Browns need to be embarrassingly bad again
Let us be perfectly honest here about the 2017 Cleveland Browns.
The National Football League has become a quarterbacks league. If you have a quarterback who ranks anywhere from very good to exceptional, you have a great shot at not only making the playoffs, but advancing into February.
Teams that do not have a quarterback who fits that description, there will be no postseason. Only hope, in most cases, for the future. Color the Browns one of those teams.
That is why they must come close to replicating their disastrous 2016 season. It is their only chance to draft a quarterback whose collegiate credentials give them a chance to finally land their elusive franchise quarterback.
Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer are merely warming the job until that quarterback is ready to step onto the professional football stage. They are not the future of this team.
All three will play this season. The nature of the position, especially with this team, strongly suggests that is inevitable. A combination of injuries and poor play virtually guarantees it.
In order to be in position to draft their quarterback of the future, the Browns absolutely must lose as many games as possible in the upcoming season to insure qualifying for the top pick once again.
There are three quarterbacks in the next college draft who will sport far better credentials and talent than the top three in the most recent draft. And yes, that includes Kizer, who isn’t nearly ready to step in and be a pro and whose selection this year will be considered a mistake in the future.
Of those three college quarterbacks, only one stands out. His name is Sam Darnold from USC. And while UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Josh Allen of Wyoming present strong credentials, Darnold is clearly the top dog in this class.
All you have to do is look at what he did to Penn State in the last Rose Bowl as ample evidence. Yes, it was only one game, but sneak a peek at what he did after taking over as the Trojans’ No. 1 quarterback early in the 2016 season and you’ll have all the proof you need to see why he is special.
Right now, it looks very much as though three teams with dramatic quarterback needs will battle for Darnold’s services. You root for one of those teams. The others are the Los Angeles Rams and New York Jets, franchises located in major NFL markets, both figuratively frothing at the prospect of drafting him.
Those are the teams the Browns have to beat in the race to the bottom of the league and the top of the draft. They host the Jets in game four on Oct. 1, a game they must lose in the event tiebreakers are required to decide draft position.
The Rams and Jets are bad teams. The Browns are awful, especially on offense, but getting better, especially on defense. The downside is if they experience another season like the last one, it is highly likely coach Hue Jackson’s job will be in jeopardy.
Owner Jimmy Haslam III is renown for his knee-jerk reactions in the past with regard to his head coaches. A second straight embarrassing season could trigger another of those knee jerks.
That would be a mistake.
Jackson deserves a chance to work with a quarterback who gives him an honest chance at success in Cleveland. He didn’t have that chance last season and this season’s quarterbacks class in Berea does not provide much hope, either.
This franchise has waited long enough for its franchise quarterback to come along. One more season of abject futility won’t hurt any more than the 18 that preceded it, especially with a Sam Darnold lurking.