I didn't want to step on Dave's entire campaign—he probably has the whole thing planned out in advance. But it occurred to me that probably he and everyone else forgot one position: who is the best bench-sitter, the best pine-rider, the top all-time Saints clipboard holder? Answering that question is a task about as gratifying as cleaning a grease trap or doing your sister's taxes. But it's the deep offseason, and we're Saints fans; and so for our sins we'll just have to knock back a few drinks and get it done.
They are the sweepings of history. Especially on a team like the Saints, where such luminaries as Gary Cuozzo, Steve Walsh, and Heath Shuler have been starters, the position of number 2 quarterback has been pretty thankless.
Some have risen to start: Billy Kilmer after one season; Bobby Hebert; Aaron Brooks. We won't consider them. One (Dave Wilson) rose to starter before sinking back into the shadows, beaten out by Hebert. We will consider him. Many of them started at times due to injury on the field or confusion in the front office; and one year (1999) we didn't have a starting quarterback at all—just a rotation of backups (Billy Joe Tolliver, Billy Joe Hobert, Jake Delhomme).
Then there were the bit players, those who barely saw the field—either because they weren't around very long (Karl Sweetan), or because they weren't around for very long twice (Delhomme), or because they played behind Drew Brees (Jamie Martin, Mark Brunell). We won't consider them, either.
That leaves us with a corps of solid mediocrity, and here they are. There will be no bathing suit or evening gown competition, so you can rest easy; but in case of a tie the remaining rivals must answer the following question: If you win this poll, what kind of message will that send out to the young girls of today?
|EDD HARGETT||205 of 437, 2727 yards, 11 TDs, 10 Int||4 seasons||(Billy Kilmer, Archie Manning)|
|Hargett actually has decent stats, except for his completion percentage...and even that isn't heinous considering the era. But unlike a lot of starters for the early Saints, he threw more TDs than interceptions. On a personal note: he was my late father's least-favorite player. He'd walk out of the room is Hargett took the field.|
|BOBBY SCOTT||237 of 500, 2,781 yards, 15 TDs, 28 Int||9 seasons||(Archie Manning)|
|Scott served as backup longer than any other candidate...and he served under only one field general, Archie Manning. Let's face it, no matter what his talent or ability, Archie Manning's cat could have raped the punter and Scott still wouldn't have seen the field. Much.|
|DAVE WILSON||551 of 1,039, 6,987 yards, 36 TDs, 55 Int||7 seasons||(Archie Manning, Ken Stabler, Richard Todd, Bobby Hebert)|
|Wilson was something unique in Saints history: the "Quarterback of the Future" who bombed in slow motion. Usually, whoever played QOTF failed quickly; Wilson teased the fan base for five years before it became obvious he was a lost cause. Was it the knee injury, or were the Saints just starry-eyed dreamers to take him in the first round of the 1981 supplemental draft?|
|JOHN FOURCADE||159 of 313, 2,312 yards, 14 TDs, 15 Int||4 seasons||(Bobby Hebert, Steve Walsh)|
|Fourcade was a local hero, the quarterback for Archbishop Shaw and Ole Miss. He bounced around among the CFL, the NFL, and the Arena League before latching on with the Saints as a—pardon the expression—scab and going 2-1 as a starter in the magical 1987 season. That guaranteed him a spot in the fans' hearts...and on the bench. Fourcade again stepped into the starters role briefly in 1990, and again the Saints made the playoffs...but he was waived the next year.|
|MIKE BUCK||35 of 60, 519 yards, 4 TDs, 4 Int||3 seasons||(Bobby Hebert, Wade Wilson)|
|Who the hell was Mike Buck? Only the backup with the best career passer rating (87.7). Other than that...who the hell was Mike Buck?|
|DOUG NUSSMEIER||46 of 82, 455 yards, 1 TD, 4 Int||2 seasons||(Jim Everett)|
|Nussmeier will be forever remembered for being one of only 28 left-handed quarterbacks to play in the NFL.|
|BILLY JOE TOLLIVER||249 of 467, 3,343 yards, 15 TDs, 20 Int||2 seasons||(Kerry Collins, Billy Joe Hobert)|
|Billy Joe Tolliver won a national championship at Washington, then lost his college eligibility. Then he went to Buffalo and admitted he never read the playbook. Then he was picked up by—who else?—the Saints. No wait, DAMN! ...that was Billy Joe Hobert.|
|BILLY JOE HOBERT||157 of 313, 2,031 yards, 13 TDs, 14 Int||3 seasons||(Heath Shuler, Kerry Collins)|
|Okay, so Billy Joe Hobert was the guy from Washington. Unlike Billy Joe Tolliver, he didn't play for Texas Tech, was never benched for Mark Vlasic, and didn't replace himself after being injured. Twice. He also didn't say that Mike Ditka was "a heck of a football coach," nor did he treat himself with WD-40. But he did play on the same team, in the same year, in the same position, as another guy named Billy Joe.|
|DANNY WUERFFEL||126 of 258, 1,404, 9 TDs, 16 Int||3 seasons||(Heath Schuler, Kerry Collins, Billy Joe Tolliver, Billy Joe Hobert)|
|Wuerffel arrived during one of the most confusing periods in Saints history for the quarterback position: Heath Schuler, Kerry Collins, Billy Joe Hobert, and Billy Joe Tolliver played Chinese fire drill for three seasons, none of them being able to hold onto the starter's job. And Wueffel still was barely able to get time on the field.|
|TODD BOUMAN||75 of 135, 803 yards, 3 TDs, 7 Int||3 seasons||(Aaron Brooks)|
|Our last candidate, Todd Bouman, served behind Aaron Brooks in the days when you thought that Brooks might actually pan out, if your name was Jim Haslett. The high point of his career was going 0-3 as a starter in the dismal 2005 season.|