Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Couch Potato
By Ben Valentine

Turmoil thy color is Gang Green.

Equipped with the youngest head coach in the league, the Jets on Monday proceeded to get even younger, which most probably would have considered next to impossible. Yet with the hire of Brian Schottenhiemer, 32, that’s exactly what they did. The former Chargers Quarterback’s coach will assume the offensive coordinator role with the Jets. Marty’s son will try to bring some of his father’s knowledge to New York, but hopefully he leaves his daddy’s playoff resume out west.

However, as most Jets fans should have realized by now is that this team is going to probably be bad next year; no matter who is coaching them. With a quarterback with a questionable rotator cuff, an aging running back and offensive line, mediocre receivers and no real tight end, the Jets do not have a void on offense. They are in fact a black hole, sucking any discernable talent into a gravitous pit of suckage from which all good is crushed into a tight little ball of incomprehensible nothing.

In other words, they stink.

Weeks back Bryan and I went to work at trying to decipher who the Jets quarterback could, or should be in 2006. (Part one here , Part two here) Back then, I thought the Jets would compete in 2006. Things have changed. I firmly believe given the state of the offense, there is no point in investing any type of money into the position for next season. That means short of a trade, which nets a long term solution, the Jets should be going after a stop gap free agent and drafting a quarterback who will step into the starting role in 2007 or even 2008. And I have the perfect candidate for that stop gap role.

Tim Couch.

Okay you can stop laughing now.

I mean it. Stop it.

Come on, it’s not like I said “Joey Harrington”.

Okay, first, I admit, he’s got an injury history that will make any Jet fan grimace. He essentially missed all of 2005 with… a torn rotator cuff! But before you scream “there’s no way with Pennington, they’d bring in another guy with a bum shoulder” here me out. Couch’s injury was a year ago. That meant he had a full season to heal. By the time training camp rolls around, he’ll have had nearly a year and a half of recuperation. If the Jets felt Pennington could get back in six months, then there’s no reason to believe Couch can’t in a year and a half. Remember, Couch’s problem was never arm strength. Even if he does lose some zip on his fastball, the odds are he still can make the throws he needs to make it in the NFL.

Now, for the other half of the readers who didn’t know or care about the injury. You know, those of you who are still laughing, saying “Tim Couch? Tim #*$&@^ Couch!! Are you nuts?! He stinks!” between chuckles. I’m here to tell you while he’s no Brett Farve, Mr. Couch does not in fact stink.

In fact, Tim Couch is a pretty average QB. Over the course of his career, he’s accumulated 64 TDs, 67 INT, a 59.8 completion percentage and a 75.1 passer rating. Those numbers aren’t good, they aren’t bad… they just are average. Of course part of the problem was the team; the Browns stunk almost every year Couch played for them with inconsistent receivers like Dennis Northcutt. You know, guys who in some cases are still dropping passes in Cleveland.

Couch was the “victim” of being the #1 pick in the draft. He’s had a better career than Kelly Holcomb, the guy who Cleveland fans wanted him benched for and the guy who managed to somehow get a multi year deal out of Buffalo. Yet because for Couch the expectations were high, and for Holcomb they were not, Couch is stinks, while Holcomb is adequate.

Back to the Jets for a minute. This is a team that has cap issues and may have to let many veterans go, including All-Pro defensive end John Abraham, probably the most important player on the Jets defense. (As good as Jonathan Vilma is, a great defensive end has more effect on a game than a linebacker does) They cannot afford to be spending any type of money on a veteran QB with talent. Not with Pennington under contract for next season. Any available resources should be going to keeping someone like Abraham on the team, not throwing cash at Jon Kitna so he can look mediocre behind a porous offensive line and disappearing receivers. (This Just-in… McCareins dropped another pass!)

Couch is appealing because he could come cheap and provide serviceable QB play. Is he an injury risk? Not really, unless you don’t believe he can come back from a rotator cuff injury that’s had ample time to heal. And if that’s the case, why are the Jets wasting time with Chad, since he’s had the operation twice?

Bottom line, the Jets don’t have a lot of risk in signing Couch and letting him battle it out with Pennington, Brooks Bollinger and whatever rookie QB they draft. If his arm is shot, then he gets cut, no harm done. If he’s serviceable, then the Jets will have found themselves a starting QB for the time being who won’t cost them an arm and a leg and thus allows them to keep Pennington on roster to see if he can come back. Couch would give the Jets flexibility and options, something that a team with as many needs as Gang Green has, should be desperately craving. Just like Jon Kitna did for Bengals a few years back.

By the way speaking of Kitna, you know, the best QB on the free agent market? Here are his career numbers:

108 TD, 104 INT, 58.8 Completion percentage and a 75.3 passer rating.

Tim Couch’s line again? 64 TD /67 INT, 59.8 completion percentage, 75.1 passer rating.

You guys out there still laughing?


Blogger David Arnott said...

Excellent call on Couch. However, you know as well as everyone else that it just won't happen because there are QBs out there that have much better name value while providing the same production. Despite potentially commanding a higher price, Kerry Collins has the bonus of being "New York tested", and has put up a Couch-esque career line of TD/INT RATE 173/166 73.8. Also, Jeff Garcia will probably be out there. So, if the goal is to just sign a one or two year stopgap, Tim Couch may be a viable buy low option, but getting a guy with a name that radioactive simply won't fly for a brand new coach.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

You're probably right in that Mangini/Bradway won't take the chance on Couch, especially with the shoulder concern. But what I'm hoping is that the Jets would be the team smart enough to give it a try... what have you got to lose?

As radioactive as Couch's name is, I'm not sure he's that much tougher a sell than Kerry Collins or Jeff Garcia. Jon Kitna would be the guy I think a lot of Jet fans would like, but I doubt the Jets can afford him. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but if I can see Couch's stat line is eerily similar to the "top" QBs on the market and he'd come much cheaper, then why can't the GM/coach of a major NFL team do the same?

4:03 PM  

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