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Fantasy Football: Alex Tanney Who?

2013 has been the year of the unknown and undrafted quarterback starting regular season NFL games, as we’ve seen the likes of undrafted quarterbacks such as Matt McGloin, Case Keenum, Scott Tolzien, and Jeff Tuel start at least one game this year.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Alex Tanney
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Alex Tanney

Aug 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Alex Tanney (7) looks for an open receiver during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 12-7. Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one team in the NFL destined to have a quarterback part of the ‘Insert QB Name Here Who? series on XN Sports it had to be the Cleveland Browns, right?

First up was Brandon Weeden, who started the first two games before going down with a thumb injury. He was replaced by a surprisingly effective Brian Hoyer, who in his two games as a starter, scored an average of 19.05 standard fantasy points.

Hoyer was put on the injured reserve after suffering a torn right ACL injury in a Thursday Night Football game versus the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Weeden was then thrown back into the lion’s den, to relieve the replacement quarterback who relieved him.

Weeden’s second chance lasted two games, as he was then benched for Jason Campbell, after a dismal performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. In that Week 7 game, Weeden completed a pedestrian 40.5 percent of his passes, and threw one touchdown and one interception.

Campbell himself would only last three games and some change, after suffering a concussion Week 12 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a hot start to Campbell’s turn at holding the hot potato starting quarterback gig in Cleveland, as he put up back-to-back QB1 performances in his first two starts.

With Campbell ruled out for Week 13’s game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, Weeden was given his third opportunity to start for the Browns.

The numbers look okay when you first glance upon them, but if you take Josh Gordon out of the game, Weeden’s 24-of-40 for 370 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions turns into a 14-of-25, for 109 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions stat line. However, we can’t fault a quarterback for having a weapon such as Gordon on board.

At the end of the Browns-Jaguars Week 13 game, Weeden suffered a concussion himself, and with Campbell dealing with his own concussion issue, alongside rib injuries, that leaves only one fully healthy quarterback on team.

That quarterback is Alex Tanney.

Tanney was signed from the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys prior to Week 13, and if you’re asking yourself ‘Alex Tanney Who?’ then you’ve come to the right place.

2013 has been the year of the unknown and undrafted quarterback starting regular season NFL games, as we’ve seen the likes of undrafted quarterbacks such as Matt McGloin, Case Keenum, Scott Tolzien, and Jeff Tuel start at least one game this year.

Tanney could be the next in line to follow the list of the above mentioned glorious quarterbacks, as uncertainty looms regarding the health statuses of both Weeden and Campbell.

As of now, Campbell has been cleared for activity, but hasn’t been cleared to resume practicing yet. With Weeden having to go through the concussion protocols himself, Tanney could be the only health quarterback left standing for the Browns this week.

Even though Weeden had his issues turning the ball over Sunday, with four total turnovers (three interceptions, one lost fumble), Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski never thought about yanking Weeden out for Tanney:

“If we had put him [Tanney] in that situation, we were very limited in what we had in the package that we built for him.”

Well, Chud might not have any other choice if Campbell and Weeden aren’t able to suit up for Sunday’s Week 14 match-up versus the New England Patriots.

Now that we know how we got to the story of Alex Tanney possibly being the fourth quarterback to start for the Browns this season, it’s time to delve into who Alex Tanney is.

If the name rings a bell to you at all, it’s probably because Tanney was dubbed ‘The Trick-shot QB’ after this YouTube video circulated showing off a number of different trick-shot throws Tanney made. It’s no Dream Chasers: Matt McGloin, but it’s entertaining in its own way.

If you take a look at Tanney’s collegiate resume, where he played for Division III Monmouth College Fighting Scots, you’ll see a quarterback who broke a number of school and NCAA records, such as the most career Division-III passing yards at 14,249. He also broke the NCAA record for career passing touchdowns with 157.

Tanney’s career completion percentage of 86.2 is nothing to sneeze at either, as he completed 1,339 of his 1,622 passes, and was only intercepted 30 times.

Throwing for 14,249 yards, and 157 touchdowns is impressive, regardless of the talent level Tanney played with and against, but there is a knock that Division III is nothing more than “glorified high school football.” But we’re not here to judge Tanney, but to find out who he is.

As for his NFL career, it’s been nothing but preseason appearances, and spending time on practice squads.

After going undrafted in 2012, Tanney signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs. He got some playing time in the Chiefs’ final preseason game that year, where he was sacked, and completed a 39-yard pass which was wiped out because of holding. Tanney was subsequently put on season ending injured reserve following the game.

The Chiefs eventually released Tanney in May of this year, and he then found himself on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.

Tanney’s first preseason appearance for the Cowboys came in this year’s Hall of Fame Game, where he got to play the whole second half, going 5-of-11 for 58 yards.

The last preseason game for the Cowboys was a chance for Tanney to show what he could do, and he put up 177 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Tanney actually received a positive grade for his 2013 preseason finale performance.

All in all, Tanney went a combined 40-of-73, for 423 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions during the 2013 preseason, but that wasn’t good enough, as he was released by the Cowboys.

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