There are a number of training camp battles occurring right now in Cincinnati. Some are for a starting job, while others are for one of the 53 roster spots.
But the biggest training camp battle in Cincy is for the Bengals’ backup quarterback job behind Andy Dalton. Josh Johnson and John Skelton are the two likeliest candidates to take over for the Bengals in the unfortunate event Dalton goes down with an injury. In the NFL, you’re only as good as your weakest link, and for a lot of teams, that ends up being their backup QB.
Look no further than the Chicago Bears. They’ve had to watch Jason Campbell and Caleb Haine take over for an injured Jay Cutler at points over the past two seasons in which a spot in the posteason was on the line for the Bears. In games in which their backup QB started over the past two seasons, they went 1-6 in those games, and barely missed out on the postseason in each season, and longtime Head Coach Lovie Smith lost his job as a result.
Make no mistake about it: In today’s pass-happy NFL, you’re backup QB needs to be a competent starter who can win you a close game. Gone are the days of having the proverbial “game-manager” for a backup, as that has, and will continue to prove fatal for any team who loses their starter for any significant amount of time.