Friday, September 18, 2009

Joe's Turn, Joe's Team

The off-season preached to us...stability...leadership...focus.

For Dawg fans the past couple of weeks have been anything but stable and focused. We've gone nutty when the team plane left our starting QB in Athens on September 4th. And the message boards got down right blurry with hysteria last Thursday when it was reported that Joe had just come out of a shoulder removing surgery.

The good news has been that there is plenty of leadership. Say what you will about Cox's on field performance against the Cowboys and the Gamecocks, it is quite evident that this is HIS team. In fact I would venture to guess that this was becoming his team before the end of last season. He has command of the huddle and he has a team that won't quit on him.

Cox may not have the sexy arm that Stafford brought 'tween the hedges. But he's got moxie that oozes out his earholes. He's not as media savvy and polished (thank God). And he's only leading up to his fourth career start.

But you can already feel the JC groove, or The Ginger Assassin as Stuff of Legend refers to him. He may not be solid as a rock in the pocket, but he's always ready to roll. He's a little less manicured lawn and a little more junkyard.

As much as I appreciate Stafford's talent and all of the wins he brought us, I get the feeling Cox takes losses a little more personal. From Stafford's comments after losses last season, you really couldn't get a feel as to how it affected him truly. Cox's heart is closer to his sleeve.

But not enough to tebawl like a baby in front of rolling cameras....

If you ask me if Stafford cared deeply about winning for Georgia I would answer confidently YES. But if you were to ask me if our current starting QB is more vested in his team's success this season than our starting QB last season, I would be inclined to give you the same answer. Cox has no playing future after this season. This is the one season he's prepared for for years.

Many fans point to the guys behind #14 as being better alternatives. I love ya...but you're wrong. I too wanna see Gray contribute to this offense and I'm certain that we will. But Cox is our starter and this is his team. It was Cox who told his team to straighten up during the off-season, and guess what? They did. And it was Cox that garnered 107 votes as team captain. So he's vested in the team and they apparently are vested in him as their leader.

Of course, I've seen what you have. Cox's footwork isn't what I had hoped for thus far and his decision making at times is not as determined as I'd like. That sack + fumble he took in the SC game was on him. It wasn't a blown blocking assignment. It was a corner blitz and Cox needs to get that ball outta there. Either put it in play or live to play another down. Luckily Thomas' arms are as strong as his legs are quick.

But look at the depth chart Reader. Mett's not near ready. Putting Murray in meaningful game situations would only lead us to the Music City at best...and could stunt his growth as a potential future, he ain't where Stafford was during his freshman season.

Gray brings a look that I think will compliment this offense nicely. Saturday night on his one play from scrimmage, he was one quick decision away from a big...and I mean BIG gain. Instead of reading the rush end as a sell for Thomas and keeping the ball on the option he handed it off.

That tells me all I need to know: Gray isn't ready for the starter's job. So I trust in Coach Richt to put the right QB under center. Down ten early to the Lamecocks, no problem. While their QB was keying cars ours was listening, learning. While Ryan Mallett was sobering up in a jail cell, Joe Cox was throwing to his receivers in skeletons. Yes, Richt has the right man barking in the huddle. He has a man low on starts but who's cup runneth over in leadership.

And that man is no boy. That man is Joe Cox.


RedCrake said...

Well said.

Also, if South Park has taught us anything, Joe is closer to being a Daywalker than a true ginger...those freckles are very faint.

MikeInValdosta said...

Great read, Bernie. Stafford knew he had more football to play. Joe knows this is the end for him, between the lines anyway.

I think the vast majority of folks strongly support Cox as starter and recognize he gives us the best chance to win.

Game situations have not really allowed for it yet, but we need Gray to get some snaps. The first series of the 2nd qtr would be nice. With that experience, perhaps by Halloween, he will fake the dive and keep it for a 40 yd td against that team from down south.

Go Dawgs!

Pumpdawg said...

I agree with Mike.We need someone else getting some snaps.Joe has admitted himself that his shoulder is not 100%.What happens if he takes a hit ala Sam Bradford?We will be forced to throw Gray or Murray in there with no battle testing.

dean said...

In Joe I trust. It's easy to forget he's a first year stater.

On a separate note was I the only one getting funny looks last Saturday when yelling "Let's go Cox"?

Bernie said...

RedCrake - Daywalker +10
Mike - your comment reads too sober -10
Pump - I agree we NEED to play Gray. In fact, if we utilize Gray (and other playmakers) it could mean the difference b/t 8-4 and 10+ wins, imo.
dean - glad you made it out of the stadium ;)