SRI continues to work in new writers. This post is courtesy of Tim Gunter of 790 the Zone in Atlanta. Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers got off to a slow start to the season last week. The Philadelphia Eagles beat them, 38-10, in every single facet of the game. Jake Delhomme had a miserable game once again. To be exact, Jake has thrown 9 interceptions in his last two games and to make things worse, John Fox and the Panthers decided to sign Jake to a contract extension. In doing so, that may cost John Fox his job. You could imagine the team questioning whether Jake is the right guy for the job because they feel like they are doing their due diligence and Jake is holding the team back. However, the big story after the game seemed to be what Steve Smith was heard saying to his quarterback. Steve Smith agreed to wear a microphone for FOX’s coverage of the game and told Jake that he isn’t a good looking guy and that he doesn’t like him as a quarterback but likes him as a person. Whether Steve Smith was saying this in jest remains to be in question.
So Steve Smith called a local North Carolina radio show for a little damage control. Steve Smith joined WFNZ (Frank Garcia, the host of the show is a former Panther and teammate of Steve Smith) to talk about what happened last Sunday, whether he really likes Jake as a friend and not just saying this due to the recent story, whether going to Atlanta and getting out of town is the best thing for this team, what the team has done this week to not let mistakes happen like they did last week, about Jake Delhomme saying that he has lost a bit of confidence, whether other people on the team having Jake Delhomme’s back, and how Jake looks this week in practice.
On the big game this week:
“Yeah you know big week, big game. You know that the I-85 rival is always a big week. I just called in because it just got me. Got under my skin a little bit. Got a little local buzz or national buzz over me being mic’d up last week and what I said to Jake. It is very interesting that some of the you tubes and some of the people have taken it like…Well first, some of the people saying that I don’t have confidence in Jake or how could a real teammate or the “real leader” quote unquote say that and how immature I am. I stand by what I said in…I said that completely in jest. I am sitting next to my starting quarterback who has been pulled out the game. I am sitting next to the backup quarterback whose knee is being iced, his ankle…He is feeling bad and I come over and sit in between them and say what I said which was: ‘I don’t believe you are a good quarterback. You don’t look very good and I don’t really care about the performer. I care about the person.’ You know as well as I know in this game and our job and these people that live here as football players and entertainers, our life and our jersey and the name on the back of that jersey, if you’re fortunate enough…If you are not fortunate enough, it will change. And when it changes, those friends come and go. So as a performer, I don’t really care about Jake as a performer. When I look at Jake and what I respect Jake at is a man and I think that is the most important thing that you can respect anybody is who they are and not what they do.”
On him really liking Jake as a friend and not just saying this due to the recent story:
“No, I am saying it but I think it is important that people understand that when you go to work Monday thru Friday at your job, you get off work and you pay a lot of money so you have your right to your opinion. You pay a lot of money and you come to the game to get entertained, but I think some people but not everybody forget that as it is entertainment for the fans and it’s also our job. And with that job, you also have feelings and you also have friendships. And that friendships…I am not friends with #17, I am friends with Jake Delhomme and I think that is the most important thing that I wanted to get the message out to. It wasn’t that I was taking a slight at him, I was actually trying to make him laugh. At the end of the day 15 years from now, there’s going to be another #17 and another #89 in that jersey. People are going to be saying the complete opposite or the complete same thing what they may say cause everybody is going to have a bad game once in their lifetime or twice or whatever the case may be.”
On whether going to Atlanta and getting out of town is the best thing for this team:
“Nope I think playing football is going to be the best thing. I don’t believe you can go somewhere else to run away with what you are supposed to do. I can’t speak for the defense because I don’t play defense, but offensively, we have to improve and do things completely different from what we did. I mean I stood up in the meeting in the press conference last week and I said that I dropped four or five balls because I just lost focus. I was in a rut. About 3rd or 4th quarter they could have threw blades at me cause they would have went right through my hands because I just lost focus as well. That is the biggest thing as a professional you have to be able to evaluate yourself win/loss and say this is what I did great but this is what I need to improve on and increase the positive and decrease the negatives and when you do that, you will be a better team.”
On Jake Delhomme saying that he has lost a bit of confidence:
“I think when you have a guy that says that I think that is good because a lot of us men we have pride…Ah no, I am all right. Don’t worry about me. Don’t worry about me. When you act like nothing is wrong and there is something wrong you really never really get over it, but when you come out and say it, I think you help yourself get over it because you get it off of your chest. I mean from day one, I am fine, I haven’t thought about it and then you finally said: Yeah. I let it get to me. You got to get it out your system. You have to. That is the only way you move forward and you got to be accountable to…My biggest enemy and my worst opponent that I could ever play against is myself. And if you aren’t prepared for your worst enemy, which is yourself, you will fail every time. I think Jake, by him saying that, he prepared himself. You tell yourself…When I get down on myself that’s when I get bad. T hat is when the things start falling apart and when you are able to recognize that I think that is when improvement comes and that’s the self adjustments start to, and the self improvements, starts to really come together when you start looking at your self. Not looking at somebody else, looking at yourself.”
On other people on the team having Jake Delhomme’s back:
“I think. You know how it is offense and defense. Defense you know are different characters and offense are different characters. That is every team. I am not as involved with the defense cause I am too busy watching film with the offensive guys. So offensively that its all I can speak on. I always make sure that I maintain that because I don’t think it is fair to talk about a position that I don’t play. You know I am never involved in it. You know if we got me playing DB, we are in trouble, but to the defensive guys, I think the defensive guys are concerned themselves too much about themselves. I mean that is just a fact, but offensively, I think a lot of guys have Jake’s back but I also believe that there are so many young guys they don’t know what it is like. They haven’t been down this path before. I mean Jeff Otah, this is his second year. He is just figuring out where to show up to. You know what I mean? Some of these young guys they are just following the older guys and so the older guys we got to make sure that we are doing what we need to. And showing them this is how we prepare. We watch film whether you lose or win. You self evaluate whether you lose or win. You know if you don’t do it when you lose, that is not going to prepare you for when you start losing or when you make a mistake to be able to make adjustments.”
Listen to Steve Smith with Frank and Buck on WFNZ in Charlotte (6:45 into podcast)