APC Lunch Break: JaMarcus Russell or Tim Tebow?

Ezra Shaw

Tell us which former first-round quarterback you'd rather sign and read who Jason would pick.

For the past few weekdays, we have been posing questions to the members of the APC community around lunch time to get some conversation going. This new feature is creatively titled "Lunch Break."

Today's question is this: if you were Bears GM Phil Emery, who would you rather sign as a backup quarterback: JaMarcus Russell or Tim Tebow?

This topic was inspired by the news that the Chicago Bears had Russell in for a tryout. Russell's tryout represents the first serious interest in the former number one overall pick since he was bounced out of the league three years ago. Russell isn't the only quarterback bust that's been tied to the Bears, however.

After his release from the New York Jets, rumors swirled that Tim Tebow might end up in Chicago. The bridge between Tebow and the Bears comes from the embattled quarterback's prior relationship with new Bears head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman tutored Tebow in advance of the 2010 NFL draft, and has vocally supported Tebow in the time since. While the Bears have publically stated that they aren't interested, the fact that GM Phil Emery is kicking the (spare) tires on Russell doesn't exactly close the door on Tebow. While I'd be very surprised if either ended up in Chicago, it's a fun hypothetical.

Looking at the stats, Russell and Tebow share some similarities as passers. Both hover around 50% pass completion and each is within the 6 yards per pass attempt range. Of course, Tebow absolutely destroys Russell when it comes to their running production. His 12 rushing touchdowns coupled with his 5.0 yards to attempt trounce Russell's 4.4 yards per attempt and single rushing touchdown.

The numbers make a strong case for Tebow, but they don't account for the circus that follows him. In each of the cities he's played in, the crowd has overwhelmingly turned on the starter. Given that incumbent Bears starter Jay Cutler isn't exactly a fan favorite, it's not too difficult to image much of the Chicago fanbase turning on him. Russell, on the other hand, doesn't bring the same level of attention. And while it's very unlikely that Russell will ever become a competent starter, he was once a very highly touted prospect with the greatest pro day workout some scouts had ever seen. Is it possible that Russell would have been better had he not landed in the graveyard that was the 2000s Oakland Raiders?

At the end of the day, I wouldn't want to deal with the attention that would result from bringing Tebow in as a backup. While he's accomplished more at this stage, Russell no longer has to manage the pressure of being the top overall pick. I'd take a chance that my new offensive-minded head coach could find a way to utilize Russell and avoid the bloodbath that would result every time Cutler throws an interception and Tebow isn't brought in to replace him.

So who would you rather have backing up your starting quarterback? Vote in our poll and voice your opinion in the comments. Remember, the question is who would you rather sign if you were Phil Emery, not who you would rather the Bears sign as a Packer fan. Otherwise everyone would vote for Jonathan Quinn.

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