From 1997 through 2004, the Broncos had a veteran backup quarterback standing at the ready. From Bubby Brister to Chris Miller to Gus Frerotte to Steve Beuerlein and on to Danny Kanell, Denver’s backup was not only a veteran — but one who at a point in his career had been a full-time starter. Miller, Frerotte and Beuerlein had even been Pro Bowlers, while Brister and Kanell had directed previous teams to a playoff win and a division title, respectively.
In 2005, the Broncos veered away from that postulate, opting to keep Bradlee Van Pelt as their only relief option. But that year, he wasn’t needed; he didn’t see extensive action until the final half of the regular season with the Broncos’ playoff seed coated in cement.
The signing of Patrick Ramsey — made official Monday — shakes up the quarterback situation, but it also brings the Broncos back to what they had for most of their recent years: a veteran standing at the ready.
Of course, Ramsey hasn’t claimed the job; Preston Parsons returns after a year on the practice squad, while the team also signed former UAB passer Darrell Hackney in January; he was a preseason casualty in Cleveland last year. But of the Broncos’ quarterbacks behind incumbent Jay Cutler, only Ramsey has been an NFL starter — or has thrown a pass in a regular-season game, for that matter.
Ramsey also possesses a similar background to another backup quarterback of recent Denver vintage. Like that understudy, he spent multiple seasons with the Redskins, occasionally serving as the starting quarterback. Like him, he had a one-year stopover elsewhere before joining the Broncos.
That passer, of course, is Frerotte, who played two seasons for the Broncos before departing for a potential starting opportunity in Cincinnati that only materialized for three starts in 2002. His peripatetic career has since witnessed three more stops for an NFL total of seven teams, pushing him into the realm of passers like Chris Chandler and Steve DeBerg who stayed in the game by remaining portable and open to potential suitors.
But in his two Denver seasons, Frerotte posted a passer rating of 85.5 over his two seasons and seven starts. Only Jay Cutler’s 88.5 rating is higher among all Denver players to throw at least one pass this decade. Frerotte also went 4-3 in seven regular-season starts as a Bronco, and was 6-3 in games during which he threw at least 15 passes.
If Ramsey can mimic those numbers, he’ll be a succesful pickup.