Cleveland Browns: Revolving door at QB interferes with growth

Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) is pressured by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon (91) during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) is pressured by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon (91) during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns have struggled to develop as a team since 1999, partially due to the inconsistency at the quarterback position.

As if Sunday’s game wasn’t enough, another blow was delivered to the Cleveland Browns on Monday as their warrior quarterback was ruled out for the team’s next game. Head coach Hue Jackson broke the news in his press conference.

Josh McCown‘s absence will be a difficult pill for the team to swallow, as rookie Cody Kessler will presumably make his first career NFL start.

Players and fans alike have a great deal of respect for McCown, and rightfully so, as his toughness and determination were on full display this Sunday.

But it is time for the team to move on for the time being, at least until McCown gets healthy. Unfortunately though, this will be a difficult task for an offense already on its third quarterback and missing its center.

Kessler likely didn’t expect to be starting anytime soon, much less in the third game of the season, considering the fact that he began as the third quarterback on the depth chart. When Robert Griffin III went out with his injury, Kessler moved up to the second slot for the quarterback position. Now that McCown has gone out at least for a week, Kessler shockingly finds himself as the starting quarterback.

Maybe it isn’t such a shock to many, who would have given Kessler very good odds of starting this season. This mentality inherited by longtime Browns fans gets to the root of the problem with this team, quarterback consistency.

It is extremely difficult for a team at this level of professional football to find consistent production from the quarterback position when they start a different quarterback every week. This is the very situation the Browns face in the early stages of 2016.

But the most devastating impacts to this real problem do not come as a result of quarterback play. The inconsistency the Browns have had at quarterback has hindered their ability to rebuild effectively in recent years. Though many anticipated this rebuild to be the one which finally makes the Browns relevant again, it has begun in identical fashion to others which have ended up failing.

The ramifications may be even more spectacular this time. With the young talent Cleveland has, their number one priority should be finding a quarterback who can play 16 games. The problem is, they have yet to find one that can play more than one.

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Fans were exposed to the kinds of explosive plays this offense is capable of on Sunday as Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor revealed their dynamic abilities at wide receiver. Complementary to the deep passing attack the Browns possess short-yardage receivers in Andrew Hawkins and Gary Barnidge, who fit their intended roles perfectly at times during the home opener.

But without the same quarterback running the offense, the development of this young team will stall. For Jackson, this has to be extremely frustrating and shocking. To many fans, it has been what they have grown accustomed to for decades. Every rebuilding process seems to be derailed by a quarterback who can’t stay on the field.

Being exposed to the potential this roster brings makes the fact that they can’t pull it together even more excruciating for fans. In years past it has been Kellen Winslow Jr.Brian Robiskie, Peyton Hillis and Braylon Edwards. Each presented promising young talent that did not pan out in Cleveland mostly due to lack of consistency at quarterback. This problem is one that must be fixed if the rebuilding process which is constantly mentioned will ever become a reality.

Furthermore, the fact that it is impossible to blame a single individual makes the recurring theme harder to deal with. After all, there’s really no excuse the Browns can make as they watch their quarterback go down time and time again. It may seem like a good thing that nobody is single-handedly at fault for this epidemic, but it also creates more confusion and frustration when there is no one to blame.

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For Jackson though, he knows he is responsible whether he is at fault or not. Given the demise of former Cleveland head coaches partially due to the issues at quarterback, it is hard not to get a little nervous for Jackson, and second guess whether this rebuilding process is actually going to get done with him at the helm.