With the 2009 season in the books, all the teams are now looking to the draft
and next year. When questioned as to who the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers will be next season, according to Panther GM Marty Hurney, "It's too early to decide." Leaving room for the possibility that Jake Delhomme could still be the starter when next season starts. It leaves you scratching your head thinking "Huh?”
On one hand I can understand to a point why they are saying this, but in my
honest opinion it has to be based purely on the money. Number 17 still has
four years left on his current contract and whether he plays or sits on the
bench for that time he’s promised $20 million out of a $45 million potential.
That’s a lot of money to sit on the bench and hold a clip board.
Realistically, there’s not a team in the NFL that would consider buying out his
contract in a trade offer after his nightmare like 2009 season. Eight
touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and six fumbles in 11 games. Out of those 11
games, he threw for 2,000 yards, winning only four games and achieving a passer
rating of 59.4.
My personal opinion; one of three things is happening.
1) Jake never completely recovered physically from Tommy John surgery. Let’s
face it; even though he was taking the snaps every game in 2008 and the
Panthers went to the playoffs, his numbers were still pretty shabby (15
TDs to 12 INTs not counting the playoffs.)
2) It’s a psychological issue remaining from the surgery and it’s all in his
3) He has just run out of gas and can’t play at the level that he used to.
Jake Delhomme may very well be one of the nicest guys to play in the NFL in
recent years. He has always had a humble persona, and comes off as a person
that you would want to sit back share a beer and shoot the breeze. When he
plays he gives it his all, and has always been a fierce competitor. But after
last season (Part I), based purely on his performance, you have to wonder why
no one will take a stance on the issue in an interview.
That being said; let’s take a look at Part II of last season. Or as I like to
call it: “Rising from the Ashes.” Enter: Matt Moore. Starting the last five
games of a season that appeared to be completely lost and meaningless at that
point, he turned everything around. The only thing left to really play for at
that point was pride, but how much pride can one have when your team is in the
hole with seven losses?
Moore played like a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Starting
less than half the games of his predecessor, he matched Delhomme’s touchdown
total of eight with only one interception. Moore threw for just over 1,000
yards, completing over 61% of his passes, and earning a quarterback rating of
98.5! Imagine what this kid could be capable of doing in a full season. If
he did start the whole season his numbers could’ve been even more impressive.
If he had kept at that pace he could’ve had a potential of 24 touchdowns and
three to six interceptions!
Of course that’s purely theoretical. For the naysayer’s who say you can’t look
at just five games and go with that kind of information, why not? Delhomme’s
first five games of 2009 he had 10 interceptions and four touchdowns… On the
last six games he added eight interceptions and four touchdowns. It seems like
it’s at least plausible to look at it that way.
Looking at all the stats and taking away the money issue, it would seem that
the answer of who to start next season would be obvious. Turn the reins over
to Matt and give him his shot. Certainly Jake should be given opportunity to
earn his job back, but he has to do just that. Earn it.