Browns fans are understandably terrified of a QB controversy. The days of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn (not to mention Charlie Frye) will do that to you. I’ve already been on record that I think it is a possibility that Colt McCoy might beat out Brandon Weeden, at least initially, because of his experience in the Browns’ offense. Still, despite all the moving parts and an ultimate desire to win ASAP, some Browns fans are so bitten by the Brady Quinn past that they think the only option is for Colt McCoy to be gone.
They might be right. I might be missing the boat completely on this thinking that this mix of quarterbacks can coexist. It does seem similar to Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn in some ways. On the one hand you have the somewhat smaller guy with questionable arm strength with Colt McCoy and Brady Quinn. On the other you have a guy who fits the stereotypical QB mold in terms of height and ability to hurl the ball like Derek Anderson and Brandon Weeden. And other than that, there just isn’t much similarity between the controversies of the past and potential conflict now.
One of the biggest problems with the D.A. vs. B.Q. situation was that Browns fans kept echoing the sentiment that “we need to see what we have in Brady Quinn.” That phrase became so common at one point that it made me want to scream just because everyone was using the same exact phrase. Is there anything worse than a localized cliché that peppers sports talk radio and website comment sections? I digress. The current situation with Colt McCoy is totally different than when we had to see “what we have in” Brady Quinn.
In Brady Quinn’s entire Browns career, he played twelve games total. When most were clamoring for him to play, he’d only played in three games total. The Browns and Romeo Crennel had probably seen enough in practice to keep him firmly planted to the bench, but Browns fans hadn’t. The same can’t be said of Colt McCoy. Some Browns fans will undoubtedly want to see more and say that Colt didn’t have a fair shake. Holmgren even said it, I guess. But even with that, Browns fans have seen 21 games of Colt McCoy’s handiwork. This doesn’t even mention that Colt McCoy was a third rounder and Brady Quinn was a first rounder.
I can and will argue that a team’s fanbase almost always deserves the right to see a first-round QB play at some point. Brady Quinn is really an outlier for a first round quarterback. Consider this. Brady Quinn is a first round quarterback and he’s only started 12 games in his NFL career. Andre Ware started six, but Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith both made it over 20 before they were washed out of the league. Jamarcus Russell? 25 games for the dreadful first overall pick to the Raiders. J.P. Losman has had 33 by comparison. What I am saying is that Brady Quinn is exceptional in a bad way because even as he is apparently not good enough to play in the NFL if you trust multiple organizations talent evaluation, he has had precious little opportunity to prove to fans that he’s that big a bust. It really is difficult to draft a guy in the first round who is so incapable of being a starting QB that the fans of the drafting team don’t even get a chance to see him play. Controversy is difficult to avoid at the QB position with such an unbelievable lack of ability to even garner a chance.
To be fair to Quinn, a lot of that had to do with the push and pull of Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel in one of the most dysfunctional Browns team situations of all time. Yes, that is saying a lot, but it is true. For all the losses that have been piled up since Mike Holmgren has been here, it is a night and day difference from a culture standpoint at least so far. At least there is no hint of a coach flipping a coin to determine who will be playing the most important position. That’s not a punchline either. There is nothing funny about a cointoss QB rotation unless it happens in a rival city.
Now, as I said in the opening paragraph, I am one of the few people who thinks Colt McCoy can still win the job. I might have already talked myself out of it though because it occurs to me that is the only way to cause a QB controversy. I’ve constantly looked at this thing assuming Colt McCoy gets handed the backup role and how he would deal with it. A more important question is how well would Colt McCoy have to play in order to keep the fans from clamoring for Brandon Weeden?
It still seems to me that McCoy and Weeden are the types of guys who will be able to handle it. It also seems like Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur will be decisive enough to stave it off.