Wednesday, Urban Meyer announced that Cardale Jones would start this weekend against Western Michigan. I quipped that perhaps Meyer was either watching a different game than most of us, or that Jones perhaps had something on him. Clearly they were both jokes, but let’s tease out Meyer’s decision a bit further. Full disclosure: I’ve been on the J.T. Barrett train since the end of last season. I believe Barrett brings consistency and experience that Jones doesn’t bring. I’ve also said MANY times that I’m not an X’s and O’s guy and I live my entire life based on the ‘eye test.’ So I guess I should make the case for Cardale Jones while the rest of America makes the case for Barrett.
Remember, it’s a lot harder to play devil’s advocate than it is to back up your position.
So, let’s state the obvious: Cardale Jones as a starter is 6-0 and has won a national championship. That’s factual even if not a complete version of the facts. Here’s the rest, Cardale Jones played the final three games in the 2014-2015 season and no other person played quarterback in those games. The accuracy of Cardale Jones is questionable at best. Many times this season he's overthrown and underthrown his receivers, or, well thrown it to the wrong team.
In the first three games of this season, Jones’ Total Quarterback Rating (QBR; created by ESPN) is 73.4 versus Barrett’s 33.4. Now, the number is not-surprisingly skewed towards Jones because he did take a lot more snaps in the Virginia Tech game than Barrett did.
So, that doesn’t really help us much – does it?
Last week versus Northern Illinois, Jones threw two interceptions. One in the rain and one after a misread. He didn’t manage to lead the team to a touchdown drive, which without looking it up, seems like the first time that’s happened over the past six games.
J.T. Barrett wasn’t awesome. At all. He took more snaps than Jones did on Saturday, but I’m not sure that wasn’t more of an in-game tryout than anything else? What do I know?
And certainly not more than Urban Meyer does about football. We can all talk about Meyer’s past and the drama that he brings everywhere he goes, but he knows how to coach a team. So, if he and his what seems like five offensive coordinators think Cardale Jones is the best option, what am I to say?
I think we’re beyond the point in the season and probably Meyer’s career where we see him try and repeat switching quarterbacks like he did with Tim Tebow and Chris Leak, but there are few things that are obvious needs of work:
- The offensive line- They haven’t played well, and they were especially bad last week. As in, really bad.
- Ezekiel Elliott- He hasn’t done much because of the point above. Elliott needs holes, and considering the team has at least eight offensive starters coming back, it’s a complete surprise they can’t create space for him.
- Jones’ short game-It’s basically non-existent. I understand his nickname is 12-guage, so he can throw far, but in order to help the offense move and shake, he needs to develop the short game for Elliott and Braxton Miller. Also, feel free to look at some of the other people who might be open.
- Braxton Miller is everywhere- I guess we can’t get enough of Braxton Miller, which is fine, but I FEEL like Jones and to some extent Barrett are focused so much on getting the ball to Miller that they’re forgetting everyone else. Again, probably only my feeling, but I feel like Barrett and Jones are getting Miller the ball so much because they feel like they took his job. Then again, this could be a directive from the play-caller. Either way, stop. Spread the ball.
- Joey Bosa- I know he’s there, and I understand offenses are keying on him, but I need to hear his name more than once or twice per game. A few years ago I suggested he would be Ohio State’s most valuable player, but obviously that’s all changed. The defense has been rockin’ thanks to Vonn Bell and Adolphus Washington, but I miss my guy Joey Bosa. #FreeBosa
ALL this said, if I were Ohio State’s coach, I would start J.T. Barrett, but thankfully I’m just a dude with a website.