Thursday, May 1, 2014

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. 


  1. So now we're a QB coaching expert? Does Shanahan know you're available? No one is going to hone their skills and get their timing down with first team receivers when they are 2nd 3rd or 4th string QB's. I don't care if you only have two QB's, one of them will end up spending most of his time throwing to non-starters and running the scout team. I really thought you would give the coaching staff more credit than this! The previous regime locked in on one and only one QB and we see how that worked out.

  2. Back to your old contentious self, I see. OK. I can deal with that.

    As it turned out, they locked into the wrong quarterback last season. Of course, they didn't know it at the time, but that's an argument for another time.

    It's not the coaching staff I have a problem with . . . yet. It's the front office. Why load up on quarterbacks? What's the thinking behind that?

    As for my availability, forget it. I'm past my prime, but that does not stop me from expressing opinions. It's much safer that way.

    It's nice to see the old Southie back in the saddle. We were agreeing so much there for a while, I was beginning to think you were mellowing.

    1. Always keep'em guessing ;o)

  3. Could be loading up to quell any hopes of trading for an otherwise active roster QB.

    1. Could be any number of reasons but I really don't think they did it without input from the coaching staff(regardless of what Rich claims). If they did, then Banner and Lombardi have not left the building.

  4. I think Elf might have hit on something, Southie. With all these quarterbacks on board, why even go after Grossman or Cousins?

    And stop, for goodness sakes, mentioning those other names. They, indeed, have left the building and their respective doors did hit them in the hind flanks on their way out.

    1. They have indeed left the building, but the stench of their incompetence remains. It'll take at least one upbeat season to bury that odor forever.


  5. Maybe the door hitting them where it hit them is what caused the stench, the lingering kind. If you know what I mean.