Brandon Staley announced before the preseason even began that Justin Herbert, among others, would not be playing in a single preseason game for the LA Chargers this year. No Herbert meant that quarterbacks Easton Stick and Chase Daniel would get to showcase their talents to battle for the backup quarterback position.
Daniel started the first game against the Los Angeles Rams and Stick started the second game against the San Francisco 49ers. Stick was seemingly the best quarterback on the entire field in that game, even looking better than Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance.
Daniel did not look as good and this has sparked a debate. There has always been this contingent of the fanbase that is high on Stick and on the flip side there are those who prefer the veteran insight of Daniel.
It may seem weird that the backup quarterback debate is so hot among the fanbase right now but it really is. And quite frankly, there seems to be one correct answer to this debate.
The correct answer to the LA Chargers backup quarterback debate:
If we went purely off of preseason performance then the answer would be Easton Stick. Stick has been the better quarterback on the field, but there are more variables to consider.
Most importantly is Daniel's veteran insight and how he can help Justin Herbert. This can get overlooked as Daniel's in-game value of helping Herbert break down defenses and plays that just happened does have a tangible impact on the Chargers.
Stick does not present that same impact. He has more years in the league than Herbert but he is far less experienced. He might offer a slightly better option as a backup, but that may not override the impact of the veteran.
The LA Chargers absolutely should not run three quarterbacks on the active roster, either. Even if they have done it before, unless they plan on using Stick like Taysom Hill (they're not), there is no point in having that third quarterback.
So there is a decision to be made and that decision is Daniel. Grant him the backup quarterback spot and the spot on the active roster to help mentor Justin Herbert in-game. The entire point of this decision is betting on Justin Herbert staying healthy, which they should be doing anyway.
They should not completely get rid of Stick, though. Stick has his own value and he would be valuable to the team on the practice squad, for two reasons.
First, his athleticism makes him a good option to play scout team quarterback. He is not going to replicate Lamar Jackson, but he can be more versatile in that regard than a mobile Daniel can be.
Second, if Herbert does get hurt and it is a long-term thing, I do think it is valuable to keep Stick in the organization to be activated and start. Yes, that is right, if Herbert gets hurt then Stick should be the starting quarterback.
He is simply better than Daniel and while the season would likely be screwed anyway, that does not mean that the team should punt and play the worse quarterback option. Stick can at least make plays happen. Daniel not so much.
Yes, there is an overlap if Herbert gets hurt in the game and Daniel is forced to come in but Stick would not be much better in that situation as the game plan would not be made for him. Keep him around in case Justin Herbert gets hurt, but don't use a roster spot on that possibility.
That, I believe, is the correct answer to the LA Chargers backup quarterback debate.