Would you stick with Delhomme?
If you were John Fox, with your team sitting at 2-4, would you stick with Jake Delhomme as your starting quarterback?
From our perspective, the answer is most likely “no,” because we have seen Delhomme's production this season—4 TDs, 13 INTs and a QB rating that is sitting at a lowly 56.5.
Looks like the time to make a switch, right? Not according to Fox, who told the Associated Press, “I still think he gives us the best chance to win.” And just as I wrote yesterday about Jeff Fisher's decision to keep Vince Young on the bench for the first six weeks of the season, part of me has to believe Fox—because he is the head coach.
But it is hard not to ignore how dreadful Delhomme’s play has been thus far this season. Steve Smith is one of the best weapons in the game, and although Delhomme did get him the ball last week in the Panthers’ 20-9 loss on Sunday—Smith hauled in six receptions for 99 yards—none of those went for scores. Looking more closely at the box score, Delhomme—who threw three more interceptions—is the reason they are losing. The Panthers' defense gave up only 167 total yard to the Bills, but the turnovers are just killers when they constantly come from the quarterback position.
Think about this week. The Panthers, who are without a doubt in trouble sitting at 2-4, still have some life left in this season, as not a single game has been played in November. But, Carolina travels to Arizona to face a defense that just intercepted Eli Manning three times with multiple pressure packages and multiple looks. To beat Arizona, you have to protect the ball, because we all know Kurt Warner and that offense will score points quickly if given the opportunity of a short field.
This is where we have to question Fox, because if Delhomme and his multiple turnovers show up in ‘Zona, there is no question that this team will get on that plane with five losses. And the season, well, it will take some kind of magical run to get back in any sort of race.
Now maybe this isn’t about Delhomme's play. You hate to think this way, but we all know that the big contract extension he signed this offseason has to come into play just a bit, right? It is no different than the Raiders sticking with JaMarcus Russell, their big money man. It is hard to justify from the owner’s box that the money you are spending is sitting on the bench.
Regardless, there are other options in Matt Moore and A.J. Feeley, who are sitting on the bench. If I am Fox, the first time I see Delhomme throw the ball where it shouldn’t go this Sunday or find a way not to get Smith involved early, I make the change.
Because seasons can end very quickly in this league when the quarterback isn’t getting it done.
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