First, ESPN analyst John Clayton listed Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme as the 33rd-best quarterback in the league.
On Wednesday, the bashing continued for the 35-year-old who threw 18 interceptions and eight touchdown passes in 11 games last season before being released in March by the Carolina Panthers.
In an ESPN conference call, analysts Tom Jackson and Trent Dilfer criticized Delhomme, apparently unfazed by his 110.5 quarterback rating in the preseason. Most believe Delhomme's decline began with a six-turnover performance in the 2008 playoffs against the Arizona Cardinals, earning him the nickname ''Jake the Mistake.''
“It’s a football team that for the last decade has been in constant transition,” Jackson said of the Browns, who won their final four games to finish 5-11. "There’s just not a lot of talent offensively or defensively with the Cleveland Browns.... With the last couple of years Jake Delhomme has had I’m not going into this season with a great deal of confidence that he can be the guy who’s going to turn around the Cleveland Browns.
"He’s a great guy, he’s great in the locker room – he doesn’t hinder you with the intangibles. But you can’t throw the ball to the other team, which in the last couple of years nobody has done more in critical times more than Jake Delhomme.”
Dilfer, a close friend of former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson, said Delhomme historically has struggled in “must pass” situations and the Browns must keep those to a minimum, presumably with a successful running game. But Delhomme may feel less pressure with low expectations in Cleveland this season and the support of coach Eric Mangini, Dilfer said.
“When the head coach is in your corner it buys you some time, it buys you some stinkers,” Dilfer said. “They will make excuses for you to a certain degree. He is going to get a chance to weather some storms because Mangini has been so infatuated with him to this point in training camp.”
In his quarterback rankings, which included both suspended Pittsburgh starter Ben Roethlisberger and now-injured Byron Leftwich, Clayton put Delhomme in the ''Hit or Miss'' division.
''Interceptions in the playoff loss to Arizona in 2008 led to a downward spiral for a quarterback who won a lot of games for John Fox and the Panthers,'' Clayton wrote of Delhomme. ''At 35, Delhomme has no chance of being a starter anywhere else if he doesn't cut it in Cleveland.''