An NFL team’s backup quarterback is often out of sight, out of mind. That is until a superstar like Patrick Mahomes is injured. Then the backup is suddenly the center of attention.
The Chiefs learned that in the divisional round against the Browns, being forced to rely on Chad Henne to hold on to a lead. Because Mahomes is dealing with a head/neck injury and the NFL’s five-step concussion protocol before playing the Bills in the conference championship, Kansas City’s quarterback depth chart could come into greater focus sooner rather than later.
Here’s what you need to know about the man backing up Mahomes and what other options the Chiefs have at the quarterback position.
Who is the Chiefs’ backup quarterback?
The Chiefs’ backup quarterback is Chad Henne.
Henne was a second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Michigan by the Miami Dolphins. He started 31 games in his Miami tenure, winning 13 of those. He then spent time in Jacksonville before joining the Chiefs for the first time in 2018 on a two-year contract. Kansas City re-upped with another two-year contract for Henne before the 2020 season.
At 6-3, 222 pounds, Henne has been almost exclusively a pocket passer during his career (although he had a clutch scramble against the Browns). His career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 60 touchdowns to 63 interceptions leaves a bit to be desired, although it shows Henne has had some period of success in the NFL.
Chiefs QB depth chart
Mahomes took over as the Chiefs’ full-time starter in 2018 and won the NFL MVP award. Then in 2019, he led Kansas City to the Super Bowl where it came back to beat the 49ers. Mahomes earned Super Bowl MVP honors.
The hit Mahomes took from Mack Wilson in the divisional round caused an injury to Mahomes’ head/neck area and entered him into concussion protocol. That forced Henne to play in the second half and hold off the Browns. Mahomes is arguably the best quarterback remaining in the playoffs if healthy, although Aaron Rodgers would surely argue that.
Henne at least got some extended game action in Week 17 with Andy Reid resting the Chiefs’ starters. He hadn’t started since 2018, so that additional live gameplay could come in handy for Henne. The Chiefs lost that game to the Chargers, but Henne acquitted himself well, completing 23-of-32 passes for 218 yards. He threw two touchdowns and wasn’t intercepted.
Moore has spent most of the 2020 NFL season on the Chiefs’ practice squad. He was Mahomes’ main backup in 2019 with Henne injured, and he went 1-1 in two starts when Mahomes missed time last season.
After attending Oregon State, Moore went undrafted and signed with the Carolina Panthers. He’s made starters for the Panthers, Dolphins and Chiefs in his career. While he doesn’t have huge arm talent, he’s been relatively effective in his NFL career, throwing 49 touchdowns compared to 36 interceptions.
An undrafted player out of Mississippi, Ta’Amu hasn’t played a snap in the NFL. He’s spent most of the 2020 season on the Kansas City practice squad, although he was released in December and only signed back on Jan. 12 to a reserve/future contract.
As a senior at Ole Miss in 2018, Ta’Amu threw for 3,918 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also ran for 342 yards and six TDs.