A run on quarterbacks
Welcome to Quarterbacks R (can’t turn that damn R around) Us, a.k.a. the Cleveland Browns.
With the announcement of the signings of Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen to one-year contracts, the Browns’ quarterbacks corps now numbers four, including incumbent starter Brian Hoyer and trick-throw artist Alex Tanney.
With the college draft around the corner (finally) and the Browns rumored to be strongly considering drafting perhaps a pair of quarterbacks, the QB roster by the time training camp starts in late July could number as many as six.
Five or perhaps six quarterbacks taking snaps in training camp begs the question: How are any of them going to hone their skills whilst awaiting the next snap? Coaches do not like their quarterbacks standing around looking for something to do.
Most teams have three quarterbacks on their rosters in training camp. A few have four. But five? Or six?
Chances are Tanney will be released before the start of camp. He was a novelty, a body the Browns needed to add to last season’s roster when injuries crippled the position. So let’s reduce those numbers to four of five, depending on what the Browns do in the draft.
The idea of training camp is to sharpen skills, especially on offense, where timing and rhythm are quintessential. How can one sharpen those skills when taking every fourth or fifth snap?
How can receivers lock in with the quarterbacks when facing as many as four or five different throwing styles? How can running backs expect to practice handoffs with as many as four or five different handoff styles?
Why in the world do the Browns need all these quarterbacks? Don’t they know it will be counterproductive? No good can come of it.
Exactly what did Young and Thigpen do to warrant a further look? Have they miraculously regained their fading skills that quickly after long layoffs? Or did they just not embarrass themselves in the three-day minicamp that ended Thursday?
And what about the rumors of the Browns eventually bringing in Rex Grossman and ramping up efforts to pry Kirk Cousins loose from the Washington Redskins? Can we assume the signings of Young and Thigpen have sufficiently put an end to that scuttlebutt?
Hoyer will be under center when the Browns open the season Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh. That's a given unless, of course, he doesn’t physically make it through the exhibition season.
The Browns seem to be traveling in murky quarterback waters here. It seems right now to be to a position that has a lot of elasticity. And that is the one position where you want to avoid elasticity.
An argument can be made that you can never have enough arms in training camp. That’s an argument that can be won if you’re referring to quarterbacks considered marginal at best with the slimmest chance of making the final roster.
Young and Thigpen do not fit that mold. They’ve had more starting experience in the National Football League than Hoyer. Young has started 50 games in his six-year career; Thigpen has started 12, but none since the 2008 season. Hoyer has four career starts, three of them last season for the Browns before his season-ending injury.
So good luck to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, whose main job this summer will be keeping four, maybe five, quarterbacks happy. And sharp.