Texans sign Jake Delhomme
For a team that currently sits atop the very competitive AFC, the Houston Texans sure do seem snake-bit. On Sunday, they suffered yet another devastating blow, as second string quarterback Matt Leinart was lost for the remainder of the season with a broken left collar bone.
Leinart was injured early Sunday, in his first, and what would turn out to be, final start in relief of starting signal-caller Matt Schaub. Schaub was also lost for the remainder of 2011 with a foot injury two weeks earlier, and the Texans were counting on the former Heisman Trophy winner from USC to lead the club to it’s first appearance in the NFL post-season tournament.
Now the AFC South leaders will turn the reigns of the NFL’s eighth ranked offense over to rookie T.J. Yates, a 2011 5th round pick out of North Carolina. Yates was not expected to see any playing time in his first professional season, but is now thrust firmly into the spotlight of leading the AFC’s current top seed.
After Leinart left Sunday’s game, Yates took command, and flashed some potential. He completed 8 of 15 passes on the day for 70 yards, while spending the majority of the game handing the ball to Houston’s two-headed backfield of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak stated that Yates will remain the club’s starter for the immediate future. With the only other quarterback on Houston’s roster being Kellen Clemens, who was signed only last week as third stringer, the Texans were in need of a proven veteran to mentor the rookie, provide leadership and act as an insurance policy.
On Tuesday, they got that veteran by signing a former Superbowl starting quarterback in Jake Delhomme. Ironically, Delhomme, 36, started Superbowl XXXVIII in Houston and nearly led the Carolina Panthers to a world championship before losing to the New England Patriots 32-29.
After working out both Jeff Garcia and Delhomme, Gary Kubiak and his coaching staff elected to sign Delhomme, stating he was “perfect for what we were looking for and a good fit for T.J.”
Delhomme, a ten year NFL veteran started his NFL career as a backup QB in New Orleans before moving on to a starting role with the Carolina Panthers. He enjoyed a good amount of success with the Panthers, making the Pro Bowl in 2005 in addition to leading the team to it’s only Superbowl appearance.
For his career, the former Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajun has started 96 NFL contests and boasts a 56-40 record in those games. He’s generated a respectable career QB rating of 81.2, while accumulating 20,764 passing yards with 125 touchdown passes and 101 interceptions.
After his stint with Carolina, Delhomme moved on to lead the Browns, but didn’t enjoy much success. Turnovers mounted and he was eventually relieved of his starting duties. Upon his departure from Cleveland he didn’t command much interest around the league, so he retired to his horse farm in Louisiana.
Initially, the Texans only expect Delhomme to be the team’s third string signal-caller until he grows familiar with Gary Kubiak’s complex scheme. At that point, Delhomme will become the club’s back-up and will act as insurance in what will hopefully be a long post-season run.
For a team that’s had as much bad luck with injuries as Houston, Jake Delhomme is a low risk gamble. While not currently expected to make a major contribution, he gives the club exactly what it needs: an experienced veteran with playoff experience. And for a team and city that is as desperate as Houston is for post-season football, they’ll take any insurance they can get.
Senior Writer Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26-year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.