With campaign season in full swing, here is an argument for a quarterback that Browns fans all can believe in—well, at least more than we believe in the other guy.
Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme are both nursing ankle injuries, so this argument may not mean a whole lot if one or both of them can’t go next week in Pittsburgh. If healthy, though, here are five reasons why Wallace gives the Browns the best chance to win (this message is sponsored by the Wallace for Quarterback 2010 campaign):
1. Ball Security
Delhomme threw two interceptions on Sunday in the 20-10 loss to the Falcons, giving him four interceptions in just 60 pass attempts on the season. Wallace has thrown just two picks in 100 pass attempts.
Interceptions aren’t always the quarterback’s fault, but two of Delhomme’s have been both damning and costly. In Week 1 in Tampa, with less than a minute to play in the first half, Delhomme threw an ill-fated sidearm pass while falling to the ground that hit Ronde Barber in the chest and eventually resulted in a Bucs touchdown before halftime. In the fourth quarter against Atlanta, Delhomme was under pressure and unsuccessfully tried to lob a pass over Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann, who tipped the ball, intercepted it, and returned it for a touchdown that put the game out of reach.
Delhomme threw another interception later in the game while forcing a throw under pressure. In addition, he fumbled a snap on third-and-goal from the 2 in the third quarter and the Browns had to settle for a field goal.
The turnovers are nothing new for Delhomme, who threw 18 interceptions with the Panthers in 2009 and is still in the process of collecting $13 million from Carolina to NOT play for them. Wallace, on the other hand, has thrown just 16 career interceptions in 656 attempts. With an offense that ranks 28th in the NFL with only 15.6 points per game, the Browns need to limit turnovers at all costs.
With the gimpy ankles, this could become an issue for both quarterbacks. Their contrast in mobility was unbearable to watch after Wallace left Sunday’s game in the third quarter. With Delhomme apparently playing on quicksand, Atlanta’s defense pinned its ears back and blitzed on every passing down. The result was a 13-for-23 passing day with the aforementioned two interceptions and a sack.
Wallace, who was 11-for-15 with 139 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of Sunday’s game, is one of the most athletic players on the team and has the ability to escape from pressure and keep plays alive with his feet. He can throw on the run and make a lot of plays that Delhomme simply can’t due to his lack of speed.
Delhomme must rely on getting rid of the ball quickly, and when he can’t, it turns into many instances of trying to throw the ball while getting hit, which is what caused the second interception on Sunday.
A lot of this was covered in the first point, but the most crucial part of an NFL quarterback is between the ears. Delhomme was a smart quarterback at some point, but he hasn’t shown it with the Browns this season. In my mind, the inexcusable throw he made against Tampa Bay in Week 1 cost the Browns that game.
At worst, Cleveland should have left that situation (late in the half, in enemy territory) with a field goal and a 14-point lead; instead the Bucs scored a touchdown to cut the lead to four before halftime.
Wallace has shown more poise in the pocket and, even when pressured, he knows when to get rid of the ball. He’s also not afraid to cut his losses and take a sack. Delhomme has forced too many throws and doesn’t seem to know when to try and live for another down.
I suppose passing is an important part of being a quarterback too. The Browns have just made me so used to a lack of a consistent passing game that I almost forgot about it.
Wallace has completed 63 percent of his passes at nearly seven yards per attempt, while Delhomme has hit on just 55 percent and has just 5.4 yards per attempt. There’s surely a reason that Delhomme was a Super Bowl quarterback and Wallace was a backup on a Super Bowl team. But that was then and this is now, and right now Wallace is the better quarterback.
Jake Delhomme is 35 years old. That was supposed to make him a wise veteran and team leader that can help the Browns win now while taking Colt McCoy under his wing. Instead, he just looks like a 35-year-old quarterback that has lost his touch.
Wallace is 30 and clearly he isn’t the quarterback of the future either. But he plays more like a savvy veteran quarterback should.
The problem in all of this is that we are debating between two quarterbacks in their 30s, and the Browns don’t have a clear-cut quarterback of the future. McCoy is largely a question mark and isn’t expected to see the field until 2011, if the owners and players will let football happen.
If the Browns want to give themselves the best chance to win this season, Seneca Wallace is the man for the job.
“I’m Seneca Wallace, and I approve this message.” As far as I know, he didn’t really say that, but I bet he would.