Frerotte Fitting in Fine in Role
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
After finding himself out on the street as a free agent, searching for his seventh team in a then 13-year career, Gus Frerotte had multiple options.
Plenty of teams showed interest in the strong-armed signal caller as a backup. As he had done in his previous forays into free agency, Frerotte could have jumped at one of those offers or waited around for a team in need of a starter to come calling.
As one of the well-traveled quarterbacks in the league, Frerotte quickly got over the absolute desire to start. Simply, he just wanted a place he could feel comfortable and a place his family could call home.
When the Rams and coach Scott Linehan, who coached Frerotte when he was offensive coordinator in Miami, came calling, Frerotte realized it was an opportunity to end his career how he wanted.
“I have been in both situations in my career,” Frerotte said. “I have been the backup and the starter. So I came here with Scott where I am comfortable with the offense. I knew Marc (Bulger) would be the starter and it was just a chance to come in and be comfortable and play with some great athletes. That was appealing to me, knowing I could be here with Scott, have some security and not move my family again after years and years of moving around. That was a big plus for me.”
Frerotte signed a three-year deal before last season with the knowledge that he would be Bulger’s backup, but an advanced knowledge of the offense and his new head coach.
That made the 2006 season an easy adjustment for Frerotte. Although his services weren’t needed much on the field (he made a cameo on Nov. 26 against San Francisco, completing one of three attempts for 27 yards), he played an unheralded role as a mentor to Bulger.
As Bulger attempted to unlearn many of the things involved in the old offense and pick up on Linehan’s offensive schemes, Frerotte was able to help guide him to a Pro Bowl season.
Now that Bulger is fully comfortable, Frerotte’s role is more clear.
“This year that’s not as big of a role for him because Marc is very comfortable with what we’re doing now,” Linehan said. “So really Gus’s job is more defined as he’s got to be ready to go if something ever happened.”
With that in mind, Linehan has given Frerotte extended playing time in this preseason to help get him ready should the need arise.
“I want to see Gus actually play more just because he hasn’t played for a year now and mainly just get him ready in case we need to call upon him,” Linehan said. “It’s a very comforting thing to know he’s there because I know that, in my opinion, he could start for a lot of teams in this league. We’re just lucky to have a guy of his quality backing up a guy like Marc.”
Frerotte has taken full advantage of his preseason opportunities, displaying the arm strength and know-how of a quarterback with his 128 games of NFL experience. In the three preseason games (Frerotte might not play this week against Kansas City), he has thrown for 327 yards on 31-of-46 passing with a pair of touchdowns for a rating of 102.4.
That performance puts Frerotte among the league’s best in the exhibition season.
Frerotte has proved time and again that he can come into a game with little or no warm up and perform at a high level; something he believes can continue to extend his career.
“That’s just one of the gifts I have been given is being able to come in cold off the bench and throw it and be right into the game,” Frerotte said. “One of the best things is you have all of the plays in your head and you can go through them as they are happening and after wards see all the pictures. It helps you stay in the game mentally. Obviously, sometimes it takes a little to get caught up speed wise because you are not actually dropping back and throwing and feeling the rush, but you are staying in the game mentally. You know where to go with the ball; you know what their defense is doing so you are ahead of the game in that way.”
Because of Frerotte’s ability to perform behind Bulger, it has led some NFL pundits to declare Bulger and Frerotte as one of, if not the best quarterback combination in the league.
“I think it is,” Linehan said. “I’m sure everyone feels good about their situation, but I haven’t been in one better than this one.”
For now, Frerotte is perfectly content as a backup knowing that he and his family have security and won’t be on the move again any time soon. For someone who has thrown for 18,120 yards and 95 touchdowns in his NFL career, one would think it’s been a difficult adjustment from starter to backup.
But Frerotte knew before signing it was the best possible situation for him and nothing has dissuaded him from that belief.
“It was a family decision for me,” Frerotte said. “Selfishly before I’d talk to my wife about things and about being a starter somewhere. That’s how we moved so much but now it’s just wanting to be a part of a team and a great situation and I believe this team has a chance to be as good as any in the league. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Re: Frerotte Fitting in Fine in Role
Reads like we have a quality man as well as a quality back-up for Bulger. Not interested in a QB controversy only happy (and lucky) to be in a situation he is comfortable with and still associated with the game.
Re: Frerotte Fitting in Fine in Role
Frerotte may be the best 2nd string QB in the NFL. I certainly think so.