Add an NFL analyst to the group of people who say Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme has not lost any arm strength since undergoing elbow surgery two years ago.
Delhomme's problems, the analyst says, are more mental than physical. In fact, his confidence is wavering so much that he is among the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL...
Following Carolina's loss in Dallas Sept. 28, ESPN analyst Steve Young questioned if Delhomme could still throw the deep ball with any zip. It looked like Delhomme was floating the ball, Young said.
Delhomme refuted that notion while talking to reporters last week. On Wednesday he reiterated his stance while talking briefly with CSR. "My arm is a lot stronger now since surgery," Delhomme said while standing by his locker. "There's not much I can say to (Young's comment). It really doesn't mean anything to me."
Here's another take on Delhomme: He has not lost any zip; he never had a great arm to begin with. So says Chris Steuber, an NFL analyst with Scout.com and FoxSports.com. Steuber has been watching film of Delhomme for at least five years, he says. The Philadelphia-based analyst has been scouting NFL players for 10 years.
Steuber spoke with CSR Friday afternoon. Here are highlights from that conversation:
Q: Have you studied Delhomme? What do you think of his arm strength?
A: "I've studied him and I'm not really impressed with Jake overall, and never have been. I think it's more his decision-making than arm strength. It's just questionable all-around.
"He forces the issue. He doesn't have the elite arm strength you want from a quarterback who takes the chances he takes. He doesn't look off his primary receiver too often, which gets him into trouble. Defenses know what they're going to get when they face Jake Delhomme. If you get any kind of pressure on him, he's going to make mistakes."
Q: What do notice about Delhomme that's different from, say, 2004?
A: "He's a shaky quarterback now. He doesn't really know where to go with the ball ...He does have some physical tools, but I think overall he's kind of limited as an athlete and as a QB.
"(He is) on the last legs of his career and he's just trying to hang on at this point...
"A lot of it has to do with age. He does have a good offensive line protecting for him.
"I think a lot of it is mental for him...He's trying to force the issue and when he forces the issue he gets himself in trouble."
Q: Is he less confident than a few years ago?
"He does have some good weapons around him...He has Steve Smith. He has Muhsin Muhammad.
Q: In the same postgame show when Young questioned Delhomme's arm strength, an ESPN analyst also said Delhomme does not have enough weapons on offense. It sounds like you disagree.
A: "He does have veterans like Muhammad, who is not the receiver he first was with the Panthers, but is still a veteran...and with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, that's one of the better one-two punches in the league (at running bacK), and they're also good receivers out of the backfield.
"One thing Delhomme never has had is a quality tight end over the middle. That's something he really needs."
Q: Back to my reason for calling. Do you notice any difference in Delhomme's arm strength since the surgery?
A: "I don't really notice anything. He doesn't have great arm strength, that's obvious...I don't think he had great arm strength in the past. It was just mediocre to average.
"He's not the most physically talented guy in the world either. I think he's very limited in what he can do in general. I think (the problem is) more confidence...
"Hes just not the QB he was in the past, and in the past he wasn't that great either."
Q: How many other NFL quarterbacks have you studied this year?
A: "I've studied them all."
Q: Where does Delhomme rank among the starters?
A: "He's among the bottom five."
(Steuber places Delhomme in a group including the Raiders' Jamarcus Russell, and whoever the Browns and Buccaneers start on a given weekend).
Q: So you rank him below guys like (Sunday's opponent) the Redskins' Jason Campbell and a rookie like Mark Sanchez?
A: "I'm not a big fan of Campbell either. I'd put him in the bottom 10...I like Sanchez a lot...
"(Campbell) still doesn't really get it as a QB, but he has a lot more talent than Jake Delhomme has ever had.
"As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of (Delhomme)."