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Delhomme remains Panthers' starter; is John Fox being too loyal?

Shutdown Corner

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There was some thought that Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox might finally yank Jake Delhomme from his starting lineup this week, but Fox has opted against it. Delhomme, who has been turning the ball over like it's his job, is still QB1 for the Panthers.

Some quick facts about Jake Delhomme's(notes) interception output this season:

• Delhomme's thrown 13 interceptions so far this season

• Delhomme has thrown five more interceptions than JaMarcus Russell(notes)

• Delhomme has thrown as many interceptions as Derek Anderson(notes) and Trent Edwards(notes) combined

• Delhomme is on pace to throw 42 this year, which would tie George Blanda's record for the most picks in a season

• Forty-two interceptions would shatter the record since the league went to a 16-game regular season in 1978, which is currently held by Vinny Testaverde(notes) (35 in '88)

He's the lowest-rated quarterback in the league who has not been benched. This makes me curious about what Matt Moore(notes) and A.J. Feeley(notes) look like in practice.

When John Fox comes out for practice and says, "Alright, gentlemen, we're going to work on some footwork drills today," does Matt Moore say, "Nah, I think I'm going to go over here and do the worm"? Does A.J. Feeley bring Play-Doh out to the practice field with him, and build Smurf villages all day?

I wonder if John Fox isn't being a little too loyal here. Obviously, the man can coach football, but he and Delhomme have been together for a long time. Loyalty is great, and we probably see too little of it in the NFL, but at the same time, the priority always has to be doing the best thing to help your football team win. That's what the paycheck is for.

DeAngelo Williams(notes) deserves that. Steve Smith deserves that. Jon Beason(notes) deserves that. Every Panther who lines up and breaks their back to try to get a win every week deserves the best quarterback the team has.

And hey, maybe that is still Delhomme. Maybe John Fox believes his quarterback can work through the issues he has right now, and that the real Jake Delhomme -- the one who had never before thrown more than 16 interceptions in an entire season -- is still inside somewhere, struggling to get out. That could be true.

For Carolina's sake, though, I hope the decision's being made for the right reasons. Loyalty would not be one of those. Winning football games would be.

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