New head coach. check. new offensive and defensive coordinators. check. new GM. check.Such as all things in football, consistency–or lack there off–is the status quo for the Cleveland Browns.
To some fans, the past couple of months have been a whirlwind of chaos mixed with daily questionings of their loyalty of a beloved franchise. To other fans, it’s been all in with the ownership, rolling with the changes, and pledging their loyalties no matter what. With the 2014 NFL Draft in a couple of months and the NFL combine underway, the biggest question still remains for the Browns:
Who will be the franchise quarterback?
Since the return in 1999, no other player position within the franchise has been the most inconsistent than the quarterback. The drought at that position is even longer, if you go back to the last real franchise quarterback for the Browns, Bernie Kosar. Injuries have been a major cause for the ever revolving door of inconsistency, as well as changes in coaches and coordinators have been contributing factors.
If the Cleveland Browns hope to win, they must first show consistency at quarterback first, in giving local product Brian Hoyer a shot.
- Reason 1: Experience — Although the draft has some talent coming out at quarterback, the concerns of readiness to hit the ground running as starters have been in question. Only two of the top five QB prospects (Tajh Boyd and Derek Carr) are not coming out early from their respective schools. Underclassmen signal-callers such Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Blake Bortles are all entering early with three years or less at the collegiate level. And from those three, Manziel’s maturity has been under the microscope since before the 2013 college football season had even started, not to mention his mechanics translating over to the NFL level. If the Browns take a quarterback in May, they should consider taking a quarterback (Boyd, Bortles, or Carr) late in the first or in the second round to back up Hoyer and develop. Hoyer already has an advantage on whoever the Browns take at quarterback: 5 year NFL veteran, developed behind Tom Brady at New England for three years, and 3-0 in games played for the Browns as a starter in 2013. Players bought into his leadership role and the team had an immediate turnaround in the games with Hoyer at the helm.
- Reason 2: Quarterback is not the immediate need. — The biggest need on the offensive side of the ball is wide receiver. Outside of Josh Gordon, the receiving core of Greg Little and Davone Bess have disappointed in their production on the field. If the Browns want to make a splash and bring a much-needed weapon to compliment Pro Bowl wideout Josh Gordon, selecting Sammie Watkins at #4 would be that splash.
- Reason 3: Kyle Shanahan’s Offense — With the addition of Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator, his style of play fits those of a pocket passer versus a mobile quarterback. He saw the most success with Rex Grossman and Matt Schaub, both pocket passers. Hoyer has been compared to Kirk Cousins, who Kyle Shanahan has worked with and speaks very highly of. Although Hoyer can be mobile, he thrives more as a pocket passing quarterback. Hoyer should easily adapt to Shanahan’s new system without issue.
At the end of the day, keeping Hoyer at the helm going for the 2014-15 season will bring positive dividends to the Browns in what has been an overhaul of an off-season so far. Changing what already has brought success would keep the cycle of inconsistency in that position.
For this writer, he’s like the brand of jeans that you find that finally fits in comfort and style. (I’m sure the female readers would back me up on this.) You stick with that brand and style until it stops working for you. In Cleveland’s case, it’s time the Browns stick with their own pair of proverbial pair of denim in Hoyer.