April 17, 2014

For Browns QB spot, desire can’t create opportunity

Regardless of how exactly the process went down this past weekend, the Browns missed their man. What isn’t in question is that the Browns wanted RG3 on the team and he will not be. So like any good co-dependent fanbase, we scour the earth to figure out who we can count on to be the quarterback to take the Browns to the Super Bowl. When one door closes another one opens. Usually. Exactly when that door will open, is another question entirely. That’s the biggest problem for Browns fans is not knowing.

Despite RG3 being an unbelievably exciting prospect, he was going to be an unknown at the NFL level too. That being said, it would have been fun just to know where the team was going if the Browns had landed the #2 pick. That makes the wait much easier as we would have started to see just what the Browns had acquired in Griffin as a player, teammate and man in the community. Now that the air has been sucked out of the room the wait has become excruciating as the potential destinations aren’t nearly as exciting.

Matt Flynn will presumably be making the rounds as a free agent. Kevin Kolb could find his way there too depending on Peyton Manning. Re-treads like Jason Campbell and Kyle Orton are around if anyone wants to talk to them.

The draft is chock full of “other guys” not named Luck or Griffin. Tannehill, Weeden, Osweiler, and Cousins round out the list. To say these guys have question marks next to their names is an understatement to say the least.

So, what do the Browns do? Anyone who says they know is either guessing or lying. The only thing I can say for sure is that the Browns can’t force it. Opportunity to find a long-term solution for quarterback isn’t created by desire or desperation.

So let’s talk about Colt McCoy. McCoy is a tough kid with a great attitude. I know that is the hack thing to say at this point, but it is true. McCoy has been in the spotlight for years and had to follow Vince Young at Texas. All of this will help immensely if the Browns have to turn to McCoy this season after so publicly missing out on replacing him with RG3.

Colt McCoy has presumably known all along that he won’t be handed the job this training camp. Knowing it and being able to deal with it are two different things. For whatever reason, I think Colt is wired in such a way to handle it. We’ve all seen what a detriment competition was for Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. (In fairness, I guess competition might have been secondary to their talent level, but I digress.) I don’t expect Colt McCoy to suffer this potentially ego-trashing period the way some other players might in the same position.

That means the Browns should still be able to get another year out of a more comfortable and experienced McCoy who should know the offense better and hopefully have better and more consistent weapons than he had a year ago. McCoy projects to not win you a ton of games, but as I’ve explored before he also doesn’t lose them hand over fist by donating possessions to opposing secondaries.

Even if the Browns go get Matt Flynn or Kevin Kolb, that obviously doesn’t guarantee they’ve solved their problems. Realistically, it also doesn’t rule out Colt McCoy 100% as Kolb and Flynn aren’t exactly known entities and world beaters just yet.

Same with the draft. Even if you love the physical ability and experience that Ryan Tannehill had at Texas A&M, to think that he is going to just walk in and beat out Colt McCoy with his experience at Texas and 21 NFL games is presumptuous.

I know it isn’t fun to be so flexible, but there is no other choice right now. The Browns made an effort to get the guy they thought could be “the one” for the next decade and just missed. It doesn’t appear that an obvious prospect is going to walk along until next year’s draft, if then even. That doesn’t mean the Browns won’t take a flyer out on a guy or two this off-season. Just don’t hype it up to be anything more than a flyer.

(Photo: Scott Sargent/WFNY)

  • Ritz

    He has limited talent. That wont change now will the fact that he has guts change that. I would rather the adjectives describing the Browns QB to be: Talented, very accurate, strong arm. 

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I hate that idea.  I hate trading down so often.  It’s driving me nuts and its not a very far drive. 

    I’d like Kalil at 4.  Think its possible?

  • Ritz

    Exactly!

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I still think we’ll be in a sufficiently crappy “way” next year to be able to pick a QB handily.

    Besides, if we have lots to give up it’ll just make the team asking to trade that much more greedy.

  • Jack

    And that’s fine, and probably a sound approach. But then you’ve got to be prepared to make tough decisions/take risks elsewhere. And the Browns failed to do that.

    I know you were strongly opposed to the “do whatever it takes” approach for rgiii, but i think the team needed a face, a leader, a reason for the nation to watch, a smart player, a confident player, a player that wants nothing except to win and actually has the tools to do it. 

    by the time we get a QB, joe thomas is going to be old and then we’ll have a new hole on the LEFT side. no team is perfect. and many playoff teams had concerns about their O-lines. the patriots had more holes than colt mccoy has in his game–but a great QB makes up for many of those.

    i think it’d be interesting to poll the players and get their opinion. i wonder what joe thomas is feeling after the browns missed out on rgiii.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’ve got all of the anwers to questions nobody has asked.

    It’s just a fun way to pass the time and avoid doing “work.”  We’re all in the dark. 

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I think Kalil or Claiborne would almost have to be the guy at #4. No one else I see worth it there. I’m partial to Claiborne, but Kalil would be a very nice addition. Just don’t see him getting past Minnesota

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    For what it’s worth, this is easily the best Browns-related discussion on the boards in quite some time.

  • saggy

    CLAIBORNE

  • EdgewaterJoe

    The X factor in all of this is, in fact, player development. By going in on the draft, Heckert and Holmgren are saying they can find and develop players and the team. This is in theory what the fan base wanted when Holmgren was hired. So two years in (and actually less than two years given the lockout) and they’re still building and developing players, including obviousyl QB — and people aren’t satisfied. Such is life at the bottom of the NFL, I guess, but it does get headache-inducing.

    For the record, as awesome on paper as RG3 is, I want to see Shanahan actually make the kid all that and sliced bread. Remember, when Shanahan got to Denver he had a fully-developed Elway to play with. Please name me the QB he developed into a superstar AFTER Elway. 

    Yap all you want about potential and yap all you want about having seen enough of McCoy to throw him under the bus, the fact remains that Holmgren and teams he’s led have developed more QBs than Shanahan ever has. That alone gives me enough to give McCoy one more year – especially given the reality, as everyone here acknowledges, that he had nothing around him to help him. Especialy next year when Hillis flaked out. 

    With three picks and the possibility of trading out (and for the record, my preference would be to try to trade to somehow get an extra #1 next year so that if McCoy does flop, the ability to move up for a Barkley will be better), and given that Heckert’s done a fairly good job drafting, I think this is all lovely conversation on an unseasonably warm March day, and that’s about it.

    On to Free Agency, such as it may be …

  • steve-o

    It sure looks like we missed out on the chance to get ‘the guy’ at QB this year. So close yet so far away as usual. So be it. We still have the resources to put together most of the other pieces. Lets not waste any of it on another maybe QB. Either way, we’ll be repeating these same QB conversations next year, only the names will change.

  • mgbode

    my point was it won’t happen.   and I don’t see Kalil getting past Minny either.  they have to protect Ponder.

  • mgbode

    baltimore is a consistent playoff threat.  SF may be one now.  Houston is another example.  when the league zigs, sometimes it is best to zag.

    agreed that we aren’t going to become a power-running team w/ a WCO philosophy, but we could be more balanced and hopefully will be with RB health (as StL was under Shurmur or Minny was under Childress or Philly was under Shurmur/Childress)

  • mgbode

    the other side is if you get your QB killed and destroy his confidence, then he won’t be any good either.

    it’s a balancing act.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    see.. i dont think im talking power run game per se.  im actually operating under the premise that paul brown is the real godfather of the WCO and it was developed in municipal stadium.  

    frank ryan to gary collins wasn’t exactly a vertical threat, nowhutiam?  it was (so i understand) precision passing and timing exploiting gaps from defense who rightly were concerned with the array of well-executed run plays.

    those aint woody hayes- john brockington line plunges in that clip.  that’s sweeps (us), traps (hello chuck noll), and short passes over the top (walsh).

    same as it ever was:  all football wisdom flows from paul brown and cleveland…

    hey seriously.  we needs to reclaim it.

  • http://twitter.com/oribiasi oribiasi

    I’d like to move up one just to take Kalil, but I guess Claiborne is a good player and is Joe Haden-like.

  • mgbode

    I agree.

  • CBI

    I agree, Bradford quickly comes to mind.

  • BrownsFanSF

    If Kalil makes it to us I’ll jump for joy.  If he doesn’t, then I def don’t mind moving down and adding some picks.  Maybe picking up the second best tackle in the draft around 10 and a wideout (either Floyd or that speedster from Baylor) later in the first.

    Then you add a RB in FA or resign Hillis, Steinbach gets healthy and that starts to look like an offense.

    My Claiborne concern is this:  how many teams have two top flight wideouts who you need two top flight corners to cover?  I would prefer an “above average” second corner and use our high picks to shore up some of our other (BIG) issues.

  • kjn

    I’ve never bought the “confidence” argument. Might you ruin him physically? Sure. But I don’t think Carr, Couch, et al failed because they didn’t believe in themselves any more. They just weren’t that good.

  • kjn

    ” I like Colt more than the other QBs we’ve had on the roster the past 2 seasons…”

    I agree, but sadly that’s not saying much. You could call Colt the best QB since the team returned and it still wouldn’t be saying much.

  • kjn

    Go get Tebow, draft three or four offensive lineman, stuff it down the NFL’s throats… I like it. Couldn’t get much worse thant 4-12. If you’ve got to lose, may as well do it on your own terms.

  • BrownsFanSF

    Sometimes I feel like you and I share a brain on these issues.  It’s like bidding for something on Ebay (or anything else for that matter):  You decide what it’s worth to you and set that price in your head.  Heckert knew what RGIII was worth to him (we’ll never know exactly what that number was) but I think he simply got out bid

    When that happens you just look at Washington and say “big risk my friend, hope you didn’t just bet your next three drafts on Jamarcus Russell”

  • mgbode

    yep.  and the Raiders are still paying for their JaMarcus sins ($1.6mil cap penalty for dumping him in 2010)

    so, Washington now has 85% of the cap the next 2 seasons, 1 1st round pick (to use on RGIII) and no current answers at RB, WR, and a middling OL.  

    it’s an interesting experiment at least.

  • mgbode

    yep.  and the Raiders are still paying for their JaMarcus sins ($1.6mil cap penalty for dumping him in 2010)

    so, Washington now has 85% of the cap the next 2 seasons, 1 1st round pick (to use on RGIII) and no current answers at RB, WR, and a middling OL.  

    it’s an interesting experiment at least.

  • mgbode

    it’s not that they don’t believe in themselves.  it’s more that QBs have to not be worried about a blind-side rush, not worried that the WR is going to break the wrong way, not worried that the WR is just going to drop the pass anyway or never getting a couple easy rhythm passes to start things because noone is ever getting separation.

    learning QB, like anything, is a progression.  if you destroy the foundation, then you can never build-up that foundation.  now, a good QB can help patch the foundation on the fly (making quick reads, putting an accurate ball out, etc.), but there’s only so much a QB can do if he’s not being helped out.

    like i said, balancing act. 

  • mgbode

    it’s not that they don’t believe in themselves.  it’s more that QBs have to not be worried about a blind-side rush, not worried that the WR is going to break the wrong way, not worried that the WR is just going to drop the pass anyway or never getting a couple easy rhythm passes to start things because noone is ever getting separation.

    learning QB, like anything, is a progression.  if you destroy the foundation, then you can never build-up that foundation.  now, a good QB can help patch the foundation on the fly (making quick reads, putting an accurate ball out, etc.), but there’s only so much a QB can do if he’s not being helped out.

    like i said, balancing act. 

  • mgbode

    Shanahan also got a fully cooked Steve Young (after Holmgren helped mold him at BYU and SF in his earlier days).

    Best “molded” Shanahan QB:  Jake Plummer?  or Brian Griese?

  • mgbode

    Tebow makes an appearance!

  • porkchopexpress

    Two things: One is that I think people have a misconception that this regime is wedded at the hip to passing.  Its only one year, but in Holmgren’s crown jewel Super Bowl winning ’96 year, they had more rushing attempts than passing, this held true in the playoffs as well.  Point being, I think they have no problem rushing its just they want RB’s with universal run, catch, block qualities.  If there is a failure of this system, and it seems pretty significant, its that you need players that are very well suited for it, which increases the bust potential.

    Now, on this quarterback thing, I think the only team that went and got a franchise QB and then built an entire team around him was Indy with Peyton.  Forget draft position, just look at where teams that have elite got them in the development of their team.
    Brady came to a team with an established QB in the middle of a decent run, and he got to sit.
    Rodgers same thing
    Brees came to his team via free agency, lighting had to strike a dozen times for that deal to work out as well as it did.
    Rothelisberger same thing, although he got thrown in, he got thrown in with a HOF RB and all world Oline. 
    Eli Manning is the exception that proves the rule.  He went to a team rebuilding (not ground up like Cleve is now, or Indy did with Peyton),  Accorsi refused to include Osi Howuspellhisname in the deal and was willing to walk at that point.  Much like Heckert had a price and didn’t overreach.  You can argue that no Osi means at least one if not both SBs go away.  So if you want to give up picks to get an elite QB history says that you had better still have a price you won’t go over, and draft an elite D-line that allows you to drop 6-7 guys into coverage.

    To me that is the end of “Elite” QBs

    But even that next tier of guys, Rivers, Schaub, whoever else you want to throw in, none of them came to a team with as much nothing as the Browns have. 

    I guess what I’m saying is that I see this idea that we “need to go get a superstar QB” no matter what is substantiated throughout the last ten years of NFL history.

  • porkchopexpress

    “isn’t substantiated throughout..”
    I need to just make an account so I can edit with as many mistakes as I make

  • kjn

    So it’s not confidence but learning and development. That I can buy.

  • kjn

    So it’s not confidence but learning and development. That I can buy.

  • kjn

    When ever two or three are gathered…

  • kjn

    When ever two or three are gathered…

  • BrownsFanSF

    I honestly think it’s more than confidence.  Carr, Couch and Harrington were legitimately damaged.  Sometimes we forget these people are made out of flesh and bones under those pads.

    How many time can you get your head driven into the turf by a 280 lb wrecking ball (and thats light for a d-lineman) before there is actual physical damage.  Those three guys had the physical tools to play the game, the lasting effects of 3-4 concussions in a 2 year span still isn’t really understood.

  • Harv 21

    agree. Both Bernie and Couch were chucking and ducking at the end. Bernie wouldn’t even follow through on his throws, and Couch’s protection was crumbling before he dropped back. Have no idea if Couch could have been good but happy feet and swivel head means your brain is not processing what’s happening downfield.

  • BenRM

    Colt’s not good, but I don’t want to see the Browns toss a ton of unnecessary money or overreach for a mediocre QB. It essentially puts us in the same place we are now, except now we’re tied down. If the Browns are gluing themselves to someone, I’d prefer it be someone who’s worth it. 

  • BenRM

    Floyd also never played a full season at ND. That’s my biggest concern with him. 

  • BenRM

    I actually think Campbell is better than people realize, but that’s an entirely different conversation. 

  • Big Z

    I prepared myself by expecting the worst once Snyder and the Skins got involved. 

    Unfortunately, I think 5 wins is pushing it a little…

  • Big Z

    The corpse bit was right on time. Other than that, I disagree. Andy Dalton didn’t have an offseason etc. The ridiculous excuses that were thrown about this year won’t fly for much longer.

    I hope I’m wrong.