The Cleveland Browns have come a long way, yet are still winless. But unlike past seasons, the quarterback position is not the primary issue.
Cleveland Browns fans have yet to have seen a consistent winner since the organization’s return to the NFL in 1999. Misery and heartbreak seem to be recurring themes in the franchise’s young history.
The Browns entered 2016 with an entirely new regime, hoping that the season would begin a major turnaround. So far, it has been rough, as expected. The team is winless through the first seven games, as many of the same problems have haunted the Browns. Surprisingly though, the primary issue Cleveland has faced this season has not been the quarterback position.
Browns quarterbacks have become one of the most overused jokes in football. They are often mocked and ridiculed for both legitimate and illegitimate reasons. In recent memory, it has been Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn, Charlie Frye and of course, Johnny Manziel.
This year, it seems to be even worse. Six quarterbacks have taken snaps for the offense within the team’s first seven games. This is an NFL milestone.
Strangely though, the problems for the Browns go far beyond the quarterback position. In fact, this season, they don’t even seem to include the quarterback position.
In a way, this is very ironic. There have been seasons where Cleveland has started one quarterback for nearly the entirety of the season, yet their offense was inefficient in every way. Fortunately, those days seem to be gone. Through seven games, the Browns are tied for 13th in total yards. This isn’t bad for a team ranked 32nd in virtually ever power ranking. And it’s especially not too bad for a team which has seen six different quarterbacks take snaps.
The truth is, the Browns don’t have an epidemic at the quarterback position anymore.
It’s not like they have necessarily found a franchise quarterback. After all, which of the six would it be? But they undoubtedly have a better idea of their identity on offense. And this identity is versatile, as it works for each quarterback.
Cody Kessler has shown improvement in each game he has played thus far. Even rookie Kevin Hogan thrived in this offense with Terrelle Pryor limited at the receiver position due to a hamstring injury. There is most certainly a better culture than past years when it comes to the offense. It seems that even the most improbable of quarterbacks can find a reasonable amount of success under impossible circumstances.
Of course, in true Browns fashion, they have found another area to struggle in while their quarterbacking surprises many. The play of the defense, especially the secondary, has been as bad as ever. Injuries have piled up, and there is simply a lack of talent and experience.
Fans know that there is a problem when Briean-Boddy Calhoun is placed in man-to-man coverage with A.J. Green intentionally. It’s no surprise that the Browns surrendered a ridiculous 308 yards to the Bengals through the air in Sunday’s loss.
In total, the defense gave up 559 yards. It doesn’t matter who was playing quarterback for the Browns, they weren’t going to win. Yet so many continue to discuss the quarterback position like it still needs to improve. Maybe it does, but it is hard to ignore the obvious weak spot on the roster. The fact is, the Browns can win with the way their quarterbacks have played so far.
Whatever comes of this season, at least fans can look back and remember what it is like to have sufficient quarterback play. And maybe the team will find one of their rookies to be a possible quarterback for the future. No matter what though, it’s now time for the Browns to move forward from their quarterbacking woes and focus on the areas which are really preventing the organization from competing.