By Calvin Palmer
Ask any sports fan anywhere in the world why a 30-year-old NFL quarterback has only made eight starts in their career and the answer is more than likely to be because he is not good enough.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown made the ninth start of his seven-year career on Sunday At the MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets and proved why he has made so few starts. He was unbelievably bad.
McCown made 6 completions from 19 attempts for a total of 59 yards. Yes, 59 yards! He threw no touchdown passes but did manage to chalk up 4 interceptions. His rating was an abysmal 1.8. Needless to say the Jaguars went down to a humiliating 32-3 defeat.
Rex Ryan informed the Jets players in the locker room that McCown’s rating was the lowest ever achieved by an opposing quarterback in the Jets’ 51-year history. That fact was delivered with a huge grin by the triumphant Ryan.
I wonder if Jaguars coach was laughing. On September 6, just five days before the start of the NFL season, he cut regular quarterback David Garrard and announced Luke McCown would be the starting quarterback for the Jaguars.
I have no argument over the decision to cut Garrard, the Jaguars have saved $9 million, but I disliked the manner in which it was announced – a couple of hours after Garrard attended a luncheon thrown in honour of the Jaguars by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
Now the Jaguars face having to throw rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in at the deep end. I guess that would prove whether Gabbert’s potential is for real.
Sunday’s game did reveal a new position in NFL football and one that is exclusive to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rashean Mathis in conventional terms is regarded as a corner back. But Mathis rarely makes a tackle preferring to use guile and cunning instead to allow the wide receiver he is marking to cross into the end zone unhindered for a touchdown. I am convinced every quarterback in the NFL has been instructed to throw to whoever is being marked by Mathis in the knowledge that nine times out of 10 the result will be either a 15 yard penalty or a touchdown.
Against the New York Jets, I noticed on several occasions that Mathis would arrive just as a colleague had made a tackle on a Jets player. Mathis would then tap his colleague on the shoulder. It then came to me in a flash. Mathis is not a corner back but a tackle supervisor, there to see that his colleagues tackle correctly and in a timely manner. I wonder if the position will catch on with other NFL teams?
Clearly, a lot is wrong with the Jaguars organization if it continues to keep Mathis on the playing roster. The only reason I can think of, aside from Mathis having the pictures of Del Rio and the rubber duck, is that there is no other corner back. I suppose that is par for the course since the team doesn’t really have a quarterback.
Could this disorganization and prospect of a meltdown season have something to do with the Jaguars moving to Los Angeles?
Owner Wayne Weaver can salve his conscience by saying the fans have not supported the team sufficiently enough during this season. Given the lack of support and the present financial climate, he reluctantly was forced to sell. Of course, that conveniently overlooks the fact that the fans have not been given a winning team for several years.
The only glimmer of success came four years ago when the Jaguars reached the play-offs, beat the Pittsburgh Steelers before bowing out to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Since then it is has been mediocrity and failure. What better way is there to kill the enthusiasm of fans? People like to see their team winning and preferably winning well.
When the Detroit Lions can go 2-0, with 27-20 and 48-3 victories, surely it cannot be all that hard to achieve.
Over to you Jack.