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Just The Sports: 2009-09-20

Just The Sports

Monday, September 21, 2009

Then What?

There is a phenomenon among sports fans, especially when they are required to deal with quarterbacks who perform incompetently, to spend most of their energies in voicing their displeasure with the players and proclaiming loudly that they are ready for a change in who plays the position. This behavior is all well and good when there is a back-up quarterback who is a viable alternative and an improvement upon the incumbent. Yet, as is usually the case there is no savior waiting on the sidelines for the chance to lead the team to a string of victories. Instead, the reality is the back-up quarterback is either inferior to the starter or on the same mediocre level as the struggling starter as Carolina Panthers fans will find out if Jake Delhomme is benched in favor of Matt Moore or A.J. Feeley.

Do not get me wrong; I am the driver of the get rid of Jake Delhomme bandwagon. For years, I have thought and his play has reinforced the fact he is a below-average passer, turnover-prone quarterback who does more to help his team lose than he does to help them win.

The problem is the number two quarterback on the roster, Matt Moore, is nothing more than a younger version of Jake Delhomme. Over his college career, which spanned stints at UCLA and Oregon State, Moore put up very underwhelming numbers of a 58.9% completion percentage, 7.5 yards per pass attempt, and touchdown to interception ratio of about 1:1. Since a quarterback's college numbers are a pretty good indicator of what he will be able to do on the NFL level, we can be fairly certain that Moore will be just as maddening to watch as Delhomme. In fact, it would not be a surprise if he ended up throwing interceptions at a higher rate than Delhomme's current 1.5 TD:1 INT. No matter how you look at the statistics, if Moore is ever given the reins to the Carolina Panthers offense, there will be more inaccuracy and more interceptions than any fan should be subjected to.

Then we have the third-string quarterback A.J. Feeley, who is also not a quarterback a team should rely upon for anything other than ensuring they go on a losing streak. With his eight complete seasons in the NFL, Feeley has enough of a track record that there is no secret about what kind of starting quarterback he is. He is someone who will struggle to complete a little more than 55% of his passes, in a league where the average quarterback's completion percentage is over 60%, while throwing just as many interceptions as touchdowns. In fact, there has already been one NFL team foolish enough to give him the chance to start meaningful games, and the Miami Dolphins got from Feeley exactly what they deserved: a season of 53.7% passing, 5.3 yards per pass attempt, and 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. The Carolina Panthers can expect the same.

As of right now, the Carolina Panthers are stuck right now with Jake Delhomme and will have to struggle with the erratic play that comes along with him. If they do decide to replace him with the other quarterbacks currently on the roster, at best they can expect a reincarnation of Jake Delhomme. The best thing the Panthers can do is to select one of the several superb senior quarterbacks who will be available in next year's draft. Surely their fans can wait that long to know there is quarterback relief just over the horizon.