Mike Tannenbaum, the former GM of the New York Jets and now–it was announced today–a consultant with the Miami Dolphins, has some thoughts on the importance of quarterback depth in the NFL. He appeared on the Colin Cowherd Show (guest-hosted today by Jorge Sedano), and in a portion of a segment discussing the addition of Michael Vick to the Jets had this to say (starting at around the 5:30 mark):
You can see from last year, the teams that had a better situation at backup quarterback, made a difference. You know, the Green Bay Packers had four different starters, but still won the division. So, is Aaron Rodgers a great player, yes? But did they do a great job of developing depth behind him, absolutely, and Michael Vick is a different manifestation of that.
Okay, so now, let’s get real, and recap why the Green Bay Packers won the division last year. They went 8-7-1. The only division where they would have made the playoffs was the NFC North, and that’s because Detroit absolutely yacked all over themselves, and Aaron Rodgers came back from his injury just in time to pull off a miracle against the Bears.
Green Bay was humming along at 5-2 and playing Chicago at home when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in the first quarter. Collectively, the backups that Tannenbaum was praising went 2-5-1. Those two wins were by 1 point each, and it took the oh-so-predictable Cowboys collapse to get to that lofty mark.
The drop-off from Aaron Rodgers was pretty huge last year. The backups threw more interceptions than touchdowns. The Packers were outscored by 70 points during those games. Green Bay made the playoffs in spite of the backup quarterbacks, not because of them, thanks to good fortune and the return of Rodgers just in time.