Cleveland Browns QB Jake Delhomme Embraces New Roles, Will Win Over Critics
Incumbent quarterback Jake Delhomme appears to be embracing his new opportunity in Cleveland to not only have a chance to start, but to be a leader and mentor on a team that has not seen that from the position in many years.
After a terrible 2009 season that saw Delhomme fall from beloved Panthers quarterback to being booed off the field, he looks to follow in the footsteps of past veteran quarterbacks who have rebounded from a bad season with a terrific one.
Most notable in recent memory is Brett Favre, who in 2006 threw an equal amount of interceptions to touchdowns and put up a sub-par low 70s quarterback rating. Favre then produced a Pro Bowl season in 2007.
Another is John Elway (sorry Browns fans). In 1992, he threw seven more interceptions than touchdowns—followed up with a Pro Bowl season in 1993.
Delhomme threw 10 more interceptions than touchdowns in 2009.
This is not to say that Delhomme is as talented as a Hall of Fame and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, but the point is that a veteran can and will have an off-year from time to time, but it has been proved that it is possible to follow that up with a spectacular year.
That is what sets apart the good quarterbacks from the great ones, and this is Delhomme's chance to prove he is the latter.
Many are already writing off Delhomme due to his age, which is 35, but Elway recovered when he was 33 and Favre when he was 38.
All these other NFL-types who are writing and saying outlandish things about Delhomme are a bit too harsh, since he has yet to step on the field in 2010 and prove that 2009 was just an anomaly of a performance.
In defense of Delhomme, it has been reported by cleveland.com that he looked sharp and didn't miss many throws in OTAs, considering there were no pads or contact.
Looking sharp and not missing many throws are signs that many are judging Delhomme too quickly right now.
Another reported statement by cleveland.com was that Delhomme's arm looked like one of a rookie since he was gunning the ball to all parts of the field.
President Mike Holmgren was quoted at OTAs saying that he thinks Delhomme will be "better than a lot of people expect."
Optimism is growing for me, though I was very resistant to the news when Delhomme was signed. My mind has since been swinging into heavy support of Delhomme's resurgence in 2010.
Yes, it helps that he plays for my beloved Browns. What sealed it for me though was a final observation from a cleveland.com video clip: Delhomme was actively talking and communicating to rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.
McCoy, who may not see more than a clipboard in his hands in 2010, didn't look much shorter than Delhomme, and after comparing their heights, McCoy is only an inch smaller—not much of a difference, especially when all the Browns critics are calling out McCoy because of his lack of height.
A veteran quarterback teaching and mentoring over a rookie quarterback has not been seen in Cleveland since way before the team left for Baltimore.
Regardless of what anyone says about the Browns quarterbacks, Delhomme is embracing his new roles as both leader and mentor with the Browns.
Hopefully, he will follow in the footsteps of veterans like Favre and Elway.
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