Remember the mantra: there is no QB controversy. We certainly did learn a lot about Jake Delhomme yesterday. The bottom line is that the Browns should keep Jake around for the rest of this year as the third quarterback on the depth chart. Delhomme has had two legitimate chances to compete this season due to injury, but the results are conclusive now. The Browns can no longer assume Jake Delhomme is the guy who gives them the best chance to win. He does some nice things and can play in spurts, but the interceptions just aren’t worth the risk anymore for this Browns team that thrives on controlling the clock and limiting mistakes.
A lot of Browns fans seem to think that Jake Delhomme’s rocky day is inextricably tied to Brian Daboll and Eric Mangini being bad coaches. Or, maybe you think that Delhomme is bad and you don’t like the coach so you use it as a bullet in your gun aimed at Mangini and Daboll. I think a lot of arguments can be made against Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll, but I just don’t follow that line of thinking. We can talk about whether or not Mangini and Daboll should return next season after the year is over.
In the meantime, I refuse to believe that Brian Daboll’s gameplan is the reason that Jake Delhomme threw two interceptions. On the pick-six, Delhomme extended the play beyond the first few reads and made a really really bad decision. Maybe it was a bad playcall by Daboll, but he can’t be held responsible for the interception. If Delhomme throws the ball away seven times in a game because people aren’t open, then I think you can blame Daboll for calling plays that aren’t working. It is a fine line though between blaming the coach and blaming the players for poor execution.
Let’s talk about the decision process to go with Jake Delhomme over Seneca Wallace in the first place. It is more than reasonable to assume that Eric Mangini doesn’t make decisions in a vacuum anymore. During his bye week press conference, Holmgren basically told us that he is involved while allowing Mangini to make decisions. So, Mangini didn’t make the decision to bring Jake Delhomme to the Cleveland Browns and I am guessing even if he made the decision to start Delhomme this week, his voice wasn’t the only one in the conversation. You have to assume that Mike Holmgren was at least consulted on this decision. Given the injury to Colt McCoy and the depth chart for the team at the beginning of the season, it shouldn’t have been surprising to any of us as fans either that Delhomme was the choice.
But a lot of you are unreasonable anyway. ”Why didn’t Mangini sit Delhomme to start the second half???!!!?!??”
I asked after the first half if anyone would complain about Jake Delhomme being replaced by Seneca Wallace to start the third quarter and overwhelmingly I heard that people wanted Wallace. Don’t get me wrong, my eyes were telling me that Jake Delhomme was hanging by a thread in the first half too, but I don’t know how anyone being intellectually honest can justify replacing a guy who has completed 12 of 18 passes for 149 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs and a 92.1 rating. Yes, Delhomme went out and threw two interceptions in his first two passes of the half. Unless you had a crystal ball, nobody knew that Delhomme was going to devolve into that.
Some of you then went on to claim that Delhomme should have been replaced after the second interception. I will buy that. When Mangini was asked if he thought about switching, he said, “Not really at that point. I wanted to see how it would play out. He’d had a really good first half and got a range of people involved.” I would never say that Mangini was wrong to stick with Delhomme, but I would have supported a decision to go to Wallace had he made that decision.
That is my take on the in-game decision. Now that we are in the period between games, I think the answer is quite clear. The Browns need to go with a depth chart of Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme third. If Colt McCoy isn’t healthy, then Seneca Wallace has to get the nod to start this week in Miami.
Wallace has completed 63% of his passes to Delhomme’s 55%. Seneca Wallace has seen more action than Delhomme and he has thrown two interceptions to Delhomme’s six. Seneca Wallace’s QB rating is 88.5 compared to Delhomme’s 48.2. Yes, the Browns found a way to win with Delhomme at the helm this week, but it is quite clear that his tenure as Browns starter should be over barring injury.
If you want to say “I told you so” because I am saying this now and you have been saying it for months, that’s fine. Still, I disagree that any of us knew that Jake Delhomme wouldn’t end up being the guy we saw in the pre-season who won the starter’s job in the first place. My conclusion now isn’t based as much on guessing and pretending that I am prescient as it is on what I have seen from all the quarterbacks now that we have been unlucky enough to see them all get time behind center.
We are talking about a team that needed all new options at quarterback this year compared with the previous season. Yet, some of you want the head coach to magically know who should be the starter and who will perform on the field before he gets a chance to see any of them. It just doesn’t work that way. When you have options at positions, you have them for a reason.