Is Jake Delhomme Done?

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 18, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Jake Delhomme #17 of the Carolina Panthers stands on the field in the second half of the NFL season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

When I think about all that Jake Delhomme has done in his NFL career, I would consider him to be a success. He has held down a starting spot with the Carolina Panthers since the 2003 season, and he has been a leader of one of the better football teams in that span of time.

Of course, Jake is especially remembered for his outstanding performance in a loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl in the 03-04season. In that game he threw for over 300 yards and added 3 touchdowns in the process. Another accomplishment that he achieved during that game was the longest touchdown pass in Super Bowl history, when he hit Muhsin Muhammad for an 85-yard strike.

But that was many moons ago in his first season with the Panthers.

A few seasons later in 2007, Delhomme injured his elbow during the third game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons. This injury caused Delhomme to miss 13 games that season, and he received Tommy John surgery.

By the start of the 2008 campaign, Delhomme was back to his old tricks in the first game of the season against the San Diego Chargers. In a nailbiter of a game, Delhomme led the Panthers on a game-winning drive in the closing seconds of the game, when he threw a last-second touchdown pass to Dante Rosario in the back of the endzone. Everything seemed like it was back to normal for the Ragin’ Cajun, as he led the Panthers to a 12-4 record in 2008, which is tied for a franchise best record for the Carolina Panthers.

Then it happened.

In a home game against the young Arizona Cardinals, on his 34th birthday, Jake Delhomme had the worst game of his career. In the game, Delhomme threw an appalling 5 interceptions and had 1 fumble, for a total of 6 turnovers. It was the kind of game you have nightmares about, but don’t actually come true. Unfortunately for Delhomme and the Panthers, this was as real as it could be. A chance to do something great in the playoffs, and it ended with a thud like that.

Delhomme felt horrible, as he should, and he prepared extra hard for the upcoming season.

The Panthers showed that they were not phased by Jake’s horrific performance, though, and they awarded him with a 5-year extension worth $42.5 million during this offseason.

But money could not raise Delhomme’s level of play, which was apparent in week 1 against Philly.

In the contest, or destruction for that matter, Delhomme accounted for 5 turnovers as the Panthers lost 38-10. That gives him a total of 11 turnovers in his last 2 games. 11!

There is no doubt that come Sunday, John Fox will keep a close eye on his starting quarterback, and if he senses any major problems, he will give him the boot.

Everybody has a time when they gotta call it quits, this might just be that time for Jake if he does not perform up to par against Atlanta. If he has anything like 3 turnovers in this game, his career could be quickly coming to an end.