Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season. New Orleans Saints Drew Brees likely is out for the next two months. Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton is debilitated by a foot injury, and might miss Week 3 or even more. The New York Jets' starter has mononucleosis, and his backup is out for the year with an ankle injury. Tampa Bay Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston continues to regress, and the Miami Dolphins have scored a grand total of one touchdown over two games.
We're just over two weeks into the NFL regular season, and several teams already have serious QB issues.
The 49ers aren't one of them, however. Jimmy Garoppolo looked much improved in San Francisco's 41-17 beatdown of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, in which he threw for 297 yards and tied his career high with three touchdown passes. And behind him, the 49ers have the man The Ringer's Riley McAtee ranked as the best backup in all of football.
That's right, Nick Mullens is the best backup signal-caller in the NFL according to McAtee, who cited Mullens' performance in place of an injured Garoppolo last year to support his claim.
"Mullens’ [adjusted net yards per attempt] of 6.7 was 15th-best in the league among the 33 passers who registered at least 200 attempts," McAtee wrote. "That may not be replicable over a larger sample size or in an offense that isn’t built by Kyle Shanahan, but it was an incredibly promising level of production for the then-rookie. To put that number into perspective, Andrew Luck registered a 5.7 ANY/A in his rookie season.
"Mullens is not the next Luck, of course, but if Garoppolo ever misses time," McAtee continued, "Niners fans should feel confident in their backup."
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In closing, McAtee used some colorful language to hammer his point.
"Look at the other 31 names on this list: Outside of teams with rookies on the bench, there is no other squad that can put the same faith in their backup. The Niners are the only team that wouldn’t be f----d."
So, relative to the rest of the NFL, the 49ers appear to be in great shape when it comes to their overall quarterback situation. As for the teams who aren't, well, perhaps San Francisco can assist them from a position of strength.