Revisiting Cleveland Browns-style QB development and ruination
What’s the best way to develop a quarterback in the NFL? The Cleveland Browns should be experts at that since they have had more quarterbacks by far since 1999 than any other team. The Browns method over the years is to play a new quarterback as a rookie, behind the most miserable offense line possible, and let him take a pounding. This builds character and teaches him to overcome adversity. Meanwhile, the team drafts defensive linemen.
We see the New York Jets using this method with baby-faced Zack Wilson, who was sacked six times and hit ten times by Carolina in Week 1. If they can’t fix this, they can’t possibly develop Wilson via this time-honored method. 50 sacks per year is about the limit.
If your quarterback is getting sacked at that rate, you cannot possibly expect superior performance. Just shut up about wanting to draft a new quarterback. Instead, your GM had better commit as many free agents and draft picks as necessary to fix the offensive line and put a hold on because other positions are meaningless if your quarterback is getting trampled to death.
Had the Browns not pounded Colt McCoy, Cody Kessler, and DeShone Kizer (recently cut by the Tennessee Titans) as rookies, might they have developed differently? What if they had built an offensive line and made them sit for the first year or even the first month? Nope, our Browns had to play them as rookies. Especially bizarre was the decision to play Kizer who left Notre Dame with two years of eligibility remaining and was barely ready to shave, never mind play quarterback in the NFL.
Mysteries of the 2018 Quarterback Class
In the QB class of 2018, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have become acknowledged stars and Baker Mayfield is ranked below them. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are considered to be flops. Mason Rudolph is a backup quarterback and fringe starter. What if Darnold and Rosen had played for better teams? We may find out more this season, at least in the case of Darnold.
It was hilarious that Darnold beat the Jets in his first game for Carolina. Hello, Jets, if you want to win the Super Bowl, you can’t give a starting quarterback to someone on your schedule. But if you were lying about wanting to win and truthfully want to lose a bunch of games again and get another high draft pick it’s okay.
The prediction here is that Darnold will prove to be serviceable if not a superstar as predicted by Colin Cowherd and many others. He’s tall and has a strong arm. Whoopee. For some amateur scouts, that is enough, it seems.
However, he has an elongated delivery which gives defensive linemen a chance to cause him to fumble (which he does), and he cues the defensive backs a split second early where the ball is going. But if he has superior protection from his offensive line, he can sling it.
A little bit later, we’re going to a deep dive into the Ravens offensive line, which has been sabotaged by their general manager, Eric DeCosta, who is so not Ozzie Newsome 2.0. It’s predicted that Lamar Jackson is not going to gain 1,000 yards on the ground this season. Everyone will whine that Lamar is washed up at age 24 and blame his running style. This is nonsense. It’s because his offensive line is breaking down.