Jake Delhomme : biography
Delhomme started the 2006 season as the Panthers’ quarterback, the first time in franchise history that the same quarterback was the starter for three straight seasons. He set records during the season by making 150 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, bettering Steve Beuerlein’s previous team record. The following week against the Washington Redskins, he continued his assault on the team record books by breaking Beuerlein’s records for completions and passing yards. Unfortunately, he injured his thumb in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and missed three games. During his time off, Chris Weinke started for the first time since the 2002 season, and in his first game shattered the team record for passing yards in a single game with 423 yards, but his three interceptions cost the Panthers the game against the New York Giants. Weinke could only manage a single victory in Delhomme’s absence (against the rival Atlanta Falcons, only his second victory as an NFL starter), and Delhomme returned for the season finale against the New Orleans Saints.
2007 season and injury
The 2007 season season started with a win against the St. Louis Rams and a loss to the Houston Texans. However, in the third game of the season (against division rival Atlanta Falcons), Delhomme suffered an elbow injury that would set off a series of changes for the Panthers at the quarterback position. David Carr, who signed with Carolina in the off-season, took over as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. After Carr injured his back in a defeat of the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers signed Vinny Testaverde, who started the next game against the Arizona Cardinals just four days later, and in the process became the oldest starting quarterback to win a game in the NFL. However, an injury to Testaverde coupled with Carr’s spinal cord injury led to rookie Matt Moore starting in week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks, a game he won. Meanwhile Delhomme opted for season ending Tommy John surgery on the elbow after two weeks of testing his arm.
2008 season and return
Delhomme returned to the starting position for the 2008 season. In the first game of the 2008 season, Delhomme restarted his career by coming back on the San Diego Chargers with a touchdown pass on fourth down as time expired to win the game. This is similar to his debut game in 2003. After finishing the regular season 12-4 (Tying the Panthers best record in franchise history and the only team to go undefeated at home for the season), the Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs when January 10, 2009, on his 34th birthday, Delhomme threw for a career worst five interceptions (and lost one fumble) against the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs, ending the season with an overall record of 12-5 including the loss in the playoffs.
On April 23, 2009, the Panthers signed Delhomme to a 5-year extension worth $42.5 million, with a $20 million guarantee, putting him under contract through 2014. In the season opener loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, Delhomme went 7 of 17 for 73 yards with four interceptions and a lost fumble, before getting benched for journeyman Josh McCown. Delhomme threw game-ending interceptions the next 2 games, and despite throwing for 2 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a 54.3 rating through the first 3 games, coach John Fox kept Delhomme as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. Steve Smith jokingly told Delhomme after their loss against the Eagles "I never liked you as a quarterback." After the team’s bye week, Delhomme still struggled. His next three games gave him 2 more touchdowns to 6 more interceptions. In the next four games however, Delhomme would only throw 1 interception. In spite of this improved performance, the team went 2-2 in those 4 games. Delhomme’s most recent performance mimicked the early season problems, with a 0 TD, 4 INT game against the New York Jets. During the loss to the Jets, Delhomme broke a finger on his throwing hand and was replaced by backup Matt Moore for the next two games, a 16-6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a 20-10 loss to the New England Patriots. After those games, Moore started to heat up. He beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-7, then beat the Giants in their final game at Giants Stadium with a 41-9 win, and went on to beat the New Orleans Saints 23-10.