The Backup Battle

One of the most interesting debates of the off-season: Who gets the right to carry the clipboard for Taylor Graham this season?

As a fan, it's pretty jarring to go from no quarterback (last season) to an overabundance of them overnight. And yet that's the situation that we find ourselves in here. See, there's no question that Taylor Grahamn is the starter. No QB controversy to debate and no conspiracy theories to run with. But who backs him up? THAT, I think, is something worth discussing.

There are currently 4 non-Graham QB's on the roster. Jeremy Higgins, Ikaika Woolsey, Justin Alo and Sean Schroeder. Of these 4, Higgins and Schroeder have game film on them from last season (though I'd advise you to watch at your own risk...Much of it is horrific.) In any case, their strengths and weaknesses are pretty clear. Both are lefties and both struggle mightily. Higgins does show some nice touch on his mid range passes (he throws a beautiful end-zone corner route). But anytime he has to step in and drive the ball it gets away from him and starts to wobble. Schroeder is...just average. He's not particularly good at any one thing, though not particularly bad either (unless you count getting sacked then getting back up again as a skill. He's exceptional at that.) And despite the fact that he's injured, I don't think he'd really be getting any serious looks from the coaching staff anyway. Norm and his guys pretty much know what they are going to get with him.

Woolsey and Alo though, those guys are interesting. Both are listed at 6-1 but are probably closer to 6 feet even (in helmet and pads, Taylor Graham looks at LEAST 6 or 7 inches taller than they are and Graham is 6-5. I verified this when I stood next to him and asked. The man is a giant) Alo is a better athlete (comparable, maybe, to someone like David Graves) but has a better arm than Graves did. Woolsey though, that guy has a cannon. It's almost funny to see Higgins take snaps and to watch his wobbly passes to the middle of the field and then immediately juxtapose that with Woolsey whose ball seems to explode out of his hands when he releases it. Something I thought was interesting though, is that typically with strong armed quarterbacks, where they struggle most is with accuracy on their deep ball. Graham, for example, tends to overthrow his receivers because he throws it too far too fast. Woolsey though, seemed to habitually under throw his deep routes which gave me pause. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk to him to ask why he thought that was. Still, I'd be very interested to hear his answer (if any of you run across him could you do me a favor and ask?)

All that being said, I don't think that I've seen enough of any of them to definitively declare that any one is the favorite. Based on raw ability I'd have to think that Woolsey would be the leader but the coaching staff (despite my misgivings about him stated above) seemed to be really loyal to Schroeder last season so maybe he gets the nod early on. We will see!

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