Emergency quarterbacks for all 32 teams

Receiver Randall Cobb is the Packers' emergency QB, while tight end Heath Miller could play QB in a pinch for the Steelers. Getty Images, AP Photo

From Ben Roethlisberger to Sam Bradford and Peyton Manning to Joe Flacco, there have been numerous quarterback injuries this season. That got us wondering: what would happened if a team lost its quarterbacks on game day and had to turn to a position player?

NFL Nation reporters look ahead to what Wednesday, breaking down the emergency signal-callers for every team.


Buffalo Bills: If both of the Bills' two active quarterbacks were injured in a game, their emergency option earlier this season would have been tight end MarQueis Gray, who played quarterback at Minnesota. However, Gray is on injured reserve, so backup wide receiver Chris Hogan -- a lefty who completed a 4-yard pass to Taylor earlier this season -- would be the likely emergency QB. Even then, the Bills could turn to the Wildcat offense -- QBs coach David Lee helped bring that to the NFL in 2008 -- and run it without a quarterback. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins:With three in-house quarterbacks options (Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, Logan Thomas), the Dolphins are unlikely to find themselves in trouble. But wide receiver Jarvis Landry is their best emergency option. Landry completed his only pass of the season for 9 yards to Tannehill on a trick play and has the elusiveness and toughness to run Miami's read-option package, which is likely what the team would resort to if it lost all its quarterbacks. Landry has 14 rushes this season for 103 yards (7.4-yard average). He's also the only Dolphins player to run for, catch and return a kick for a touchdown this year. -- James Walker

New England Patriots: This was an easy answer for the Patriots before wide receiver Julian Edelman injured his left foot Nov. 15 against the Giants, as Edelman, a college quarterback at Kent State, is the emergency option behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Edelman, of course, had the long touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in last season's AFC Divisional Round playoff win over Baltimore. As for what their contingency plan would be if this scenario unfolded during the time Edelman was sidelined, the team is tight-lipped, but Danny Amendola makes a lot of sense. He's good with the football in his hands, and the team would likely turn to a run-based attack anyway. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets: If Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are injured, the Jets would pick wide receiver Jeremy Kerley or running back Bilal Powell as their emergency QB. The choice would depend on the opponent and game circumstances. Kerley has more experience at the position, as he played quarterback in high school. He has four NFL pass attempts, with two completions. Powell (1-for-1) has taken many direct snaps in his career out of the Wildcat formation. If the Jets used him, they'd probably operate a single wing-type offense. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens haven't had to think about an emergency quarterback for the past 7 1/2 seasons because Joe Flacco had started every game since 2008 until Sunday's season-ending knee injury. Punter Sam Koch has been Baltimore's emergency quarterback this season, and coach John Harbaugh joked that Koch was selected by default. "Like they have the line, and everybody steps back," Harbaugh said. "And Sam was still standing there." Has Koch received any reps at all this year? "No," Harbaugh said. "Absolutely not." -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals: Look no further than Sunday night's game at Arizona to identify the Bengals' emergency quarterback. Twice receiver Mohamed Sanu lined up behind center, and twice the Bengals picked up penalties. There was a hold on a Sanu run out of a Wildcat formation, plus a delay of game. Shaky as those plays may have been, the Bengals don't have any problem putting him back there if conditions warrant it. After all, he has a perfect passer rating on five career throws. Two of the passes have resulted in touchdowns, including a 14-yard strike to starting quarterback Andy Dalton last season. Amazingly, Sanu never warms up or practices as a quarterback before games where he may throw. Still, he has averaged 35.4 yards on each of the throws he has attempted. -- Coley Harvey

Cleveland Browns: The Browns have had several games this season when they had only two quarterbacks active, and two when Josh McCown left with an injury. That left receiver Brian Hartline on the field as the team's emergency quarterback. Hartline started his football career as a quarterback at Canton (Ohio) GlenOak High School, but moved to receiver in the fourth game of his sophomore year. The reason he moved: Hartline's younger brother Mike took the quarterback job. Brian has been a receiver since and has never thrown a pass in an NFL game. Coach Mike Pettine has joked on games when the team had Austin Davis active that Hartline was relieved to not have to wear the wristband with the plays on it. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers: Emergency quarterback Heath Miller doesn't practice at the position and has never attempted an NFL pass. Coach Mike Tomlin won't even entertain how Miller would fare as a third-string quarterback when asked recently. But Miller would take snaps in a bind for two reasons -- he was an accomplished Virginia high school quarterback, and the Steelers trust him more than most players. Miller passed for nearly 3,500 yards and 45 touchdowns in his last two seasons at Honaker High School near his native Swords Creek, Va. He earned the state's Associated Press Player of the Year honor at the position. And the Steelers offense is all about nuance, timing and rhythm, which Miller understands better than most as a long-time tight end in the system. Miller embodies the dependability the Steelers so covet. That's why, if the Steelers need to keep Mike Vick inactive and roll with two quarterbacks, Miller will be the third moving forward. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans: In the Texans' most important game of the 2014 season, punter Shane Lechler nearly had to enter the game as a quarterback when both actual quarterbacks on the roster suffered injuries. "At first I was, I was like 'Oh my gosh.' Then I was like, 'No one expects me to do any good, so let's go out there and see what happens.'" Luckily for Lechler, backup Tom Savage was able to play through his for the rest of that game against the Colts. He has never had to go in as a quarterback for the Texans. In the past 15 years Lechler has thrown five passes, all of them on fourth down. He has thrown two completions, including one touchdown pass while he was with the Raiders. It's worth noting, though, the Texans have a lot of options back there in emergency situations. They can use Wildcat snaps, like they did against the Jets on Nov. 22, and they know receiver Cecil Shorts has an arm. He's 3-of-3 on pass attempts with two touchdowns. -- Tania Ganguli

Indianapolis Colts: Pat McAfee is already one of the best punters in the NFL. He has also let it be known that he wants to have the dual role of punter and kicker when 42-year-old kicker Adam Vinatieri retires one of these days. And he showed off his quarterbacking skills in Week 16 last season when he threw a perfect spiral down the sideline to Dewey McDonald on a fake punt attempt. All that was missing was McDonald catching the pass, as the ball went right through his hands. McAfee occasionally helps out the quarterbacks in practice by throwing to the receivers, running backs and tight ends when they need an extra arm. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars:The Jaguars are lucky enough to have one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in NCAA history on their roster, only now he's playing running back. Should Blake Bortles and Chad Henne go down in a game, the Jaguars would turn to former Michigan standout Denard Robinson. He holds the NCAA record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,495) and single-season rushing yards by a quarterback (1,702) and was the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,500 yards in a single season. The Jaguars drafted Robinson in the fifth round in 2013 with the plan of using him in a slash role: receiver, running back, Wildcat quarterback. It didn't work out because Robinson was dealing with nerve damage in his throwing hand related to a hit he took his final season at Michigan and he had trouble holding onto the ball. By the end of the season the Jaguars moved him to receiver and then to running back before the start of his second year. He led the Jaguars in rushing (582 yards) that season. Robinson doesn't practice at quarterback so if he were forced into the game the team would rely heavily on running the ball with only a few safe passes available. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans: If both Marcus Mariota and Zach Mettenberger were hurt in the same game and unable to play, the Titans would turn to one of two wide receivers, Kendall Wright or Harry Douglas, as their emergency quarterback. Mike Mularkey said the team practices for the situation. The day before Mularkey's first game as the Titans interim coach, with Wright out because of a sprained knee, the Titans had a practice period where Douglas worked as the quarterback. How is Douglas' arm? "It's good enough," Mularkey said. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos: Tight end Owen Daniels, who was the quarterback on a state title team as a junior at Naperville (Ill.) Central High School, is the Broncos' emergency quarterback. Daniels was recruited to the University of Wisconsin as a quarterback and spent his redshirt year at the position for the Badgers. He was the backup quarterback early in his playing career for the Badgers, including some time at flanker before he moved to tight end. Daniels has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in Gary Kubiak's offense with the Texans, Ravens and Broncos. The Broncos don't practice him often at the position, but Kubiak joked "I might now that somebody asked,'' but Kubiak said no player on the roster may be more familiar with the concepts in the offense as well as the verbiage that Daniels. Peyton Manning said when he was learning the playbook, he considered Daniels a valuable resource. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs: Running back Spencer Ware would be a good choice as an emergency quarterback for the Chiefs. He was recruited to LSU as a quarterback but switched positions shortly after his arrival. "As a quarterback, you have to learn all the different positions, so he understands that part of the game,'' coach Andy Reid said. "He kind of has that big-picture part (down)." -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders: Last year, with San Francisco, wide receiver Michael Crabtree had some fun on Twitter with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, tweeting a video of him playing quarterback as a Texas high-schooler. Crabtree can also throw the ball. He often shows off his big arm in practice. While any emergency quarterback situation is not ideal, the Raiders' trust Crabtree's arm and athleticism in the short term. -- Bill Williamson

San Diego Chargers: Safety Eric Weddle is San Diego's emergency quarterback. If Philip Rivers and backup Kellen Clemens are injured, the bearded one has a package of plays he can run as the signal-caller for the Chargers. Weddle saw time at quarterback in the Wildcat at the University of Utah and played quarterback in high school. In his senior season, Weddle rushed for 587 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also threw for 965 yards passing and five touchdowns at Alta Loma High, about 100 miles north of San Diego. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys: When Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone in Week 2, wide receiver Cole Beasley was a snap away from being the Cowboys' quarterback. Beasley is listed as the emergency quarterback on gamedays because the Cowboys only dress two quarterbacks for the game. The last time he played quarterback? At Little Elm (Texas) High School. He threw for 1,570 yards and had 12 touchdown passes his senior year. At 5-8, he would be the shortest quarterback in the NFL, but he wouldn't be the shortest quarterback in Cowboys history. Eddie LeBaron, the franchise's first quarterback, was 5-7. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants: The Giants' emergency quarterback would be one of their wide receivers, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle the most likely candidates. Beckham in particular is very active throwing the ball in practice, though always on his own and not in a structured environment. He can throw a spiral with either hand and can throw the ball a good distance with either hand as well. From time to time, he will crash the quarterback drills in which Eli Manning and backup Ryan Nassib try to hit targets from a distance. So while he does not actually get practice reps at the position or study it just in case (Manning has started every Giants game since the middle of 2004, so they don't really use their backup, let alone their emergency QB), he's likely the most athletically inclined to handle things if it came to that. He did throw a pass in a game in 2014, but it was incomplete. -- Dan Graziano

Philadelphia Eagles:When Sam Bradford was injured last week, Mark Sanchez immediately started warming up. Trey Burton wasn't sure what to do. "I was getting ready," said Burton, who made the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014. "I'm always trying to be on top of things." The Eagles' second-year tight end played quarterback at Florida as a freshman. He even broke Tim Tebow's school record by throwing six touchdown passes in a game. But Burton wound up playing tight end and running back as well as QB during his college career. Although he has to learn the Eagles' playbook as a tight end, old habits are helpful. "I played quarterback in college and high school," Burton said. "So I always have that built into my brain. I learn the playbook that way." Burton said he doesn't get any practice reps at quarterback. Third-team QB Thad Lewis, who is inactive on game days, barely gets any reps. There isn't enough time for Burton to get any. "I'm ready if they need me," Burton said. -- Phil Sheridan

Washington Redskins: Redskins fullback Darrel Young once boasted he could throw a ball 65 yards; that's something the Redskins hope they never have to see in a game. But just in case, he's ready. Young has served as the Redskins emergency backup for much of the past several seasons, though receiver Andre Roberts has done some as well. But because Roberts is sometimes inactive, Young would be the first option if something happened to both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy during a game. Young played linebacker in college and switched to fullback before the 2010 season. He played some quarterback at Amityville (N.Y.) High School before starring at running back and linebacker. The Redskins have a package of six plays Young could run; they'll give him some snaps every two weeks or so during walk-throughs just in case. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears: Chicago has two viable options at emergency quarterback. The most conservative approach is to use Matt Forte. The Bears have run a variation of the Wildcat in recent years, with Forte receiving the snap in shotgun formation. The Bears almost always run out of this package, but Forte did attempt one pass in 2011. Another alternative is tight end Zach Miller, who played quarterback for four years in college at Nebraska-Omaha. Miller was 305-of-501 passing for 4,096 yards and 26 touchdown at Nebraska-Omaha. He began his collegiate career as a walk-on quarterback at the University of Nebraska. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions: Golden Tate has thought about it, but the wide receiver would prefer it never, ever happen. Tate is the Lions' emergency quarterback -- something offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter joked was "highly secretive" before saying Tate was the guy -- and he realizes what it would take for him to take more than the very occasional gadget play snap under center. It would mean both Matthew Stafford and Dan Orlovsky were hurt. And that would be a rough thing on many levels. "If two quarterbacks go down in one game, I'll tell you this, I'm probably not going to be too excited to go back there," Tate said. "Because the reason why quarterbacks go down is because they are getting hit. I'd be scrambling a lot, probably." Tate said he practices quarterback stuff "every blue moon" and the Lions would tab him because of his versatility and his potential arm strength. In college at Notre Dame, Tate played center field and was twice drafted by Major League Baseball teams (he never went pro). He said if it ever happened, he'd be rushing at every commercial break and timeout to try and learn quarterback reads while being concerned about pressure from opposing rushers. "I'd do it. I'd have to be a Wildcat quarterback, though," Tate said. "I could probably throw down out to the flat or a slant or something. I might not be able to see over the line, who knows." -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers: For years, the Packers carried just two quarterbacks on their active roster, making the emergency third QB even more important. And they tried to keep it a secret, but it was eventually revealed as receiver Jordy Nelson, who last played QB in high school. Then, when the Packers drafted Randall Cobb in 2011, he became the more likely candidate. Cobb started four games at quarterback during his freshman season at the University of Kentucky. The Packers have three QBs on the active roster now -- Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien and Brett Hundley -- but Cobb would offer a different look. He's the only left-handed passer of the group. On occasion in training camp, you'll see Cobb throw a pass or two on an option play, but he has never taken a snap at QB in public. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings: Wide receiver Jarius Wright didn't play quarterback in high school or college, but he would be one of the Vikings' options if both Teddy Bridgewater and Shaun Hill were knocked out of a game. He was the next man in line last year in New Orleans, when Matt Cassel broke his foot and Bridgewater replaced him. Both Wright and Cordarrelle Patterson were among the Vikings' emergency QB options that day, but considering how much more the Vikings' coaching staff seems to trust Wright than Patterson as a receiver, it'd seem likely they'd be more willing to go with Wright in an emergency situation. Running back Jerick McKinnon played quarterback at Georgia Southern, but he rarely threw the ball as a triple-option QB. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have a veteran wide receiver designated as their emergency quarterback, and not because he played quarterback at Bethune-Cookman or anything of that nature. He hasn't even thrown a pass in an NFL or college game. Eric Weems did, however, play some option football at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, so he could run some Wildcat plays in a pinch. He also played wingback in a Wing-T offense. Weems always been a versatile player, having starred at defensive back during his early years before making the switch to wide receiver in a spread offense. He continues to return kicks and punts now, just like he did back during his college days. Although Weems is coming off a game during which he made a bad decision in returning a late kickoff, the Falcons obviously have faith in him if anything were to happen in a game to both Matt Ryan and backup Sean Renfree. Matt Simms is the only other true quarterback around and he's on the practice squad. One could also see players such as elusive wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester and maybe even tight end Jacob Tamme filling such a role as an emergency quarterback. Left tackle Jake Matthews has shown off his arm during drills as of late so maybe he would be in the mix, too. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are as deep at quarterback as arguably any team in the NFL with MVP candidate Cam Newton, former Pro Bowler Derek Anderson as his backup and former Minnesota starter Joe Webb. But they were in a situation last season with Newton out for a game in December that they had to consider an emergency quarterback in case Anderson or Webb was injured. That candidate was wide receiver Philly Brown, who was a backup quarterback at Cardinal (Penn.) O'Hara High School. Brown said at the time the only reason he was a backup was because a five-star quarterback started ahead of him. Brown actually got a little work at quarterback in practice last season when Newton was injured. But Brown didn't throw a pass at Ohio State and hasn't thrown one in one-plus seasons with the Panthers. Right now he just wants to get back on the field at receiver after missing Sunday's game against Washington with a shoulder injury that has him questionable for Thursday's game at Dallas. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints: New Orleans' Willie Snead has been one of the NFL's most unexpected breakout players this year as a receiver. So just imagine the possibilities if he ever got called into action as the Saints' emergency quarterback. Snead was a dual-threat star as a high school QB at Michigan's Muskegon Heights. He threw for more than 2,000 yards and ran for more than 1,000 as a senior while being named Michigan's Division 5-6 player of the year. Snead said he took a few just-in-case snaps in practice earlier this year but didn't run any actual plays. He did, however, stress to reporters that, "I still got the spiral tight." -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:The Buccaneers declined to reveal their emergency quarterback, but wide receiver Russell Shepard would be one possibility since he was a decorated dual-threat quarterback at Cypress Ridge (Texas) High School before signing with LSU. Other options include running backs Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey. Sims has 345 yards on 76 carries this season, and Rainey has been a staple on special teams with 601 combined yards on kick and punt returns. -- Andrew Astleford


Arizona Cardinals: Cornerback Patrick Peterson would be the Cardinals' emergency quarterback if needed. He last played QB in 2013 when he competed his only pass for 17 yards. Every Friday, Peterson participates in the Cardinals weekly QB competition, where Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Matt Barkley and Peterson throw footballs into a trash can from a variety of distances. -- Josh Weinfuss

St. Louis Rams: The Rams' emergency quarterback is punter Johnny Hekker. Hekker played quarterback at Bothell (Wash.) High and fakes with him throwing the ball were a staple of his time at Oregon State and now with the Rams. At Oregon State, Hekker was 4-of-5 for 35 yards. Since entering the NFL in 2012, Hekker has completed six of nine passes for 99 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 140.5. Although he doesn't get quarterback reps often during the practice week, he does take the occasional snap and work on the side sometimes just in case. -- Nick Wagoner

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers, like many teams, dress only two quarterbacks on game day and seem to take a laissez-faire attitude about an emergency third QB being among the 46 active players. The most likely candidate, though, is rookie tight end Blake Bell, a fourth-round draft pick despite only being a tight end for one year in college. Two years ago, Bell was a quarterback at Oklahoma and even general manager Trent Baalke acknowledged this summer that Bell might be the emergency QB. But he has yet to take a snap in practice as Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and undrafted rookie Dylan Thompson would get the reps. But with Kaepernick going on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday, Thompson being promoted from the practice squad and McLeod Bethel-Thompson headed for the practice squad,, the Niners are still searching for that emergency third QB. If not Bell, there are two other intriguing candidates. Veteran receiver Anquan Boldin was a high school all-American quarterback and played a bit as a freshman in college at Florida State, albeit in 1999. Then there's receiver Bruce Ellington, a former basketball point guard at South Carolina who would need those court-general skills under center and, with his skill set, might be able to run some zone-read. -- Paul Gutierrez

Seattle Seahawks: It would be intriguing to see safety Kam Chancellor on a QB power run play, bowling over unsuspecting linebackers with his 6-3, 232-pound frame. But when Chancellor played quarterback at Murray High School in Norfolk, Virginia, he was more of a passer than a runner. He threw for 369 yards in one game and was ranked the No. 27 pro-style quarterback in the country by Rivals.com. Chancellor started his Virginia Tech career at quarterback before moving over to the defensive side of the ball as a freshman. He has said he knows about five or six of the Seahawks' offensive plays. Coach Pete Carroll has done some roster shuffling this season, but before wide receiver B.J. Daniels was moved to the practice squad, he would have been the emergency quarterback. Daniels threw 14 touchdowns as a senior at South Florida, while rushing for five more. Carroll said in the summer that one reason Daniels initially stuck on the 53-man roster was because of his ability as a quarterback, wide receiver and returner. -- Sheil Kapadia