Apr 6, 2007
Just 6-7 weeks ago, we didn’t know how the hiring of Cam Cameron would affect QB Daunte Culpepper. We didn’t know if Culpepper would be a Cameron guy.
I think a strong case can be now made that Culpepper isn’t a Cameron guy. Either that or the team does not believe he will be healthy enough to play in 2007 because they wouldn’t be kicking around the idea of David Carr (who has since signed with Carolina) and courting Trent Green, who played for Cameron some years ago in Washington.
Culpepper has not seen things on the field clearly for two years. He’s been severely lacking in confidence, and has been late with many of his throws. Culpepper has never been a very good QB in terms of timing and anticipation, but he’s been able to hide that fact with his mobility, big arm, and of course with WR Randy Moss. I am seriously starting to wonder if his previous success was more about that mobility and how teams had to play defense with Moss on the field. Certainly, robbed of his mobility and with no Moss last year, he was a poor QB. Ultimately, if a QB is to have long-term success, he has to be able to stand in the pocket and throw the ball. Michael Vick is something of an exception, but let’s face the reality: he’s a great runner and hasn’t been a very good passer, which overall makes him an average QB. Donovan McNabb, another mobile QB, has had great success because, at the end of the day, he plays his position well from the pocket.
Assuming Culpepper can re-gain his mobility, nothing suggests that he will turn his career around because he has not shown he can excel in the pocket. That’s a big problem because it’s no lock he ever does regain his mobility and the athleticism. Of course, he was a poor QB in 2005, and he had that mobility, which is a big problem.
Right now the Dolphins still believe Culpepper will be healthy enough to play in 2007, and healthy enough to fully participate in the team’s OTAs. Well, you would think he would be, since he didn’t get hurt last year. They deemed him healthy enough to play Week One, and he wasn’t injured per se when he was replaced by Joey Harrington; Culpepper was benched.
The team’s interest in Green is very real, and I think the odds are good, especially with Carr off the market, that the two teams will eventually get a deal done. Green will be a Dolphin, and I believe he will be acquired to be their starter. If Green is a Dolphin they will play it like it’s a competition – Culpepper certainly needs to be challenged for the starting job if he’s to be in a position to win it – but I think if Green goes to Miami he will to start for this team. Another possible scenario is Culpepper is moved to another team, and the Raiders would be a logical fit for many reasons (they have Randy Moss, and they could then draft Calvin Johnson).
It’s going to be very interesting to see how this situation shakes out, but I know this: It’s going to take at least a ½ a season of strong play in the regular season for me to have any confidence in Culpepper. And until further notice I will not be sucked into warming up to Culpepper after a sparkling preseason, as I did last year despite me initial gut feeling that he would be a train wreck in 2006.
And if you’re hoping for Culpepper to help you in a keeper league, you should probably stop.