Jun 11, 2007
Before I get into today’s football comment, a quick aside about The Sopranos’ series finale last night. I know wrapping up a legendary show is damn near impossible, and I’ve been critical of the show’s critics in the past, but that was a really lame finale. There was no closure and quite frankly not enough happened in the finale. They gave very poor glimpses into how these characters, people viewers have come to know so well, will end up. Heck, we don’t even know if Sylvio is dead. Basically, David Chase & Company left fans hanging, and that’s not cool.
Some people think Tony and family are supposed to have been shot in that diner by that conspicuous character that entered the bathroom, but I don’t think so. The only interpretation I can come up with is that the man represents the continued threats to Tony and that he will continue to be forced to look over his shoulder, as he seemingly was in that diner.
My personal ending would have been much better. They spent so much time dealing with A.J. and all his issues, so I would have made him a central character in the finale. In my finale, it would have come down to Tony vs. Phil, and just as Phil is seemingly poised to end Tony’s life A.J. emerges and puts that bullet in Phil’s head. That would have been out of character for A.J., which is why he’s horrified by his actions as the seconds wind down on the series. But in one of the last shots of the show, we see A.J. give Tony a little smirk, and we then know that he’ll be following in his father’s footsteps in every way. Not only that, but with Phil gone and Tony teamed with his son, we know the Soprano family will be bigger and stronger than ever.
Unfortunately, thanks to the actual ending, we don’t know anything.
On to today’s topic.
I don’t know if QB Daunte Culpepper will ever be a good player in the league again, but I do know the two teams supposedly interested in, the Jags and Ravens, are both good situations. Jacksonville, in particular, looks like a great spot for C-Pep. As you may know, head coach Jack Del Rio reportedly wanted the team to draft QB Brady Quinn. Del Rio and the Jags have clearly grown weary of starter Byron Leftwich and his injury issues, as well as his lack of mobility. They wanted to take a long look at backup David Garrard, and they did. Unfortunately, Garrard is still inconsistent throwing the ball. He’s not a natural passer. He’s not that erratic, but now that we’ve seen him it looks like he might not quite be a good enough to be a consistent passer. It’s ironic because Leftwich definitely can be, but he can’t move and his long wind-up will always kill him. They need to part ways with both players sooner rather than later.
If Culpepper’s to start in the league again, he should do so in a run-based offense, and on a team that has a great defense, and that describes the Jags. Jacksonville typically likes to push the ball downfield when they do pass, and that’s something he can do if protected, and their collection of bigger receivers should work in his favor, since he doesn’t have to be as precise in his passing.
Culpepper’s a tough guy to get a handle on because we don’t know exactly how much his physical limitations are limiting his confidence, his ability to see the field, and basically his ability to play the position effectively. He’s never been a good quarterback in terms of timing and anticipation, but he certainly has been an efficient and generally accurate passer in the past. If he’s able to regain his mobility and swagger, he’ll definitely be an upgrade over Leftwich. I don’t envision Daunte Culpepper winning a Super Bowl anytime soon, but the Jags could potentially be a much tougher team to beat in a year or two if they acquire the former Viking and soon-to-be former Dolphin.
In fact, if they do bring Culpepper into the fold, I can easily envision him starting for this team later in the season. They could let him sit and watch on the bench while his reconstructed knee gets healthier and he picks up the system for a couple of months. Then, when Leftwich gets hurt (notice I said “when”) Culpepper would have a legitimate chance to go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a few short months.