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January 01, 2009

Jake: Where does he stack up?

Here's our story in today's Observer about how Jake Delhomme stacks up against other playoff quarterbacks. Something tells me this will give you guys plenty to talk about today! -- David Scott

Posted by Observer Sports on January 1, 2009 at 11:24 AM | Permalink


As I have said all along, Jake is great with the game on the line and in big games, and I feel very good about having him in the playoffs.

My problem with Jake is that he plays terribly against the teams we should kill, and if we ever take a big lead into the fourth quarter, you better believe Jake is going to throw a huge INT or fumble and allow the momentum to shift. I have never seen anything like it.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 1, 2009 11:47:03 AM

First time getting tickets on Ticketmaster, and I'm having the hardest time. Been waiting for over an hour in line on their website and trying them every few minutes or so on their phone and I still haven't gotten through.

I'm looking at articles now, and people are saying that the tickets would sell out within a few minutes. Looks like I'm screwed.

Posted by: Revshawn | Jan 1, 2009 11:57:19 AM

Jake has thrown most of his picks in 3 games, other than that he has protected the ball very well this year.

Posted by: Billy | Jan 1, 2009 11:58:49 AM

Funny- I dont remember Delhomme doing that on Sunday when we had a 20 point lead in the 4th???

Heck- I can think of more games Delhomme HAS WON US than cost us...


Posted by: Joe | Jan 1, 2009 11:59:44 AM

I saw that article on ESPN, and it is a joke. It is the same outfit that hires Todd McShay, who has the same resume that I have in examining football. This would be my rank:

1. P Manning, w/o Brady easy decision
2. Roethlisberger
3. Warner
4. Delhomme
5. E. Manning
6. McNabb
7. Pennington
8. Ryan
9. Rivers
10. Flacco
11. Collins
12. Jackson

Posted by: Steven | Jan 1, 2009 12:28:06 PM

I like this top 12, makes a whole heck of a lot more sense than the one ESPN put out. The only difference I'd make Steven is I wouldn't have Rivers at 9, I'd bump him at least to 7th above Matt Ryan (a rookie) and Pennington (who hasn't done much ever in the playoffs). But ESPN having Delhomme at 11th out of the 12 playoff QB's is freakin' ridiculous. The man is money when he gets into the playoffs, and the 2 years we haven't gotten into the playoffs when he was starting was in 2004 when Steve Smith went down in Week 1, but Muhammad put up MONSTER numbers (and who was his QB then?!) and then in 2006 when we went through running back after running back and suffered with crazy injury after crazy injury. Then 2007 of course he was on fire when he got hurt, so someone needs to horse-whipped over there at ESPN. Better yet, just wait and see come February who's going to be playing in Tampa and let them try to recover from that report then.

Posted by: drew | Jan 1, 2009 1:02:48 PM

And I wouldn't even rank Roethlisberger as high as #2, albeit he DID win a Super Bowl, AND his team does seem to continuously win which is all that counts. I don't know why, I just don't trust Roethlisberger, I'm fine with Jake and love watching our Super Bowl over when he out-dueled Brady.

And keep in mind, Jake was taking it to the Patriots even though they already knew our signals and what plays we were running! :)

Posted by: drew | Jan 1, 2009 1:05:34 PM

Ok, last post, and it's because the ESPN guys aren't worth wasting anymore effort on. They have it like this:
1) Peyton Manning (ok)
2) Kurt Warner (shaky, but ok)
3) Philip Rivers (awesome qb, but unproven, too high)
4) Matt Ryan (what?!)
5) Eli Manning (won a SB, but I still wouldn't take him)
6) Donovan McNabb (playing well now, but still wouldn't take him over Jake)
7) Chad Pennington (solid, wouldn't take him over Jake though)
8) Ben Roethlisberger (rated too low)
9) Kerry collins (ok, I quit reading at this point, this is insane)

Who in their right mind ranks a broken-jawed drunk whose "heart isn't in it anymore" above Jake? What a waste of time reading that little chart.

Posted by: drew | Jan 1, 2009 1:20:56 PM

Personally, I think Jake ranks ahead of most QBs in post-season play. And I think that comes from to the intangibles he seems to have when playing under pressure. He's great at 4th quarter comebacks for the same reason he has excelled in postseason play. The pressure just doesn't rattle him. I don't know why he plays that way. He just does. He doesn't even get all that flustered from a pass-rush, causing him to hold onto the ball for quite sometime as he keeps looking to make a play.

Now, on the flip side...and this is where I think a lot of the so-called experts get hung up when examining Jake Delhomme...is his regular season performance. He does okay. His stats are middle of the pack. Always have been. I don't perceive that his skillset is ever going to reach a consistent Pro Bowl level...and certainly nothing to send him to the Hall of Fame. But, despite all that, he's still great on 4th quarter comebacks...and that translates to a pretty good winning percentage. If we're all being honest, that's all that should matter. The guy wins more for us than he loses. And we all saw exactly how this team performs when he's not leading it...

Now, does he have some negatives? Sure. All QBs do. His negatives often result in big momentum changes within games...like being fairly fumble-prone when he's hit...or throwing some real head-scratchers that might get pick-sixed or kill a long drive. Those kinds of things stick out in a fan's mind because they're so dramatically game-changing (or at least, potentially so). But, if you look at things more positively, Jake typically has the ability to change the game with those amazing 4th quarter comebacks, too. And, because Fox plays conservative ball, that's often needed.

So, in the grand scheme of things, I believe Jake's positives far outweigh his negatives. Could the Panthers be an even greater team if they had a Hall of Fame QB like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? Sure. But it's unlikely we'll ever see that type of QB in Carolina given Fox's football philosophy. Coach Fox focuses on running the ball, playing great defense, performing well on special teams for field position and game-winning kicks...and then, if he's got all that squared away...yeah, it's good to have a decent QB. Jake fits that bill. They don't have to pay him like a Peyton Manning. And therefore, they can spend the cap money on other positions. It's been a fairly effective formula for winning games. At least, that's how I see it shaking out.

Just my two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Jan 1, 2009 1:24:53 PM

Couldn't have said it better Neil, and I'm glad to see a fan on here rather than a whiner. Can't stand the crying and griping over Jake. Only negative I see is Trgovac, I don't like his style, but we've played well this year despite even that. So, here's to hoping for a SB victory in Tampa! Wouldn't it be great to go back down there and win it since we forgot to show up when we played there in October...

Posted by: drew | Jan 1, 2009 1:40:38 PM

Agreed, Drew. And not only make good in Tampa to undo our poor performance there against the Bucs...but also, quite possibly, head back to the Meadowlands to set things right there, too.


Posted by: NSpicer | Jan 1, 2009 1:50:52 PM

Manning (100% Solid QB), Warner (Old Slinger), Rivers(Young Slinger), McNabb(Make it happen), then Jake (Team Player)

Posted by: Victor | Jan 1, 2009 2:42:14 PM

Jake certainly belongs, has paid his dues, has proven himself as invaluable in post season play. I think it's 3 at the top - Jake, P. Manning, and Warner. However, instead of these senseless mind games, please give us what we really want to know. "Select players" will be practicing this week - who?, why? big picture look? Well, just give us the who and we can run with it from there.

Posted by: charlesbright | Jan 1, 2009 3:14:04 PM



Posted by: Tigers | Jan 1, 2009 3:41:08 PM

First, here's my thoughts: Jake is among the best QBs in the NFL when it comes to knowing his team and knowing the right things to say as a leader. It may be strange to have that listed as the first thing about him, before his skill set, but Jake's attitude and leadership DEFINE him. From his first time in the huddle against Jacksonville, he was able to look his teammates in the eye and tell them "We're gonna drive down the field, and we're gonna win this game." And they believed. THAT'S the kind of QB you need to win games in the fourth quarter, as Delhomme has done over and over (more than ANY other QB in the NFL since he became a starter...Brady, Manning, Rivers, Brees, whoever.) In addition, he's got the right combination of fire and joy to be the guy the team needs at any given time.
Now, as for his skillset: he's got a decent arm, if not great, but I think it's stronger since his return from TJ surgery. When it comes to his accuracy, I understand the knocks he gets for being inaccurate, but plenty of the time, he's simply putting the ball in a place where only his receiver can get it. There was an ESPN Super Bowl special a few years back where one of the featured reporters (who had covered every SB but one) said that Jake had the most accurate downfield performance of any Super Bowl quarterback he'd ever seen. He also has a keen ability to take the calculated risks that give Smitty, Moose, and others (Rosario in week 1, maybe?) the chance to make big plays. He DOES need good protection in the pocket, because he doesn't always have great awareness of rushers, and he's not particularly mobile, though he CAN make a play on the run when the offense (rarely) calls for it. He did it in rushing for back-to-back TDs against ATL and GB.

Now, the classic Michael Procton responses:
Steve-would you really prefer that our QB be better when the game is decided, or when we need him most and the game is close? Jake's numbers were exceptional when the game was close this year, with a 96.1 QB rating. When the game was close late in the game, his number moved to 116.1! So when did these "game-changing picks or fumbles with a big lead" happen? Certainly not in the last two weeks, when he didn't have either. He hasn't even thrown an INT in a loss since the TB loss in week 6 and his last lost fumble was in week 8 (a game we won...BECAUSE OF DELHOMME'S PLAY!)
drew, as Pennington goes, so go his teams. In the two playoff wins he's led his team to, he's has a QB rating of 116+. Also, about '04, don't forget that Smith wasn't the only injury we had. We lost Jenkins after only four games, and THAT was actually the Goings year with the crazy RB injuries. In '06, we actually lost Delhomme for three games due to a thumb injury, and two losses to NYG and PIT with Weinke at QB contributed to us missing the playoffs by one game. Think Jake could have won one of those two games? I do. We also lost starters Morgan, Hartwig, and Wharton after less than three games each, but Jake still took us to one game short of the playoffs.

Finally, Neil, it's good to see you back. I missed your intelligent, articulate, and non-vulgar commentary.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 1, 2009 5:41:15 PM

Charles, there's no injury report this week because it's not required by the NFL during the bye week. No need to give any information away to our potential opponents that's not necessary. It is possibly worth noting, though, that Panthers.com said clinching the bye would allow all four injured linemen to "probably" play in our next game, and a picture was shown of Damione Lewis at practice Wednesday, so he was at least in uniform and outside doing some kind of work.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 1, 2009 5:47:43 PM

Michael and Neil, your comments were a pleasure to read.

It is Jake's heart that can't be measured statistically. QB ratings are so flawed. They overweight TD/INT ratios, and don't have footnotes to demonstrate that most of Jake's picks were tipped passes, or that (how many? 4? 5?) of his longer passes to Steve and Moose were stopped at the one, producing extra rushing TD's for Williams and Stewart. What I'm saying is that his TD/INT ratio could have (but isn't everything could have?) been 20-10 or so. Look at his W/L ratio in big games. Look at his YPA. No dink and dunk pad your stats here.

I think the quintessential Jake play of the year was not a pass at all, but the fiery reaction he had after being whacked by Lance Briggs in the Bears' game. "That all you got?? Bring it on!" was what I saw in his reaction.

Man plays his best in big games, in tight spots. We wouldn't be having this discussion if time hadn't run out on the Panthers in the N.E. Super Bowl game -- he'd have already had his ring. As it is, he's destiny's choice to get it this year. Ain't nothin' nobody can do about it.

We have no prima donnas, no crybabies, no lookatmes, no finger pointers -- only the best team chemistry in the league -- that'll get it done.

Posted by: bigdavis | Jan 1, 2009 6:01:12 PM

If Jake throws less than about 25 times a game and less than about 250yds a game..I absolutely love him as a qb

Posted by: matt | Jan 1, 2009 6:40:54 PM

And bigdavis, Jake's TD:INT ratio is 1.51 (and 1.58 since becoming the starter in Carolina.) Compare that to our other playoff QBs:
Philip Rivers-2.17
Donovan McNabb-2.16
Peyton Manning-2.02
Chad Pennington-1.63
Kurt Warner-1.59
Ben Roethlisberger-1.46
Matt Ryan-1.45
Eli Manning-1.32
Joe Flacco-1.17
Tarvaris Jackson-1.11
Kerry Collins-1.04

It would seem he's hardly the bum he's portrayed to be by the lunatic fringe of our fanbase.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 1, 2009 9:20:04 PM

Neil & Procton...spot on. I remember until that loss in NFC Championship game against Seattle in '05 Delhomme had the best playoff passer rating in NFL history, higher than even Montana. What is really sickening, and Procton addressed this, is the notion that Delhomme costs this team games and he gets lumped into the same category as Favre as a gunslinger. Favre led the league in interceptions, and while Jake only had a few more TD's than INT's he was nowhere near the top of that list with Favre. The guy flat out wins, not pretty, but he pulls it out. Fox is right when he preaches winning is what matters. Nobody looks back to a Super Bowl winning team and points out their flaws, they simply remember for that year that they were the best in the NFL. What is really funny, and I hope somebody else heard this, but during FOX's game broadcast last week they two calling the game...I'm too lazy to check awfulannouncing.com to find out...made the statement that the Saints felt if they hadn't turned the ball over so much this season they would be unstoppable. Sadly, that isn't possible with the offensive scheme they run. When you throw the ball at that alarming rate that they do, turnovers will happen. The reason the Saints stunk was because they had a porous defense and no semblance of a balanced offense. On the flip-side, the Panthers are so successful because there is a harmony of personnel and schemes. Delhomme wouldn't be the player he is today if we were a pass heavy team. Delhomme knows his role, and I couldn't agree more with the fact that Delhomme under-throws his receivers or puts it in odd spots that it is him just putting it nowhere else can get it. You don't get to where Jake has and have the resume that he has by being "mediocre" as so many clueless fans claim. Finally, there was an interesting comment made during the game about how potent and complicated this Panther offense actually is. First of all, it is explosive with the rushing duo, and they have scored 28 or more in 8 straight I believe. But, once Fox has established the run, he is able to run any play at will because the defense must respect the run. Also, the way the Panthers utilize Smith at every position, the backfield from time to time, the slot, the split end...you never know where is going. Match that with the Cowboys, whose only offense is chucking the ball 40 yards down field and hope someone catches it. I will take this Panthers offense over any other in the NFL. The balance is unmatched and it simply isn't possible to shut down Moose, Smitty, D-Lo, and J-Stew all at once. At the end of the day, it doesn't start with Jake, but it DOES end with him! So many teams build around a franchise QB, while the Panthers built around a top O-Line and RB duo and then topped it off with a QB with moxy and ice in his veins. This is a proven formula!

Posted by: mountaineerdynasty | Jan 1, 2009 9:51:14 PM

Wow. It's kind of interesting to see almost no rebuttal from those who wish we had a different QB. And great points, Mt. Dynasty. ;-)

Also...and I don't believe I've seen anyone else bring this up...but I believe our offense this year (Jake included) have really helped our defense. Say again? Yeah, our offense has absolutely helped our defense this year. By sustaining drives and keeping the defense off the field...by scoring points so they can play without the added pressure of being behind...and by eating up clock to finish games so our defense doesn't have to bail out the offense like they've had to do in previous years. The offensive success this year has gone a long way towards hiding some defensive deficiencies. To whit...

1) A lot of people want to ding Trgovac for less than effective defensive schemes the past couple of seasons...and I do think there's some merit to that. There are times when I wish we had Jack Del Rio back as the defensive coordinator. But, if you feel worried about Trgovac's play-calling from the defensive side of the ball, imagine how worse it would be if our offense was going three-and-out as often as they did in the past.

2) Retirement resulted in a big change on our defensive line. With Rucker's departure, we've struggled to find a complementary DE to pair with Peppers. I know people want to ding Peppers for his inconsistency. But, in all fairness, he does face an uphill battle...especially this year (and even in Rucker's final year). There's just no one else on the line (at DT or DE) that draws double-teams or even reliably beats their single guy. Our opposition can pretty much single-block everyone else and keep one guy back to double Peppers and that's a decent strategy against us...particularly given the fact that Trgovac doesn't blitz that often...and even when he does, his blitz packages seem either ill-timed or poorly executed. So, imagine what would have happened this year if our offense hadn't sustained drives and scored as much as they managed to do. If this defensive line has to stay on the field for a long time, I'm worried about that...because I see them as a weakness that can be exploited. I'm not saying I don't support them. I'm just saying they aren't as good as years past.

3) Free agency also affected the defensive line. Say what you want about Kris Jenkins, but he could occasionally impact a game and draw double-teams that would free Peppers or someone else. Kemo and Damione Lewis have filled in admirably this year. But you can tell we're still vulnerable there...as evidenced by how we play when they're out with injuries. Gary Gibson has helped, but he's undersized and even he got injured there toward the end of the season. Regardless, none of the current DTs dominate the trenches for us. So, imagine what would happen if our offense kept going three-and-out and our current crop of DTs had to play longer and get worn down.

4) Rookie mistakes have also entered the picture for our defense now. I know Charles Godfrey played some safety in college, but he's still learning the position at the NFL level. There have been times when he's made rookie mistakes and blown coverages in the secondary. He's also made plays and saved us on that fake FG earlier in the season. Still, you've got to wonder how much more he might have been challenged if he had to stay out on the field a lot longer if our offense couldn't sustain drives and score points to match our opponents.

5) Age is starting to catch up with some guys on defense, too. Personally, I feel like Ken Lucas has lost a step. It certainly seems that way from how far he plays off receivers now. He just doesn't have the closing speed to make a play on the ball anymore. And if he played tighter bump-and-run coverage, I'm not sure I've got the confidence he could catch a guy who managed to get past him. In addition, Na'il Diggs has filled in as well as he can at LB. But I think age is catching up to him as well. None of our LBs seem all that well-suited to pass-coverage against TEs or RBs in the flat. Even Beason has missed some tackles trying to close on guys on the edge. And I think Diggs is especially vulnerable. If our offense forced our defense to stay out on the field, I think opponents would figure that out eventually. Some may already be poised to do that in the playoffs. But we'll see.

Regardless, that's my realistic assessment of the impact our offense has had on our defense. Until we bulked up our offensive line, brought in Jonathan Stewart, and Deangelo dedicated himself to being in top physical condition...our offense struggled. We were one-dimensional. Other teams knew Steve Smith was our only threat. So if they double- or triple-covered him, there was nobody there to step up.

Now we've got Muhsin back so people have to honor the #2 WR. Say what you want about Jarrett or Hackett...but collectively, I think they upgraded our #3 WR position as well. And with a sustainable ground game in addition to those guys, the offense can make plays, keep drives alive, and actually score enough points now that the defense doesn't have to carry them anymore.

Unfortunately, I think our defense has taken a step backward and the roles have reversed a little bit. The offense is carrying them lately. But I sure hope the defense rediscovers their early season form for this playoff run. If that happens, then we truly do have a realistic shot at winning it all.

Just my nickel's worth,

Posted by: NSpicer | Jan 2, 2009 10:01:57 AM

jake was once compared to brett farve in a sense that he "gambles often" with his passes. he is gonna take a chance, i am willing to except that to this day. period. without taking a chance, if he dosent throw a duck to smith in the first place, we lose the saints game. if he dosent throw into double coverage in the packers game, we lose. so many other example exist but the case is there in those two from this season alone. people only focus on the negative from jakes game because hes not what you would draw up as a great technique QB. as for collins on that list, i would rank him below tar jackson. and to see him go out against the ravens again this year will be such sweet karma. i do commend him on turning his life around and getting his head on straight, but his heart is the same as it ever was: a me first opportunistic sleeze that looks for whats best for him first when an angle presents itself. he compares to one of those ambulance chasing lawyers looking to flourish from someone elses misfortune.

Posted by: brendan | Jan 2, 2009 10:08:02 AM

Neil, maybe those people just want to keep things positive until the time is right. I'm not sure what purpose you thing you are serving (other than feeding your own ego) by encouraging people to contest any positive things said about Jake. The bottom line is that he is good enough to help get wins and he has been showing improvement since that mid-season slump. Why stir things up now. Why not just encourage that continued improvement.

---"Just my two cents."

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Jan 2, 2009 10:29:46 AM

First of all, I said that there are few QBs better than Jake with the game on the line. All I said was that he doesn't have a killer instinct, and can't win the games he should win. It almost seems like he feels sorry for teams when we blow them away, so he goes in cruise control and starts playing bad to keep the game close. I respect you guys' opinion, I just don't happen to agree with it. I am happy with him as our QB, for now... But I definitely think that since we don't have a first rounder this year, next year our 1st round pick should be for a QB.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 2, 2009 11:16:28 AM

Sorry, I write stuff and don't know what I'm saying. I'm just gay. Jake is the man, I mean, I said "he can't win games he should win." 12-4, so I guess I meant we should've gone 16-0 or something. Pay no attention, I'm just queerbait.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 2, 2009 12:10:35 PM

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