The Importance of Gus Frerotte

How valuable are solid backup quarterbacks? Some league statistics show how often backups quarterback are used and what it means to team success.

When fans are asked who is the most important Vikings player, there could be a half-dozen players mentioned. But what about Gus Frerotte?

As ridiculous as it may seem, Frerotte could be as important to the success of the Vikings as any player on the roster. Last year, teams like the Vikings learned the hard way that backup quarterbacks need to be ready and able to take the torch and run with it. The Vikings had four games in which their backup quarterbacks had to start. They were 0-4 in those games.

Think the Vikings were alone? No, 21 of the league's 32 teams had to use more than one starting quarterback – a whopping two-third of all teams. Even more amazing is that, of those teams, nine used three different starting QBs. Here is a look at the teams that had multiple starting QBs in 2007:


* Baltimore – Steve McNair, Kyle Boller, Troy Smith.
* Buffalo – J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards.
* Cleveland – Derek Anderson, Charlie Frye.
* Houston – Matt Schaub, Sage Rosenfels.
* Jacksonville – David Garrard, Quinn Gray.
* Kansas City – Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle.
* Miami – Trent Green, Cleo Lemon, John Beck.
* New York Jets – Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens.
* Oakland – JaMarcus Russell, Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown.
* Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch.
* Tennessee – Vince Young, Kerry Collins.


* Arizona – Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, Tim Rattay.
* Atlanta – Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, Chris Redman.
* Carolina – Jake Delhomme, David Carr, Matt Moore, Vinny Testaverde.
* Chicago – Rex Grossman, Brian Griese, Kyle Orton.
* Minnesota – Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger.
* Philadelphia – Donovan McNabb, A.J. Feeley.
* St. Louis – Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Brock Berlin.
* San Francisco – Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill.
* Tampa Bay – Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown.
* Washington – Jason Campbell, Todd Collins.

Of the nine teams that used three or more starting QBs (the Panthers had four), none of them made the playoffs. It may not be coincidence that eight of the 12 teams that did make the playoffs were among the 11 teams that only used one QB. With the pressure being focused on Jackson to step up his game, it may not be a matter of playing lights-out that makes him a valued commodity, it may just be playing all 16 games.

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