Thursday, April 6, 2017

Can’t shake the feeling

As we inch closer to the National Football League’s annual college draft later this month, I have a feeling the Browns are on the verge of making yet another unwise move with regard to the position of quarterback.

The worst move they can make in this draft is to select a quarterback in the first round. And I can’t shake the notion that is exactly what they’ll do with their second first-round pick at No. 12.

Why? Because they are the Cleveland Browns, a franchise that exists with black clouds hovering above it. It is a franchise that almost always makes mistakes in crucial situations.

And because this team is the real-life version of Murphy’s Law. If there is a mistake (or mistakes) to be made, the Browns somehow will find a way to make them.

The only way they can escape the ignominy of making that mistake this year is if all three quarterbacks given first-round grades are off the board when the 12th pick rolls around.

Unless they are playing the smoke-and-mirror game, saying one thing and thinking something entirely different, the Browns are heading in a direction that will land the quarterback for the foreseeable future.

To be fair, it is a given this team needs a quarterback on whom to hang its future fortunes. There is absolutely no argument there.

But none of the top three quarterbacks this year – Deshaun Watson, Mitch (Mitchell) Trubisky and DeShone Kizer – are looked upon as franchise quarterbacks. They represent a relatively weak class at the position.

Next year’s class will be much stronger with the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph and Josh Rosen heading it. If any of those four were in this year’s draft, they would push the aforementioned trio down the list.

Sometimes, it’s best to wait a year and put yourself in a position to take the right quarterback when he comes along. That is clearly the case this year, a year in which the Browns would be best concerned with strengthening all other areas on the team – and there are quite a few – before addressing the most important one.

This franchise has slogged around the NFL for the last 18 seasons, doing it the wrong way just about every one of those seasons. The bottom line more than proves that. It’s now time to do it the right way.

One additional bad season won’t make that much of a difference as long as the end justifies the means. In this case, enduring one more awful season and taking advantage of a strong quarterbacks class justifies those means.

I would much rather see a Darnold or an Allen or a Rosen in Seal Brown and Orange than any of the three big names that have been bandied about this year.

If Hue Jackson is, indeed, the quarterback whisperer we have been led to believe, that luster will dull if he champions Trubisky, Watson or Kizer and strongly lobbies for their selection. That would indicate desperation on his part and an unwillingness to suffer through another gawd-awful season in Cleveland.

About the worst scenario for the 2017 season is the Browns improve to the point where they will win just enough games – as many, maybe, as four or five – and play themselves out of the opportunity to select a player who has a better chance to become their quarterback of the future than what awaits three weeks from today.


  1. If the Browns follow your advice and wait until next year for a QB, and draft non QB playmakers. The Browns still will win enough games to be out of reach of the top QBs. Chances are the teams ahead of them will be looking for QBs also. and it will very difficult to move up. This years QB class are not plug and play but some are talented enough to become very good starting QBs down the road. The Browns wouldn't be draft a QB for 2017 but for the future. College QBs now need developed because the way colleges play the game. Can't keep waiting until next year every year. Just ask the Fans who wanted the Browns to tank for Barkley? how did that turn out/ Or even for Watson, We have the first pick now and Watson is available, Now what happened we are looking to draft a non QB #1 No one knows how next years QB prospects really going to play out. Got to keep on swing at QBs until you hit one.

  2. Anon,

    If the Browns follow your advice . . . stop right there. They won't. Count on it. This front-office crew has yet to display any inclination they know what they are doing.

    All you have to do is point to the dismal job that produced only one (out of 14 picks) player who made a difference last season and that player (Emmanuel Ogbah) made a minimal difference.

    This team needs a revamp (on a personnel basis) from top to bottom. Unfortunately, those in charge currently do not see it that way.

    This team had trouble scoring points and preventing points last season. The reason? A terrible lack of talent on the roster. That needs to be addressed before a quarterback is placed in charge of the offense.

    Jimmy Garoppolo would have gone 1-15 with this team last season. Tom Brady might have squeezed out four or five victories with this team last season. Get my point?

    Fix everything else first before saddling a good quarterback with a bad team. Look what happened in Dallas? Two rookies made a huge difference. That can happen in Cleveland if done the right way.

    Next time, pls sign your name or handle.

  3. No to the above person..
    Watson has the same kind of resume that Barkley did coming out, avg arm, small hands but wins games..
    So would you really take a risk on a guy who may be able to play in college or be smart like the Pats, Ravens, Steelers and just draft BPA instead of for need..

  4. Don't you think it's a bit early to be giving up on the 2016 draftees, Rich? You are preaching patience in this blog, after all..... Remember how fans wanted to cut Danny Shelton, back in August?

  5. I was not one of them, Lester. Shelton had way too much talent and potential and it was maximized with a new DC. And he will be even better in a 4-3 scheme.

    You must be confusing me with someone else as far as patience is concerned. Outside of Ogbah, I saw nothing that even moved me from the other 13 picks last year.

    Welcome to the blog. Don't be a stranger even though we might not agree.


  6. If you're patient enough to want to pass on a first day QB this year, surely you can extend this to guys like Coleman (x2), Nassib and maybe Kindred or Higgins? Most were rehabbing or carrying injuries as rookies. All were making the transition to pro ball. Some were laboring in Horton's scheme. It seems that the O line problems led to the QB carousel and everything else that was dysfunctional- inconsistent passing and running games and an often-exhausted defense. Surely one of the reasons we persevere with this mess, is the hope of watching young drafted talent develop? Dismissing these kids, on the basis of their torrid rookie experiences, is premature.

  7. Well, you have at least one fan, Lester. And with three exclamation points no less.

    Patience has nothing to do with passing on the three top quarterbacks this year. The notion they aren't that good does.

    As for the likes of Nassib, Kindred, Higgins, etc., no one stepped up at all last season except Ogbah and maybe Corey Coleman when he was reasonably healthy.

    Agreed that all were making the transition to pro ball. But that excuse goes just so far when they fail to make any kind of an impact during the season.

    Who in your estimation, outside of Ogbah and Coleman, showed enough last season to cause you to feel sanguine about what they will do as pro sophomores?

    Based on your optimism for last year's rookie crop, you and I were watching entirely different performances.

    Another agreement: The awful offensive line last season. But that is something I harped on even before the season began. Those who follow this blog know I have been a staunch supporter of strength in the trenches.

    And why was the defense so exhausted? Two reasons: An offense that couldn't stay on the field for long stretches and its own inability to get off the field and get the offense back on.

    For whatever it's worth, I hope you are right about those who played dismally as rookies. I hope their second season is far more successful than their first.

    But I wouldn't call their experiences torrid. Was that a typo? Did you mean horrid? Because that's what they were.

    Southie? Your turn.

  8. On a contending team, most of the rookies would have been covering kicks- and little else, Rich, as you know. Kessler should have spent his year charting plays and listening to Griffin's headset feed. Kindred should have been learning in garbage time, Higgins and Louis would have been taking ten offensive snaps a game each. My relative optimism is based not on performance but on the early experience gained by the young players, at a time when they should have been spectating. It nearly killed Kessler- but might make them all stronger. Is this a triumph of hope over experience? Of course....that's why we are still here, instead of playing golf or washing the car.
    I want to see what Kessler looks like, behind a solid line. I hope the young receivers are all hanging out at his house and practicing all day long. I want to see how a fully re-habbed Shon Coleman plays, as the only neophyte on a veteran line. I want Spencer Drango to become the sixth lineman, so I never have to hear the words Alvin and Bailey in the same sentence again. It's tough breaking into the lineup of a settled team, as a rookie. Being handed responsibilities the way Ogbah, Kessler, Nassib and Corey Coleman were, is absurd- exacerbated by injuries to guys like Bryant, Griffin, Orchard and Poyer (none of whom set the pulses racing themselves). Not only were a lot of rookies starting but there was zero depth behind them. You can decide what combination of injuries and poor management led to that. Hopefully this year's crop will play less and have more obvious impact and we'll see a sophomore leap- in competence and confidence- from our young vets.

  9. You are such an optimist, Lester. I do not come close to sharing that optimism. You need to know something about me to understand where I come from.

    I am a glass half empty guy. Always have been. Can't help myself. I see things as they are, not as I would like them to be.

    My guess is you are a glass half full guy. You see things as you would like them to be. I'm also guessing you deal well with disappointment. You have to as a Browns fan since 1999.

    This franchise has been racked with such mismanagement since that year, it is virtually impossible to be a fan for a sustained period of time. In that vein, I admire your tenacity to stick with this team.

    Until Jimmy Haslam III and his minions show a decided trend toward getting it with regard on how to run a successful NFL franchise, praising them is extremely difficult.

    I don't expect you to understand. Just know these are my honest feelings and not contrived in an effort to stimulate hits. I'm way too small a blog to hope for that.

    1. I guess Lester is my long lost twin?

  10. Ding, ding, ding!!!

  11. I can be cynical, frustrated and exasperated with the best of 'em, Rich. I remember the Modell years and how they ended. What I can't do is quit- or allow anger to turn me into someone I don't want to be. It wouldn't help me and neither would it hasten the day the Browns are competitive- never mind successful. Talent selection has been dreadful in Cleveland and only radical improvement will create a nucleus which can lead to success. The choice of players must coincide with the schemes the settled coaching staff want to implement. I won't be arguing black is white, if the 2016 rookies are riding the pine, or wandering cluelessly around the field, in 2018. If they stink, they stink..... but I ain't about to make that assessment yet.

    1. Hi again Lester,

      You sound like a guy I could sit down with and have a nice, intelligent conversation. Where have you been the last few years I've penned this blog?

      You nailed it when you said the choice of players must coincide with the schemes of the coaching staff. I'm not at all confident those making those choices are savvy enough to be successful.

      I seriously question their player personnel decisions and have no idea what the hell Paul DePodesta's role is in that scenario.

      With DePo in charge, you can count on the Browns leading the NFL in draft choices. Small consolation considering those making those selections.

      I look forward to future disagreements.

  12. Is it really poor talent selection, or a coaching failure? There have been a lot of players who have left the Browns only to achieve success elsewhere when used properly by other coaching staffs who actually know what they are doing.

  13. It's a combination, southie, but mostly poor talent selection. Those you mentioned who went elsewhere and found success also had a degree or two of success with the Browns before leaving. Jabaal Sheard is one example.