We’re about to find out.
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quarterback looked great early against the Carolina Panthers, guiding the Browns to a 21-7 lead. Then the Panthers made their move in the second half when Hyde took over. He fumbled and threw two interceptions, in the span of five plays!
The Brett Favre-like dizzying highs and terrifying lows are what the Browns paid for with Delhomme. Now they are stuck with him.
Knowing your player’s strengths and weaknesses is all part of coaching, and its obvious Jake’s weakness is crapping the bed once or twice a game.
So knowing that, and knowing they kind of need him, what can the Browns do to save Jake Delhomme from himself?
Here are some ideas the coaching staff should consider…
Take helmet technology to the next level
Every quarterback has a radio built into his helmet so the offensive coordinator can call plays out to him. Every defense has a captain who receives calls from the sidelines the same way.
So if the Browns can tell Delhomme what to do via radio, why can’t they just as easily tell him what not to do?
Delhomme’s crucial pick-6 against Carolina was one of those “worst pass ever” moments. When the play breaks down, Delhomme hops out of the pocket and gets all antsy and desperate to make a play that isn’t there.
I am no coach, I can’t pretend to interpret X and O’s, but I saw that interception coming a mile away. I was screaming “NO!” at the TV well before Delhomme even threw that ball.
So if I could see it a few seconds in advance you know the coaching staff could too. So why not have Brian Daboll scream “KILL KILL KILL” into his headset the moment it looks likes Jake is going all broken arrow on a play. Or blast a loud siren in his ears.
Or, fit Delhomme with an electric shock collar. When he gets that look in his eyes, just shock him into submission. Don’t worry it won’t hurt him, at least not more than Eric Mangini punching him in the face for blowing a game.
Make Jakey as comfortable as possible
It’s clear now Delhomme’s mistakes come in bunches. Back in training camp, all the news coming out of Berea was that Delhomme was just pressing too hard in Carolina, and the change of scenery here with Mike Holmgren was going to show everyone those 5-interception games were a thing of the past.
Does anyone still think that now? The guy has confidence issues, plain and simple.
As soon as he makes one little mistake, it’s in his head, then it’s happening.
Against the Panthers, as soon as he fumbled the ball on a failed screen pass late in the second quarter, it was in his head. His next two passes were intercepted, because Delhomme was already digging himself out of the quicksand…
At 35, he is who he is. So while the Browns won’t be able to fix Jake’s confidence completely, here are some ideas that at least might help him get better:
- Bring a bunch of nice, warm, fuzzy blankets to the sideline to help Jake feel comfortable and safe.
- Hire Jenn Sterger as a special assistant. She could wave to Jake on the sideline, blow him kisses, send him encouraging MySpace messages, laugh really hard at all his jokes, etc.
- Get Jake a birthday cake for every game. Surprise him with it and clap after he blows out the candles. Everyone likes it when you remember their birthday.
- Have Shaun Rogers play peek-a-boo with him after he makes a mistake, only have Shaun stand behind this little water cooler that’s obviously not big enough to hide his whole body. Delhomme will find this hilarious.
- Bring in some consultants from the Cleveland Cavaliers, see if they have any best practices for a coddling a player so he doesn’t see the horrible real world around him.
Stick to Daboll’s plan
For all his faults, Brian Daboll can script an opening drive with the best in the business. In the preseason, in Tampa Bay, and yesterday, Daboll was able to get Delhomme off to fast starts with a deliberate script, sort of like we used to see with Derek Anderson:
Work in a couple of high percentage passes, get him in rhythm, build his confidence, open the field for your running game. That’s it buddy, you’re doing great.
If Jake Delhomme can crash to pieces in a millisecond, the Browns need to lean on the success they’ve had with him.
Daboll actually had this figured out all along. In the Browns first preseason game against Green Bay, they had Delhomme come out firing. He went 6-7 for 66 yards out of empty backfield and four-receiver sets. He led the Browns to a surprising TD right off the bat.
Then, they pulled him immediately to get him out on a high note (see confidence).
In the Browns season opener against Tampa Bay, Delhomme also had it going early.
He led Mohamed Massaquoi beautifully on a 41-yard TD-pass in just his second series, giving the Browns a 7-0 lead. It wasn’t until he got injured an hour later that all that good karma flew out the window.
Last Sunday, in Jake’s first series with Daboll since then, Delhomme led a Browns team down 7-0 to the tying score by going 5-7 for 63 yards.
That’s a lot of passing.
This coach-QB combination can throw a great opening punch. They get the receivers involved and they can move the chains on third and long.
The problem is the ride never lasts.
Daboll gets a lot of crap, tons from me for sure. But the guy has also worked with five different quarterbacks in less than two years, and none of them are really that good. Look at the other teams in the NFL going back and forth with that position, they all stink.
Tennessee, San Fransisco, Arizona, Carolina, Miami??
Delhomme’s pick-6 last week was not Brain Daboll’s fault, and if they can avoid those against the Dolphins, they should be OK.
Let us know what else they should try to help keep the matches and gasoline out of Jake’s hands, or tell me on Twitter @JimmyCTown.