The Carolina Panthers Quarterback Shuffle

After last week’s debacle in the nation’s capitol, where the Carolina Panthers were supposed to whip up on a Washington Redskins team that frankly hasn’t done that well, and came out with their collective tail between their legs, everyone was calling for the head of quarterback Jake Delhomme. Frankly, it wasn’t a bad idea, but Delhomme wasn’t the only player to stink up the place. The loss could be placed on just about anyone. It was that bad. Then the Panthers went to Philadelphia, where they played the Philadelphia Eagles, who were having troubles of their own, including starting a quarterback (Jeff Garcia) who hadn’t seen considerable playing time in this decade. Guess what? They lost again, but this time the loss could squarely be placed on Delhomme’s shoulders.

Sure, there were other problems in the game, but Jake’s late game interception that led to the go-ahead field goal was the first major mistake of the game. And Jake’s last-second interception in the end zone was what sealed the deal. Had he not thrown it, the Panthers would have at least been able to kick a short-yardage field goal and head to overtime to have a reasonable shot at winning. But instead, the Eagles get the ball – and the win – and the Panthers head home in a pack of teams looking for a wildcard berth. Now they play another team this weekend (the New York Giants) that they are supposed to beat because they are perceived as the better team, and the Giants are on a slide of their own. Do you think they can win? I don’t have much faith.

But those of you out there calling for Delhomme to ride the bench and let Chris Weinke see some action just might get your wish. It seems that Jake has missed his second consecutive day of practice due to a sore thumb, and it just might be a chance for Weinke to shine. I can scarcely believe I even formed that sentence. Sure, Weinke had a nice drive in Detroit last year, but if you think Delhomme is immobile in the pocket, wait until you see Weinke. Nothing against Chris, he seems like a stand-up guy, but I don’t think he’s been growing more fleet-of-foot while he’s been riding the pine watching Jake play.

Sure, he’s a bigger guy and appears to be more accurate, both welcome attributes for a quarterback. But unless the offensive line starts plugging holes, he’s going to need to move around, and even Jake might look like he can move around in the backfield compared to Chris Weinke. We’ll just have to see how it works out. Prior to the series in Detroit, the last time Weinke played, he was knocked out with a concussion.

If that happens again here, we might get to see Brett Basanez. Now that might lead to something – Basanez had nearly a thousand yards on the ground in college. Not bad for a quarterback. Of course, he’s never played in an NFL game, so there are other problems to consider. But the way the Panthers are playing, they may not even make the playoffs – it might make sense to get the guy some playing time and prepare him for next year.

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