Total Rebuild: Will Mike Holmgren Bite the Bullet?
It's not exactly taking a trip to Mars, but with the difficulties rebuilding the Browns has posed, it may as well be.
You all know what I'm talking about. The dreaded franchise quarterback search. The same tired, old, repetitive story that happens every time a franchise is rebuilt.
This year, again, it's Cleveland's turn.
Is it a matter of time before Holmgren steps up to the quarterback roulette wheel and gives it a spin? Since that is essentially what it is, a gamble in hopes of hitting the jackpot with the next Peyton Manning or John Elway.
But how many times does it actually pan out? How many first round quarterbacks that were supposed to be franchise quarterbacks, have gone down in flames?
The history of Cleveland is decorated with "saviors" that no longer even have an NFL career.
So the big question, is finding your franchise quarterback worth the gamble?
History seems to say yes, considering that sixteen out of the last twenty Super Bowl games have been won with the team's franchise passer at the helm. The other four being established veterans and journeymen.
Many fans right now however seem to say no.
The top two prospects in the draft this year are Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. Are these two the Elway and Manning we've been waiting for?
Or just another Ryan Leaf and Tim Couch in waiting?
That's the big question, if you could guarantee productivity, there isn't one person wearing orange and brown that would contest drafting offense over defense this year.
That's not the case though, and Cleveland has their own boom-or-bust project to figure out, named Brady Quinn. Will he be the starting quarterback into the future, or just another first round pick that didn't reach his potential.
Unlike Leaf, Quinn's critics were on him right out of college, challenging his arm strength, patting the ball before throws, and his spotty accuracy. All three things have shown up on the NFL level as well, and will have to be addressed by Mike Holmgren's coaching staff moving forward.
Given Quinn's contract, it's very likely that there will be no first round quarterback drafted this year, as he has shown he can manage a game well enough to get by. He'll have to improve dramatically though if he expects to stay with the team longer than his contract dictates.
Otherwise looking ahead to 2011's quarterback class brings up players like Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M), Aaron Corp (USC), Jake Locker (Washington), and local favorite Terrelle Pryor (OSU).
Any of which have the potential makings of an NFL starter, with another NCAA season under their belts. Terrelle Pryor could very well be a great fit for Holmgren's West Coast Offense.
Even further ahead in 2012, amongst many other potential surprises, will feature developed versions of freshmen John Brantley (Florida), Matt Barkley (USC), Andrew Luck (Stanford), and Landry Jones (Oklahoma).
So there's no rush Mr. Holmgren, give the kid another year, and get the foundation set in place. Quinn can control an offense, and who knows, maybe he'll surprise us all.
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