NFL Predictions for 2010 Season: Can Jake Delhomme Get Hot In Cleveland?
The stats, as they say, don’t lie.
Jake Delhomme had a tough 2009 that saw just eight touchdowns and a confidence-crushing 19 picks. He also fumbled six times and took 23 sacks. Not even Peyton Manning—the Godzilla of NFL quarterbacks—was dropped that often.
But then again, he had pass protection the size of the Tokyo skyline by comparison.
Delhomme’s behind a new line now, and more importantly, has a fresh start in Cleveland. He'll be aided by run-heavy football, an improved defense, and Josh Cribbs hauling in anything sent his way. It’s a chance for Delhomme to find his 2004 persona, when he tallied close to 4,000 yards with 29 touchdowns.
So here are three reasons why Delhomme can get hot in Cleveland.
If we base Delhomme's potential to get hot on warm-up games alone, the Browns' winter might be milder than most expect.
In Week 2 of the preseason, for example, Delhomme was 12-of-16 balls for 127 yards and one touchdown.
Yes, it was against the Rams, but it was also in the face of steady rain and thousands of expecting Browns fans. Not an easy gig after experiencing the worst playoff meltdown in years. Delhomme completed 38-of-48 this preseason—79 percent of his passes.
Who said the dream was over?
His Accurate Ball Is Very Accurate
Despite having Tommy John surgery in 2007, Delhomme can still launch it.
In the first half against the Lions this August, he tossed several deep balls with poise and accuracy. One to Evan Moore went for a 22-yard gain, while another, a gorgeous looping delivery to Josh Cribbs along the sideline, nabbed 30 yards.
These weren't easy throws, especially when you have an unproven receiving corps.
The Only Way Is Up
Look at it this way: It can't get any worse for either the Browns or Delhomme.
Cleveland was fortunate to finish with five wins in '09, while Delhomme was fortunate to escape Carolina without being strung up. So, by virtue of the fact he's hitched to a non-contender, and that writers like ESPN's John Clayton rank him as the worst starting QB in the league, Delhomme could become an instant hero.
Seriously. Brady Quinn found it uphill completing just 50 percent of his passes in Cleveland. Delhomme's recent 20-of-25 for 152 yards against Detroit is making him look like Joe Montana right now.