Saintly Heroes: Quarterback Jim Everett – (CSC) Saints News

A retrospective look back at the career of a
sometimes forgotten Saints star

Orleans Saints
have completed a little more than one week
of their 2018 training camp. While we excitedly watch today’s
players and anxiously anticipate their hopeful successes in the
2018 NFL season, let’s not forget that the Saints have had a number
of great players and people throughout the franchise’s history.
Today, we look back at one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks during
his prime, and one that often gets left out of the conversation
when talking about the most productive signal callers in Saints
franchise history.

Jim Everett, QB

Angeles Rams

~New Orleans Saints (1994-96)

~San Diego Chargers (1997)

Jim Everett

Jim Everett played
collegiately at Purdue, where he would eventually be inducted into
their Hall of Fame in 1999. After leading the Boilermakers to the
in 1984, he would set a Big Ten record in 1985 with
3,651 passing yards. It was a conference record that would stand
until 1998, when broken by fellow Purdue alum Drew Brees. Everett
came into the NFL as the 3rd overall draft choice by the Houston
Oilers in the 1986 draft, behind only Bo Jackson, selected by Tampa
Bay with the first overall pick, and Tony Casillas, who was taken
by Atlanta with the second. After failing to agree on a contract,
the Oilers, who already had a future Hall of Fame quarterback in
Warren Moon, would eventually trade Everett to the Los Angeles Rams
after the 1986 season had begun. The ’86 draft would shape the NFC
West for years to come. The San
Francisco 49ers
added wide receiver John Taylor, linemen
Steve Wallace and Kevin Fagan, fullback Tom Rathman, defensive
backs Tim McKyer and Don Griffin, along with future Hall of Fame
pass rusher Charles Haley. These players were important additions
to the core of a 49ers team that would go on to win Super Bowl
championships following the 1988 and ’89 seasons. The draft was
fruitful for the Saints as well, adding players such as tackle Jim
Dombrowski, linebacker Pat Swilling, and running backs Dalton
Hilliard, Reuben Mayes, and Gil Fenerty with their draft
selections, helping form a roster that would make them a
competitive force in the division. Atlanta? Well, they were still
the Falcons, but the Rams added a franchise quarterback, one that
they thought could be the missing piece for a Super Bowl
championship. Los Angeles had a powerful offensive line led by
future Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater, Pro Bowlers Doug Smith
and Dennis Harrah, and rookie Tom Newberry. Record-setting running
back Eric Dickerson was in the prime of what would be a Hall of
Fame career, and wide receiver Henry Ellard was one of the most
feared deep threats in the league. Hard-nosed head coach John
Robinson oversaw a tough defense headlined by Pro Bowl defensive
back LeRoy Irvin and young dynamic pass rusher Kevin Greene,
another future Hall of Famer. The Rams had made it to the NFC
Championship game following the 1985 season, but lack of consistent
quarterback play made them one dimensional, and it finally caught
up with them when they were destroyed by the Chicago Bears in the
conference championship. Los Angeles had big expectations for their
big, strong armed franchise quarterback, but had not anticipated
Everett playing a great deal in his first season, since he had not
even joined the team until after the 1986 season had started.

Los Angeles
Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

The ’86 season began slowly
for a Rams offense that would wind up finishing the season last in
the league in passing offense. The team started the season 7-4, but
increasingly ineffective quarterback play forced Coach John
Robinson to insert his prized pupil signal caller into the starting
lineup, ready or not. Everett’s first career NFL start was in a
week 12 home game against their division rival, the New Orleans
Saints. He completed just 7 of 20 pass attempts for 56 yards and
two interceptions, but Everett ran for a score, and was bolstered
by an opportunistic defense to give him his first career win in a
26-13 victory. The rookie had some ups and downs, but did lead his
team to a wildcard playoff spot, where they would lose to the
Washington Redskins. The 1987 season was a tumultuous one for
Everett and the Rams. First, a player’s strike forced the
cancellation of one game, and forced most NFL teams to play three
games with replacement players. Then Los Angeles dealt away running
back Eric Dickerson in a blockbuster move that deprived Everett of
one of the best offensive weapons in the league. The Rams began the
season 1-7, their worst start since 1965, and causing them to miss
the playoffs. They would rebound with a vengeance in 1988 with a
revamped offense built around their star quarterback. Jim Everett
led the NFL in touchdown passes (31), while his 3,964 passing yards
and 308 completions were second in the league, as the Rams finished
10-6 and once again returned to the postseason. The 1989 Los
Angeles Rams were one of the most prolific offenses in the league.
Everett would again lead the NFL in touchdown passes with 29, while
throwing for what would be a career best 4,310 yards, good for
second in the league. The Rams finished with an 11-5 record and
again returned to the playoffs, but their Super Bowl dreams were
crushed with a 30-3 pummeling at the hands of Joe Montana and the
powerhouse San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
Everett made many NFL defenses look foolish that season, but maybe
none moreso than the New Orleans Saints. Avenging a loss to the
Saints earlier that year, Everett threw for 454 yards and a score
in a brilliant performance during a late November prime time
showdown in the Superdome against their division rival. The game is
best remembered for a still-NFL record 336 yards receiving by L.A.
wideout Flipper Anderson, but it was Everett who overcame six sacks
and an overall beating from the Saints to deliver a key victory.
Ironically, the 20-17 win would be Everett’s last victory against
New Orleans in a Los Angeles uniform.

Jets V Rams

That ’89 season was the
high-water mark for Jim Everett’s Rams teams. Although Charles
White and Greg Bell would give the team adequate rushing
performances, the trading of Dickerson in 1987 robbed them of an
elite rusher, and increasingly poor defensive performances would
put all pressure on Everett and his star wideouts Anderson and
Henry Ellard to deliver victory. Everett often took a horrendous
beating, and even though he continued to produce statistics among
the tops in the league, the punishment would take a toll. He still
managed to start 100 consecutive games between 1987-93, but the
team would fail to post a winning season after their ’89 title game
loss. Mounting losses eventually led to the Rams replacing Robinson
at head coach with Chuck Knox in 1992, a coach who, as Everett
puts, ‘hated the forward pass’. Los Angeles would draft another
eventual Hall of Fame running back in 1993, Jerome
, but he and Everett would only get to play
together for ten games before Knox made a change at quarterback.
The team and quarterback parted ways that offseason, when the Rams
traded Everett to the New Orleans Saints for just a 7th round draft

Orleans Saints v San Francisco 49ers
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

After competing against one of
the league’s most feared defensive units in New Orleans for eight
seasons, Everett was once again a victim of bad timing when joining
his new team. Three of the four members of the Saints vaunted Dome
Patrol linebacking corps, first Pat Swilling in 1992, then Rickey
Jackson and Vaughan Johnson after 1993, were gone from the team by
Everett’s arrival. The fourth, Sam Mills, left after the 1994
season. Star defensive backs Gene Atkins and Toi Cook left after
the ’93 season as well. Saints offensive stars Dalton Hilliard,
, and Hoby Brenner had also departed after the 1993
season, leaving New Orleans in a rebuilding mode. The Saints
weren’t completely void of talent, however. They one of the best
kick returners in the league with Tyrone Hughes, still had some
defensive stars in Wayne Martin and Renaldo Turnbull, and they
added Joe Johnson and Winfred Tubbs during the ’94 draft. Everett
was again paired up with an outstanding football coach in Jim Mora,
but another also known for sometimes conservative offensive game
planning. He had two dynamic receivers in Quinn Early and Michael
, along with strong tight end play with Irv Smith
and Wesley Walls. The 1994 Saints lost five of their first seven
games, and wound up missing the playoffs with a 7-9 record. Everett
set a team record with 3,855 yards while completing a career best
64.1% of his passes, and threw 22 touchdowns for a top-10 passing
attack, but the Saints ranked just 25th in total defense and
finished near the bottom of the league in rushing. Everett did
defeat his old team, the Rams, twice during the year in what would
be their final season in Los Angeles. Everett was even better
statistically in 1995, again completing over 60% of his passes
while throwing for 3,970 yards and 26 scores. Unfortunately, the
team around him continued to worsen, finishing dead last in rushing
and 22nd in total defense. New Orleans finished the year strong,
going 7-4 over the last eleven games, but an 0-5 start to the
season doomed them to another 7-9 record.

Jim Everett

The Jim Mora era of the New
Orleans Saints came to an inglorious end during the 1996 season.
Another 0-5 start bottomed out into a 3-13 season, as New Orleans
finished at the bottom of the league in most offensive categories.
Coach Mora resigned before the end of the regular season, and
Everett was benched for the final few games of the year. The
offseason hire in 1996 of Mike Ditka as the team’s new coach
brought Everett’s time in New Orleans to an end, and he would sign
with the San Diego Chargers in what would be his final NFL season.
Everett’s career essentially ended how it began, with a start
against the New Orleans Saints. He got the starting nod in the
second game of the 1997 season against his old team, and threw a
touchdown pass as the Chargers defeated the Saints in the Superdome
20-6. It was the last start of Everett’s career, and he retired at
the end of the 1997 season.

Jim Everett Saints

Jim Everett was among the most
prolific quarterbacks of his era, every bit as productive as Joe
Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, and Troy
Aikman. He threw for 34,837 yards in his career, ranking 14th on
the NFL’s all-time list. His 203 touchdown passes rank 25th best,
and he is among the all-time leaders in both pass attempts and
completions. Everett ranks 5th in Saints franchise history in
passing yardage and touchdown passes, despite only playing three
seasons in New Orleans. He has the best two passing yardage seasons
in Saints history from a quarterback other than Drew Brees. He is
also first on the Rams all-time passing yardage list, while ranking
second on that franchise’s list in touchdown passes. I was honored
to catch up with Jim Everett a couple weeks ago on the Wednesday
evening podcast, Bayou Blitz. You can listen to that interview


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Everett, who today spearheads the fan revival
since the return of the Rams franchise to Los Angeles, still
follows both the Rams and Saints closely. The physical pounding of
an NFL player has of course taken a toll, but he remains in solid
health, and admits to being torn when his two former teams play
each other. One of the league’s best quarterbacks during his
playing days, Everett did not play for the most talented New
Orleans Saints teams, but his contributions to the franchise, and
to the league, should never be forgotten.


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