Backup Quarterback Colt Brennan Is Waiting for His Opportunity

By Mike Wise
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Each August, without sufficient reason, we go cuckoo for Colt. For two years running, some of us have gone absolutely bananas over a third-string quarterback who has but two qualities in his corner: gaudy college numbers and raw gumption.

Why? Because Colt Brennan represents youth, daring, change.

Jason Campbell represents same ol', same ol'.

Todd Collins, bless his heart, represents an archeological dig.

(Chase Daniel represents youth, daring and change, too. But unfortunately, not enough to circumvent an old unwritten NFL rule: one Doug Flutie clone per 53-man roster).

But almighty Colt, who will be Campbell's backup Saturday night against the world champion Steelers in a preseason game that means nothing for his team and everything for him, stands for something entirely different, something that can't be quantified but is instead felt. Immensely.

Brennan is a window into a fan's seductive nature of pulling for every backup quarterback buried behind the starter.

And depending on whether or not he has the goods, he is either Babe Laufenberg or Mark Rypien -- the next generation.

Remember? From 1983 to 1985, Laufenberg was the strapping, affable gunslinger who tore up the Redskins' preseason -- making Joe Theismann seem old and Jay Schroeder look very fallible. Of course Joe Gibbs never saw fit to play Laufenberg in a regular season game because, well, he was Babe Laufenberg.

"Babe was that guy who never became the backup, but he had such a great personality and was such a fan favorite, people would still be calling for him -- even when he was dressed like a coach on the sideline," said Rypien, who knows of such things.

Rypien, beyond being the last quarterback to lead Washington to a Super Bowl, was also once a backup pining for his moment.

"I was Doug's backup," he said, alluding to Doug Williams. "Jay was Theismann's backup. Doug was Jay's. Stan [Humphries] was my backup -- boy, they loved Stan for a while.

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