Thursday, November 5, 2009
Browns Can't Afford to Draft QB
I can tell you one thing: We can't afford to reach for a quarterback.
So our quarterback's right now haven't been able to do anything. They turn the ball over 3 times as much as they score touchdowns. Derek Anderson misses a wide open tight end that's 4 yards in front of him, on a regular basis, while throwing at players feet often.
Of course, it's not all the QB's is it. No, it's not nearly all on the QB's, and even as a Derek Anderson hater, I have to be unbiased and see how many drops this offense has, as well as how many fumbles they have. Toss in the terrible passes, and it's just a recipe for disaster. Would a great QB help this team? Sure, but not as much as you'd think. Besides, there aren't any great QB's in this draft. There are just some talented kids who are athletic and have big arms.
But no matter how athletic somebody is, and no matter how far they can throw the ball, it doesn't mean that you have to reach for them. There are so many things to judge quarterbacks on: throwing power, accuracy, touch, intelligence, as well as intangibles. You also like to see QB's have 25-30 starts in college and have a winning career if you're going to draft him in the top 10, which neither Clausen or Locker have. So what gives?
The biggest reason why the Browns can't afford to take a quarterback is because there are no play makers on the offense. The best thing about this offense is our offensive line with Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, and the emergence of Alex Mack. However, Floyd Womack is less than impressive, and every time I see a DE or OLB getting into the backfield, who else do I see chasing the guy but John St. Clair after getting beat so often. But other than Mack, Steinbach, and Thomas, who is there?
Well, there's Joshua Cribbs... kind of. What does Cribbs do for a QB? He's a below average wide receiver and his only role is potentially in the backfield, while running the wildcat while our QB is lined up as a WR. So who else?
Jerome Harrison? He's actually a solid player. But we never get to see him play. Harrison has only showed great things when he gets in the game (unless he's staying in the backfield to block), and he never plays. It's puzzling, really. Either way, he's not enough of a play maker to make defenses afraid and game plan around him.
Mohamed Massaquoi? Well, after his 8 catch 148 yard performance against the Bengals, he really hasn't done much. He did have 5 catches for 83 yards against Pittsburgh. So I guess the talent is there. The problem with Massaquoi is that he gets taken out of games too easily. He's inconsistent as well, just like at Georgia. One game he'll have 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 TD's, and then he'll have 4 drops in another game, just like after the Cincy game, he had 4-5 drops the following week against Buffalo.
Twinkle toes... Er, I mean Jamal Lewis? He's reportedly done after this season (Thankfully!), and even if he wasn't, he struggles to run through a hole that a train could fit through at times. Not to mention, with defenses not needing to drop back many people because of how ineffective our passing game has been, they get to stack the line.
Who else do we have? That's just it... Nobody.
Let's look at some history, shall we?
I'm going to look at some of the more successful 1st Round QB's over the last 10 years, compared to some that haven't been successful. See if you can find the trend.
Joe Flacco (Baltimore)- Flacco came into Baltimore last season with Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason, and Todd Heap as offensive weapons, plus Ray Rice was drafted.
Matt Ryan (Atlanta)- Ryan came into an offense that just signed the former standout that played behind LaDainian Tomlinson in Michael Turner. Add Roddy White who was a 1,200 yard receiver prior to Ryan (with Joey Harrington throwing him the ball), and Ryan also had Alge Crumpler who was usually good for 700-800 yards and 7-8 touchdowns.
Jay Cutler (Denver)- Cutler came into the Denver offense led by Jake Plummer. He got the pleasure of playing with the now retired Rod Smith, and a very talented Javon Walker who was a 1,300 yard receiver prior to injury. Sprinkle in a little Brandon Marshall and add in Shannahan's zone blocking scheme that makes lanes that even my grandmother could run through, and you've got a recipe for success.
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay)- Rodgers was drafted in 2005 to take over for Brett Favre who many thought would retire following 2005... Well Favre lasted until 2007, letting Rodgers learn from one of the best QB's of the last 20 years. Add in Greg Jennings acquired in '06, along with Donald Driver, and an efficient Ryan Grant, and you've got talent.
Eli Manning (New York Giants)- Manning was drafted in 2004 getting the pleasure of playing with Pro-Bowler Tiki Barber, along with a great WR duo in Amani Toomer (1,000+ yard receiver annually) and Ike Hilliard. That wasn't it, he also had Jeremy Shockey who some would swear had stick 'em on his hands earlier in his career. A season later, Brandon Jacobs was drafted as well.
Philip Rivers (San Diego)- Rivers came into San Diego waiting his turn to hand the ball of to the best RB in the league from around 2002-2007, and throw the ball to a top 3 TE in the league . Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson in their primes were as big of play makers as you could get.
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh)- Despite having a terrible offensive line, Big Ben got some great treatment in Pittsburgh coming into a team that featured Jerome Bettis at RB, along with Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress at WR's.
Carson Palmer (Cincinnati)- Palmer went into Cincinnati with the play maker formerly known as Chad Johnson. Not only did he have Johnson, but he had a underachieving Peter Warrick who still made a few plays here and there, but most importantly he had a 1,400 yard rusher in Rudi Johnson.
Donovan McNabb is the only one of these QB's not to start out with a stud offensively.
(Disclaimer leaving out Vince Young, Brady Quinn, and Matt Leinart for lack of opportunity)
Jamarcus Russell (Oakland)- Had Justin Fargas in 2007 who had a solid season rushing, but has never been consistent. Not much else.
Alex Smith (San Francisco)- Had rookie Frank Gore offensively, along with a slightly above average Brandon Lloyd.
J.P. Losman (Buffalo)- JP's rookie year he didn't play because of Bledsoe, but McGahee rushed for 13 TD's and had a great season. JP gets about 8 starts in 2005, but McGahee's YPC goes down, and overall play went down. Eric Moulds was the top option for Losman as well, which wasn't terrible, but he wasn't nearly the same Moulds from 1998-2002. Not to mention a terrible offensive line.
Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville)- Leftwich had a very young line to work with, but had a fantastic rusher in Fred Taylor. However, he had nobody to throw to, if he could stand upright.
Rex Grossman (Chicago)- Grossman only started 6 games out of his first two seasons with a team that had Anthony Thomas and Thomas Jones in each of those seasons, both who were solid rushers. However, there were no WR's, TE's, or an offensive line for that matter. The season that Rex Grossman played decently, he had a 1,200 yard rusher, a pass catching TE, and a veteran receiver in Muhsin Muhammed, and a good pass catcher in Berrian.
David Carr (Houston)- Houston being an expansion team, they weren't expected to have any players, and they didn't. Carr spent most of his time in Houston on his back, attempting to hand the ball off to former Buckeye Johnathan Wells (2.7 YPC), and throwing the ball to Corey Bradford and Billy Miller. The Texans got him a RB in Domanick Williams, and a stud WR in Andre Johnson, and they went 7-9 in 2004 in just their 3rd season in the NFL. Once Williams faded away, the only option that Carr had was Johnson... If he could stay on his feet long enough to get it to him.
Joey Harrington (Detroit)- Harrington went to a Detroit team whose #1 wide receiver was Az-Zahir Hakim. Need I say more?
Patrick Ramsey (Washington)- Ramsey had a mediocre Stephen Davis as his #1 RB, and 1 year wonder in Rod Gardner as a WR. Ramsey's 2nd season his leading rusher was Trung Canidate who rushed for just over 600 yards. His only true option was Laveranues Coles, with an inconsistent offensive line.
Michael Vick (Atlanta)- Vick was a different type of quarterback. However, he didn't have any options on offense when drafted either. Atlanta's best WR then was 35 year old Terance Mathis. There was no more running game as Jamal Anderson was washed up.
Akili Smith (Cincinnati)- Smith didn't play much his rookie year when he had Corey Dillon and Darnay Scott. Scott emerged as an above average receiver for the Bengals for a few seasons, until he missed the 2000 season with injury. Smith started 11 games in 2000 with a bad offensive line, inexperienced, and lackluster WR's, but at least had a great running game. Unfortunately, just a running game wouldn't do it. He only started 2 more games after that season.
Tim Couch (Cleveland)- I think we know how this one turned out. Expansion team QB. His best receiver was Kevin Johnson. Terry Kirby was his leading rusher. Couch got sacked so much that I'm pretty sure that his life is permanently scarred for life.
Cade McNown (Chicago)- McNown had the oh so amazing (sarcasm off) Curtis Enis and James Allen as his first two RB's in the league. Marcus Robinson had a 1 hit wonder season in McNown's rookie year, as Bobby Engram also stepped up, but those WR's weren't enough.
All of these QB's either had one playmaker or less, while all of the successful guys usually had a solid OL, along with 2 playmakers at least.
Jason Campbell is the only QB that busted and it doesn't make sense considering he has Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Santana Moss/Laveranues Coles, etc.
Daunte Culpepper was a very solid player (yet inconsistent), prior to tear his ACL, MCL, and PCL. Since that accident, he hasn't been the same.
Chad Pennington was somewhat the same way. He had a great season going with 22 TD's and 6 INT's, but injuries just killed him in the long run, and now he's starting to rebound.
Since 1999, there have been 26 first round QB's. 8 of those QB's are doing well for their teams. Brady Quinn, Leinart, and Young all haven't gotten true opportunities, which still shows 15/26 QB's failing that were drafted in the first round. Those 15 guys were also drafted without hardly any talent around them.
Point is, if you want to use a first round pick on a QB, you've got to make sure he has offensive talent around him. Make sure that he can get the ball to play makers, otherwise these young QB's try to do too much, and they get so much pressure on them, and they buckle.
We just need to give Quinn a season as he's very cheap (700k base salary in 2010), and see if he can develop. If we can't, we'll move on after that. But we have a great opportunity to shore up the defense and improve big time. Especially because we have a passionate defensive coordinator that loves the game, and loves the hits and plays.
Adding onto my last blog about defensive talent, this draft is just too good to pass up on the defensive talent, especially guys like Suh, Berry, and McCoy.
So recapping, the three big reasons I don't want a QB for the Browns are:
1) We have no play makers that can support him, and we only have half a line to keep him on his feet. We can't support raw talent with nobody to help him out.
2) The QB's potentially in this draft class (which there's no guarantee that they come out), are still not worth top 5 or even top 10 picks in my eyes. They are talented, but very raw, which is scary.
3) There's too much talent defensively in this draft. Rob Ryan will be like a kid at a candy store wanting to grab one of everything. There are tons of defensive lineman, and tons of pass rushers, with a limited amount of offensive talent.