Dan Daly at The Washington Times has a well argued piece on why Joe Gibbs just might have too much loyalty in Brunell.
And yet, despite these rather strong hints that No. 8 might be nearing the end, the Redskins traded his only viable competition, Patrick Ramsey, to the Jets in the offseason. Yesterday, Gibbs talked about football being "so unpredictable," but some things are actually quite foreseeable -- such as the continued deterioration of Brunell's abilities.
I was happily naive enough to think that last year's end of the season drop off was merely Brunell running out of steam. But he had some really bad games last year. He had only two 300+ yard games last year against Denver and Kansas City consecutively. Not surprisingly, these were also the two games where he had the most attempts. The numbers largely were the result of playing from behind for much of the game, and his completion percentages in both weren't of particular note: 56.6 and 61 respectively. And despite the fact that Brunell successfully failed to throw an interception in both games, he fumbled the ball 3 times over the course of those games, losing all 3. We also lost both games.
And these were some of his best preformances?
He had two games where his completion percentage dipped to the southside of 40%. His weak preformance vs. Oakland last year (14 of 32 or about 44%) largely explains why a 10-6 team lost to a 6-10 team. And while he managed a few games well enough last year to escape with a win, at least two of our games were unquestionably won in spite of the way he played: we beat Arizona 17-13 despite Brunell's 3 interceptions and we took down Philly 31-20 even though he was a dismal 9 completions on 25 attempts.
And although I hate hearing it repeated ad nauseum, Mark Brunell is old. And he's getting older. At the beginning of the season I honestly thought he had enough juice in the tank to improve, given the targest we picked up for him in the offseason. I've since lost some faith in that.
Perhaps it is time we think about going with a Quarterback who will do more than "manage" a game, especially seeing as how our usually stout defense is currently 23rd with little signs of improvement. On the contrary, it appears to have gotten worse.
If you guys hadn't picked up on it yet, I really want to engage this discussion and would appreciate any input you were willing to offer. What are Brunell's saving graces? He's good at not throwing interceptions, I'll give him that. If we stick with Brunell, at what point should we reasonably abandon him? Does a "great" game (for Brunell this means somewhere in the range of 150-250 yards with 0 interceptions) against Houston even silence the critics, like myself?
We're 0-2. I'm not in panic mode regarding our QB situation yet because, as last year proved, the team can win in spite of Brunell's shortcomings. But at 0-2 with time to make adjustments, I view the season in a different light than I might have at 5-6 last year (before a 6-0 tear that put us in the playoffs). There will never be an opportunity to win in spite of our quarterback's preformance like Houston. Right now just might be the last, best opportunity we have to go the JC route effectively.
Like everything else, that's just my opinion.