With RGIII most likely going to the Redskins, who acted like drug addicts selling whatever wasn’t nailed down in their mothers house to move up for the rights to draft him, many speculate other options for Browns at quarterback this off season. Will they draft the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden or even go for a late pick with Russell Wilson? Could they possibly sign Matt Flynn, Kyle Orton or Jason Campbell? And why didn’t they at least call Peyton Manning to let him know they would be interested? If you are one of the Browns fans hoping a new quarterback is going to come in and save the day I hate to break it to you but chances are we won’t be bringing in anyone new until 2013.
It all goes back to the lack of offensive talent the Browns currently have. The right side of the offensive line needs works. The receiving corp needs a veteran to lead and at least one more wideout working the field. By the time September rolls around there should be plenty of new faces with maybe Greg Little the lone remnant from the 2011 season. Lastly the running game needs to be figured out. Chances are Peyton Hillis will resign and with Brandon Jackson coming off injury the running game should be improved from 2011. This leaves Colt McCoy to lead at quarterback for one more year under a rebuilt offense to allow the front office the chance to truly assess his talent. Now I am not going to sit here and tell you Colt McCoy’s stats were similar to great quarterbacks like John Elway and Steve Young in their early years. I am not going to drone on about the lack of an offense in 2011, the amount of drive killing drops or the deficiencies of the offensive line after Eric Steinbach’s season ending injury and Tony Pashos’s inability to block due to a ruptured tendon (and possibly talent). I am going to tell you why it makes no sense to bring in a quarterback at this point in the rebuilding of the Browns in the 3rd year of the Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert regime.
Everyone from your average fan to the national media outlets were screaming from the mountain tops for RG(cubed) but from the perspective of the Browns it made absolutely no sense to trade up to get him. Actually, it wasn’t until February when I was actually being convinced that it might be ok to take him if he fell to the fourth spot instead of trading down to another team that wanted him. Trading up was never a plausible idea with the holes we have to fill and the knowledge that the current regime uses the draft to fill those holes. I never thought it was a good idea to go after this talented quarterback only to put him on a team with no offense. By the time we built up the offense to be functional, poor Robert would have had his confidence smashed or suffered enough injuries to render him ineffective moving forward. It’s all about timing and this year just wasn’t the time for RGIII and the Browns.
For months speculation surrounded the idea that Peyton Manning and the Colts would not be moving forward as Peyton would be aiming for Super Bowls at the end of his career and the Colts would be stripping and rebuilding their team. It was as if John Irsay new he had to let this amazing talent move on to better opportunities. Now why in the world would anyone think the Browns would be those greener pastures? A team in a similar rebuilding phase as the Colts? Magically tons of free agents would flock to the Browns and create some incredible chemistry over the course of one training camp leading Cleveland to the top of the AFC North? Come down from the clouds dreamers, Peyton Manning will join a team with a solid system and the high level of talent needed to get to the big game. The Browns are not that team in 2012.
As for free agent quarterbacks that are available, the only one that may have more talent than what we already have under contract is Matt Flynn. Flynn is a 7th round pick who backs up Aaron Rodgers. When he does get to play he walks behind a solid line that gives him plenty of time and throws to a wide array of wide receivers and tight end options. In short he is in a situation that is made for success and he succeeds. Much like Matt Cassell in New England when he took the team to a 10-5 record after Tom Brady was taken out for the season in game one. He then was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 and led the team to a 4-11 record. Kevin Kolb is another example of a guy who showed some signs of success on a team that had all the pieces in Philadelphia but then was traded to Arizona in 2011. He started the season 1-6 before getting injured and missing all but one game the rest of the season. To his credit Arizona won that game so his record improved to 2-6. So for those Browns fans and media pundits that believe Matt Flynn is the answer keep believing what you want.
Now that leaves talented quarterbacks left in the draft like Weeden and Tannehill. Is their chance at succeeding in the NFL that much better than Colt McCoy? I would rather the Browns focus on rebuilding the offense instead of trying to plug in quarterbacks that have no one to throw to and no one to block for them. Use the draft pick on a wide receiver or right tackle and build this offense up so that whoever does play quarterback can go into a situation that is built for success. Complete the team then bring in the leader of it and you will get much better results. A great example of why it isn’t a recipe to the playoffs to have an amazing quarterback is the Panthers. Cam Newton played amazing in 2011. He made the Pro Bowl. He accounted for 35 touchdowns passing and rushing. His team ended up winning six games. Why? Because his defense was trash and he was not playing on a completed team. Sure the Panthers have a great quarterback but they won’t get to the playoffs until they take the time to rebuild their defense. Bet Von Millers 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks could have helped win some games in Carolina in 2011.
Free agency is less than a day away and the Draft is fast approaching. Maybe the Browns bring in a new quarterback or two for competitions sake and maybe they don’t but in 2012 quarterback isn’t the position that will change much. The other components to the offense need to be put into place before the Browns even know what they have at quarterback let alone knowing what they need to bring in. I trust Heckert will continue to take the daily beating by fans and media outlets alike for not doing what they want him to do, while he builds the Browns with the same theory of using the draft other successful teams such as the Patriots and Steelers have used. Good luck to the Panther and Redskin fans who have such fun exciting quarterbacks to watch. Maybe one day it will translate into playoff and Super Bowl appearances but without the rest of the football team I highly doubt it.