Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bledsoe Under Too Much Fire

By Phil Simms
Special to

(Oct. 24, 2006) -- Now that the Cowboys finally decided to bench quarterback Drew Bledsoe, at least for the second half of the Monday night loss to the Giants, we can all wonder: How did a guy like that ever last this long as a starting NFL quarterback?

Clearly, a quarterback who lacks mobility, who can't get out of the pocket to create plays, must have relied entirely on luck to have passed for 44,000 yards and 251 touchdowns in his career. And Bledsoe must be the only quarterback ever who "doesn't like it when he's under pressure." Because when I played, I always loved having defenders in my face. That's when I performed at my best.

Drew Bledsoe didn't have much of a chance to find success against New York.
Of course, I say all this in jest. It's the same thing I said last year when I was working the Thanksgiving game between Denver and Dallas. I wonder if it will elicit the same reaction it did then, when Dallas fans wrote angry letters to both myself and CBS Sports trying to get me fired.

Seriously, when a player is slapped with a bad reputation of some kind, it's impossible to shake. And perspective is thrown out the window. Bledsoe was scorched for his "lack of mobility" against the Giants on Monday night. Funny, but the most mobile quarterback in the world, Michael Vick, was sacked seven times by the Giants defense one week ago.

When certain players don't play well, it's the fault of the offensive line and the play-calling, but when Bledsoe does something wrong, it's because he's not mobile.

I'm not saying Bledsoe is the best ever, but he's pretty dang good. Does he have drawbacks? Yes, he can hold the ball too long and take unnecessary sacks. He makes mistakes like every other quarterback. But he still makes some plays thanks to his very good throwing arm.

Again, I do understand Bledsoe has some drawbacks. But as a player at that position, I know how easily things can be overblown. Once you get that negative reputation, it keeps growing. It gets bigger. I've noted in this space how Denver quarterback Jake Plummer is in the same boat. A guy like Plummer can go an entire season without throwing an interception, but if he throws a crucial pick in the playoffs, people will say, "Yeah, it was just a matter of time."

The interesting thing about Bledsoe is that his end-zone interception Monday night was shown everywhere. I'm sure many people have already forgotten that Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw an end-zone interception just before that. Of course, reputations being what they are, Bledsoe got more blame for his pick than Manning did for his.

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