Monday, October 26, 2009

Time To Jump Ship

There have been a rash of quarterback benchings this year among the NFL peasant class teams from the "it was only a matter of time" benching of Bucs quarterback Byron Leftwich to the "maybe he's not our future" benching of Brady Quinn in Cleveland. Jason Campbell gets pulled on and off the bench like a yo-yo in Washington while Miami coaches thanked their lucky stars that an injury allowed them to relegate veteran Chad Pennington to the bench without controversy.

Yet, it's the not benchings that boggle my mind this year. There are three quarterbacks out on the field that don't need to be on the field for a variety of reason, the foremost being that they suck. They have been starters all year long, yet have put up such putrid numbers, it's a wonder that their team hasn't locked them in a storage closet before the game. Here are their stories:

Kerry Collins: He came in last year and led Tennessee to the best record in the NFL by basically not making horrible mistakes. This year he's just an albatross on that offense. He completes barely over half of his pass attempts and he averages only 5.4 yards per pass. That ranks him 33rd in the league. 33rd. There are only 32 teams. Those numbers are bad even for a rookie, but Collins is 36 years old. His time is done. It's time to stick Vince Young in for the winless Titans and see if he sinks or swims. That way, the Titans know what they have be draft time next year.

Jake Delhomme: The loquacious gunslinger has always been a fan favorite just because he's such a crazy Cajun. This year, however, people don't know him as a gunslinger so much as an interception machine. The 34 year old (see, old) Delhomme has thrown 13 picks compared to only four touchdowns so far. He has basically made Carolina's top playmaker, wide receiver Steve Smith, a non-factor in games and puts the defense in ridiculous situations. I know it doesn't help that Carolina has given Delhomme zero help in the passing game, but something is clearly wrong. Delhomme's quarterback rating is all the way down in the mid fifties which is worse than anyone else. Unless of course you're talking about...

JaMarcus Russell: Unlike the graybeards Delhomme and Collins, Russell is only 24 years old. Also unlike Delhomme and Collins, Russell has never shown that he has any sort of clue as to what is going on during a football game. This year is Russell's third season which is usually when a quarterback starts to "get it" as the game slows down for him. Russell looks like someone is hitting the fast forward button in his head. He completes less than half of his passes and has two touchdowns compared to eight picks (and many of those picks are of the ugly, head scratching variety.) His quarterback rating is a 47.2. That's Monty Python absurd. Plus, Russell keeps coming to camp like he just left an all you can eat session at Golden Corral. He's well on his way to Ryan Leaf territory in terms of a ruined draft pick.

Team continuity is more important in football than any other sport in America, so I understand a coach's reluctance to throw a new face under center. All of these teams, however, are in no danger of making the playoffs, so it's time to start experimenting for the future. Let it go, guys. Just let it go.

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