How good Stick had been an enigma for a while. Entering the third year of his career, he only attempted one pass in his two career years. COVID-19 ensured he didn't see much-needed preseason action in 2020, but has since seen extensive playtime in the first two preseason games of 2021. The result is a quarterback that still looks undecisive and struggles to get past his first one or two reads.
His only competition for the backup quarterback job is offseason addition Chase Daniel, who was brought in because of his experience and knowledge of the offense that Joe Lombardi was going to run on the Chargers.
So far, both quarterbacks have looked evenly matched on preseason games, with a slight edge to Stick, although Daniel has an edge himself throughout the rest of training camp.
Stick, is still a good developmental project. His physical tools are something not many other quarterbacks, including Daniel, can presume. Stick is a playmaker, and that was seen in the preseason game against the 49ers where he had a bad game disguised with a relatively good statline thanks to a few plays helped by his athletic ability. But one has to ask what the Chargers need the most.
Neither Stick nor Daniel will win games if Justin Herbert misses games with injury. In fact, if the Chargers want to keep their season alive in the event of a Herbert injury, it's more likely they look for outside options on the trade market, or even tempt franchise legend Philip Rivers out of retirement. That said, even if Stick gives the Chargers slightly better chances of winning, the team has many reasons to keep Daniel instead.
Daniel has vast experience on NFL teams, with different offenses and playbooks, as well as having picked the brains of legendary quarterbacks and coaches like Drew Brees, Sean Payton and Andy Reid.
His value holding a clipboard on a sideline stems from the fact that he could serve as another coach for a young Herbert on his first year with this offense, while Daniel has ample experience in it. Stick has not much value on a game day unless he starts getting used in a Taysom Hill fashion, and that's why he has even seen safety reps at practice.
Another reason why Stick could be cut is that he's a low draft pick of a previous regime. After two years, he still is a project, so the current coaching staff could just scratch him and advocate for their own developmental project on the 2022 NFL Draft.
After all, there might only be two scenarios where he stays on the team. The first is that the team keeps three quarterbacks, which doesn't really make much sense. The Chargers have mostly been a two-quarterback team under Tom Telesco, with a few years where they carried three under changing circumstances, like uncertainty on Rivers' future or having drafted a quarterback in Herbert who was thought to be not ready for the professional game.
The second scenario is that he puts on an absolutely marvelous display on the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks while Daniel struggles.