Backups-Turned-Starters: Who Ya Got?


Take your top three from the myriad quarterbacks who began the season as backups, but have re-emerged as starters due to injury and/or incompetence. Personally, I’m rooting for Gabbert and Hasselbeck. I like Yates as well, but his situation is subject to change as Hoyer is further evaluated for his post-concussion symptoms this week.

If we assume that Ryan Fitzpatrick, who just had surgery, returns against the Texans on Sunday as expected, then Geno Smith doesn’t make the list.

TJ Yates Has Made a Career out of Beating the Bengals

  • tjyatesLast night, the Texans, on the road against the then-undefeated Bengals, were down 6-3 when quarterback Brian Hoyer went down with a concussion. Hoyer’s status going forward is currently unknown, but while the Independent Neurological Consultants (Buzzword joke of the year, by the way) were looking at Hoyer, Houston’s defense forced Cincy to punt, and TJ Yates checked back into the league.
  • For those uninitiated with the Yates tale, this is TJ’s second stint with the Texans. The Marietta, Georgia native attended UNC, and was drafted by Houston in the 5th round in 2011. His rookie season was his most successful–relieving the injured Matt Schaub, Yates played in six games, starting five of them, and won Rookie of the Week for his playoff-clinching performance against Cincy in December, 2011.
  • That year, Yates led the Texans to their first ever playoff victory, when they beat the Bengals in the wild card round, 31-10. Houston lost the following week to the Ravens, and sadly for Yates, that was his last start in the league. He was later traded to the Falcons, and eventually ended back with the Texans after they released Ryan Mallet in October.
  • Will TJ Yates make another start–perhaps next Sunday against the Jets? This week will tell. But if Brian Hoyer can’t go, Houston should take solace–TJ Yates is a capable NFL quarterback. And unlike Andy Dalton, he’s won a playoff game.

Obscure Spotlight: Pokey Reese and the Red Sox Revival

  • preeseIt’s been a long time since Obscure Athletes has added to its critically unnoticed  acclaimed Obscure Spotlight series: today we come out firing with Pokey Reese. The long-time speedster and 2-time gold glove-winning middle infielder played parts of eight seasons  the Reds, Pittsburgh, and Boston, where he won a ring with the 2004 Red Sox.
  • Reese’s best day for the Sox came on May 8, 2004, when he hit two home runs, one of which was an inside-the-parker, off Kansas City’s Jimmy Gobble–More on Jimmy Gobble, coming soon to OA. Reese hit only one additional homer for the Red Sox, later that year.
  • Reese was better known as a defender, where he won back-to-back gold gloves in 1999 and 2000 for the Reds. Those were also Pokey’s best offensive seasons–in 1999-2000, he averaged 11 homers, 49 RBI, and posted a .271/.324/.727. Reese was also an above-average base stealer throughout his career, and he swiped 25 bases four times.
  • By the time he played for the Red Sox, Reese was used primarily as a late-game replacement, as a defender or pinch-runner. He appeared in 10 postseason games for the ’04 Sox, but batted just twice–he struck out and grounded out. Nonetheless, Reese was a key leader on the team which overcame 86 years of Championship drought, and suffers from the same forgetability problem shared by all those non-power hitters of the Steroid Era (Looking at you, Desi Relaford). This is why he remains one of my favorite Obscure Athletes of the past 20 years, and I hope we’ve jogged your memory of this defensive genius.

Breaking: Charlie Whitehurst to Indy

SAN DIEGO - 2009:  Charlie Whitehurst of the San Diego Chargers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in San Diego, California.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

 (Photo by NFL Photos)

The #Colts claimed QB Charlie Whitehurst off waivers, with Andrew Luck out for several weeks.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2015


  • RapSheet got it first–look out folks! With Whitehurst in the mix, should the Colts turn it over to Clipboard Jesus, or continue to start Hasselbeck (who, by the way, is 2-0 as a starter this year)?
  • Deadspin had a great article at the beginning of the season, which compared the careers of longtime backup quarterbacks to evaluate which second-string signal callers have had the easiest/cushiest careers. That of Whitehurst, who has made over $5 million going into this season, HAS to be near the top.
  • Like I said a few weeks ago, I’m all for keeping the Hasselbeck renaissance going. Tough break for Andrew Luck, missing another month or so, but it could be the catalyst which catapults Matt Hasselbeck into a few more years on the tail end of his career, and keeps Charlie Whitehurst kicking around a little while longer. Who knows–maybe he’ll start a game or two for the Colts.

OA is Not the Only Source of Kellen Moore’s Biggest Fans

  • kellenmooreKellen Moore, the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback (50-3 career) was waived by the Cowboys this morning, in order to make room for linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Moore, who finished fourth in the 2010 Heisman Trophy Race, led Boise State to the 2011 Maaco Bowl Los Vegas, in his last collegiate game.
  • Undrafted out of college, Moore signed with the Lions before the 2012 season. Unable to beat out OA favorite Dan Orlovsky, however, Moore never saw the field and was unable to seize the role as Matthew Stafford’s backup. Detroit released Moore during final cutdowns in August, and he signed with the Cowboys.
  • Moore has never thrown a pass in the NFL, but in Dallas, where Matt Cassell and Brandon Weeden have yielded an 0-6 record in Tony Romo’s absence, he has his supporters. It turns out, Obscure Athletes is not the only supporter of Moore: Some have posited the idea that Moore, not Cassell or Weeden, should be starting until Romo returns. So we were not the only ones disappointed that Moore was cut. It turns out, people LOVE this guy.