Revered Fox Sports color commentator Joel Klatt recently launched his own podcast, and in its second episode, he devoted himself to discussing the Michigan football quarterback situation.
In Week 1, the Wolverines started starter Cade McNamara, who went 9-for-18 for 136 yards and a touchdown against Colorado State. He was far from inspiring considering that corn and blue return most of his offensive production. But in Week 2, Michigan will start JJ McCarthy, the former five-star, who came on against CSU to go 4-for-4 for 30 yards while rushing three times for 50 yards and a touchdown. Head coach Jim Harbaugh hopes to make a final decision on his starter for 2022 entering Week 3, assuming one quarterback gets ahead of the other.
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McNamara had a chance to show off his skills in Week 1, and with McCarthy getting his shot against Hawaii, there’s a chance he won’t relinquish the position.
So what does Klatt think? He broke it all down in a lengthy segment, sharing what Michigan fans should want to see, what each brings to the table, and more.
“I think Jim Harbaugh is in a bind with these two quarterbacks, because you can’t just assess what you think is a player in his prime,” Klatt said. “And we have to start with the fact that Cade McNamara just beat Ohio State. He just won the Big Ten championship and led Michigan to the playoffs. He is 13-3 as a starter. He has won 13 of his last 15 games, this is a player who is playing at a high level. I know Michigan fans would love for him to be a little taller, particularly after the Georgia game, in which it probably looked like Michigan under Cade McNamara was maxed out, but the bottom line is this guy wins. He doesn’t make many mistakes and his teammates respect him a lot.
“So you have to understand from Jim Harbaugh’s perspective, folks. She is in a bind. That’s why, as a Michigan fan, he would really support two out of three results. OK, there are three possible things that are going to happen on Saturday against Hawaii, two of them are good for Michigan, very good. One of them that is very bad for Wolverines fans. JJ McCarthy is going to play great, he’s going to play horrible, or he’s just going to be fine. You should cheer Michigan fans on whether he’s great or horrible. Give me the Band-Aid performance JJ McCarthy: make it clear, rip off the Band-Aid. That’s okay, because the last thing Michigan fans want is the same kind of walk through the season as we saw last year, where one guy is the quarterback and you’re setting guys up and JJ is buying time from him. But is it the headline? Could it be the owner?
“There was a lot of indecision last year, at least until the end of the season, and nobody wants that. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t want that. So you want JJ McCarthy’s Band-Aid performance, give me an A or an F. Because the bottom line is that this decision for Jim Harbaugh is going to be made, not by the plays JJ McCarthy makes, but by the mistakes he potentially doesn’t or doesn’t make. Because Cade, that’s what he’s done, folks. Right? Jim Harbaugh knows and trusts what Cade McNamara can do. He can win 10 games, probably 11, maybe 11 this year? maybe 12? I don’t know. He did it last year, he overcame the Ohio State rut. Can he do it again? Remember, he didn’t have to be great against that Buckeye team that was clearly banged up on defense. Michigan ran the ball on 20 of the last 24 plays in the second half. He only threw four passes and they were plays that were advantageous shooting situations.
“So the question is: Can Cade McNamara take you to a level where he could get into a potential shootout if need be with CJ Stroud? I think Michigan fans question that. They say, ‘You know what, I don’t know if Cade McNamara can do that because he couldn’t take his game to the next level when we really needed it, when we needed a quarterback to get through the X’s and O’s against Georgia. And JJ McCarthy could be that. He is the shiny object. College football fans and football fans in general love shiny new items. As a guy who started for three years in Colorado, I’ll tell you that my least favorite thing is backup quarterbacks. Oh man listen, Eric Greenberg, James Cox, Brian, I love you guys. I love you guys. I just don’t love backup quarterbacks. Those were my endorsements at the University of Colorado and I just hated the feeling of ‘Oh, there’s something better there. There is something better there. And, that is not always the case.
“So it’s going to come down to this: Can JJ McCarthy play consistent football, not turn the ball over and really grace the floor for Michigan? Because Jim Harbaugh is trying to maximize the upside potential of him, which is clearly JJ McCarthy, and minimize exposure to the downside, which is clearly JJ McCarthy. Cade is right in the middle. You know, it’s the solid retirement plan, 401k, and you’re not going to lose a lot of money. I won’t make you much money, but boy is he very stable.
“So Michigan fans, you should be rooting for an A or an F this weekend, okay? I don’t know which one it will be. I have a good idea. Hawaii is not very good. What is spread? 25-30? I’m going to look at that. I’m going to look at that. We will come back to that and to module three, which will be released on Thursday.”