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  1. #1
    fromos is offline Rookie
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    Dec 1969

    Orlando Sentinel Article

    Even after return, doubt surrounds Culpepper

    PITTSBURGH -- Daunte Culpepper's knee was never the issue.

    Costly interceptions were the issue.

    Dumb decisions were the issue.

    A tendency to unravel quickly and at inopportune times was the issue.

    Pretty much everything Culpepper did during the fourth quarter of Miami's 28-17 loss to Pittsburgh on the NFL's opening night was the issue.

    If you thought the reason Culpepper is no longer in Minnesota had to do with shredded knee ligaments, then watching Culpepper on Thursday night was like putting ammonia under your nose.

    Thursday night was why a stoic, aging Brad Johnson is more attractive to the Vikings than a gregarious, more physically gifted Culpepper.

    As far as debuts go, this one was somewhere between complete disappointment and total stinker.

    Obviously, labeling the Dolphins Super Bowl sleepers was not well-deserved, and right about now, Miami is looking like the NFL version of Notre Dame -- overrated because of a good coach and a quarterback.

    Branding Culpepper the South Florida Comeback Kid now seems extremely premature.

    You can rationalize it by saying this is the first game and there are 15 more to go, but this feels ultimately more devastating because the Dolphins were supposed to get it right with Culpepper.

    He is supposed to be better than any of the dregs the Dolphins trotted out at quarterback after Dan Marino -- Frerotte, Fiedler and Feeley.

    You had better hope Culpepper isn't like the ex-girlfriend you try to make things work with again -- only to find out in the most crushing way the reasons you disliked her are still there.

    With Culpepper, the biggest thing to dislike is the way he can destroy everything so quickly and with the game on the line.

    To see Culpepper completely fall apart of consecutive drives was inexcusable.

    Culpepper threw interceptions on consecutive possessions, with the knockout blow coming from Joey Porter, who returned one Culpepper ball 42 yards to the end zone with 2 minutes, 59 seconds left.

    Those are the plays that make you wonder whether Culpepper is a winner. His talent never has been a question. His mental makeup has.

    Thursday night wreaked of the same inconsistency that has plagued Culpepper in the post-Randy Moss portion of his career.

    It is never a good thing when Charlie Batch, a backup that has started two games in four seasons in Pittsburgh, plays smarter and better than Culpepper, who is supposed to be a franchise quarterback.

    Batch threw three touchdown passes to Culpepper's zero. Certainly it helped Batch tremendously that his running back, Willie Parker, rushed for 115 yards and Ronnie Brown gained a mere 30.

    But Culpepper wasn't a factor, and he was brought to Miami expressly for that purpose. It doesn't mean he's doomed to an existence of failure as a Dolphin, but it does mean that all the things that bother you about Culpepper aren't just going to go away.

    Jemele Hill can be reached at [email protected],0,3018338.column?coll=orl-sports-col
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  2. #2
    fromos is offline Rookie
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article
    PITTSBURGH - Charlie Batch outplayed Daunte Culpepper. Outplayed? He was Ali to Culpepper's Wepner. He was rock to Culpepper's scissors. He was windshield to Culpepper's bug.

    Batch was 126.5 by the quarterback rating.

    Culpepper was 49.5.

    That explains why Pittsburgh won its first game as defending Super Bowl champs and Miami saw its big off-season addition have the debut of Ishtar.

    "Everybody was talking about the Dolphins, that it was going to be their year,' Steelers receiver Heinz Ward said. "Well, don't forget that we're the champions."

    You couldn't after Thursday's 28-17 season-opening win. There was the defensive line holding Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown to 30 yards on 15 carries. There was Willie Parker running behind that Steeler line for 115 yards on 29 attempts.

    There, too, was Ben Roethlisberger in jeans on the sidelines healing from an appendectomy. No big matter. Batch did what Culpepper couldn't.

    Down 17-14 in the fourth quarter, Batch took advantage of a confused Dolphins defense to throw an 87-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller.

    Actually, it should have been an 86-yard catch. Miller stepped out of bounds at the 1-yard line and Dolphins coach Nick Saban threw the replay flag on the field to challenge the call.

    Oops, the referees didn't see the flag. And Saban, who has screaming fits at times, didn't yell for the referees to look. He expected them to see the obvious.

    Sure, even if it were overturned Pittsburgh would have first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Those are good odds. But that was the exact situation Pittsburgh was in at the start of the second half and fumbled a handoff that Dolphins cornerback Will Allen fell on.

    Still, it came down to Culpepper getting the ball twice in the final six minutes. Twice, he was intercepted.

    There were a lot of good things in the Dolphins play to show why they're a good team. Culpepper wasn't one of them. He looked uncomfortable. He completed less than half his passes. And the memory you're stuck with isn't of him picking up a night up for grabs and bouncing it on his right arm a la Dan Marino.

    It's of him chasing down the field, sort of, after Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter intercepted a game-ending touchdown with about three minutes left.

    You know, a la Jay Fiedler.

    That was the second interception. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu got the first one. That's not what Dolphins fans wanted to walk away seeing. They wanted to say you saw something new and promising, that the chest of quarterback hope had been unlocked right from the moment the curtain went up.

    "In the fourth quarter, you can't turn the ball over in this league,'

    Culpepper said. "I'm better than that. We're better than that. We've just got to figure out ways to do better and in that situation not let that happen."

    When Culpepper went through the preseason without a touchdown pass, it didn't much matter. His health mattered first. His play hardly mattered at all.

    But now we're to the point in the road where his play matters and he completed 18 passes for 37 passes for 262 yards. No touchdowns. And there were the two interceptions in the end, the ones that guaranteed for all the good the Dolphins did this night would be buried under a stinking pile of confusion and controversy.

    It could have been three interceptions, too. Ike Taylor dropped an easy one in the end zone.

    Batch, meanwhile, threw three touchdown passes. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 209 yards. He wasn't Roethlisberger, but that wasn't asked on this night.

    He played better than the heralded guy on the other side. That was enough.

    "It's one game,' Culpepper said. "We've got 15 left."

    It's still early enough to say that's a promise, not a warning.

  3. #3
    NodakPaul's Avatar
    NodakPaul is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    Nice article.
    Perhaps a little harsh on Culpepper, but overall I agree with it.
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?


  4. #4
    ejmat is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    I like the picture from
    That is great.

  5. #5
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    He thought the reporters in Minnesota were unfair to him about the boat scandal then he is in for a rude awakening with the media in Miami!
    The fans there are as rabid as anywhere in the NFL and the media is as relentless as New York, if Daunte doesn't have a good game soon it could snowball and with him being so fragile when it comes to criticism he could fold like a cheap tent.

    Look at former Twin Chuck knobblock (?) left the Twins went to the Yankees and the media decided they didn't like him and he couldn't take it and he crumbled and the same thing may be happening to A-Rod.

    Can Daunte survive the pressure, or will he crumble if things continue to go the same way as last night and they start out 2 - 7 like last year with the Vikings?
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  6. #6
    NaryBim is offline Training Camp
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    "If you thought the reason Culpepper is no longer in Minnesota had to do with shredded knee ligaments, then watching Culpepper on Thursday night was like putting ammonia under your nose."

    A 49.6 quarterback rating ought to snap more than a couple of columnists awake from their collective love-coma down there.
    I really can't help but wonder how it will end up for Pepp.
    Not a good start, that's for sure.
    "When you have fear, bad things happen."
    C. Fason

  7. #7
    gregair13's Avatar
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    i thought he was really good until the first INT. and then all the wheels feel off
    We're bringing purple back.

  8. #8
    cajunvike's Avatar
    cajunvike is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    NOT our problem anymore!

  9. #9
    sleepagent is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    "gregair13" wrote:
    i thought he was really good until the first INT. and then all the wheels feel off
    Classic Culpepper . . . choking when its matters most!

    "No Greater Friend . . . No Worse Enemy. U.S. MARINES"

  10. #10
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    Re: Orlando Sentinel Article

    "sleepagent" wrote:
    "gregair13" wrote:
    i thought he was really good until the first INT. and then all the wheels feel off
    Classic Culpepper . . . choking when its matters most!
    Like in the come behind a 17-0 defecit to beat GB last year? That kind of choking?

    Granted DC is not a word class QB, but he is still better than a lot of them out there. Don't forget he also has several NFL records in the books with his name next to them.

    His 2 biggest flaws: Not being able to read a defense & too small of hands which causes him to fumble.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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