Banks' Shots (cont.)
Posted: Friday April 13, 2007 1:32PM; Updated: Saturday April 14, 2007 11:15AM
Ironically, Bledsoe's finest hour may have been the win he picked up in relief of the injured Tom Brady in the 2001 AFC title game at Pittsburgh, when he took over for Brady in the second quarter and threw a touchdown pass in his first game action in more than four months. It was his last hurrah in his nine-year career as a Patriot, and advanced New England to Super Bowl XXXVI, where Brady led the upset of the heavily favored Rams.
But just as Brady supplanted Bledsoe in Foxboro with spectacular success, history strangely repeated itself last year in Dallas, as Bledsoe's struggles helped spawn the meteoric rise of Tony Romo in midseason. Romo went on to take the Cowboys to the playoffs, where Bledsoe ended his career as a mere bystander (and from appearances, a slightly bemused one) on Romo's game-deciding point-after gaffe in Seattle.
The bottom line on Bledsoe? The 1993 first overall pick had a good, long NFL career, easily surpassing the exploits of classmate and fellow quarterback Rick Mirer, who went No. 2 to Seattle in that same draft. But Bledsoe was far from great. And the Hall of Fame should still be reserved for only those whose careers rise to that threshold.
If I had to rate which of the top two quarterbacks in the flawed first round of the 2002 draft wound up in the best spot as a backup in recent weeks, I'd give a strong edge to David Carr in Carolina over Joey Harrington in Atlanta.
After being fed to the lions behind the Texans atrocious offensive line for the past five seasons (he absorbed an NFL-high 249 sacks in that span), Carr is with a franchise that knows both how to pass protect and features a balanced offense that doesn't require starting quarterback Jake Delhomme to win games by himself.
Carr isn't in Charlotte to challenge Delhomme, but with 75 games of starting experience, and a career-best 68.1 completion percentage last year, he's a very viable option if Delhomme's game doesn't return to his 2003-2005 form next season.
As for Harrington, now on his third NFL team and third in three seasons, it's likely time for his career's last shot. But I'm not sure his luck has changed in signing with the Falcons. Just as Detroit's recent quarterback history has been abysmal, and Miami has continued to flounder at the game's most crucial position since Marino's retirement, Atlanta's track record at QB has been, at best, mixed in the Michael Vick era. There's little reason to believe Harrington's wilted confidence can be restored and his faulty decision-making reversed while he sits by and watches the Falcons focus intently on salvaging Vick's flagging fortunes as an NFL passer.
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