April 23, 2014

Memo To Seneca Wallace: This is a Team Game

There were obviously many things that weren’t great about the 2011 Cleveland Browns season. The lack of playmakers on the outside; the myriad of Peyton Hillis fiascos; the injury bug; the horrific at times special teams play. But this was a young team with a first-year head coach in Pat Shurmur, who at times looked a little in over his head.

On Sunday, the PD scribes took their shots at what went wrong, what went right, and what they look for 2012. Of all of the assertions, facts and figures I read, one thing in particular stuck out and raised a real red flag for me.

Shurmur didn’t have a full offseason of OTA’s, training camp, or even the ability to talk with his key offensive players about the new scheme he was installing. With a second- year QB in Colt McCoy being anointed the guy, it wasn’t going to be an easy task for the kid from Texas to learn on the fly. Ah, but the backup QB was none other than Mike Holmgren’s handpicked guy, Seneca Wallace, who had run the West Coast offense in his years with Seattle. He learned from “The Big Show” himself after all. Conventional thinking was Wallace was the perfect guy to help McCoy along.

That wasn’t to be true. As Mary Kay Cabot told us all Sunday:

Seneca Wallace, well-versed in the WCO, refused to mentor him (McCoy) because he wanted the starting job himself.

Reading that disgusts me. I thought football was a team sport. Sure, every guy wants to be “the man.” But was Wallace really under the impression that he had a legit chance to be the starting QB here with the team obviously invested in the development of McCoy in 2011? Colt showed some promise, leadership, and smarts as a rookie pressed into action a year earlier. Instead of helping, according to Cabot, Wallace was too busy worrying about himself.

McCoy has never played in this type of offense before. Not until the lockout was lifted was he able to get familiar with the schemes or even see a playbook. It was clear at points of the season that McCoy just wasn’t comfortable. Whether it was the fact that he was out of his comfort zone, didn’t have a running game to help him, or was busy running for his life behind a patchwork right side of the line, Colt just never seemed to click for most of the season.

It’s clear that the Browns aren’t completely sold on him, nor should they be, as both Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert refused to name him the clear starter for 2012. They are said to be heavily scouting the likes of Robert Griffin III from Baylor and Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M.  If the Browns indeed skip on a QB early in the draft, Wallace clearly believes he has a clear shot to become the Browns full time starter in 2012 . And if that’s the case, they are in deeper trouble than we thought.

Wallace is a backup at best. Pure and simple. When he comes off the bench for a game or two, he can have his moments. But play the guy long term and his deficiencies are going to get exposed. He is entering his 10th NFL season and has yet to be a full time starter. There is a reason for that. I just find it disturbing that he was potentially undermining his own teammate. You would think that Wallace would know who he is at this point in his career.

Now to be fair, this post is taking the quote from Mary Kay Cabot as the gospel, but you certainly haven’t heard anything to the contrary coming out of Berea. That said, if it is true and the Browns do take a QB in the first round, do you really want a me-first guy around your QB of the future?

  • Anonymous

    as long as we have a QB coach and OC who can sit with our young QB, then all I care about is that our backup QB can play when needed.  yeah, it’s nice to have the Jake-style QB who will take the QB under his wing, but coaches are paid to coach for a reason.

    that said, my preferred plan is that we sign Flynn, McCoy is our backup, and we draft a guy later in the draft to be our QB3 (Foles if he drops to the 4th – Coleman is an intriguing name I have heard bandied about)

  • Dawgpoundgal

    I think getting Flynn would be a huge waste of team resources.  Right now, all we know about him is that he is a one-game wonder on a team with a full arsenal of offensive weapons at his disposal.  Anyone who thinks you could plop him into the Cleveland offense and make things instantly better is kidding himself or herself. 

  • 1tomvalentino

    Feel free to take that line from Mary Kay as gospel. Wallace himself said all the same things a couple weeks back in an interview during the “Bull & Fox” show on 92.3.

  • Anonymous

    sorry, my fault for getting off-topic of this thread.  i should have just said my preferred plan is that we get 2 new QBs keeping McCoy as backup.  so, we wouldn’t have room for Seneca anyways.

  • Anonymous

    Gotta feel for Seneca Wallace.  Guy signed a 3 year deal for 9 MILLION to be a backup and Mentor.  If I made anywhere close to what he pays in taxes, I would show up every day with a smile.

  • Anonymous

    The guy should be gone after this year. He won’t be challenging for the starting job, we know that. Drop him and sign Flynn (contingent on an incentive laden contract), or use the draft and either grab Tannehill if he makes it to RD2 or use a middle rounder on a guy that will compete for the starting job with McCoy. The guy is serving little purpose if he’s simply going to be a career backup and horde his knowledge like a bitter child because he feels it gives him some sort of advantage.

  • Abe

    Amen. When I heard Seneca Wallace in the interview on 92.3 saying that he refused to help mentor Colt in any material way (unlike Jake Delhomme), I was done with him and actually rooted against his success. The culture needs to change here. As much as I hate the friggin’ Steelers they are all about  personal accountability as it relates to what BEST for the team.  Will Allen’s interview with “Bull and Fox” was essential listening on this subject.

  • Max

    Farewell Seneca! Don’t let the screen door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya

  • deuce

    First of all, I know this is the NFL but it seems that the Browns endure the “injury bug” every season. That said, Wallace should have been a perfect backup mostly for the WCO knowledge. He is not though, another case of the HUGE ego. I think Wallace sees the Browns trend on “character guys” and figures this is a perfect way out, talking trash. He may want consider the fact that with the current contract he has he is paid well and no other team will take him for that money, not even to start. He is not a starter, I mean it’s year 10 as mentioned, it’s obvious. I thought it was a bad move for the team to pay him so well knowing he was going to be the 2nd guy, but then I figured when a guy has been 10 years deep in Holmgren’s system you couldn’t go wrong. Then Wallace opened his mouth…….. cut him. He has been overpaid and useless.

  • JJ in DC

    Any chance Wallace had as a starter should go right out the window after run audible he called against Baltimore with no time outs left and under a minute to play.  Veteran starters don’t make that call…..and neither do smart 10 year-olds who play Madden on Playstation.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Hey Seneca…take a hike.  And good luck finding another gig with that attitude.  Seems to me that maybe DelHomme had a little more to do with Colt’s play last year than we thought. 

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    It still feels odd, when I consider Colt McCoy, for me to think of him as a backup QB.  I think he won’t be able to handle the role for long and be out of the NFL in 5 years.  It’s sad.  I think Seneca has/had (who knows) the mental fortitude to sit for 8 games in a row and then come in when needed and play “effectively.”  I don’t know if Colt has that ability.

  • Gren

    Honestly, if we are to pick up a QB in any way this off season, I would love to see Seneca released after this news.

    At worst Colt can be our backup and possibly make for a good competition this off season. I know, just what we need another QB controversy but, with his play this year, don’t we already have one ?

  • ben

    Amen

  • Anonymous

    because he never sat on the sidelines and had to come in and start before?  isn’t that what he did last year?

  • Jatf23

    Do you think Seneca play effectively?..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I6423N7UCT3SVURBC55JGXFYAU Bobby

    I did not get to watch that game or really any games of Flynn, but I think if Heckert feels/saw him make throws that McCoy cant/hasnt then I think you get the better guy.

    I found a nice breakdown of Flynn here-
    http://www.fieldgulls.com/2012/1/7/2685330/a-look-at-green-bay-qb-matt-flynn-part-i
    http://www.fieldgulls.com/2012/1/9/2689233/a-look-at-green-bay-qb-matt-flynn-part-ii

  • Jatf23

    I dont think we do… I think the Browns are positioning Colt to be the starter or for him to loose the job on his own…, I dont think Seneca is going anywere.. but I think he will not be considered to be the starter… the new guy will…, I also dont think we are going to hire a high profile backup to be our backup… so if they hire flynn (i hope they dont) then flynn will start.   I honestly believe we need a veteran QB to be a reliable 1 game backup and a mentor…, I like the idea of a John Kitna… Burnel.. Gerard… soemthing like that.

  • VegasBrownsFan

    If the Browns draft a Qb in the first round (I think Tannehill is the guy), then Wallace will open the season as the starter until the rookie is ready. They will move Colt on draft day for whatever they can get for him.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Im sure this will be discussed tomorrow with RG3′s decision, but Im sick of relying on mediocre QBs that may rise to the occasion and become great.  Flynn is a backup or Cassel type QB at best.  Wallace is an older backup who should never be named a starter before any NFL team starts their season.  Colt is likely at best a Cassel as well in my opinion.  I know we as Browns fans are afraid of the “bust” title with our playmaking frist round picks, but we have to take that risk to finally break through.  Give me RG3 or if the price is fair, trade for Luck.  QB is too important to go with the strategy of “coaching up mediocre players”…especially with our coaches.    

  • Steve

    The classic “if i got paid that” argument. If you got paid to be a NFL QB, you would be expected to try your damndest to be the best player you could. If the Browns are dumb enough to think they don’t need an offensive coordinator, that’s not on you.

  • Anonymous

    i think they would do what SD did with Brees.  let Colt start the year and see if it lights a fire under his butt.

  • Anonymous

    how do you know Flynn is a mediocre player?  i don’t know that he is not one, but i think there is not enough evidence (unless you are Tom Clements) to know that definitively :)

  • Observer

    Wallace put down Hillis and reported team meetings about Hillis’s sickness and injury
    instead of supporting him until he was healthy to return.A canser in the locker room and reporting negativity to the news media is the worst things a team could have.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Well he hasnt been picked up by another team yet, so that might say something (although that would’ve involved a trade which could deter other teams or the Packers simply werent interested).  My assessment is based more on my opinion though, and the statistics repeatedly posted about who end up being the top QBs in the league (mainly 1st round picks) with few exceptions lower in the draft. As a 7th round pick, Flynn is trying to keep company with only two outliers to the norm (Brady 6th rd and Romo UD).  But fair criticism of yours on me.  I dont know anymore than anyone else.

  • The Other Tim

    In all fairness to Wallace, it doesn’t seem like Colt McCoy helped him with his short passes either.

  • PAULO

    FOR ALL THE COLT MCCOY’S HATERS: IF THE BROWNS DRAFT A NEW QB IN TTHE FIRST ROUND, IT WILL BE FUNNY TO SEE HIM EVERY DOWN ON THE GROUND , OR WITH MULTIPLE THREE AND OUT. LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED WITH BRADY QUINN, DELHOMME, I MEAN HOW CAN MCCOY BE EVALUATED WHEN:

    -NO OFFSEASON, AND A COACH THAT MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES IN HIS FIRST YEAR, NO OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
    - HE HAD NO RUNNING GAME
    - OL ABSOLUTELY DOESNT EXISTS
    - MOST DROPPED BALLS IN THE LEAGUE
    - 2 GAMES WE LOST WE COMPLETELY FAULT OF DEFENSE (FIRST GAME WITH CINCINATY, THE DEFENSE NON LINE UP IN THE AJ GREEN TD) AND THE GAME WITH RAMS ( PONTBRIAD/DAWSON) ; WE WOULD BE 6-10
    - OUR DEFENSE WAS A HOLE IN THE RUSHING GAME, DIDN´T SCORE ANY POINTS; NO SPECIAL TEAMS POINTS (EXCEPT 1 FROM CRIBBS)
    - I READ DURING THE SEASON THAT YOU DIDN T KNEW HOW COLT HADN T HAD ANY INJURY UNTIL HE WAS HIT BY A TRUCK (HARRISON)
    - WITH ABSOLUTELY NOTHING COLT GOT US 4 WINS, AND WE WERE VERY CLOSE IN ANOTHER GAMES( CINCY, THE SECOND GAME; PITT THE FIRST;)

    I MEAN CANT YOU SEE THIS’???????

    PAULO

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    He played just as well as Colt.

  • http://twitter.com/tLotTC LotTC

    So he played as well as the 27th rated QB.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    And, what of it?  Remember, he went into his first game having taken about 0 snaps all season and played as well as Colt.

    Which only further proves my point that Colt, after all that NFL experience, is sucky.

  • http://twitter.com/tLotTC LotTC

    Not going to disagree with your point about Colt, just saying that Seneca was just as “sucky”.

  • Jamesjaywright

    Yet he has been in the NFL for how many years? With that many years of experience you should be able to come n a game and look BETTER than the guy who hasn’t even had a full 2 years. Not to mention he’s never had a single OTA or training camp being the starting QB. Yes, Wallace didn’t take a snap all season before he got thrown in but he supposly knew soo much about this WCO that he didn’t want to give McCoy too much help so he could be the starter!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3BULQ5IOW5OLWJTKXMBZ4H32A4 Anonymous

    I don’t believe that..at all. SMH

  • Tx-1

    Don’t believe what? That Wallace refused to mentor McCoy? It is true. It was reported a week ago. exact words were ” That was Jake’s thing.”

  • Al

    Get rid of Seneca, he’s a backup . Trade both picks in the first and get griffin. McCoy is not a starter either

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-Bees/648400542 Rich Bees

    Eleven seconds left in the half, no time outs on the 8 and you call a running play?  And you want to start?

    There must be another team that wants you.  GO.

  • Zerwald1

    Wait a minute! Your talking avout a 10 year veteran in the WCO who Barely managed to perfporm as well as a kid with 6 Months experience in the system? You logic defies me!

  • Tx-1

    What makes you think Griffin is a starter?

  • Ruv777

    Wallace showed his true colors. I say get rid of him. He is a back up QB at best and to take the attitude that he has taken is truly a “non team” player.

  • A Ahope

    seneca who ? colt is a another fine example of how the browns  ruin qb’s !!!!!   draft richardson 1rst wright 2nd ol 3rd lb 4th  and so on !  free agent’s fill in the spots. colts all heart !  shurmur  and holmgrem   ????????    

  • Jarrington1963

    Cleveland BS as usual.  If you bring in a QB, then there going to want to start period, so that is a waste.  Bring in an Offensive Coordinator to help Colt get it done.  We need to get the best WR, MLB, and RT and RB in the draft.

  • Harvjp

    All you guys act like Matt Flynn is the second coming of Joe Montana!! What has he proven to make anyone believe he is the answer??

  • Cmayo10

    Whoa. That line is not entirely accurate. Seneca said he wasn’t going to mentor him. He didn’t say he refused to talk to him. He said if McCoy asks him about something, he’ll answer. He’s gotta worry about his own career. He can’t afford to let anything get in the way of that or hinder him. Jake was pretty much done anyway. I suspect Seneca could have some miles left.

  • Jamesjaywright

    he also said it during the lockout. he said that when we was at ‘Camp Colt’ he didnt tell Colt eveything he knew about the WCO because he wanted to have enough of an edge on Colt to become the starter.

  • Lock n Load

    Build the rest of the team – if McCoy works out great if not you add a QB later when u have a team that surrounds him – THEN you can determine if u have a QB or not. I’ve seen better high school talent than what the browns put on the field in some positions

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MQZPXAELMTMKNGWOND4Y2S6AH4 GW

    Cleveland needs to stop agonizing over offense and especially quarterbacks. They’ve ruined every (anticipated) high rated QB they’ve drafted. Hard to be great when you’re on your arse. Just go to Alabama and buy the entire defensive line from the Crimson Tide and go to the Super Bowl.