Because one or 2 people with sway talk junk about him, and everyone else decides to pile on...
On a roster where we are devoid of elite talent and rebuiliding with a rookie Head Coach & QB, why are we contstantly critisising a player who has the genuine ability to be a future Hall of Famer?
I understand the counter argument, that he is not playing at an elite level, due to injuries, zone blocking scheme etc and the fact he wants top tier money.
My argument is this. If Jake Long was a player who did not play through injury and we had a rookie Right Tackle ( J Martin) starting at LT, how much would the fans be craving for the return of Jake Long? People have to remember that this guy has played through injuries when most other would not have. Not just in games that matter but games that have no meaning what so ever (Sparano).
In a contract year, Jake Long, before anybody else, would have realised he was not physically upto performing at his best this season. Yet we have heard no drama with demands for a new contract, rumours of wanting away or complaints about different schemes or having to play through injuries.
If Jake Long hits the open market, I have no doubt that franchises like the Steelers or Ravens would be clamouring after a LT, who has played elite 4/5 seasons, played through injuries, attracts no negative attention and is an ultimate team leader.
Out of any player on this roster, if you asked the question,...... which player would do you believe in, returning to his best ability after down season due to previous niggling injuries? I would come up with Jake Long immediately. I also believe most others would too.
The problem with Long is he's commanding an elite salary, and he's playing average to good. He's not even very good right now. And so he isn't earning his keep.
The context of course is that he's a free agent next year. Would you pay him top dollar (within a long term deal, which limits your ability to cut him later) *right now*? That's the main question.
He has not been at his best but the problem that no one is thinking about is who are you going to replace him with that is better and I dont want to use our first round pick on a LT. Every team in the NFL would look at picking him up if we just let him walk, so that is saying we would be stupid to let him go.
Because right now he is playing like DogS_it. I can think of several instances this year where people have blown by Jake. We are lucky Tanny has not had a major injury.
dolphone summed it up. Hes playing like ass and he s getting paid like the best LT in the league. What Matt Ryan is doing in ATL now doesnt help either.
He's a revolving door this year. No doubt I'd resign him, but to an average salary. If he thinks he's still elite, he can get his giant ego the f*** out
It is not personal but because he has proven that he can play at a high level and is paid accordingly, it is reasonable to expect him to be currently playing as an elite OT. It comes with the territory of being a #1 pick in a draft. He needs to rapidly improve or we should let him walk.