Good Karma for Carr
Last year, I approached the PR folks at the Houston Texans about a Press feature story on David Carr, which would liken him to the wily Earl of My Name is Earl. The team loved the idea — especially the photos, which would feature Steve McKinney as Randy and this Texans hottie as Catalina. The angle would be that Carr had some good karma coming to him after being quite the boy scout while he suffered four lousy seasons.
Carr wasn't unemployed long, as he recently signed with the Carolina Panthers as a backup to ragin' Cajun Jake Delhomme. And while sitting on the bench after being selected No. 1 overall in 2002 and leading a franchise seems like a demotion, it actually is good karma for Carr.
The chiseled, church-goin' Carr should get along famously in Raleigh, North Carolina. The city loves them some character guys. And with good reason: The Panthers were the inspiration for the fictional, bastardly Cougars football team on Playmakers, the short-lived but surprisingly accurate ESPN melodrama. The Panthers once had Rae Carruth on the roster — a man who conspired to kill his pregnant girlfriend, was busted, then hid from cops in the trunk of his car, peeing in milk bottles and subsisting on Snickers bars. (Nice.) Oh, and those cheerleaders who allegedly engaged in hot lesbian action in a Florida bar bathroom? You guessed it — they shook their ample pom-poms for the Panthers.
So yeah, after reading some of the posts on Panthers blogs and forums, D.C. might as well be J.C. But could D.C., who's currently being greeted by adoring fans waving palm branches (You'll forgive the Easter analogy, yes?) eventually be crucified by those who are professing their faith, hope and love in him? If he melts down the minute he sees a zone coverage and a three-man rush, hells yeah.
Thing is, Carr has everything in Carolina that he so painfully lacked here. For starters, there's an offensive line that's worthy of mention, anchored by first-rounder Jordan Gross on the right side, and Travelle Wharton — who'll be watching Carr's back — on the left. There's not one, but two very serviceable running backs, DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams. Carolina also boasts Steve Freakin' Smith, who's more explosive than a Dell laptop battery.
Aaaannd, the team boasts a nasty defense that features Julius Peppers, the No. 2 pick in the 2002 draft, right after Carr. Peppers is a beast and a real six-foot-seven pass rusher who's actually worthy of the first pick in the NFL draft — unlike a certain pass rusher the Texans selected last year. (D'oh!) This means the Carolina Panthers now have the first two picks from the 2002 NFL draft. (Some trivia: The last time a team had the top two picks was... anyone? Anyone? Yes! The 1997-99, Oakland Raiders, who nabbed both Russell Maryland and the late, great Eric Turner, the first choices in the 1991 draft.)
Oh, and there's the little issue of coaching, which Carr had nearly none of here, as evidenced by his ol' pal Andre Johnson in this AP story. Carolina's John Fox is a charismatic, energetic, true player's coach. You may remember him as the man who led his team to the Super Bowl here in Houston — the only Super Bowl H-town will see in a very long time.
So yeah, David Carr never did pan out the way Texans fans hoped he would. Never mind that he suffered under coaching that rivaled this duo for Most Incompetent. During his entire Houston tenure, he was on his back more than this young lady. Yet Carr never called out his coaching staff, an offensive line that rolled over more than the French, or even the fans who turned on him while he was busy getting gang-banged by 330-pound defensive linemen. For his effort, Carr was given 16 games to turn around four years of hell, and was then cut for a backup. Funny how history repeats itself: The same thing happened to Houston quarterback Warren Moon.
Ah, but as the sage Earl reminds us: Do good things and good things happen to you. Carr can now ride Carolina's bench and watch the game from afar. He can relearn his position and regain his confidence. And by midseason, he could potentially fill in for a now brittle Cajun QB, and take over a team that's all but guaranteed a run for the playoffs. Essentially, he could go farther in Carolina in eight games than he ever did in H-town.
Yep, karma. Like Earl, Carr could finally have it all. Well, except for Catalina. — Steven Devadanam