Zach Mettenberger was signed by the San Diego Chargers right after being waived by the Tennessee Titans earlier this year. Immediately, it looked like an opportunity for him to resurrect his career. Starting as the team’s primary backup, he might even be able to convince the organization that he could take over the team once Philip Rivers retired.
That may never be more than a short-lived theory.
Mettenberger hasn’t performed particularly well in training camp and when inserted into the lineup in the team’s first preseason game, he showed no indication that he can even make the roster, let alone be part of the team’s future.
Mettenberger came in during the third quarter, coincidentally against his former team, the Titans. Mettenberger’s throws were all over the place and he looked like anything but an NFL veteran. He finished by completing just two of the eight passes he attempted while also having one intercepted. This, by the way, came against backup defenders that may not even be in the league in a couple of weeks. Defenders that, as you’ll see in the video below, he once said he “couldn’t wait to face”.
Zach Mettenberger … that was so so so bad.
— Derek Togerson (@DerekNBCSD) August 14, 2016
But how good is Mettenberger anyway?
Once considered to be a great professional prospect during his college days at Louisiana State, he wasn’t selected until the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft. Granted guys like Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr were all taken before him, but so were Johnny Manziel, Logan Thomas and Aaron Murray.
He landed in a good spot, Tennessee. There was a need for a future quarterback there as Jake Locker wasn’t cutting it and would soon retire. But instead of even considering Mettenberger, the Titans drafted Marcus Mariota in the first round the following year.
This likely killed Mettenberger’s confidence, and he would soon be released by the team after playing in just 10 games for them. He’s not even good enough to be part of a team that includes veteran Matt Cassel, who seems like he’s played for just about every team in the league, and Alex Tanney, a guy who has thrown just 14 passes in the NFL?
Perhaps Tennessee wanted to do the “right thing” and gave Mettenberger a chance to land somewhere else. He did, rather quickly.
But if he doesn’t play better—and I mean a lot better—against the Arizona Cardinals this Friday night, not only will he not be part of the team’s future, he might not even survive the first round of cuts.