I live in Charlotte. It is a known fact in Charlotte that Jake Delhomme is gone. The Panthers, who had just given him a contract extension before the season, decided to release him for $13 million. Most people agree with the decision. Some don't care. I think it was a mistake.
Delhomme's game focuses on a high amount of rushing and pass attempts, if any, are play action. Of the 6 games they lost in 2008, 4 happened when the Panthers rushed for less than 100 yards. The other two losses came against a great Giants team and a decent Falcons. Delhomme thrives when the run is successful.
Two years before Jake's fall from glory, the Panthers were without him. They had no quarterback. David Carr was not what they needed. Vinny Testaverde was older than dirt. And Matt Moore, well, to be honest, he was a nobody.
That year, Carolina went 7-9 without Delhomme, who was hurt in the 3rd game. At that point in the season, the Panthers were 1-1. Delhomme was completing 64% of his passes, had thrown for 8 touchdowns and only 1 interception.
After that season, the Panthers couldn't wait to have Delhomme back. And he didn't disappoint. He completed 59% of his passes and threw for 3200 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Panthers under Coach John Fox have never been a passing team. Very conservative, run first, run second, run third, and then punt. They may pass 15 times in a game. We aren't the New Orleans Saints. We aren't the Colts. People don't understand that.
Ultimately, the final playoff game and 2009 season turned Charlotte against Jake.No one has been hated by fans in Charlotte than Jake has. Against the city's wishes, the Panthers gave Delhomme a contract extension. Instead of running the ball, we seemed to pass more often. Instead of bench or give him a break Fox continued to play him.
At least Jake's last season as a Carolina Panther will be one no one will ever forget. 8 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Not exactly something anyone want to remember, but something no one will forget.
But Jake's career isn't over. No, he will get signed as a back-up and, my hopes, he will return to his status as a starter.
Prove Charlotte wrong, Jake. Go get'm!