Jake Heaps has had quite the journeyman football career, even in college. He played for BYU, Kansas, and Miami, went undrafted in 2015, and has spent time with the Jets and Seahawks. He is currently a free agent.
Only 26, Heaps still has NFL dreams – but he’s facing an uphill climb.
“Being a guy in my position – you’re a practice-squad quarterback, you’re a third-string guy – and especially with how the league is set up now, it is really difficult to crack the NFL rosters,” Heaps said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You have more and more teams that only have two active quarterbacks on a roster. It used to be you always had three quarterbacks on a roster – sometimes four. It wasn’t abnormal. So really, it’s kind of shaping into a different spot.”
In 2016, 21 of 32 NFL teams played multiple quarterbacks due to injury or ineptitude. In 2015, 19 teams did. So having a competent backup is necessary.
But there’s only so many spots available.
“The hard part is you have to be on your p’s and q’s all the time,” Heaps said. “You have to be that guy that knows the offense better than anybody else – not just because you need to impress the coaches, but because you get the fewest amount of reps in practice. You might only get five to 10 reps in practice, and you better make those five to 10 reps count. If you don’t know the playbook as well, if you’re not on it, then you’re not getting the reps and you’re not going to perform well. That’s where you see a lot of separation with successful backup quarterbacks. They’re able to maximize the reps they get because they’re ready and prepared to go.”