Is Lions QB Bridgewater Among Elite Backups in NFL in 2023?

Is Lions QB Bridgewater Among Elite Backups in NFL in 2023?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The rigors of the NFL demand that if a team hopes to qualify for the playoffs, then make a run for the Super Bowl, its roster better have some decent depth.

That’s especially true at quarterback, where an injury to a starter can essentially wipe out an entire season, not to mention denting the bankroll of that team’s backers at Michigan sportsbook apps.

Having a backup quarterback ready to go, and perhaps play for a while, is a necessity. All teams hope that they have the equivalent of an Earl Morrall on their roster.

The late Morrall is part of NFL lore for his spectacular fill-in performances. After replacing injured Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas in 1968, Morrall went 13-1 before the Colts were upset by the New Jets in Super Bowl III. Two years later, Morrall also had a role filling in again for a hurt Unitas in Super Bowl V. That time, the Colts won the title on a late field goal, beating Dallas.

Then, in 1972, Morrall stepped in for injured Miami starter Bob Griese, another Hall of Famer, and won nine games to help the Dolphins to their perfect season that ended with a victory in Super Bowl VII.

So which teams are in the best shape at backup QB heading into the 2023 season? BetMichigan.com. your home for the best Michigan sports betting bonuses, did the research to find out.

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Ranking NFL Backup QBs Entering 2023

TeamBackup QBAggregate RankGames StartedQB RatingTD %INT %
ColtsGardner MinshewT-1st15th2nd3rd2nd
EaglesMarcus MariotaT-1st3rd4th6thT-9th
PanthersAndy Dalton3rd1st7th5thT-11th
GiantsTyrod Taylor4th7th5thT-10th3rd
LionsTeddy Bridgewater5th4th3rd15thT-5th
SteelersMitch Trubisky6th2nd8th2nd22nd
SaintsJameis Winston7thT-5th9thT-10th8th
CommandersJacoby Brissett8thT-8th12th22nd1st
RaidersBrian Hoyer9th10th14thT-16thT-5th
FalconsTaylor Heinicke10th14th10thT-7thT-15th
BengalsTrevor SiemianT-11th12th16th9thT-11th
PatriotsBailey ZappeT-11thT-27th1st1stT-19th
CowboysCooper Rush13th24th11thT-12th4th
TexansDavis Mills14th13th13thT-12thT-15th
VikingsNick Mullens15th19th6thT-7thT-23rd
49ersSam Darnold16thT-5th20thT-16thT-19th
CardinalsColt McCoy17th11th18th23rdT-9th
JaguarsCJ Beathard18th20th17thT-16thT-11th
BillsKyle Allen19th18th15th14th18th
SeahawksDrew Lock20th17th19thT-16th14th
ChiefsBlaine Gabbert21stT-8th24th20thT-19th
RavensTyler Huntley22nd21st21st28thT-5th
JetsZach Wilson23rd16th25thT-25thT-15th
BroncosJarrett Stidham24thT-27th23rd4th28th
DolphinsMike White25thT-22nd22nd24th25th
BrownsJosh Dobbs26thT-27th26thT-25thT-23rd
BearsPJ Walker27thT-22nd27th27th26th
RamsBrett Rypien28thT-25th28th21st29th
TitansMalik Willis29thT-25th29thT-29th27th
BucsKyle Trask30thT-30th30thT-29thT-30th
PackersSean CliffordT-31stT-30thT-31stT-29thT-30th
ChargersEaston StickT-31stT-30thT-31stT-29thT-30th

49ers A Case Study in Quarterback Depth

More recently, football fans and Michigan sports betting customers saw how an injury to San Francisco’s spectacularly successful backup quarterback Brock Purdy (five straight wins as a starter) doomed the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game against Philadelphia last season.

So, who has an Earl Morrall or a Brock Purdy on the sidelines going into 2023, just in case the starting quarterback can’t play? BetMichigan.com used data on all 32 backup QBs from Pro-Football-Reference.com on games started, QB rating, touchdown percentage and interception percentage to compile an aggregate ranking of the most valuable backup QBs in the league.

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How Teddy Bridgewater Rates As Backup QB

The Lions are a preseason favorite to win the NFC North with veteran Jared Goff as their quarterback. Follow BetMichigan.com to track the Detroit Lions playoff chances all season.

To Detroit’s advantage, the No. 2 QB on the team’s depth chart, Teddy Bridgewater is rated the fifth-best backup signal-caller heading into the season.

Among all backup QBs evaluated, Bridgewater is fourth in games started, third in quarterback rating, 15th in touchdown percentage and tied for fifth in interception percentage.

Perhaps most encouraging is that when Bridgewater was called on to fill this exact role, as a backup to Saints’ QB Drew Brees in 2019, Bridgewater was a perfect 5-0 as a starter. He completed 133 of 196 attempts for 1,384 yards, nine TDs and just two interceptions. Bridgewater helped keep the Saints on track to make the playoffs until Brees returned, though New Orleans lost in the Wild Card Round.

Entering this season, the Detroit Lions Super Bowl odds get a boost from the fact that Bridgewater is a very capable replacement if Goff comes out of the starting lineup for any reason.

Bridgewater, heading into his ninth NFL season, is 33-32 as a starter.

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Who Are Top-Rated Backup QBs

In BetMichigan’s analysis of backup quarterbacks, the top spot was a tie between Indianapolis’ Gardner Minshew and Philadelphia’s Marcus Mariota. Both Minshew and Mariota have experience as starters.

Carolina’s Andy Dalton, once the star QB of the Cincinnati Bengals (83-77-2 over 12 seasons), was ranked No. 3. The No. 4 backup was the New York Giants’ Tyrod Taylor, who is going into his 13th NFL season with a 26-25-1 record as a starter.

The Lions have +2200 odds at BetMGM Michigan Sportsbook to win the Super Bowl in the 2023-24 season.

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Author

Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for BetMichigan.com, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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