Opinions on the Colin Kaepernick situation are like birthdays — everybody has one.
In a piece published Wednesday by MMQB’s Andy Benoit, Patriots second-string quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the first name listed on a ledger of 15 current NFL backups.
Let me amend myself—there are actually 15 backup quarterbacks better than Kaepernick, and that doesn’t even include rookies Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Davis Webb.
The list, in no particular order:
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots
Matt Moore, Dolphins
Colt McCoy, Washington
A.J. McCarron, Bengals
Chad Henne, Jaguars
Geno Smith, Giants
Drew Stanton, Cardinals
Brock Osweiler/Cody Kessler, Browns
Chase Daniel, Saints
Derek Anderson, Panthers
Nick Foles, Eagles
Ryan Mallett, Ravens
Matt Barkley, 49ers
Landry Jones, Steelers
Matt Cassel, Titans
Benoit, an analyst known for his film reviews on every NFL game that takes place over the course of the season, stated Kaepernick’s inability to perform from the pocket as the primary reason for his take.
Inside the NFL, this is where 90% of the discussion about Kaepernick begins and ends. Playing from the pocket is not a quarterbacking attribute; it’s a prerequisite. If a team’s QB can’t play from the pocket, the vast majority of the play designs won’t work. Coaches can’t draw up plays that call for the quarterback to break down, run around and hopefully find an open guy. Today’s defenses are too good for that.
Benoit of course came under fire from the now enormous pro-Kaepernick crowd on Twitter, prompting Peter King to come to his writer’s defense in a five part thread.
BENOIT2: … and you can disagree with his point that a backup has to be a pocket player (which I do), I also know this re Benoit’s opinions:— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 8, 2017
BENOIT3: … He watched every minute of 267 NFL games in 2016, as he does every year. His opinions are carefully informed, not flippant.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 8, 2017
BENOIT4: … He talks to coaches on 32 staffs. He knows what he’s talking about. Sometimes his opinions are way against the grain.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) June 8, 2017
However, lost in the skirmish was the fact that, even though listed “in no particular order”, Jimmy Garoppolo was the first name Benoit’s keyboard rattled off as he generated his top 15 backup quarterback list.
Albeit only through a couple of OTA and minicamp practices, Garopollo has struggled slightly to find his rhythm so far. But the fourth-year former second-round pick should easily be considered the best backup quarterback in football.
What’s unfortunate about the entire Kaepernick situation is how it has become a microcosm of the political discussion in America. Some topics can simply no longer be mentioned without the masses irrationally making a beeline for one of the two farthest sides of the argument, where they dig their heels in, and then hurl insults and slander not only at the voices on the other side, but at those who simply want to discuss it professionally at a safe point somewhere in the middle.
While you may not agree with Andy Benoit’s football analysis, no one can discount the amount of hard work and dedication he puts towards his craft.
As for the Kaepernick situation? Regardless of what side of the argument you are on, realize that the answer is likely somewhere in the middle.
Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter - @BPhillips_NFL