The backup quarterback. The captain of the clipboard and backward baseball cap. Every team has one or two. While the other 51 guys on the roster are expected to produce to keep their jobs, everyone hopes that these guys will never have to step onto the field to earn their checks. And like every team, the Bengals will have to make one of three decisions about theirs.
1. Keep Just One Backup
Last year, the Bengals made the unconventional decision to keep Bruce Gradkowski as the only backup QB, which freed up a roster spot for an extra guy at another position. With all of the talented rookies that the Bengals drafted this year, an extra spot would provide additional flexibility, such as carrying an extra receiver or an extra DB. The inherent risk, of course, is if — knock on wood — Dalton should have an injury, the Gradkowski is the only option. But more than that, Gradkowski is only signed through this year. If he is the only backup this year, then next year they either have to bring him back or bring someone brand new into Gruden’s system to backup Dalton. Not that bringing back Gradkowski is the worst thing they could do.
2. Keep Two Backups
Reports on Zac Robinson and Tyler Hanson have been pretty good so far. Not that either of these guys are going to challenge for Dalton’s job, obviously, but perhaps one of them could become the Bengals’ version of Jim Sorgi. The tradeoff, though, is that extra roster spot. Honestly, how often is a third QB going to see the field? An extra WR or DB might actually get a few snaps.
3. Get Unconventional
Like I said, how often is a third QB going to be called on to take the field? If the Bengals want to have a third option at QB and maintain that extra roster spot, they could work out Mohamed Sanu at the position. He has played QB in the past and could be called upon in a serious pinch.
The coaches are going to have to decide what is more important to them, getting a third, young option (who would ultimately be the successor to Gradkowski) familiarized in Gruden’s system, or creating room for an extra receiver like Kashif Moore.
Which would you choose?