To the surprise of many fans, the Jaguars recently signed former Browns number one overall pick, Tim Couch on Sunday. It was assumed the Jaguars would sign another quarterback once third-stringer Quinn Gray was placed on the PUP list. Generally, teams carry four quarterbacks into camp and through the preseason so as to not over-throw their starter and backup. Couch, a bust in Cleveland, is believed to just be a camp arm with undrafted rookie Lester Ricard. However, glancing quickly at Tim Couch's numbers when he was a starter with Cleveland leads me to think he could be more than just a camp arm. While in Cleveland, Couch amassed 11,000 yards, 64 touchdowns, 67 interceptions, 59.8%completion, and a career quarterback rating of 75.1. These numbers are not great, but they are not horrible. Especially so, if you consider who he played with in Cleveland (Remember the running back Kareem Abdul-Jabaar or wide receiver Darrin Chiaverini? Me either.) and the fact that he took the Browns to the playoffs, which was the infamous Dennis Northcutt drop in the 33-36 loss to the Steelers.
The quarterback who could be in trouble if Couch shows anything in camp is Quinn Gray. With Gray being given the second round RFA tender, he is due over a $1M salary this season, which for a number three quarterback is an exorbitant amount. Couple that with the fact that Gray has a "mysterious" ankle injury that has forced him on the PUP list, he will likely be missing crucial time in this offense in the year he was supposed to push, and possibly take back up David Garrard's job. I am not going to anoint Tim Couch the savior of the back up position, but he is a guy with experience and talent that could easily win a roster spot if Gray cannot get off of the PUP list. He has been out of football since 2004, but he isn't a bum off the street. It's interesting he was also given a two year deal instead of the standard camp arm deal. Couch showed nothing his first day in practice, as expected, but do not be surprised if he starts showing the coaches something, Garrard or Gray could be out of a roster spot.
Although it certainly appears exciting that the Jaguars have signed a free agent quarterback that happens to be a former number one overall draft pick, lets not start printing those "Couch #2" jerseys just yet. A lot of what Alfie said is true about Couch's lack of surrounding talent when he was in Cleveland. Couch was definitely in a tough situation in Cleveland with that porous offensive line, but if Couch were really as good of a prospect as he was made out to be, don't you think he would've landed somewhere else in the league, and not spent the last two years out of football?
I like the idea behind the signing of Couch, it's a virtually no-risk maneuver by the front office, and if he doesn't pan out, he won't cost the team anything. But I really can't see the team giving up on a quarterback like Quinn Gray, who has been with the team for three plus years, who has solid field vision, arm strength, and mobility, for a guy who has major shoulder problems, and couldn't throw the deep ball when healthy. Couch never had a playbook in college, and thus had major problems reading one in the pros. It would be a nice story if Couch can get his career resurrected, but don't bet on it happening.
Point / Counterpoint: Tim Couch
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