The Chargers Third String Quarterback Conundrum
The Los Angeles Chargers enter their final preseason game, against the San Francisco 49ers, with a few question marks remaining on their roster. An often overlooked debate is that of the third string quarterback. Many take for granted great players such as Tom Brady and Kurt Warner who began their careers battling for the third string job. However, players such as these are rare and do not enter the league every year.
A good third string quarterback can help the team in crises if there are injury problems at the position. The 49ers faced that dilemma last year as they dealt with injury problems at quarterback and ended up winning three games with their third string quarterback Nick Mullens. The Chargers have a good backup quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. He has experience in the NFL and can win a few games if Philip Rivers is injured. This leaves the third string competition up for grabs. Currently, Easton Stick and Cardale Jones are fighting for the third string spot. Let’s take a look at one of the last position battles in camp.
Stick was drafted this year and was immediately labeled as the heir to Philip Rivers. However, despite the label, nothing is given in the NFL and everything is earned. Stick has played relatively well in the preseason. His completion percentage has been excellent but he has only thrown one touchdown against two interceptions in three games. His best game was the third preseason game, against the Seahawks. In that game he had a 106.8 passer rating.
He showed good mobility in the first preseason game by rushing for 51 yards on just two rushing attempts. He didn’t rush for anything in the second preseason game but he did rush for 14 yards off of three carries and scored a touchdown in the third.
So far in his career, Jones’ claim to fame is winning the national championship at Ohio State. Ironically, he entered the season as the third-string quarterback. Since being drafted in 2016 by the Buffalo Bills, he has mainly been either a third-stringer or on the practice squad.
He has played well in limited action this preseason. He completed four of six passes the first game and four of five the third game. He threw neither a touchdown pass nor an interception in either contest. His best outing was in the second preseason game when he threw for 111 yards and his lone touchdown of the preseason.
This has been a very entertaining battle. Both have shown the ability to be named third string. It will probably come down to the final preseason game but as of now it appears that Stick has the advantage. This is partially due to age as Jones has played as well as Stick but he has been in the NFL much longer. Expectations are higher for Jones due to his experience.
Another reason why Stick has the advantage is because he was drafted to replace Rivers at some point in the near future. The Chargers brass will probably have some say in this decision and there is a good chance that Stick will be named third string and Jones will once again be relegated to the practice squad.