Revamp in Cleveland Starts At QB

By Zack Cimini

Cleveland is looking once again at huge changes of trying to dig themselves out from the graveyard of the league. They seem to be headed in the right direction be retooling from the key place in the front office. Making changes up there has been a consistent off-season move though from the Cleveland Browns that has translated into zero improvement as a team. Someone of Mike Holmgren’s caliber is not going to be taking his time to see what he has.

By now the entire league knows the Browns have little to no talent on the offensive side of the football. Just look at the carousel of the backfield as a prime example. The Browns have shuffled through numerous running backs in Jamal Lewis, Chris Jennings, and Jerome Harrison. At times part of the reason for this issue was due to injuries in the backfield. It seemed that Jennings had earned the nod for more carries and a larger share when he had a solid outing that led to the Browns upset win over the Steelers. Magician Mangini though had his own new plans and fooled all fantasy owners by giving the work load to seldom used Jerome Harrison. With only 1.9 percent of fantasy owners starting Harrison that has to be the worst official huge outburst fantasy output not utilized in leagues.

The worse area that the Browns have had horrible management of decisions is at quarterback. The Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn show has been a long drawn out three year horrific episode. During Quinn’s rookie year was the only real reasoning for either or to make a case for themselves. Quinn was a rookie and like most they’re expected to learn from the sideline. Anderson handled the pressure of having a highly praised rookie breathing down his neck like a poised veteran. He had a torrid 2007 season that made him the top out of everyone’s preseason radar steal of the year from the quarterback position. After a year like that you could only figure that Anderson was going to hold a starting role similar to the way Drew Brees did fighting off Philip Rivers, and Brett Favre holding back Aaron Rodgers.

Soon though we all saw that Anderson just had a career year and could not ever break out of his funk. Partly the blame went to the fact that Braylon Edwards developed bad habits with dropped balls, lack of effort, and inability to handle being a number one receiver. You’d think Cleveland would have tried to build better talent at the position of receiver for Edwards and their quarterbacks. That never happened and the Browns finally parted ways with Edwards this year.

On the other side of the quarterback picture was Brady Quinn. He got into a few games in 2008 but was given the job this year based on Anderson ineffectiveness once again. We all know he will miss the last two games with his foot injury but lets break down the ten games he did play in this year. Quinn showed zero pocket precence and played more like a backup quarterback trying not too lose a game. He has to find his niche with the Browns system and trust his physical skills and mental preparation to take some risks downfield. We know that he can take what the defense gives him and make that dump off throw. Any quarterback can do that, but if the Browns are going to ascend even with a few extra wins in 2010 they’re going to need Quinn to elevate his game dramatically.

Don’t be surprised if Mike Vick enters the Browns sweepstakes in the off-season. Cleveland needs someone to put the pressure on Quinn to be more of a force. Both Anderson and Quinn can argue they had zero talent this year to accomplish anything. The main weapon for them happened to be Joshua Cribbs who has only 20 catches but was who they used to run gadget plays to break up the routine throws of Quinn. Holmgren will come in and get his quarterback some play makers. It’ll be up to Quinn to shake his overall career sixty six quarterback rating. If not, the Quinn project in Cleveland will be over and over quickly.

Maybe when Quinn slipped in the 2007 draft there was a main reason for it. Why EAS has used him as a spokesman we have no idea. It must be recession low budget spending.