Delhomme Injured, Weinke Practices with First

According to an AP Report, Carolina Panthers Jake Delhomme will be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the New York Giants with an apparent thumb injury. These reports also indicate that back up quarterback Chris Weinke has been practicing with the Panthers first team offense this week in preparation for the start. Jake's status is considered day to day.

The timing of this injury couldn't come at a more "convenient" time for the Panthers, who have been facing more and more questions about the play of Jake Delhomme this season. I'm not going to start any conspiracy theories but, on several occasions, Jake has either been involved or has thrown late fourth quarter interceptions, which have helped lead the Panthers to their current 6-6 record. What's been more frustrating for Panther fans is the unwillingness of the Panthers coaching staff to make adjustments in order to put the Panthers in a position to be more competitive. When Coach John Fox makes comments like, "We're going to stick with Delhomme for next week. I still feel like he gives us the best opportunity to win, and we'll continue that way until that changes." it really makes you wonder how little confidence the Panthers coaching staff has in Chris Weinke.

Truly, if you think about it, and many Weinke supporters will tell you, Chris Weinke got a raw deal when John Fox took over the helm. To be fair, Weinke did not have near the talent level that Jake has now back during the dark days of the 1-15 season. With that being said, even more pressure should be put on Jake Delhomme to perform better. When you have playmakers like Steve Smith, Keyshawn Johnson and rookie DeAngelo Williams on offense around you, there should be the opportunity to make consistent big plays down the field. However, you also have the Jake defenders saying that you have to look no further than the Panthers offensive line and the anemic play calling of offensive coordinator Dan Henning. Both the offensive line and Henning do have a contributing factor in the success or failure of Jake, but at the end of the day when the ball is snapped, it's up to number 17 to make the right split second decisions that can either make or break you. So far this season, Jake has not lived up to expectation.

Whether Jake is truly hurt and could not perform because of an ailing finger (ala Kurt Warner) or if this is indeed a way the Panthers feel they can avoid having to make any controversial decisions, a change for the better has to be made for this team to have any chance to salvage a season. If this is a wake up call for Jake, without straight up benching him, to get his act together, I hope it works. Otherwise, we may as well sit back and enjoy the mediocrity for the rest of the season.

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