It's been a rough 15 years for the Cleveland Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999. Nowhere is that more evident than at the quarterback position, which has become something of a running joke for the long-suffering fans of the team.
Now, the Browns are reportedly bringing in Vince Young for a tryout at this week's minicamp, but it's more likely the 30-year-old is a "camp arm" than any real threat to become the latest name to be added to the back of that jersey as the Browns' starter.
As Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted Monday, Fox 26 in Houston reports that the 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will visit with the Browns this week:
Cleveland general manager Ray Farmer confirmed the news while speaking with Pat McManamon of ESPN:
He's had success in the National Football League. We wanted to take the opportunity to get the chance to see where he was. We'd been kind of following him through the offseason. He'd been doing some things that kind of caught our eye and made us kind of take note.
On some level, it's hardly a surprise that the Browns are bringing in Young and fellow veteran Tyler Thigpen. After all, the Browns badly need bodies at the quarterback position.
As things stand right now, the Browns only have two signal-callers on the roster. Brian Hoyer showed flashes last year but is recovering from an ACL tear. Second-year pro Alex Tanney's NFL resume consists of limited preseason action and a trick-shot YouTube video.
At the very least, the Browns need an arm or two to even have their minicamp.
Still, there's a reason why McManamon went on to write that "if these guys are the long-term answer to anything -- either backup or starting -- then so is the Statue of Liberty."
For starters, there's the fact that Young hasn't taken a meaningful snap in the NFL since 2011.
In each of the past two seasons, Young spent time with an NFL team in camp (Buffalo in 2012, the Green Bay Packers last year). In both cases, Young not only failed to make the team but also failed to generate interest from any others—including the Browns, whose quarterback situation has been a hot mess since the dawn of time.
Then there's the matter of when last we saw Young in action.
|Vince Young 2011|
|Per Pro Football Reference|
In six games, including three starts, for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, Young failed to complete 60 percent of his passes. He threw five more interceptions than touchdown passes.
By the time the 2014 season gets underway, it will have been nearly three full years since Young won a football game that counted in the NFL.
Simply put, the Vince Young who won that Rookie of the Year award and went to two Pro Bowls is gone, and he isn't coming back.
If there had been even a glimpse of that player shown these past two years, then Young wouldn't have spent them watching games on TV like the rest of us.
This isn't to say that there isn't a scenario in which Young could have some value for the team. Hoyer is returning from a serious injury, after all, and Nate Davis of USA Today envisions a best-case scenario where Young could serve as a backup to a mobile young quarterback:
Bringing Young in could be a signal GM Ray Farmer is strongly considering an athletic passer like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman Trophy winner’s unique skill set could make him a nightmare for NFL defenses to defend. However, the team that picks him would likely want a backup with abilities similar to Manziel’s so the offensive coordinator – Kyle Shanahan in this case – wouldn’t have to completely revise the gameplan in the event of an injury.
Young could be the ideal insurance policy in such a scenario.
However, Hoyer isn't a statue by any stretch of the imagination, and Farmer told Nate Ulrich of The Akron Beacon-Journal that Hoyer's rehab is progressing well:
Odds are good that Young (or Thigpen) is just a potential insurance policy against that rehab.
And that once Hoyer is back on the field, whichever quarterback the Browns may sign this week will be back on the street.