Ranking NFL backup QBs from 1-32: Cowboys fine, Steelers in troubleBy Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.comSeptember 30, 2015 We're heading into Week 4 and we've already seen two preseason playoff favorites -- the Cowboys and the Steelers -- lose their franchise quarterbacks. If both teams are to remain in the playoff hunt while Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger get healthy, they'll need above replacement-level performances from the backups.Which got us to thinking: How would each of the 32 teams fare if they had to rely on their No. 2 quarterback to get them through the season? Put another way: let's rank the backups.(Because we're three games into the season, it's already clear that some teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to talking about the playoffs. But no team is eliminated, and the division they are in plays a part in the rankings below. For example, every team in the AFC South is 1-2, which means the Texans, Colts, Jaguars and Titans are all in the mix. It also means that depth will be critically important over the next 13 games, and that depth includes quarterback.)We're still in this thing1. Cowboys: Brandon Weeden -- Even if he's not Troy Aikman, Weeden, the Browns' 2012 first-round pick, has proven that he's a capable fill-in in Dallas. He currently holds the Cowboys' record for most consecutive completions, played well in last week's loss to the Falcons, and Jerry Jones is a huge fan."He's a thing of beauty on throwing a football. His passing motion and his arm, frankly, you won't see a more gifted passer, power, accuracy, the entire aspect of it," the Cowboys' owner said last week. "If he can basically prepare, be the starting quarterback, come in and execute and keep his head right, then I feel good about Weeden."It helps that the Cowboys play in a division where, save the Giants, starting-quarterback issues abound.2. Cardinals: Drew Stanton -- When Carson Palmer went down last season, Stanton led the Cardinals to a 5-3 record ... until Stanton went down. He completed 55 percent of his throws with seven touchdowns and five interceptions, and ranked 17th in value per play, according to Football Outsiders.That's the definition of replacement level, and when you're on a team with playmakers at other positions on both sides of the ball, sometimes that's enough. Given the Cardinals' hot start, Stanton's experience, and coach Bruce Arians' ability to get the most out of his quarterback, this team could find its way back to the playoffs even without Palmer.3. Patriots: Jimmy Garoppolo -- The short version: The Pats went 11-5 with Matt Cassel in 2008 after Tom Brady was lost in Week 1 to a knee injury. Who knows if Garoppolo is Cassel but we think it's a reasonable assumption.Garoppolo's regular-season stats -- 19 of 27 for 182 yards, a touchdown and no picks -- aren't that different from Cassel's numbers (22 of 39, 253 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) before he was thrust into the lineup.And like Cassel in '08, Garoppolo has playmakers around him, including Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount.4. Colts: Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck might be 40 -- and look 60 -- but at this stage of the proceedings, he's basically an on-field coach. After serving as the Seahawks' starter for a decade, and a two-year layover in Tennessee, Hasselbeck has been Andrew Luck's backup since 2013. He's been sharp in limited duty; in four games last season, he completed 68 percent of his passes (30 of 44) with two touchdowns and no interceptions.Plus, as colleague Sean Wagner-McGough pointed out this summer, who doesn't love the Great Coin Toss Troll?5. Eagles: Mark Sanchez -- The Eagles finally won a game Sunday, and with Romo sidelined for another seven weeks or so in Dallas, the NFC East is wide open. And while coach Chip Kelly hasn't said anything publicly, there has to be some discussion about Sam Bradford's slow start. Put another way: If Bradford doesn't improve, Sanchez is a viable option. He went 4-4 last season in place of an injured Nick Foles, completing 64 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Sanchez wasn't perfect (he ranked 23rd in value per play) but he was much better than those Butt Fumble days of old -- and arguably better than the current version of Bradford.6. Panthers: Derek Anderson -- Again, the division helps, but Anderson held it together last season in Cam Newton's absence. He was 2-0, completing 67 percent of his passes with five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.2 passer rating.7. Titans: Zach Mettenberger -- Repeat it with me: the division matters. Mettenberger played in seven games last season, and was 0-6 as a starter, but he was in an impossible situation with an impossibly bad Titans team. Still, he showed glimpses of why he has legit NFL talent -- he even drew comparisons this offseason to 2015 first-overall pick Jameis Winston -- and there was some speculation that the Titans might decide to address a position other than quarterback with their No. 2 overall pick. They didn't, of course, and drafting Marcus Mariota appears to be the right decision. But Mettenberger is a solid young backup, and one who will likely find himself the subject of trade rumors after the season, if not sooner.8. Jaguars: Chad Henne -- Affectionately known as Chenne (by us, anyway), Henne is more than capable of keeping the Jaguars in the mix in the AFC South. Partly because he has the experience, but mostly because the division is a mess.9. Buccaneers: Mike Glennon -- Glennon and Mettenberger are kindred spirits in that they're young, big, strong-armed quarterbacks whose best shot at a starting gig might come with another team.10. Texans: Brian Hoyer -- One last time: AFC South. Hoyer was benched after one game, and no one -- not even Hoyer -- argued with the decision. But should he find his way back onto the field, we know, that with some help, he can game-manage an offense successfully. And just to reiterate: if the Texans are in any other division, they'd find themselves in the category below.A lot has to go right for this to work11. Browns: Johnny Manziel -- This has more to do with playing in the AFC North than Manziel, who we've long said deserves to be the starter. But with the Bengals off to a 3-0 start and playing well, a lot has to go right for Cleveland to get back in the thick of things. A good start: replacing McCown with Manziel, which coach Mike Pettine currently has no plans of doing. So yeah, Cleveland.12. Chiefs: Chase Daniel -- Daniel is in the final year of a three-year, $10 million deal, basically an insurance policy against Alex Smith going down. Daniel has attempted 66 passes in two seasons, completing 62 percent of them with a touchdown and a pick. The question isn't whether he could replicate Smith's production, it's whether the Chiefs could overcome the Broncos and Raiders (!!) with a backup.13. Steelers: Michael Vick -- Ben Roethlisberger's on the shelf for 4-6 weeks, and in a perfect world, the Steelers could go .500 with Vick. But that's asking a lot of the 35-year-old who has completed more than 60 percent of his passes only once in his 14-year career. The Steelers' high-powered offense will become something less than that, simply because Vick isn't Big Ben in the pocket. Relying on Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams is a good place to start, but Pittsburgh's defense will have to grow up a lot over the next month too.14. Dolphins: Matt Moore -- This was supposed to be Ryan Tannehill's year. For whatever reason, it's been the opposite of that. Moore has starting experience -- he completed 60 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 12 starts in 2011 -- but the Dolphins play in the AFC East. The division race is effectively over.15. Vikings: Shaun Hill -- Hill was once considered the NFL's best backup, but he's slowed in recent years. Still, having Adrian Peterson in the backfield makes any quarterback better -- as does facing the Bears twice a season.16. Redskins: Colt McCoy -- With Robert Griffin III reduced to scout-team safety duties, McCoy would be the next man up should Kirk Cousins go down. Much like RG3's rookie season, when he helped Washington to seven-straight wins, the division title and the playoffs, a lot has to go right for McCoy to help the Redskins to a winning record. Playing in the NFC East helps but the odds are still long.17. Seahawks: Tarvaris Jackson -- The 1-2 start coupled with the Cardinals' going 3-0 land the Seahawks here. This team isn't built to come back, especially without Russell Wilson. But Jackson has started in the past, and he has the benefit of a strong running game and stout defense.18. Bills: EJ Manuel -- He has starting experience, but you could argue that's one reason the Bills would be doomed. Fair enough -- but Buffalo also has a strong running game and a very good defense (sound familiar?). The Pats are winning the division, but a second-place finish could be good enough for a wildcard spot.19. Saints: Luke McCown -- Awesome at commercials, and not bad at football either. Unfortunately, the Saints are terrible. With the Falcons off to a fast start, the playoffs seem like a long shot. That said, 7-9 always seems to win this division, and McCown was good against the Bucs last week, throwing for 18 first downs and 310 yards on 31 of 38 passing.20. Packers: Scott Tolzein -- Tolzein compared Aaron Rodgers to Michael Jordan. Which makes him Scottie Pippen. Or is he B.J. Armstrong?Honestly, we have no idea how Tolzein would play, mostly because he has thrown 90 career passes in five NFL seasons, all coming in 2013. But we've seen Matt Flynn have success in this system, and given that he couldn't keep a job after leaving Green Bay, maybe Tolzein would be fine. Worst case: the Packers could just re-sign Flynn.So, let's talk about the 2016 NFL Draft21. Ravens: Matt Schaub -- The Ravens are 0-3 and Joe Flacco has never missed a start in his eight-year career. Schaub is a veteran with starting experience, but he's been below replacement-level in recent stints in Oakland and Houston.22. Chargers: Kellen Clemens -- No Philip Rivers means no chance for the Chargers.23. Lions: Dan Orlovsky -- The Lions weren't winning with Matthew Stafford -- partly because of Stafford's inconsistency, but also because the Lions' offensive line is a mess -- and the same holds for Orlovsky.24. Rams: Case Keenum -- If Nick Foles ain't getting it done, Case Keenum probably ain't getting it done either. We're not sure who this says more about.25. Raiders: Matt McGloin -- He wasn't bad in Week 1, completing 23 of 31 passes for 142 yards, but there's a big drop off from Derek Carr.26. Jets: Geno Smith -- Coach Todd Bowles is in no hurry to give Smith another shot and for good reason: Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well and we all know what Geno Smith can do.27. 49ers: Blaine Gabbert -- Two words: Blaine Gabbert. Two more words: Colin Kaepernick. Three more words: It doesn't matter.28. Bears: Jimmy Clausen -- The Panthers once used a second-round pick on Clausen. Let that sink in for a moment.We honestly have no idea29. Giants: Ryan Nassib -- Once thought to be a first-round pick, Nassib slipped in the draft and Iron Man Eli doesn't miss games.30. Bengals: A.J. McCarron -- Andy Dalton is playing the best football of his career.31. Broncos: Brock Osweiler -- A year from now, we'll probably have a very good idea about Osweiler, who appears to be the guy to replace Peyton Manning.32. Falcons: Sean Renfree -- The former seventh-round pick out of Duke beat out T.J. Yates and Rex Grossman for the right to back up Matt Ryan. Renfree has thrown exactly zero passes in his NFL career.