Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Star Quarterbacks Quad (and Tim Couch)

This is the last of the quads that I picked up from the two four count Ebay lots.  It's the most valuable of them all because it has Brett Favre on it.  I'm always surprised the value stays up on cards like this even when it's paired with a much crappier player like the guy we'll see below.
Tim Couch, as we all know now, was the first pick of the 1999 draft by the "expansion" Browns.  They chose Couch to reignite their franchise, though we now though they could have also chosen Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper (maybe Aaron Brooks counts too since he was technically better).  Heck, Shaun King and Brock Huard could've been better were they given more opportunities.  About the only consolation the Browns have is that they didn't chose Cade McNown or Akili Smith, who were each, inarguably, even worse than Couch.  So there's that.

Couch started 14 of 16 games in his rookie season, and did okay with 15 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.  But he was sacked a league leading 56 times, which is impressive since he started 2 games less than most QBs.  The next season Couch only made it through 7 games before facing injury, and by then it was clear that he wasn't going to be able to do much behind the Browns awful offensive line.  In 2001 Couch did improve a lot, and then in 2002 he was even better as he was able to lead the Browns to a 9-7 record (8-6 in his starts) and their only playoff appearance since returning to the league.  Unfortunately for Couch, he was hurt in the season finale, and backup Kelly Holcomb's fantastic showing in the 33-36 playoff loss pretty much cemented Couch's fate with the team.  The next season Couch only started 8 games, and those would be the last 8 games Couch would play in the NFL.

As for his legacy, I don't like to think of Couch as the "#1 draft bust" that many consider him.  Ryan Leaf was worse, Dam McGwire was worse, Todd Marinovich was worse, David Klinger was worse, I'd argue JaMarcus Russell was worse, and you could make an argument that Brady Quinn was worse than Tim Couch.  Blaine Gabbert is also definitely worse than Couch was.  That being said, Couch still wasn't the best pick, and I'm sure the Browns wish they had had a mobile QB like McNabb or Culpepper behind that sieve of a line instead of Couch.

Brett Favre is a freakin' legend.  I'd assume you all know that, but here's a few things I didn't know:
- Favre was a 2nd round draft pick in 1991.  Atlanta actually had two picks they used before Favre, one on DB Bruce Pickens and one on WR Mike Pritchard.  They played a combined 5 and a half seasons in Atlanta, which is still 4 and a half more than Favre did, but isn't great.
- Favre is one of only two QB in his class to throw more TD than INT.  The other is Craig Erickson, who threw 41 TD and 38 INT (this was an awful QB draft class, Scott Zolak and Browning Nagle are your potential third best QB overall).  You then have to go to RB to find other positive guys, with Harvey Williams (2:0), Jon Vaughn (1:0), and Ricky Watters (1:0) all in the positives.
- K John Kasay was the last remaining member of the 1991 draft class, as he outlasted Favre by one year.
- Favre threw four passes for those 1991 Falcons.  Two were interceptions.  He was also sacked once.
- I mentioned how Donovan McNabb rarely threw interceptions a few posts back.  Favre pretty much always did.  We all know he's the career leader in picks, but did you know he never threw less than 13 in a season as a Packer, including a career high of 29 in 2005.  That's why his 33 touchdown, 7 interception 2009 with the Vikings was such a revelation at the time.  The next year he threw 19 interceptions though, so things balanced out.

I've talked about both these QBs prior to their appearance on this card, so here's just a few notes about their placement with these particular players.
- I like McNabb being on a card with Couch...kind of rubs it in for the Cleveland coaching staff.
- I like McNabb being with Favre...Mr. no INT vs. the all time INT leader.
- I like that Brees even got a card in this set., let alone two  At the time everyone thought Doug Flutie would be the starting QB...but Brees took the job by storm and started all 16 games in his sophomore year.
- I love the color variations on the card.  Two shades of green, a dark blue, and then Cleveland brown.  So nice.

Who wins the card? Favre should win, but I'm giving it to Brees.  Brees lost on the Chargers card to LT and Favre will have another chance to win on the Packers card.  Brees has also been a lot more efficient than Favre over the course of his career, and I give respect points for that.

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