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saint5221 12-09-2003 07:51 AM

Jim Henderson Report Is it time for a quarterback change?

Is it time for a quarterback change?

06:44 PM CST on Monday, December 8, 2003

Jim Henderson / WWL-TV Sports Anchor

And you think you've got some important decisions to be made before Christmas. Just imagine Jim Haslett's dilemma.

Yesterday he saw in one game what he's been seeing for three and a half seasons just how good Aaron Brooks can be and just how bad Aaron Brooks can be.

As the Saints essentially fell out of the playoff race – again - Haslett is left to ponder these questions again: "Could we have won that game yesterday with a more consistent quarterback? Will Aaron Brooks ever become that quarterback? Do I have that quarterback behind him on my roster? Could I find that out under these circumstances? And, what would it cost this team, this coaching staff, and this franchise to find out?"

With three games left in this season, I think back to the same juncture in 1989. The Saints had just lost at Detroit to fall to 6- 7 same as they are right now. A frustrated Jim Mora benched Bobby Hebert for a fiery, strong-armed journeyman quarterback named John Fourcade.

Without any playoff pressure upon him, Fourcade catches lightning in a bottle, gets a season's worth of lucky breaks in the last three games, and wins them all. The Saints finish 9-7 Hebert holds out in 1990. Jim Finks gets a "false positive" reading on Fourcade and convinces himself he found the quarterback to take the Saints to the next level in those three games and makes Fourcade the season-opening starter.

After John throws three touchdowns and eight interceptions, the Saints trade for Steve Walsh, go 8-8, squander their Super Bowl chances while blessed with the best defense in team history and begin a decade-long search for a quarterback as good as Bobby Hebert was at that time.

Look at the parade at the position in the 90's: Steve Walsh, Wade Wilson, Jim Everett, Heath Shuler, Billy Joe's Hobert and Tolliver, Danny Wuerffel, Kerry Collins, Jeff Blake. Not very pretty, is it?

Now we reach another crossroads. Suppose the Saints bench brooks for Todd Bouman who becomes John Fourcade and 2003 becomes 1989 all over again.

Suppose he wins the final three meaningless games and Aaron Brooks becomes Bobby Hebert?

Is Todd Bouman the future? Is Aaron Brooks the past? Could Bouman do it over a 16 -game season? And if he falls flat over these final three games would Brooks' confidence be so shattered that you could never rehabilitate him? Remember that confidence is so crystalline in the Saints' mind that they essentially tried to keep Bouman's contract extension last week a secret so as not to imply any displeasure with the status quo.

Fourteen years removed from 1989 we can see clearly that that decision was the wrong one and what it cost those who made it and the fans who supported it.

Fourteen years from now we'll be able to see clearly what replacing or not replacing Aaron Brooks meant for better or worse.

It's certainly not clear at the moment. The only thing that is, is that 14 years from now all of them and some of us will no longer be around the team in all likelihood.

And it's clear that the short-term effects of that decision will determine how long they, as coaches, and you as fans will be around as well.

tweeky 12-09-2003 08:22 AM

Jim Henderson Report Is it time for a quarterback change?
The difference is that we wouldn\'t let Brooks go before we find out about Bouman.

I think most would agree not to release or cut Brooks, only to sit him a while, let him reflect and come back next year with a fire in his belly.

We\'re treating him like a prima-dona, but he\'s not one.

Jay Bellamy was benched, took it like a man and a true teamer, worked his tail off, and now is one of our most consistent and productive starters. The experience may do the same for Brooks. It may also toughen him up.

BrooksMustGo 12-09-2003 08:45 AM

Jim Henderson Report Is it time for a quarterback change?
The only viable option here is to inflate Brook\'s numbers and make him attractive trade bait. Let him put up 300+ for these next 3 games.

I think after the Leaf/Brees/Flutie debacle that San Diego is terrified of having the #1 pick. And they should be. Besides with Ladanian and Boston I don\'t think they want to go into another rebuilding year. They have one of the top 3 RB\'s in the league , so why let him get 3 years older while they break in a rookie QB. I\'m thinking that the Chargers might be willing to trade down for Brooks and try to win now while LaDanian is healthy and a monster coming out of the backfield.

saint5221 12-09-2003 08:56 AM

Jim Henderson Report Is it time for a quarterback change?
I think Brooks needs some accountability. I agreee Tweeky this franchise has coddled Brooks enough. To do so any further is to the detriment of the future. We need to develop other options at QB. I just made a similar post in another thread but now is definatly the time for the Brooks debate. I think we should sit Brooks not only to try to motivate a fire in his belly but to try to find another answer as well. The last contract we gave Brooks makes it hard to move him. Plus it is too early to give up on Brooks, he has too much potential and too much positive play to ignore. However he makes to many mastakes and has to many problems to ignore as well. The job has to be opened up for competion and other options must be found. The Saints need to be prepared for the reasonable posibility Brooks my never get it together, not just blithly act as if he will as they have been. We just tied up a nice chunck of cash in Bouman and we need to see what we got for it.

canucksaint 12-09-2003 10:03 AM

Jim Henderson Report Is it time for a quarterback change?
Now is the time for the Brooks debate. As BMG stated the case with the Chargers, they needed to light a fire under Brees, so they pulled him and put in Flutie. Now we all know that Flutie is a great back up, but he is not the future. I figure he has done his job of giving the confidence back to the team. Now they will look at playing Brees again for the rest of the season. But this (hopefully) has put a fire in his belly again. If the Saints were to follow suit, and sit Brooks for a game or two, then we would be able to judge how Bouman plays, and hopefully get Brooks back to the days when he had a fire (during the Blake years). The Chargers may be looking at picking up Eli, but I would doubt that (I would say they need a good 2nd WR, LaDamion leads in recieving yards there, not Boston) . Brees is good enough, young enough and has a very good mentor and friend in Flutie. Unfortuantly Brooks doesn\'t have a good veteran to help guide him. Maybe some competition is what he needs instead.

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