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Tag Archives: Dysfunction

Which Browns QBs Have Best Lived Up to the Hype?

You’ve seen the jersey by now. There have been so many different Browns under center that you’ve hopefully forgotten a few of them. The Browns’ passing game is taken as seriously as Tyler Perry at the Oscars.

Yet, the question begs to be answered: Which Browns quarterbacks have best lived up to the hype? We have seen first-round picks and journeyman veterans, local kids and NFL nomads. Each has come with his own set of expectations. Virtually none have lived up to them. But these things exist on a spectrum, and it is up to us to figure out exactly where they lie. So I put out a feeler to Browns fan Condoleeza Rice, and she assembled a crack staff of diplomats, advisers and statisticians to come up with the answer:

Browns QB Chart

This was a truly terrifying exercise. It’s common knowledge that Browns quarterbacks have performed only slightly better than VHS sales since 1999, but studying the names and statistics really drives the point home. Did you know that Bruce Gradkowski’s QB rating was 2.8 in Cleveland? Had you forgotten that Doug Pederson started eight games in 2000 when Tim Couch got hurt? Do you realize that one could make a strong argument for Couch being the best Browns quarterback of the century?

It’s stunning to look at the names and remember believing in some of these guys. Brady Quinn’s tumble down the draft board was hilarious—until we took him, then he was a godsend. Colt McCoy won 45 games and completed 70% of his tosses in college! Jake Delhomme’s veteran savvy! Charlie Frye’s moxie! Brandon Weeden’s…age?

The point is: The Browns’ recent QB history is absolutely as bad as you think it is, and maybe even worse. The psychic camels from the World Cup could do a better job of finding snap-takers. And despite the likes of Trent Dilfer winning a Super Bowl, one axiom holds true in the NFL: You need a quarterback—maybe not an “elite” one, but one who won’t snap defeat from the jaws of victory twice a season. One who can consistently be better than awful. Maybe even one capable of winning a game by himself. The Browns haven’t found that guy, and they had 20 chances through last season. Tonight, we’ll get a closer look at number 21.

No pressure, Johnny.

 

[Can’t name ’em all? Use the handy key and relive the misery! QBs are listed chronologically.]

 Browns QB Chart Key

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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Offseason, Players

 

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Righting the Wrongs – Then and Now

Righting the Wrongs – Then and Now

Learning about Coach Pettine from “Collision Low Crossers”

After finishing up the book by Nicholas Dawidoff, there were a few takeaways that can be applied going forward.  After Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator (at that time) Mike Pettine was mentioned more regularly than any other Jets’ personnel by the author.  Obviously, there are differences between that 2011 franchise and the 2014 Cleveland Browns, but two constants were the aforementioned coach and now current defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil.  Despite back-to-back AFC Championship game appearances, the Jets took a step back in the time that Dawidoff was working inside the franchise.  Let’s review a few issues that can hopefully be eliminated from Cleveland.

The Defense’s attitude about the offense divided the locker room 

The author mentioned time and again that the 2011 New York Jets felt like two separate teams – an offense and a defense.  With good reason, the defense (who enjoyed great success over multiple seasons) felt they were dominant enough to win contests alone, and all the offense had to do was not lose the game.  However, this feeling led to negative words and actions directed towards the offense.  A divided team like that will not likely be able to function properly; this was the case for the Jets.  Pettine (in the book) debated bringing that problem up with Ryan, but opted not to go over his boss’s head.  In 2014, the defensive-minded leader should now be able to get a sense of how the team interacts and extinguish any possible issues.  If losses occur due to one side of the ball failing, there will no doubt be hard feelings.  But the Browns’ locker room should be nothing like the one Pettine was a part of three years ago.

Several personalities did not foster any sort of cohesion

There were two main culprits for this; one of the offense and the other on defense.  Santonio Holmes was concerned more with his individual statistics than his unit or team’s overall success.  Clearly, this was unproductive and further harmed the struggling offense.  Likewise, Antonio Cromartie’s failure to accept criticism in team meetings was a thorn in his defensive coordinator’s side.  Despite the fact that these are the largest rosters in professional sports, each member (players and coaches) must be on the same page and work towards the common goal.  As it stands, I do not see any “selfish” athletes on the roster – but that is subject to change, unfortunately.  The players seem to want to improve and understand what it takes to be a solid professional.  Should any rookie or veteran get out of line, I anticipate Pettine to use his experience in New York to guide his roster.

Dysfunction lingers within an NFL team

This is an expansive area that could rear its head in Cleveland; with any luck Pettine can minimize it.  In 2011, it was rather evident that few felt hopeful when Mark Sanchez was under center.  He was specifically instructed to take sacks and not force passes among several defenders.  The lack of confidence at the most important position in sports did not go unnoticed.  Will the Browns give the reins to a rookie signal caller this season?  There’s a reasonable chance that will be the case – the coaching staff must excel at providing positive support behind this quarterback.  Additionally, the general manager (at the time) Mike Tannenbaum pulled rank and selected Scotty McKnight in the seventh round of the draft.  This was to the chagrin of the team’s scouts and head coach, who all felt the wide receiver (who was a childhood friend of Sanchez) was not worthy of being drafted.  As a result, there was animosity and the author mentioned contempt within the franchise (even months later).  The 2014 Draft is critical for the Browns and all members, from Ray Farmer to entry-level scouts, cannot have friction during or after the first weekend in May.

Conclusion:  Coach Mike Pettine is a knowledgeable, experienced leader who has seen a fair share of athletes since joining the NFL in 2001.  I expect him to flush out some of the problems he has seen while being the defensive coordinator in New York.  That’s not to say this year’s Browns will be dominant or Super Bowl-caliber, but hopefully they can have an edge on teams who are dealing with these kinds of issues.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Front Office/Coaching, Players

 

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