In defense of Quinn Gray

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At least Quinn Gray is trying to do something with the football.
Photo: Colts.com

I know it is fashionable to take shots at a guy who throws 4 INTs in a preseason game. In fact, it's downright easy, and almost not worth even blogging about. What's hard is defending someone who throws 4 INTs in a preseason game, which is exactly what I am going to do.

As shake n bake has shown us, the Colts QB play this preseason has been dreadful. Anytime Tony Dungy or the Colts brass tell you that the QB play has "improved" or "looked good," they are lying to your face. The numbers are horrible. The first unit offense has yet to score a preseason TD. The QBs have committed an astounding 10 turnovers in 4 games. It's bad all around, and it has nothing to do with the surrounding talent. Quite simply, if you can't compile solid numbers with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and the Colts o-line, you suck and should instruct your agent to make inquiries elsewhere (like, maybe, CANADA!).

But as bad as Quinn Gray looked Sunday with his 4 INTs, Jim Sorgi and Jared Lorenzen have looked worse. While Gray's bad decisions and 53% competition percentage are indeed wretched enough to make a grownup spontaneously slap their child, there is one stat that Gray has excelled at; one that Bill Polian himself often lauds as one of the most important stats in evaluating a passer.

Yards per completion.

Quinn Gray is averaging 14.3 yards a completion. Jim Sorgi is averaging a modest 9.9 and Jared Lorenzen 8.9. So, you can talk about the INTs all you want, but at least Quinn Gray is actually trying to DO SOMETHING with the football instead of throw it to his checkdowns or the TEs every time he drops back. Even prior to his 94 yard TD connection to Devin Aromashodu, he was averaging 9 yards a completion.

Add to this the fact that Gray has a cannon of an arm while Jim Sorgi is barely able to make a throw go beyond 10 yards. Lorenzen has an arm, but his throwing motion is so awkward that it seems to throw off the timing of routes. Gray's throw to Devin Aromashodu was a good throw, and it looked like it traveled 50 yards before Devin caught it after he blew by first round pick Leodis McKelvin. The safeties for Buffalo had crept up all night, and rather than throw checkdown after checkdown, managing a poorly called offense from Tom Moore (who called a total of 12 running plays all night, I might add), Quinn tried to make something happen.

Did he succeed? No, but he tried, unlike Sorgi and Lorenzen who look like they are trying not to screw up instead of trying to score points with the football.

All this is somewhat moot because we expect Peyton Manning back under center against the Bears. However, if something happens to Peyton, I actually feel better about Quinn Gray than I do the other two idiots Indy has backing up Big P. Last year, if not for Quinn Gray, the Jaguars would not have made the playoffs. Gray came in for an injured David Garrard and threw for 10 TDs, 5 INTs, and a solid QB rating of 85.6. The Jags won 2 games with him at QB out of 4 starts. 

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Without Quinn Gray in 2007, the Jaguars do not make the playoffs.

So, at the very least, Gray has some actual NFL real-game-OMG-guys-are-trying-to-hit-me experience, unlike Sorgi and Lorenzen who have spent the last few seasons with mops in thier hands during garbage time. Understand, I'm not happy about the QB play. Polian did a horrible job shoring up the most important position on the team. But, of the three backups, I still think Gray is the best option.

Unlike the other two, he actually tries to do something with the football.

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