A lot of things have changed since 1999 and the Cleveland Browns Quarterback situation is one of them. They have had an astonishing 24 starting quarterbacks, with some playing 16 games a season such as Tim Couch in 2001 and others literally starting one game for this franchise such as Spergon Wynn, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski, Thad Lewis and Connor Shaw. To put this into perspective, much more successful teams like the Green Bay Packers have started 5 different Quarterbacks and the New England Patriots have started 3 different Quarterbacks. Here is my view on the mediocre madness that is Cleveland’s laughable Quarterback situation.
On Thursday, the news broke that Robert Griffin III is expected to sign with the Browns, making him the 25th starting quarterback for the Browns in 17 years. Griffin finished his time in Washington marred with injuries, lacking in confidence and a diminishing connection with Jay Gruden. So it remains to be seen whether or not he is able to lead this franchise to loftier heights than the other 24 previous quarterbacks have tried to. It seems to me that becoming Browns Quarterback brings an added weight. Not a lot, but enough to instill a slight modicum of self-doubt into your brain, because you know you’re trying to lead what seems like an eternally cursed franchise out of NFL purgatory and into something above mediocrity. To be able to go through 24 Quarterbacks in 17 years is a very difficult thing to do, but of course the Browns have managed it, in the most Browns way possible. Kelly Holcomb was the last Browns QB to put them in the playoffs, where in typical Cleveland fashion they lost 36-33 to Pittsburgh who scored with only 54 seconds left. Since then they’ve only had one more winning season finishing 10-6 in 2007.
I believe that this slow,painful and cold demise for the Browns can be attributed to many different reasons. Firstly the owners’ disgustingly poor ability to choose personal staff with any positive knowledge of scouting or free agency. It seems to me that to build a successful franchise you need solid, positive building blocks and the Browns haven’t had these; they have had rich, hot headed, inept men trying to run a franchise. This leads them to hire poorly e.g scouts so in turn they draft poorly e.g 4 QBs in the first round since 1999. From those helpless drafts, Cleveland has searched far and wide for an upgrade in Free Agency, with players that are way past their prime and in some cases built like glass to lead the team, the city and the fans to a Lombardi trophy, but of course each one has failed, with such players as Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson,Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer, Derek Anderson, Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace all fitting that mold.
It’s names like these, along with suffering untimely injuries that have lead the Browns to be sucked into the black hole of archaic, gauche and over priced Quarterbacks. Now once you are taken into a black hole it’s impossible to get out. So the Browns despite their unflinching failure in Free Agency, have gone back into it for RGIII. I believe that as per usual this will not work out either due to RGIII getting injured again, not fitting into the system, not being given enough time or the Browns not drafting pieces around him to work well with or as I fear along with many other fans, another horrible concoction of all of these factors. This will inevitably lead to Cleveland continuing with this endless, godforsaken cycle, while us, the fans, and media all run endlessly in our hamster wheels of hope for each new Cleveland Browns Quarterback.