask the Carson Palmer-era Arizona Cardinals or the Green Bay Packers throughout Aaron Rodgers’ career.

So who are the best backups right now? Here are my top five:

1. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
2. Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts
3. Case Keenum, Washington Redskins
4. Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

My suspicion is Tannehill will start in Tennessee by the Halloween. He’s a legitimate starter and a fantastic backup. Brissett is another guy who could easily start for a half-dozen teams in the league, while Keenum was a win away from the Super Bowl only a season ago. Taylor is certainly capable of winning games in his own right, and Fitzy? Fitzy!

Lots to choose from here, but my Marcus Peters opinion was top-notch.

When rumors began swirling the Kansas City Chiefs could trade him, I took to Twitter and shouted. My take? The Chiefs would eventually make Peters the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, and that the rumors were clickbait. Mind you, this was before I was a reporter and so this was strictly opinion, but it was still atrocious. Peters was traded the next day.

The backlash was predictable and deserved. Old Takes Exposed got to it, Pro Football Talk retweeted it to mock me (in retaliation for calling it clickbait) and even Clay Travis wrote about it. In short, I was dragged through the mean streets of Twitter. Yet, here I am, clean on the other side.

I’ve had some other great ones. I thought J.J. Watt would be a bust. Let’s stop there.

I know Bruin, so I know the first question is with comedic intent. In short, Joe Flacco will not be the first quarterback to throw for 6,000 yards in a single season. Hell, it would be a mild upset if he eclipses 4,000 yards for the Denver Broncos this fall.

As for Lamar Jackson … no. Jackson is an elite athlete but he’s got a long way to go before becoming even an average NFL quarterback. In seven regular-season starts, Jackson threw for 200 yards once. He was extremely sheltered by the play calls, and when he needed rally Baltimore in the playoffs against the Chargers, he was utterly helpless.

Jackson is entering his second year and the future remains bright, but elite is ways off.

Hippopotamus. Can you imagine that bad boy at nose tackle?

I’m going under the assumption a cheetah can’t catch a football, and that we’re only looking at animals using their normal functions. You stick a hippo on the defensive line, and you’re talking about elite run-stuffing with an absurd pass rush up the middle.

Bring me all the New Jersey Devils questions.

Yes, provided Mackenzie Blackwood is at least average in net. With the additions of P.K. Subban and Jack Hughes, New Jersey has a legitimate top two lines and a serious top-four on the blue line with Subban, Damon Severson, Sami Vatenen and Will Butcher. Factor in prospect Ty Smith, and the Devils appear to have a very good defensive corps.

New Jersey should make the playoffs, and potentially be dangerous in them.

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