Two cents on signal callers - Give us a quarter back

September 26, 2004|by MARK KELLER

Who'd have thought that the most stable quarterback situations in the area would be at the high school level?

Heck, two college and two pro teams might be better off with a couple of the prep stars from around here.

No matter how radio man Johnny Holliday tries to spin it, Maryland's Joel Statham was awful Saturday against Duke.

Statham threw three interceptions, was charged with three fumbles and often looked lost in the Terrapins' 55-21 win over Duke.

Yes, he threw for 362 yards. Yes, he threw four touchdown passes. Yes, he is young and short on experience.

But this was Duke! Duke football, for pete's sake! The Terps might have gotten more of a challenge from Coach K's basketball team.

Growing pains are to be expected when a new quarterback takes over, particularly when his predecessor was as successful as Scott McBrien was for the Terps. But Statham has shown little thus far to make fans forget the recent past.


Penn State fans, however, seem to have forgotten the recent past - a past in which quarterback Zack Mills, a Frederick County native, played well for the Nittany Lions.

Mills stormed onto the college scene, setting school records for passing yards in a game by a freshman and, as a sophomore, passing yards in a game by any quarterback.

But it's been downhill ever since for Mills. He's been injured at times, but he's also been inconsistent.

He threw just six touchdown passes last season and was responsible for six turnovers (four fumbles and two interceptions) last week against Central Florida, albeit a victory for the Nittany Lions.

Things will get even tougher for Mills as Penn State prepares to begin Big Ten play. If Penn State struggles, Mills could be replaced as the starter.

Meanwhile, Patrick Ramsey isn't even getting a chance to become the Washington Redskins' starter, even after Mark Brunell suffered a hamstring injury in the 'Skins' loss to the New York Giants last week.

The word all week had been that Ramsey would get the start Monday against the Dallas Cowboys, a start Ramsey surely planned to use as an audition to keep the lead role under Joe Gibbs.

Then along came Saturday and the news that Brunell will start after all. It seems Brunell's hammy healed faster than was expected and he'd like to remain the starter, thank you.

In Baltimore, Kyle Boller remains the Ravens' quarterback by default. He, too, has been less than impressive in two starts this season - losing to Cleveland (yes, that Cleveland) and throwing for a whopping 98 yards against Pittsburgh last week.

Wasn't coach Brian Billick a quarterback guru before coming to Baltimore? What's happened since he made the move? (Before you start ranting about that Super Bowl win, you and I both know that one was courtesy of the defense. We're talking quarterbacks here. George Blanda could have quarterbacked that team to the title.)

All told, Billick has made the right move so far this year.

I mean, his other option is Kordell Stewart.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at

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