Extra Points
News and commentary from around the Web

Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Brian Hoyer: Out with a deep bruise to his right shoulder/bicep area.

Johnny Manziel: Out with a hamstring injury.

And so the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback against Baltimore will be Connor Shaw, an undrafted rookie out of South Carolina who has spent 16 weeks on Cleveland's practice squad. Shaw will be the Browns' 22nd different starting quarterback in the past 16 years, joining such luminaries as Spergon Wynn, Ken Dorsey, and Thaddeus Lewis.

Shaw started for three years for the Gamecocks, twice finishing second in the SEC in completion percentage.

Cleveland coach Mike Pettine offered this nugget of optimism concerning his team's chances against the Ravens: "You're starting an undrafted rookie quarterback -- I don't think we're going to look to go down there and win one 41-38. We need to be along the lines of 3-2."

Comments

25 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2014, 3:27am

1 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Pettine says the best his UFA QB can do is a 3-2 win. So not only does he think his rookie can only lead one FG drive of offense all day, but he'll probably take a safety as well.

4 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

That's not exactly what he said, just the implication that it wasn't going to be very high scoring and that he shouldn't try to do too much in his first game.

2 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

I d love to see him have a great game, just to make CLE's QB situation even funnier this offseason.

6 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

I will say that one of the recurring themes this season has been UDFAs outperforming mid-to-high round draftees (i.e. K'Waun Williams outplaying Desir, who later jumped Gilbert in the depth chart, Crowell jumping West, Gabriel performing well at WR, and of course Hoyer over Johnny.)

It's a bit of a silver lining that the late rounds and UDFAs are making up for yet another year of question marks in the first round.

7 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Really that's what makes Pettine's comment so weird. The Browns have been an organization willing to play their UDFA's without kid gloves, and then promote them if they perform. Here he seems to be saying we've got the full kid glove treatment, and I don't think that would be helpful for team improvement or Connor Shaw individually.

Of course, he could be giving BS coach-speak talk, and I hope this is the case.

5 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

http://regressing.deadspin.com/which-nfl-teams-have-started-the-most-quarterbacks-199-1467826931

Let's not act like plenty of other teams don't rotate quarterbacks quite a lot, even the Fins who appear to have found their long-term QB (despite rumors he would be benched for Matt Moore just this season,) and even the Broncos and Cowboys have relatively high numbers on that list.

Even the Steelers have more than you would think, simply because they had multiple different fill-ins for Roethlisberger recently, and a lot of turnover just before him.

9 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

The Dolphins have been looking for a viable starter since Marino, and have now finally found one.
Other teams do the same, they go through a lot of QBs before finding the one they like.
Although the Browns seem to keep searching for QBs and coaches even if it seems that they found one that could at least get you into the playoffs if the rest of the team was good and you gave them some stability (Couch, Holcomb, Garcia, McCoy, Hoyer).

But it the Browns say to their QB "take over from the starter and go into the playoffs next year, or you'll be benched during the year after."

That's a totally different story than having the Franchise QB (Ben) but having to go through backups because he's injured from time to time.
The Steelers actually went with Batch for 10 years as a backup, so even at that position they had continuity.
It's really the opposite of what the Browns do. They have no continuity where it's important.
Maybe at linebacker, but they let Jackson go too...

10 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

The interesting stuff in the graph is the yellow and orange sections. Those are the areas where a team is trying a QB to see if he's a fit and finding out he isn't. That's what really kills a team.

11 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

The interesting stuff in the graph is the yellow and orange sections. Those are the areas where a team is trying a QB to see if he's a fit and finding out he isn't. That's what really kills a team.

13 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Orange is not necessarily "bad" if the team already knows the QB in question is a career backup but needs to give the rookie some "redshirt" time.

For instance, if Hoyer had done what he did this year, and then Johnny won the last 3 to finish 10-6, would it really be considered a poor situation?

21 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

See this is where I become an NFL nihilist. How do we know committing to a Quarterback is any different from committing to the run? Had they just stuck with Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn or whoever, and even if they did so while building a great team around them, I suspect their QB situation would look like the Jets or the Jaguars who have committed, yet drafted poorly.

Furthermore, many good situations have come from the experimentation model. If Phillip Rivers turns out like Matt Leinart, then their continuity would have been hurt. But their failure wouldn't have been because continuity is good, it would have been because MatPhillip RiversLeinart stinks. But Rivers turns out to be great, and they make the easy decision of keeping on playing their top Quarterback. If Tom Brady's second season as a starter is like Derek Anderson's, the Patriots look pretty bad for ditching Bledsoe (and it is bad for continuity). But Brady looks great, and they make the easy decision of keeping on playing their top Quarterback.

When you look at the top Quarterbacks in the league, many never gave their team a tough decision by playing great football from the get go. The Browns have faced a number of tough decisions and had the bad record in those decisions, but I'm not convinced it is anything but luck that they failed in those tough spots.

22 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Committing to a bad quarterback just means you have a bad quarterback. On the other hand, if you keep changing starters until you find the next Otto Graham, well, Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the last Cleveland championship (with Frank Ryan, not Graham).

There are better quarterbacks than Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton. But by committing to those guys, the Ravens and Bengals have allowed themselves to expend their efforts elsewhere to build their teams, and both have achieved some success that way. Maybe Flacco and Dalton are both better than any of the 22 Cleveland starters, but the Browns have certainly invested significant draft resources on QBs, and a few of the guys they discarded have at least been serviceable. They might be better served by stepping back for a bit and letting a quality quarterback come to them instead of continuing this unsuccessful chase.

23 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Look at this list and tell me who is as good as Dalton or Flacco?
http://returnofcleveland.com/2014/01/14/ranking-the-20-cleveland-browns-starting-quarterbacks-since-1999/

It seems to me you could make two arguments: 1. The Browns have drafted poorly at Quarterback or 2. The Browns have been unlucky at Quarterback. However to say 3. The Browns have failed to commit to good but not great Quarterbacking, you would have to show an example of a good but not great QB, and I see none on this list.

24 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

To be fair, Anderson (who's been #1 in other versions of the list I've seen) has as many pro bowls with the Browns as Dalton has with the Bengals, under similar circumstances of numerous better QBs turning down the Hawaii trip.

However, given that DA quickly regressed to the career backup he is after that, this is more of an indictment that the Bengals should've let Dalton walk and taken the compensatory value while looking for a true franchise QB.

25 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

... and a playoff appearance. Maybe Dalton's not good enough to win a championship, but that was an open question about Flacco right up until he did it.

Looking at that list of Browns quarterbacks, I see a handful of vets who could have provided some stability, even if they weren't great with the Browns. Colt McCoy struck me as competent. We'll never know how good Couch would or would not have been with better teammates, but the continual chasing of a franchise QB pretty much guarantees that if they find one, he'll have to undergo the same growing pains that Couch did.

12 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

'But it the Browns say to their QB "take over from the starter and go into the playoffs next year, or you'll be benched during the year after."'

Playoff ultimatums were never really official. It was more a case of "move on to the next one now that it doesn't look like this one is a long-term franchise QB answer."

Giving up on QBs has never turned out to be a poor decision here (unless you want to count Jeff Garcia and his 1 subsequent Pro Bowl appearance. Although his presence on the roster led to the Browns passing over Roethlisberger for Kellen Winslow, and then having a 4-12 season with him. :facepalm: ) None of the other quarterbacks they drafted turned out to be much more than backups/spot starters elsewhere after, which goes to show the error was poor evaluation in choosing them in the first place.

It's hard to bet against Johnny following the same path, although I could see the Browns committing to Hoyer as a long-term backup (and not much more, despite his early efforts at putting them in playoff contention - he is a career backup who couldn't beat out elderly Charlie Batch in 2012.)

15 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

No official, but if you look at the QB turnaround it's basically that QB1 plays, then QB2 takes over. QB2 can play for another year and the next year QB3 takes over.
The irony is, that by trying out so many QBs is that you never get a good evaluation on a QB.
The Garcia/Winslow situation is reverse logic. Or at least logic with hindsight.

No one knew how good Ben was going to be, and when you have a decent starter, you go with him and look around to upgrade the rest of the team.
Getting a top round QB while you have a starter would indeed be Browns logic.
They pick Manziel, Weeden, McCoy, Frye, Quinn, Couch in the top rounds, but never give him any talent around him to do a proper evaluation.
The Browns will go through QBs like Spinal Tap goes through drummers until they get a decent roster. Or they hold on to a decent starter.

18 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

"They pick Manziel, Weeden, McCoy, Frye, Quinn, Couch in the top rounds, but never give him any talent around him to do a proper evaluation."

Weeden had 6 Pro Bowlers on his team, including 4 on offense, in 2013, as well as a coach and scheme who were a specific fit for him. The problem was him.

20 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Ok ok, the 28 year old rookie they drafted in the first round turned out not to be their QB of the future.

The point I'm trying to make is that the Browns are a broken franchise. They will go through another 22 QBs in 15 years if they continue like this.
They are getting better for recent years, but it's still a mess.

And don't get me wrong, I want them to be a solid franchise. I'm a Steelers fan and want the rivalry to be fun again, but now I'm only baffled by the questionable decisions they make.

8 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

Between the Chiefs and Browns situations it seems any remaining Texans fans can stop worrying about playoff scenarios.

19 Re: Browns Turn To QB No. 22

On a related note, Gordon suspended for the last game.

This is relevant from a leaguewide perspective because it pushes back his free agency timetable a year.

Official word is that he missed walkthroughs (and hung out with Johnny who was supposed to be doing injury rehab,) but unofficial word is a late night bar incident.