As we've been noting in the Ask The Insiders forum at theOBR, there is more than meets the eye with respect to new Browns QB Jake Delhomme.
Delhomme, coming off arguably the worst season of his career, may have some gas left in the tank. If so, it's fuel the Cleveland Browns are certain to rely on in yet another season of all-out change in Cleveland.
Having the opportunity to view Delhomme a season ago and discussing the player with those in league circles, I believe that Delhomme has some interesting tools the Browns can utilize.
In pass attempts from 0-19 yards, Delhomme remains an accurate passer. Watching tape, at times in the Carolina offense, Delhomme took the heat for incompletions and interceptions created by throwing to a spot. At times, these would be a slant patterns, but the receiver was unable to gain leverage.
Despite the issues around him - make no mistake - Delhomme did not play well. He was late on throws, forced balls into coverage and did not play like a confident, veteran QB.
Heading into the off-season, the Browns sought an experienced QB, a game manager (although Holmgren dislikes the term), who has the accuracy and ability to keep a drive alive and play within a short to intermediate scheme in the passing scheme.
And, the film shows Jake Delhomme can be that man and more. Delhomme's make-up is that of a veteran player determined to win games, not manage them. In the past he has fared well, and the Browns hope his 2009 season was an aberration.
How did the struggling Delhomme of 2009 compare to his also-struggling peers in Cleveland? At Delhomme's worst, he was more accurate, but appeared to be stifled by the system. The same statement, conceivably, could be made about the Browns QB's a season ago.
Low-level buzz regarding Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers offense points to deteriorating confidence and a worsening relationship between he and the Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson. Questionable play-calling, which resulted in the Panthers abandoning their run-oriented strengths in key situations, further worsened the situation.
In speaking to two sources, one which is a member of the Panthers, theOBR has learned Delhomme was often squeezed and scrutinized by Davidson when the offense failed to execute. The same source noted to theOBR that there were numerous issues on the offensive side of the ball even when Delhomme didn't play. All this gave the Panthers an incredible inability to execute the simplest of plays.
Sounds much like the Cleveland Browns of a season ago.