Friday, September 08, 2006

Daunte Culpepper

When Daunte Culpepper was traded from the Vikings to the Dolphins this summer, in a lot of people's minds it seemed to move the Dolphins from fringe playoff team to Super Bowl contender. Apparently those people forgot a few things. As the Pacifist Viking wrote a couple days ago:

For some reason, the rest of the world is pretending Culpepper isn't the quarterback that threw 6 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the first 6 games of 2005. Or that he's the quarterback with 81 career fumbles in 81 career games (well, I guess not everbody--obviously John Bolster is aware of it of I would have nothing to link to there). Or that he's had 6 seasons as a starter and has 2 playoff wins on his resume.

Don't get me wrong, Culpepper is one of the most gifted athletically QBs ever. I am a Vikings fan, I've seen probably every NFL game of his career. He has one of the 5 greatest NFL seasons ever on his resume.

But 18/37, 262 yards, and 2 INT? Being outplayed by Charlie Batch?

Now, I know the Steelers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but that's really a sparkling debut. Especially when, down 21-17, you throw 2 INT in the 4th quarter, including one that's returned for a TD. For Vikings fans, this seemed too familiar... bad game against a good team... it was kind of the story of a lot of Daunte's career.

These are probably some of the same ideas I would have dismissed a year ago, but let's look at some things:

- He has never really been successful without Randy Moss - Sure, it's a small sample size. But Daunte was absolutely atrocious before he got hurt last night, and he was pretty darn bad Thursday.
- He doesn't read defenses well - This ties back to the first point if its true, because he has seen many defenses where teams aren't geared up for Moss... it didn't even look like he saw Joey Porter on his 2nd INT.
- He's not as mobile as he used to be - Of course, even the fact that he's out there playing this soon after the injury is an incredible thing, and beggars probably can't be choosers, but Daunte is significantly less dangerous if he's not a big threat to run. He had 8 rushing yards in the opener, and didn't really even look to run.

Now, it's true that I did not like the trade at all when the Vikings made it... and I still don't... but I feel a whole lot better now after watching last night's game.

Do I think Daunte is as bad as he showed on Thursday? Of course not. He's always been an accurate passer, and he was playing a top-flight defense. But I think some of the questions remain... he will force some passes, misread coverages, but a lot of that was covered up by his athletic ability. If that's been diminished by the injury, how dangerous does that leave Daunte Culpepper?

One thing's for sure, I feel very comfortable about my pick of the Patriots to win the AFC East.

11 comments:

Jodie said...

you're diligent and updating your blog everyday.
Good job!

Ali For Three said...

Good points, but considering the quarterbacks the Dolphins have had since Dan Marino (Jay Fiedler, AJ Feeley, Gus Frerotte), I will take a "bad game" by Daunte Culpepper anytime. The INT's were tough to swallow, but it was more fun to watch.

Mini Me said...

Culpepper will be good this year, he just seemed a little rusty. That is okay though because he hasn't played at game speed in a while, plus the Steelers defense is very good. His short passes were really off early, which to me indicatees that it is just rust and I think he will be fine in the future.

twins15 said...

That is a good point mini me... he did miss some open WR early on that he usually does not miss. But he also had a couple of other bad throws that should have been intercepted, which spells more trouble for me - the one that Ike Taylor dropped in the endzone that looked like an easy INT, and the one Polamalu almost jumped.

Rusty or not, he could have very easily thrown 4 INT, and he did throw 2. He's a nice player, but he's been projected all summer long as kinda being the Dolphins' savior, and I just don't see that.

Pacifist Viking said...

I don't expect a Dolphin fan to immediately take a Viking fan's word for it on Culpepper's inconsistency, turnovers, or inability to step up in important situations. But 2 or 3 years down the line, Viking fans and Dolphin fans can share their horror stories of the various ways Daunte has destroyed our spirits.

The problem is that he IS good, and he will show that he is good--in the right spots against the right teams. This makes us believe that he is a legitimate stud QB--and then against a good defense, your heart will be lying on the floor by the end of the game.

PWILL said...

I'm not going to disagree that Culpepper was horrible last night, but I saw glimpses of QB that could be very competent with the Dolphins. Through 3 and half quarters, I though Culpepper moved around the pocket really well, hit the open reciever when the blitz came, and I thought he managed the game rather well. All that said, the two picks at the end were awful. I'm not going to prejudge Culpeppers entire season on the first game he has played in 11 months, the first game with a new team and offensive system, and a game in which he played the best defense in the NFL. Plus, Ronnie Brown was ineffective for the most part.

Pacifist Viking said...

pwill, you'll have to forgive me if I'm bitter about a guy who just repeatedly crushed my heart for years. I think you'll get used to saying things like "Daunte looked through 3 quarters, but those 4th quarter interceptions were terrible."
(forgive me, I'm going around the blogosphere bullying anybody who defends Culpepper today. Makes me feel more like a man. Grrr.).

Hunter Morrow said...

Arrgh. I just knew this was going to happen. He takes too many sacks, doesn't handle the ball well, and forces passes. See the Tampa Bay game last year. That game was emminently winnable, even though Wiggins had two touchdowns called back and Culpepper threw 3 picks. A late game drive that could win the game for the Vikings and he forces a ball, it gets picked, and Tampa wins.
These are just two of many. The Vikings didn't get anywhere near value for him but it is undeniable that he will cough up the ball and screw Miami out of winnable games this season. The Dolphins are going to be exposed this year and it will make many pundits look foolish.

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