Let me just preface this by saying this is in no way meant to bring up Orton-to-Fins talk again. I get it, he's 99.9% not coming. Also, this is not meant to bash our current administration, though some of it might come off like that.
It is a very interesting time to be a DolFan. Plenty to debate about in regards to the direction of the team, our hopes for this current season, and how we got to this point. For the purposes of this discussion, I'll tackle the last aspect first.
There isn't much to be said about the Tuna's tenure here that hasn't already been discussed. Granted, when he arrived the team was a 1-15 disaster, but it can easily be argued that when he left the team it was in no better shape than when he found it. The offensive line is still a work-in-progress. There is still no franchise QB to speak of. But this post is not meant to rehash old news. The issue going forward is more about the Tuna's effect on the current management. You could say this is really the first season in which Ireland and Sparano are allowed to operate independently from the Tuna. So really, how much slack does that give them? I almost find it unfair that these guys are on the proverbial hot seat this season being that this is really only their first year in operation. In actuality, I'm looking at Ireland's fingerprints on the roster and liking what I see. Even going back to last year, trading for Brandon Marshall seems more like an Ireland move than a Parcells innovation. Suddenly, our roster seems to have more speed, thanks to Ireland, while still maintaining its size at the positions where its needed; a very sound philosophy.
So now where are we?
Well, for all the talk of getting a QB this offseason, it never came to be as I can't imagine Matt Moore being what they envisioned. Look, as conservative as this organization works, I'm not surprised they pulled out of the Orton deal, much to my dismay. I'm just shocked that with their job "on the line" that they wouldn't go for the gusto and make that move. If you fail, at least it was going out your way and not at the mercy of Chad Henne. If you're going to lose your job, why worry about future draft picks if that's not going to be your problem to deal with? I know as fans thats not what we want to hear, but I'm just trying to put it from management's perspective. The funny thing about Kyle Orton is that he fits the mold perfectly for what this regime looks for in a franchise QB. Not flashy, doesn't turn the ball over, plus he's having success on a terrible team. He just gave Brandon Lloyd a career year and we just witnessed what happens to an elite receiver like BM when he doesn't have a capable QB throwing at him. So why not go for him? Knowing what we already know about Orton, if he was in the draft, would he not be worthy of selection in the second round? Heck, you can argue he's first round worthy.
One more thing about Orton. Let's make a direct comparison to a QB from the organization all these guys came from... Dallas. Does anyone know how many consecutive seasons Troy Aikman had of 20+ TDs? Anyone? Would 0 strike you as a shock? How about Aikman only had one season with over 20 TDs... and this is playing with a Hall of Fame wideout, and very capable skill position players in Alvin Harper, Moose Johnston, and Jay Novacek and not to mention an amazing offensive line. And here we have Kyle Orton throwing over 20 TDs and less than 10 INTs (a 2:1 ratio for those scoring at home, which is fantastic! Not Bradyan, but awesome nonetheless) and he's not worth it? This is not to promote Orton as the next coming, but more to illustrate the point that if this is the guy you believe in (the FO), then go for him! Go and get your guy. He's everything you want in a QB and with a proper team around him, CAN be a Super Bowl winning QB.
Here's another stat, this one in regards to Henne: only 3 HoF QBs that have won Super Bowls have had consecutive seasons with INT>TD ratios: Namath (sadly, that franchise's claim to fame), Bradshaw, Griese. Now, the first one I have no explanation for to my own disappointment. The other two had Hall of Fame defenses. There are a few others, but those seasons were outliers to the bulk of their careers, either early on with few starts or when already past their prime. Bradshaw and Griese were still putting up INT>TD ratios as 3rd or 4th year starters, so I had to include them. But really, the instances of SB-winning QBs (now disregarding whether they are HoFers or not) who have had consecutive seasons of negative ratio are few and far between. Even Brad Johnson, who people like to knock, never had such consecutive seasons. And Dilfer at least eclipsed 20+TDs in consecutive TDs. But again, both of them had all-time great defenses.
What I'm getting at here is as good as our defense is, I'm not sure it'll reach that status, and nothing points to Henne having the success some of these aforementioned QBs have had. Now, I could and hope I'm wrong as I would love nothing more than our QB to find success, but when your QB rating gets worse as the game and season goes on, thats a bad sign. That is a QB not learning/ reacting. Heck, even Matt Moore's QB rating went up with each quarter in his brief-yet-productive 2009 season.
Finally, a message to Ireland and Sparano, CYA. Cover Your Ass. After watching Henne for two seasons, ample time to get a glimpse of what a QB will be IMO, why not just lay your cards on the table and go for a QB that fits your mold? As much as people want to knock Sparano for having a conservative gameplan or Dan Henning playcalls last year, I say nay. Were they conservative in '08? As I recall, Sparano went for it on 4th down plenty and we instituted the Wildcat. Those aren't traits of a conservative style. And what happened when we had a QB that didn't turn the ball over... top 5 offense. Oh, and it didn't seem to bother CP10 to be taken out for a Wildcat play. Didn't seem to "disrupt" his rhythm. If anything, what bothers me about all this evidence is that in the face of it all, SparIreland has chosen to go forward standing pat at the most important position into a season where their jobs are very much on the line. Its a shame too, because I'm liking what I'm seeing from our GM recently and I've liked Sparano from the beginning and I would hate to see another rebuilding process with another "football savior" brought in. Its why I respect organizations like the Steelers that have an organizational philosophy from the top down and get the coaches and players that fit into that. And its a shame that a supposed "football savior" in Parcells hamstrung these guys from the very beginning with his first decision... passing on a franchise QB. Jake Long is an All-Pro, but we have no playoff victories with him. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan has the Falcons in the playoffs 2 out of 3 years. Its also why I was initially upset with the Pouncey pick, because even if the guy is a beast, its at a low-impact position. Cover Your Ass, gentlemen, and don't lay your future at the feet of what you already know can't win and goes against everything you believe in as a football philosophy.
...and here's to hoping I'm wrong.