"The quarterback position is what keeps me up at night."--Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner last August
"I think it’s important that I get the best coordinator I can for us. I think [determining who calls the plays is] one of the details that will get worked out as we go through the process."--Browns HC Pat Shurmur
"When you get a chance to get a quarterback that you think is a great one, you do it."--Browns President Mike Holmgren
February off season eye in the sky Browns report pre-combine. No player movement but the team has made a few coaching moves. The club hired former player Nolan Cromwell as an offensive assistant. He worked with both Pat Shurmur in St. Louis and under Browns President Mike Holmgren when Holmgren was the head coach in Green Bay. The big news is that the team has hired former Minnesota HC Brad Childress as the new offensive coordinator. The team has been strangely silent on the hiring of Childress as they have not had a press conference which is standard operating procedure for any major hire like an offensive coordinator. Brad may not have been there first choice but he is well deserving of a press conference to announce his hiring. I actually like the hire. Chilly coached only four and a half years in Minnesota and won two NFCN championships and took the Vikes to the NFC championship game. He is well versed in the West Coast Offense, his offense in Minnesota scored over over 400 points in 2009.. Chilly has over three decades of coaching experience and both he and Shurmur worked together in Philadelphia. Some in the media aren’t high on him but I think he’ll do better than expected. The other big stories are the draft and quarterback issue and how the team will address it. Forget about the draft for now, lets just frame the quarterback issue and let it sink in.
Browns owner Randy Lerner did an interview on the Mike Trivisono radio program and he spilled his guts on the quarterback situation the quarterback situation: "I'm not a talent evaluator, to say the least, or anything like one. At some point as a Browns fan when you look around and see Pittsburgh needing a quarterback and dealing with Kordell Stewart or dealing with Tommy Maddox or whatever. ... They made a move. They committed to the move and they've succeeded with that move.
"Baltimore with Kyle Boller and that didn't work out. And they tried and made a move and got [Joe] Flacco. I think one of the things that is crucial right now is to take a significant step forward is to try if you can to get this quarterback situation settled."
It is apparent that the owner believes the team needs to get a quarterback sending the media into a quarterback frenzy. The options are as follows.
- Free agents QB Matt Flynn Green Bay OR trade for QB Kevin Kolb Arizona
- Draft QB Robert Griffin III Baylor OR fallback QB Ryan Tannenhill
RG III is the guy many want. Last year QB Cam Newton exploded onto the NFL scene sending many into a dither over Griffin and there is plenty to like. He’s smart, graduated early with a 3.67 GPA, he’s fast qualified for the Olympic in the hurdles, he’s got poise and leadership and handles himself well as recognized by the greater football community, Hiesman award winner, and he’s got a rocket for an arm. Neatives? He comes from a spread offense, doesn’t anticipate his throws, and his frame looks a bit thin. One thing though, he’s not QB Cam Newton. Newton is 6’6 and 248lbs. Sure they both are able to avoid pressure and make plays with their legs and both have great arms but they are not the same guy. Cam Newton broke QB Peyton Manning’s NFL setting rookie passing record and he destroyed defenses by taking it in by himself near the goal line. Unbelievable combination of size and strength that Griffin does not possess so do not confuse these guys because they are not the same. If RG III makes it he will make it on his own merits and he’s got some work to do since he comes from a spread offense so he’ll have to learn the pro-set and if the Browns took him his strengths do not fit in well with the West Coast. Pat Shurmur was running the West Coast in such a predictable manner that one opponent said he was calling out the plays before the Browns ran them. So if the club got RG III they would have to adapt the offense to reap the benefit of Griffin’s unique skills. For now, QB Robert Griffin III is atop a very short list of viable quarterback prospects who would fit the Lerner bill. In the event that the club hasn’t addressed the quarterback position in free agency and Griffin gets taken before their turn to select in the draft they may be forced to downshift to QB Ryan Tannenhill. Tannenhill has decent size, mobility, arm strength, but after Griffin any quarterback from this class has question marks. We’ll take a closer look at each of these prospects in future columns.
Next up is free agent QB Matt Flynn. Flynn only has two NFL starts but he has averaged over 400 yards passing and four touchdowns in those two starts, very impressive. The caveat is he had great weapons and a fantastic supporting cast when he put up those lofty numbers. Also the Dolphins have hired his former offensive coordinator and they need a quarterback so it looks as though QB Matt Flynn will not be available to the Browns.
Next, QB Kevin Kolb Arizona Cardinals. Kolb’s star has fallen precipitously and he’s due a big roster bonus soon that the Cards may not dish out making him a free agent. Kolb was a hot name after posting solid numbers in Philadelphia under the guidance of Pat Shurmur and where he was selected by the Eageles when current Browns GM Tom Heckertt who was working the personnel department at the time Philly drafted Kolb. Kolb had his best production in the West Coast offense under Shurmur. He’s already well versed in the offense and has a good working relationship with Shurmur and Tom Heckertt certainly knows all about him. Many are down on Kolb considering his stats in Arizona but he is a very interesting prospect and could come cheap which would free up the Browns top choice to address other areas on the club so he is very very interesting.
Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves, a few things will transpire before the draft which is months off however the NFL Scouting Combine begins next Wednesday on the 22nd of February and free agency starts on March 13 so their will be plenty to get caught up on before our next report.
"We have to win more games next year. We will win more games next year. I truly believe that. And there's a small part of me that hopes that as we've been going like this [miming one step at a time], that this offseason, if things go right, that we'll make a big jump."--Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner in a recent interview
Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!