The Maniax will have a different backup quarterback when Memphis plays Las Vegas Sunday at the Liberty Bowl. In the season opener against Birmingham Jim Druckenmiller was the backup to starter Marcus Crandell. However, this week the backup quarterback will be Craig Whelian.
The change has nothing to do with Druckenmiller, who played a series when Crandell came out of the game after a big hit. Instead, its a player management tactic by Maniax head coach Kippy Brown as a reaction to XFL rules which restrict the teams roster to 38 players. Teams can also suit-up a third-string quarterback as a 39th man.
The trick is that the third-stringer doesnt get paid since he is not technically on the active roster unless he comes into the game. This isnt little league where the coach has to make sure everyone plays, so in most cases the third man out is ... well, out. Even though he practices with the team, wears a uniform, and is ready to play, the third quarterback gets only a fraction of the pay that his teammates make, and no bonus if the team wins. That means that while quarterbacks in the XFL get $4,500 a game plus a $2,500 bonus if they win, the third-string quarterback gets only $1,000.
Its not right, but its the way the league is right now, Brown says. His solution? This week we made Druck the second guy. He got his full salary and bonus. Next week, Whelian will be the second guy, and hell get the full deal. Thats being honest about it. Thats being fair about it. Its hard for me to walk up to a guy on Thursday, and say, look, you busted your butt, youre prepared, but youre not going to be active this game. He hadnt done anything to be sitting down, but thats pro football.
Brown says the switch might continue with other positions as well. There will be some positions where its close. And I might flip-flop it because the guy that I sit down, he doesnt deserve not to make his money, the coach says. Im going to do what it takes to win, but if theres a situation where the two players are even, Im going to rotate them.
However, Brown also hopes for a league change in the future. The league, hopefully down the line, will realize this and even it up . . . . The rules in this deal have to be figured out. I think once we go through the growing pains, the people calling the shots want this thing to be as good as we can make it.