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Monday, August 8, 2011

Really, how important IS the QB in the NFL?

Colt McCoy. #12. Camp Colt. Rookie. Longhorn. Future. Or should that one be Future "?". This year will decide Colt's fate as a starter in the NFL and as the future of the Cleveland Browns. Head Coach Pat Shurmer has named Colt the starting QB. This has fans debating the need for a veteran WR to be picked up in free agency. They are also saying that we'd have a better chance to win with Seneca Wallace taking snaps. I take more of a long-term view of this season, and a more realistic one.

Let's first face the reality that this team, no matter how much we love them, is not going to the Super Bowl this year. There, I said it. Not gonna happen. And that's ok. No, it's not ok that the Browns can't dominate the AFC but it is ok that I can see this team for who they are, that I can see the direction Holmgren and Heckert are moving in, that I can "drink the koolaid" and see a future where the Browns are a team that makes me proud.

As long as they are making progress, I'm willing to give them a little more time for this rebuilding process. I understand the frustration with the word "rebuilding." Heck, we've been doing it since 1999! That is unacceptable, and yet I feel that we are finally getting the right people in the right places at the top to create our dynasty. One of the keys to doing that is selecting the right QB, or at least that's what everyone tells me.

Having Seneca Wallace or Jarrett Brown start doesn't make sense. I've heard the argument that "Seneca gives us the best chance to win now." Fine, so we win 8 games, finish 8-8 and in third place in our division and... what? Season over. But what did we learn? What do we know about the team for next year, or about Colt McCoy? How do we enter next year's draft without knowing if we have our QB of the future? We don't. Colt has to play this year to we can figure out exactly what we have. And we have to give them time to learn the West Coast Offense to see if that is the right scheme for this group of players. And if we are lucky, Holmgren-Heckert-Shurmur have come up with the right formula of players and game plans and we are going to see some great things going forward.

Picking up an veteran WR in free agency sounds great. Give Colt a set of sure hands to catch his passes and evaluate his skills. And give us fans some wins. But at what cost? How much are we willing to pay for a rent-a-receiver for the year? A WR isn't the final piece we need to get to the playoffs... it'd be very nice, but it's really not necessary. Sorry, but that's the reality of this team. I once argued for getting a WR - Derrick Mason in particular. However, you can still evaluate Colt's skills without great WR's. You can still judge his accuracy, his arm strength, his leadership while guys are dropping balls. And you can judge the guys currently on the roster. This receiving core needs to be evaluated as well. As a fan I think it is going to make for some bad games. But it's still the truth. We are rebuilding and this is part of the process.

I decided to do a little research and looked at the past five seasons in the NFL, 2006-2010. I looked at wins, loses, playoffs, and the number of QB's to start each game. STARTING QB. Not everyone who took a snap. Just Starters. Well surprise surprise - we are not the worst team in the NFL! Oh, it's close, but still.... three teams in worse shape than us!

Detroit Lions 23% wins, 6 QB's, 0 super bowls
St Louis Rams 26% wins, 7 QB's, 0 super bowls
Oakland Raiders 30% wins, 8 QB's, 0 super bowls
Cleveland Browns 35% wins, 8 QB's, 0 super bowls

Seeing a pattern here? Let's look at the top four teams:

Pittsburgh Steelers 64% wins, 3 QB's (because of Ben's injury), 2 super bowls
San Diego Chargers 69% wins, 1 QB, 0 super bowls
Indianapolis Colts 76% wins, 1 QB, 2 super bowls
New England Patriots 79% wins, 2 QB's (injury to Brady), 1 super bowl

Wow - Only team to have more starting QB's over the past five season is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 9 but they've had a ton of injuries and STILL managed to land a 44% winning stat.

What have we learned here, people? Well, I've learned that if you don't have that top Go-To Guy, the "Ace" QB, the Leader in the Huddle, statistics show that your team is going to suck. Harsh reality, but there it is. So, if H.H.S. needs some time to evaluate Colt and decide if he's our guy, I'm willing to let them have this year to do that. Because that is the single biggest question facing the Browns right now. I know that we are ALL tired of rebuilding but won't it be nice to at least have the QB piece of our puzzle nailed down? Then fans can feel good about buying their ticket to ride the Colt Bandwagon. I know I will.

Respectfully Submitted,


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