So the Dolphins have traded what will likely be a 2008 4th round pick for Trent Green. My initial reaction? Though quite a few Dolphin fans are against this, I actually like the move despite being a Daunte Culpepper fan and supporter. I feel like he was given a raw deal as he will not even have a shot to battle for the starting QB job when all he did while in Miami was work his tail off for this team. However, my thoughts are simple. Trent Green is the safer bet for the 2007 Miami Dolphins. Whatever happens beyond 2007 is unknown, as it's likely that this will be John Beck's team by some point in 2008.
So why do I say that Green is the safer bet? First of all, Culpepper was just given clearance to fully participate at mini-camp (which is non-contact, by the way). Green, on the other hand, has been participating in Kansas City's mini-camp and, according to John Clayton's report 2 days ago on ESPN, Green has looked very sharp. That's the obvious reason why Green is the safer bet. But there's more. Like it or not, Trent Green is a better fit for Cam Cameron's offense than Culpepper is. Both are accurate QBs, but Green excels at reading defenses and making smart, quick decisions. Culpepper, on the other hand, does not. In fact, it has always been said that Daunte's biggest weakness, even when healthy, is that he has trouble reading defenses and struggles making quick decisions.
Now I want to look quickly into the stats. It's been said that you can manipulate statistics to say whatever you want them to. But I won't do any manipulating. Now, both had poor 2006s, but Daunte's looks even worse than Trent's. But you can decide:
Keep in mind that Daunte played in 4 games while Green played in 8. When you look at those numbers, they might actually look to favor Daunte slightly. But there's something else to talk about. According to RealFootball365, 45% of Culpepper's incompletions were "poor throws." In fact, nearly 18% of all his throws were poor. For Green, only 35% of his incompletions were due to "poor throws," and 13% of all his throws were considered poor. Not a big difference, but the numbers do favor Green.
Like I said, though, both 2006s were not very good so let's look at 2005. In 2005, both QBs were healthy, that is until Daunte went down with his knee injury. But did anyone see how he was playing in 2005 prior to the injury? For lack of a better word, he stunk. But I'll let you decide:
Now keep in mind Daunte only played in 7 games before getting hurt, which makes the number of times each got sacked really stand out. But if you average out Daunte's numbers to a 16 game season, he still throws for fewer TDs, 17 more INTs, and about 500 fewer yards. The fact that Green is less removed from a very good season than Daunte is just provides us all with another reason to think that Green is a far safer bet for 2007 than Culpepper.
Now, I won't argue that Daunte's season in 2004 wasn't spectacular, because it was. But Green had a great season as well:
And keep in mind when looking at those numbers that Daunte had Randy Moss for 13 games that year. Trent Green had a tight end for his best receiver. Yes, he's a great tight end. But still, you can't argue that Daunte didn't have a better surrounding cast for a passing game than Green had. Oh, and Trent is just one of a handful of QBs to throw for over 4,000 yards 3 seasons in a row. And for those worried about age, Trent has only 23 more career starts than Daunte has. So, yes, he's older. But in football years, he isn't much older than Daunte.
Lastly, I wanted to discount this idea about how the team will feel playing for Trent rather than Daunte. Yes, the team has publicly supported Daunte Culpepper as their QB. But did you expect anything less? What were they going to do...denounce him? The bottom line here is that there is no reason to think the other players on this team will hold anything against Green for this ongoing saga. I already read on various message boards that people think the offense will not play as hard for Green as they would for Daunte. That idea is completely idiotic. Do you really expect professionals to hold back on their play? Is the offensive line not going to block as well in pass protection? Are the receivers not going to try as hard to get open because Trent is throwing them the passes? The simple answer is no. So let's not have any of that talk.
Regardless of how you feel, Trent Green is here and will be the team's starting QB so accept it. As for Daunte, there's tons of speculation that he will be on his way out of Miami. In fact, there were reports that the Dolphins actually were trying to keep the Green deal quiet so they could get as much as possible in a trade of Culpepper. And as much as I like Culpepper, this is now Trent Green's team. And I, for one, plan on supporting him throughout his stay in Miami...or at least until he makes his first on-field mistake. Because in the end, it's all about wins and losses.
For more on Kansas City's point of view, check out Arrowhead Pride.