Writing about fourth-string quarterback Mike Bercovici might finally cause my loyal readership (all 22 of you) to give up on me. Mike %$%^*#% Bercovici. Really? To be honest, I’m just as surprised as you. I had absolutely no plans to profile the Chargers’ QB4, but my curiosity was peaked when I saw this nugget from Gregg Rosenthal….
Mike Bercovici playing ahead of Zach Mettenberger for the Chargers.
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) August 20, 2016
Not only did Bercovici play ahead of Mettenberger in the team’s second preseason game, but Mettenberger didn’t play at all. Not a good sign for his future in San Diego. (Editor’s Note: The Chargers cut Mettenberger before this article was published).
Chargers notified QB Zach Mettenberger this morning that he's been waived, source said. Didn't play past two exhibition games.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 30, 2016
After sparse playing time in the team’s first preseason game, Bercovici played the entire second half in their game, leading the team on one scoring drive, on his way to a 9-of-13, 108-passing yard day.
“We gave Mike (Bercovici) an opportunity to go in there for a half,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy. “We said we wanted to give him a good half to see how he could do it and (he) went in there and made some good plays. (He) is a young player; a young quarterback that is going to make some mistakes, miss some throws, make some plays (and be) a little bit up and down at times. But there’s nothing like experience…You can’t ever take these reps away from players so that is the great thing about the preseason games for the young players.”
Before we get too carried away with one decent half of preseason production, Bercovici passed for a combined 41.7 percent of his passes for 113 yards and three interceptions in his other two preseason appearances.
By process of elimination, if the Chargers cut Mettenberger (Editor’s Note: they did) and keep Bercovici he will have already moved up one spot on the depth chart. When projecting the team’s 53-man roster, the San Diego Union-Tribune had Bercovici making the team as its QB3, noting it’s more likely they keep him on the active roster rather than risk losing him by attempting to sneak him onto the practice squad.
We now have a little insight into Bercovici’s current situation. But we still don’t really know much about him.
Who is Mike Bercovici?
Apparently Bercovici doesn’t exist, at least according to the search results on the CFB Sports-Reference page. Hmm…
The page eventually loaded after I cleared my Gremlins cache. When I did it spit out the following numbers from Bercovici’s final season at Arizona State: 59.9 completion percentage, 3,854 passing yards 30:9 touchdown to interceptions ratio, and an AY/A of 7.3. Finding any sort of scouting report proved to be difficult, but from the little info I came across it reads like the profile of an undrafted free agent quarterback (which he was): baseline accuracy, adequate ball placement, small, poor decision maker.
There was one talent evaluator though, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, who thought Bercovici could be a draft day steal:
“I feel like I’m on an island with Bercovici since I can’t find any NFL personnel men who are on board, but that’s fine by me. Bercovici has a cannon for an arm, adequate accuracy and good mobility to extend plays. His fire reminds me of Chase Daniel coming out and I believe he can be a quality NFL backup.”
Opportunity (or lack there of)
Quality NFL backup. In 2QB leagues that matters. Look at the laundry list of backup quarterbacks who have started over the years: Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden, Thaddeus Lewis, Austin Davis, and Landry Jones, just to name a few. The 2016 NFL season hasn’t even started yet and Week 1 already features backups Dak Prescott and Trevor Siemian thrust into the starting role. You’ve heard me say this before, but 53 different quarterbacks started at least one game last season.
One stumbling block is that Philip Rivers has started 16 games in ten straight seasons, but injuries can happen to anyone. We saw three teams (Baltimore, Dallas, Houston) start four different quarterbacks last season. Still, it’s a long climb up the depth chart for Bercovici, as not only would he need a Philip Rivers injury to become relevant, but journey backup Kellen Clemens stands in his way as well.
Also, remember Bercovici’s extended run in the second preseason game? That was against the Arizona Cardinals; a team with shaky depth (Drew Stanton, Matt Barkley) behind a soon-to-be 37-year-old Carson Palmer who dealt with a late-season finger injury in 2015. USA Today’s Cards Wire blog dotted the lines of how Bercovici to the Cardinals makes sense if he doesn’t make the Chargers’ final 53-man roster. If that were to happen, Bercovici might be in a better spot than if he sticks in San Diego. Just one more reason to keep track of him in your 2QB league.
Hearing good things about former #ASU QB Mike Bercovici from the Chargers coaching staff. He's picked up the system & like his strong arm.
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) August 17, 2016
In 2QB leagues it’s valuable to stay up-to-date on every team’s quarterback depth chart. In today’s NFL, Bercovici might be a QB3 but tomorrow he could be a QB1. If Zierlein’s assessment comes true and the team believes in him it wouldn’t be outlandish to see him start over Clemens in the team’s darkest timeline.