The San Francisco 49ers have only two quarterbacks on the active roster heading into Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
The 49ers cut third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson earlier this week to clear a spot on the 53-man roster for wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Bethel-Thompson was later signed to the practice squad after he cleared waivers on Wednesday.
But that means Bethel-Thompson is not available should something catastrophic happen to the 49ers and they find themselves in a situation where neither Colin Kaepernick nor backup Colt McCoy can play.
So who would be the guy?
According to Pro Football Talk, coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t exactly forthcoming.
“That’s a good question,” Harbaugh said.
Anquan Boldin was a quarterback in high school and Harbaugh volunteered that information. But that wasn’t tantamount to confirmation that Boldin would be the emergency quarterback.
“We’ll let you know if we’re in that position,” Harbaugh said.
Since the new collective bargaining agreement was put in place prior to the 2011 season, teams are no longer required to carry a third quarterback who is technically inactive on game day, but dresses for the game in case of an emergency.
Many teams, without that restriction, have opted to use that roster spot for another purpose, whether to add an extra special teams specialist or simply to carry added depth at a position where there may be injury concerns.
Among the teams besides the 49ers who are currently carrying only three active quarterbacks? Their opponent on Sunday, the Rams. Kellen Clemens is the starter and Austin Davis is the backup. St. Louis placed their third quarterback, Brady Quinn, on injured reserve this week, where he joins starter Sam Bradford, who was lost for the season to an ACL injury last month.
The Oakland Raiders rejoined the list of two-quarterback teams when they released Tyler Wilson prior to Thursday’s loss at Dallas to make room for tackle Jared Veldheer on the roster.
The other teams opting for just two active quarterbacks include the Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan, Dominique Davis), Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor), Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton, Derek Anderson), Cincinnati Bengals (Andy Dalton, Josh Johnson),Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo, Kyle Orton), Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck), New England Patriots (Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett), Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Glennon, Dan Orlovsky).
If a team is down to a third quarterback under center, it’s probably a sign of things gone horribly wrong anyway.
Just ask the Green Bay Packers.