There's a lot of articles running around today in the Charlotte Observer. Today, a particular article caught my interest. As we all know, John Fox is a man of silence. He makes it his own personal pleasure to deflect the questions of the media each and every day, especially during the regular season.
It makes it all the more mysterious this Saturday when John Fox opened up the lid on the topic of Jake Delhomme.
"When you've been loyal to a guy for (seven) years and you've got to show support for the (new) guy who's starting, it's hard to remain in that situation after (seven) years of loyalty," Fox said this week at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla."
"Like Jordan Gross at left tackle, it makes them feel awkward. I'm not sure if Green Bay had gone with Aaron Rodgers that it would've been great for Brett (Favre) to be the backup. Not to say it can't be done; it just hasn't been done very often or very much."
"It's just that for the rest of your football team, it gets a little discomforting."
So there you have it. Despite Jake Delhomme stating that he wouldn't rock the boat if he remained with the Carolina Panthers as a backup QB, John Fox released him in order to keep conflict out of the locker room. Really, you can't argue too much against it. Even if Jake Delhomme didn't make any fuss and he jumped on every media grenade thrown at him, his teammates will still stick up for him.
If Matt Moore starts the first game of the season and starts out slow, who's to say that fans won't start screaming for Jake Delhomme to start again? This way, Matt Moore is the clear starter on Day 1. He has no competition, he's simply the leader of this team.
On Matt Moore, John Fox diplayed clear faith that he has the ability to be a starter.
"I'm definitely confident," said Fox. "You don't make a decision like that if you don't have confidence in Matt. ... Late in the season, the last three games, he was playing as well as any quarterback in the league.
"He is young. He's got a lot of physical tools. I like his mindset. I saw him improve. ... He had about a 93 quarterback rating. We had hovered around 59 most of the season. That gave us a chance to win games and hopefully he can do that moving forward."
Even so, John Fox is putting everything on the line with this decision to cut Jake. He's gone and run across the bridge to war, and he's burnt the bridge behind him. He's taking a calculated gamble that Matt Moore can take his hot streak in his last 3 games and run with it over the course of a full 16 games and the rest of his career.
On one side, Matt Moore takes us deep into the playoffs, maybe even all the way. Everyone gets a raise, all is right in the world, and everyone is happy. On the other, Matt Moore proves to be a mediocre or just an average QB, and we go 6-10 to 9-7 again and we miss the playoffs. John Fox and Marty Hurney get the boot, and the Panthers move on towards an uncertain future.
It's the middle of the off-season, and I've just about gone insane. The NFL Draft is in 26 days.