Return Of The Jake

By Chris Johnson
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When news broke that Jake Delhomme had signed with the Houston Texans, a range of emotions took me over.  I was shocked, disappointed, vengeful, and even excited to an extent.  I thought of all the possibilities that could come from this and examined it a little bit closer.

I have to admit my first thought was that the Texans are screwed.  Matt Leinart hasn’t exactly been a world beater, but that’s a far fall to Delhomme.  Since leaving Carolina – or heck, even when he was here – Jake has not exactly been my favorite quarterback.

My next feeling was a little bit of disappointment.  I’ve got to be honest – when Matt Leinart got injured and I found out that the Texans would be shopping a quarterback, I kind of thought we would see ol’ number 4 come out of retirement once again.  Only this time I didn’t really have a problem with it.  No one can deny that Brett Farve is a polarizing quarterback to watch.  He does things other QBs can’t do, and he is downright fun to watch.  Sure, I have problems with Farve and his antics of holding his team hostage and the whole back-and-forth, I-might-play-this-year-I-might-not – it was exhausting.  This is different – instead of having to watch news of every time Brett Farve got up to eat dinner or blow his nose run across the bottom line on the worldwide leader, he would have been called up out of the trenches.  It would have been a team that is 8-3 and a couple of wins away from making the playoffs calling in the old gun slinger to lead them to the promise land.  In the past few years when we watched Farve play, he would wear down towards the end of the season.  This time, we are already at week 13.  You’ve got to figure they wouldn’t start him immediately, so at the very most he would have played eight games.  Well, it’s not going to happen, but it was fun to think about.

My next thought was, hey, the Carolina Panthers play Houston in three weeks. Sure, Jake would have to learn the offense, but think about it.  The Texans are a run-first team led by their two great running backs, Ben Tate and Arian Foster.  They have a pro bowl wide out in Andre Johnson who can turn even bad throws into receptions.  They also have a very good defense that can keep them in games so that they don’t have to rely on the quarterback to win it for them, but they might need him to lead a fourth quarter drive.  Hey Panther fans – does that remind you of anybody? It wouldn’t be inconceivable to see   Jake Delhomme starting, particularly if TJ Yates plays poorly.  Now if there was anything to get me pumped up about a 3-8 team, it would be them playing against Jake Delhomme.  I would love nothing more than to see the Panthers get another win against their former teammate.  Like I said before, Delhomme was not my particular favorite in his later years in Carolina, and I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from that five interception 33-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 playoffs.  This leads me to my next thought.

Could we see Jake Delhomme in a playoff game this year?  This was a notion that blew my mind.  Just think about that – Jake Delhomme in the playoffs, the same Jake in that threw 30 interceptions in his last two years with the Panthers and couldn’t even hold the starting job for the Cleveland Browns.  This guy could possibly be starting in a 2011 playoff game.  The Texans at 8-3 still have a very good shot at winning their division and making the dance.  Their final five games are Atlanta, Cincinnati, Carolina Indianapolis, and Tennessee.  You have to figure they can beat Indy no matter who is playing quarter back, and with the number three rushing offense in the league against Carolina’s gash defense one would think they could beat them.  That would give them ten wins there, and they are currently a full two games ahead of Tennessee in the division, so even if they lost to Atlanta and Cincy that would put them at the very least in a “win and in” game against the Titans in week 17.

After this my thoughts went to who they would face in a very tough AFC Wild Card game.  Maybe one of the AFC North teams?  Depending on who wins that division, you have to figure at least one of those great defenses tears into Delhomme.  Perhaps an angry Pittsburgh team that we just saw force Tyler Palko to three interceptions and a fumble?  What would the over/under on Jake turnovers be in that one?  Eight, maybe nine?  They could face the Bengals who have the fifth-best rushing defense, which could force the Texans to make Delhomme pass the ball.  We could see an epic Delhomme melt down again – and to be quite honest I don’t really have a problem with that.

But it was when I started to look at which other AFC teams could make the playoffs that I realized this: the Denver Broncos behind their Tim Tebow antics could very easily be the wild card team.  This sent me into pure joy.  I can’t even really decide which scenario I would rather see.  Picture this: Jake Delhomme getting beaten in the fourth quarter by another Tebow miracle.  After throwing a late pick, he is forced to sit on the sideline and watch Tebow put together a drive to win after completing only thirty percent of his passes for the day.  How sweet that would be!  Or (and I mean a big “or”) how about this scenario: the Broncos head into Houston, the same stadium that the Panthers lost the Super Bowl in. Tim Tebow has the worst game of his career, after which I can’t even imagine what that QB rating would look like.  Jake is able to manage the game well behind Johnson, Tate, Foster, and that stout defense.  Heck, for giggles let’s say that Delhomme actually has a pretty good game and beats the Broncos handedly.   Which, of course, would force current Broncos coach and former Panthers coach John Fox to proclaim, “it was a bad day to have a bad day.”

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