Paul Kuharsky: With NFL Third-String Quarterbacks It’s About Fitting In

NASHVILLE – A little over a week before most NFL teams kick off their season, the most important quality about their lowest-ranking quarterback isn’t arm-strength, accuracy or mobility.

It’s familiarity.

More than half the league simply took a quarterback it cut Tuesday and signed him to their practice squad Wednesday. The Cowboys did it twice, with both Cooper Rush and Will Grier. That’s the move you make when Dak Prescott is the only quarterback on the actual roster.

Kellen Mond
Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond passes the ball during the second half of a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on August 27, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)

Only two of 27 quarterbacks let go as teams trimmed their rosters from 80 to 53 were claimed off waivers. The Browns claimed Kellen Mond from the Vikings. He is behind Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs during Deshaun Watson’s suspension. The Eagles claimed Ian Book from the Saints. He is third on the depth chart behind Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew.

Let’s be clear, I’m not throwing a party for teams grabbing Mond and Book, who are not good. But I do want to credit the Browns and Eagles who considered Josh Rosen and Carson Strong/Reid Sinnett respectively, and thought, “We ought to try to do better.”

Cleveland couldn’t stay out of the Rosen business, though. The Browns signed him to their practice squad Thursday. The Eagles have three QBs on their roster and Sinnett on their practice squad. Four quarterbacks is a lot, so they must like Sinnett, who came into the NFL undrafted out of San Diego. He spent time with Tampa Bay in 2020 and Miami in 2021 before joining the Eagles in October.

Miami, by the way, did not cut a quarterback, has three signal-callers on its roster and had not announced a practice squad when this piece published.

Joining Rosen out of work, at least temporarily, are Ben DiNucci (an earlier cut by Dallas), Tim Boyle and David Blough (Detroit, which replaced Blough with Nate Sudfeld, cut by San Francisco), Strong (Philadelphia), Jarrett Guarantano (Arizona) and Jack Coan (Indianapolis).

I’ll also give a golf clap to Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks name Geno Smith starting quarterback over Drew Lock. (Credit: Getty Images)
Seattle Seahawks name Geno Smith starting quarterback. (Credit: Getty Images)

While so many teams were content moving their bad quarterback from their roster to their 16-player practice squad, the Seahawks tried to get an outsider.

So Pete Carroll and his staff, who are working with bad starter Geno Smith and bad backup Drew Lock, went and got Sean Mannion. Mannion had been cut by Minnesota. Seattle’s brass preferred him to Jacob Eason.

Carolina kept three quarterbacks with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. But with Darnold out four to six weeks (high ankle sprain), Carolina signed Eason to its practice squad.

Total low-level QBs changing teams to this point: Five.

Maybe teams are just being honest with themselves, saying hey, Logan Woodside knows Todd Downing’s offense here in Tennessee and can help Malik Willis run the scout team if needed. If Ryan Tannehill or Willis gets hurt, no one who was available is any better because they are all bad too and many won’t pick up things quickly while Woodside already has things down.

Trevor Siemian
CLEVELAND, OHIO – AUGUST 27: Quarterback Trevor Siemian #15 of the Chicago Bears passes during the second quarter of a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

In the past he beat Matt Barkley (now on Buffalo’s practice squad), Trevor Siemian (Chicago’s backup) and DeShone Kizer (out of work). Tennessee’s leadership views this as an accomplishment rather than a signal to keep searching. The team recently tried out Kurt Benkert.

Stick with what you’ve got everybody. It’s comfortable. You know them and they know you. Why shake things up? The comparable guys you could switch to are probably equally bad, and the coordinator and quarterback coach are busy already.

Besides, I hear the current practice-squader reads a nice scout-team card and you’ve got big enough problems with your No. 2.

Paul Kuharsky hosts Outkick 360. Read more from him at PaulKuharsky.com.

Written by Paul Kuharsky

Paul Kuharsky is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for over 22 years in California, Texas, and Tennessee, and also is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After ESPN, PK came to join the longest running trio in Nashville Sports Talk in 2012.

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