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Upsets, Underdogs and Dark Horses: Can Connor Shaw Be the Backup Quarterback in 2017?

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In this ongoing series, I’ll spotlight a few Chicago Bears’ players that could be flying under the radar, but could also make an impact in 2017.

NFL: Chicago Bears-Training Camp
Connor Shaw
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

In the second installment of the six-part series entitled: Upsets, Underdogs and Dark Horses, I am going to discuss Connor Shaw’s chances of making the Chicago Bears roster for 2017.

For the second consecutive week, Ryan Pace has tried to ruin my article. First, Shaw was waived by the team. But later in the day, he totally redeemed himself and pulled back the waiver request.

So for the moment at least, my personnel crisis was averted.

I am fully aware of the polarizing nature of Shaw. On the one hand, he was an undrafted free agent that was cut by the Cleveland Browns. On the other, he threw the sixteen greatest passes in Bears history.

If you don’t believe me, just check this out!

All joking aside, there were some nice traits that Shaw showed in the 2016 preseason as well as his South Carolina Gamecocks career.

Despite having limited size for the position (6-foot, 206 lbs), the 25-year old Shaw appears to play larger than his diminutive frame would suggest. In addition to having a quick release, in spite of a quirky throwing motion, Shaw also has above average mobility.

The biggest trait for me though, and this goes back to his college days, is that he is a gamer. Shaw dealt with a number of injuries in college, and this will always be a concern for him, but he seemed to raise the team’s level of play in the biggest moments.

All of that being said, please do not mistake this as me saying that the Shaw is worthy of competing for the starting job, he isn’t. But what I see in him is a player who could be a perfect NFL backup quarterback.

Take the 2013 season for instance. Shaw was in and out of the lineup with injury issues. But when he came into the game, he almost always provided a spark. It is the same type of spark that he showed in the 2016 preseason. It is the kind of spark that a backup quarterback needs to have in order to be successful.

He reminds me a little bit of Matt Flynn before he ended up on the Seahawks. The ability to come in the game at he drop of a hat and move the offense, is crucial to any team that has playoff aspirations. I would like to think that the Bears have such lofty expectations for the 2018 season and beyond.

Circling back to Sanchez for a minute, ask yourself this question: should Mike Glennon go down or under-perform, would you rather have Sanchez or Shaw finish out the season?

I know who I would rather roll out on Sunday’s in that situation. The unknown commodity. The player with upside. The guy who has an, albeit brief, track record of providing a spark off the bench. The guy who might be able to be the primary backup to the future of the franchise.

The man. The myth. The legend. Connor Shaw.

What do you think, will Connor Shaw show enough to supplant Mark Sanchez, who is out at least until Training Camp?

Follow me on Twitter @BearsLink82