In a Year of QB Turmoil, Some Backups Still Wait

November 05, 2007

JIM SORGI,Colts
Experience Fourth season
Career passes 92
Salary $850,000

A star atWisconsin—his 141.2 passing efficiency is the school's standard—he has spenthis NFL career as a backup to Peyton Manning, who has started 151 straightgames. "When Peyton's taking practice reps, I take mental reps," saysSorgi, 26, of living vicariously. "During the game I watch the defense tosee what coverages they're playing." Sorgi, who just signed a three-yearextension, believes even an idle apprenticeship to Manning has benefits."He has instilled his work ethic in me," says Sorgi. "Whatever thefuture has in store ... I'll embrace it."

SENECA WALLACE,Seahawks
Experience Fifth season
Career passes 170
Salary: $800,000

Last October,Wallace, who has played behind Matt Hasselbeck his whole career, was pressedinto action (Hasselbeck knee injury) against the Vikings. "The hardest partof being a backup is that you don't get practice reps," Wallace says."You just have to go in, play fast and make plays." Wallace was pickedoff twice in that game, a 31--13 loss, but threw eight TDs while going 2--2 inthe Seahawks' next four games. This season Wallace is diversifying:Moonlighting as a wideout, he has two catches for 47 yards.

TROY SMITH,Ravens
Experience Rookie
Career passes 0
Salary $285,000

This time lastyear Smith had thrown 22 TDs, led Ohio State to a 9--0 start and was on his wayto the Heisman. Now, he plays behind Steve McNair and Kyle Boller. "I'm atthe bottom of the totem pole, and I have that understanding," he says,adding, "I have a great relationship with Steve. He's teaching me how to bea professional, how to be a man." Smith also says that he doesn't feel theweight of his trophy: "It doesn't put pressure on me.... We had a goodcollege season, but it's not about that anymore."

PHOTODANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS (SMITH) PHOTODOUGLAS JONES/ICON SMI (WALLACE) PHOTOKIRBY LEE/WIREIMAGE.COM (SORGI)

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