Danny Etling won’t be starting for anybody any time soon, but he might have done just enough on Thursday to earn a roster spot.
In the 2018 preseason, New England Patriots rookie quarterback Danny Etling didn’t really do a lot of things to make people jump out of their seats. That is, except for his 86-yard touchdown run that came in the fourth quarter of the preseason finale against the New York Giants.
Etling, a seventh-round draft pick, faked out the entire New York defense and broke away completely untouched, dashing all the way down the field for a touchdown to pretty much clinch the win for the New England Patriots. He finished the game 18 of 32 for 157 yards with a touchdown pass to go along with his rushing touchdown, as well as two interceptions.
It’s not the greatest stat line of all time, but Etling might have done just enough to make the team. He’s certainly not going to find himself as a starting quarterback any time soon, but it would give him a chance to compete with Brian Hoyer for the backup position — which isn’t a totally ridiculous idea, because, well, it’s Brian Hoyer.
Jimmy Garoppolo is long gone from New England, so nobody should assume that the backup position is locked up. Head coach Bill Belichick seemed to like what he saw from Etling on Thursday, which was really the only game he’s really gotten to play in this preseason, so who knows where he could go from here.
“Well, that was one of the most exciting plays I’ve seen in preseason, I must say,” Belichick said with a smile in regards to Etling’s 86-yard touchdown, according to NESN.com.
With Tom Brady, the Patriots are obviously set at the quarterback position. But Brady is 41 years old, so nothing can be ruled out. If Brady should get injured, it would be nice to have at least one other backup option besides Hoyer, who got most of the preseason action at quarterback and was pretty far from exciting.
That could end up being the biggest reason why Belichick decides to keep Etling on the roster, if he does indeed decide to do so. And if he makes the team, his only competition for the backup job would be Hoyer. Anything could happen.