Last week against Michigan State the Vernon Adams hype train got derailed. For the first time in a while, Duck fans collectively realized that Adams is not Marcus Mariota. This week a report came out that Adams played the Michigan State game with a broken finger on his throwing hand.
While it’s admirable to see him playing through pain, the fact is that if Oregon wants to make a run at the playoffs this year, they will need Adams as healthy as possible — that’s where Jeff Lockie comes in.
Lockie, by virtue of his long tenure at Oregon behind Mariota, has an intimate knowledge of the Ducks’ offense. His knowledge of the offense, along with the sheer talent of Oregon’s players, should be more than enough to handle Georgia State this week.
No offense to Georgia State, but they are not going to win this game or even make it close — if the Ducks start Adams with a broken finger against Georgia State then they are putting themselves into a high-risk, no-reward situation.
While everyone pretty much agrees that Adams needs to get more experience under his belt, it is equally important for him to be healthy for the meat of Oregon’s schedule.
As Sean Larson wrote in his article for Addicted To Quack, “Adams would probably get more out of practice than he would this actual game.”
Rantsports writer Tyler Brett also puts out a compelling case for why Adams should sit in this game, “… knowing what we know now about the health of his hand, some of the late miscues offensively start to make sense.”
He goes on to list how Adams missed two open receivers on the last drive of the game, which ultimately led to the loss. Had Adams been healthy he likely wouldn’t have missed those wide-open plays – but having Lockie on the field for that last drive would have put the Ducks in a better position than Adams with an injured throwing hand.
And that is why you rest Adams for a game, maybe even two games, and give his hand a bit of time to heal. The one issue Oregon could have happen by starting Lockie is a possible quarterback controversy if Lockie plays really well, but that is the other benefit of sitting Adams.
If Lockie comes out and plays extremely well against Georgia State and potentially Utah, then maybe he will prove that he really should be the starter for Oregon.
While Adams has all the talent in the world, he is not as familiar with the system as Lockie is, so it is possible that if they let Adams sit for a time, Lockie could take the job and never give it back.
Either way, the Ducks win by having the best quarterback for the job out there, whether that is a semi-healthy Adams or a fully-healthy Lockie.
In the end we all know that Oregon is going to win this week, and should win next week at home against Utah. So why put Vernon Adams in harm’s way?
Is it really worth blowing out an opponent by a few more points to risk some sort of freak accident that makes his injury worse? Be smart. Start Lockie and let Adams get his hand as right as possible before the Ducks get into the meat of the schedule in October.
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove
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