So I sit here, writing this as I watch Matt Ryan and Drew Brees duel in the Superdome in Louisiana. I have heard all about the great talents of both quarterbacks and how great they are. This I do not deny. They are clearly two of the better quarterbacks in the NFC, probably even in the NFL.
What I want to write about though is the quarterback of my favorite team, the Carolina Panthers. Yup. You read that right. I want to defend Jake Delhomme. Mr. Turnover. Joke Delhomme. Whatever other nickname you have for him. I’m talking about him.
First, the man has to be one of the most mentally tough quaterbacks to ever play the game. To go through as much scrutiny and criticism from fans as he has and to still have any kind of confidence is incredible. I doubt many quarterbacks could go through what Delhomme has. Even Kurt Warner said he felt for Delhomme and what he was going through…and then he went and threw 5 interceptions and a lost a fumble against the Panthers – the same turnover stats Delhomme had against the Cardinals in the playoffs.
There is much more to playing the quarterback position than just throwing the ball. It’s about managing the game, knowing the offense, the right play calls to make, the right audibles to call. It’s something many fans overlook and forget about. Panthers fans want us to have our own Peyton Manning, our own Drew Brees. But we do not need that. We just need someone who can hand the ball off, make the correct audible calls when needed and not turn the ball over.
Ok, you are probably saying ‘Wait a minute, Delhomme has 13 picks this year and you’re saying you need a QB who doesn’t turn the ball over? Are you drunk and high right now?’ I am neither. I have watched Delhomme this entire year. I’m seeing changes. I’m thinking we may have turned a corner with him. And what corner is this you ask? Don’t put Jake in bad positions. Don’t make him throw 30-40 times a game. Don’t put him in 3rd and long situations where everyone knows we will be passing it. For whatever reason, it has now hit offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson that we should run the ball more than we should pass it. For whatever reason, this past week, against the number 1 rush defense in the NFL, we were able to run whenever and wherever we wanted to when one week earlier, we couldn’t do anything against the worst rush D in the NFL.
So, to all the fans who want to see Delhomme benched, to them I say this: I am arguably the biggest Panther fan I know. The only person who compares with me is my friend Frey. I more or less live and die by Panthers wins and losses. Ask anyone who knows me. They’ll vouch for me. I want to see this team win and as a fan, I’m gonna support the quarterback that gives our team the best chance to win. And whether you want to believe it or not, Jake Delhomme is our quarterback. So Panther fans, can we please get behind our quarterback and start supporting him 100% again? Please?