The Cleveland Browns quarterback carousel is continuing, and it might be the most interesting thing going on with a bad football team. It’s nothing new for the Browns who have fielded a who’s who of bad quarterbacks since coming back to the NFL in 1999.
Charlie Frye anyone?
As of today the Browns have 4 quarterbacks on the Roster. Brandon Weeden, the 2012 first round draft pick who entered the season as the starter, Jason Campbell the former Washington Redskins first round draft pick who joined the team as backup in the offseason. A week ago the Browns signed Alex Tanney off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad after Campbell got dinged up against the Steelers. Now after Weeden suffered a concussion against the Jacksonville Jaguars the Browns have signed former Chicago Bears’ backup Caleb Hanie. So who gets the start this weekend against the Patriots?
What’s Ken Dorsey doing?
The heart wrenching part for Browns fans is that for 3 weeks earlier in the season they thought they had finally found their quarterback of the future in Brian Hoyer. Hoyer got his first start thanks to a thumb injury to Weeden and ineffectiveness on Campbell’s part. Hoyer was sure to make the most of it. Hoyer led the Browns to their first victory of the season over the Minnesota Vikings, and delivered and even bigger W a week later against the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals, all the while putting up good numbers. Hoyer’s season ended, along with Cleveland’s hopes for the playoffs, on a Thursday night game against the Buffalo Bills when he tore his ACL. This gave Campbell and Weeden more shots behind center as the Cleveland Browns quarterback carousel continued to turn.
Maybe Brady Quinn could hop back on.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski said that both Tanney and Hanie will receive reps with the first team offense this week in preparation for Sunday’s game with the Patriots. Whoever gets the nod will be the 21st starting quarterback for the team in the last 14 seasons. Neither exactly gives the 4-8 Browns hope that they could eek back into the battle for the 6th playoff spot in the AFC. Tanney has never played in the NFL, although he has a cool YouTube video, and Hanie hasn’t had a job since being cut by the Baltimore Ravens in August. When Hanie started for the Bears 2 seasons ago he had 3 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 41.8.
Is Kelly Holcomb still playing?
So do the Browns look to draft someone in the offseason or do they put all their faith in Hoyer once he returns from injury? If you think that the Browns are devoid of talent you haven’t been watching the games. Josh Gordon and Jordon Cameron could be the best young wide receiver and tight end combination in the league. Joe Thomas as a perennial Pro Bowler at Left Tackle and Alex Mack has been another great addition to the offensive line. The defense is loaded with talent. Joe Haden might be the best cornerback in the league. Phil Taylor is a disruptive force on the defensive line and Paul Kruger may turn out to be a rare successful offseason signing by the Browns. It’s fair to say that the team is a quarterback away from being a playoff team. Hoyer showed flashes of being the guy this season, but can Cleveland invest just on what they’ve seen in two games? They’re going to have another high pick in this year’s draft and there’s a huge quarterback class. But everything points to sticking with Hoyer as the guy. NFL teams love going with the guy who shows quarterbacking brilliance no matter how brief. Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub have made careers out of it.
Of course the Browns invested it all on Derek Anderson once. How did that turn out?
In the AFC North each team has their man. Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton have all proven their worth to their respective franchises. Maybe the final 4 weeks of the season will give Alex Tanney or Caleb Hanie a chance to prove that they’re the man. Maybe they’ll struggle enough to make it clear that Brian Hoyer is the quarterback of the future. Either way the Cleveland Browns quarterback carousel just keeps on spinning.
Can Colt McCoy get another ride?
By James Hadley