2010 Position Battles: Is Jake Delhomme the Answer in Cleveland?

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2010 Position Battles: Is Jake Delhomme the Answer in Cleveland?
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Mike Holmgren is a pretty smart guy. He won Super Bowls as an offensive coordinator in San Francisco, brought Green Bay its first Lombardi Trophy in 29 years, and even led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl appearance.

He clearly knows football, and he has a knack for making the right calls and decisions.

But Jake Delhomme as the Cleveland Browns' 2010 starter?

Every Cleveland fan breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Browns drafted Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in last April's draft, and not even because people like McCoy as a franchise passer.

The relief came from the Browns suddenly having a quarterback who wasn't a noodle-armed turnover machine, or a 5'11'' bona fide wide receiver playing quarterback.

Needless to say, despite being a veteran with great experience, Delhomme won't be handed the job if the franchise doesn't think he can perform.

Read on for the other names in the quarterback competition, and a final verdict on whether or not Delhomme is the man for the job.

 

Jake Delhomme

Chris Berman is dying over the anticipating of saying Jake "and you gotta" Delhomme all season long, but if you're a Browns fan, it's high time you started pulling for the rookie McCoy to wow some people in training camp.

Delhomme can still bring strong leadership and game-managing skills to the table, but it was made clear in Carolina that he can't do it at a high level.

Of course, when you're quarterbacking a Browns team that hasn't been to the playoffs since Kelly Holcomb (who?) was under center, then it doesn't take much to import an upgrade at the position.

Still, Delhomme doesn't have the arm strength he used to (and that's saying something), and has simply made too many horrible game-changing decisions over the last two seasons.

Are we really supposed to believe he'll magically revert to his Super Bowl form with the offensive weapons (can we even call them weapons?) that the Browns have?

 

Senece Wallace

Wallace is extremely athletic and mobile, and possesses solid arm strength with solid accuracy. However, he's just 5'11'' and is better suited to play spot-duty in the NFL, rather than leading a team for 16 games.

Many experts are lobbying for Wallace to get the starting nod, but if he got it, it wouldn't be long before he lost it.

Wallace has decent experience and results in short spurts, and also has experience with the offense and working under Holmgren, which puts him in solid favor to compete for the starting job.

While it's fairly unlikely that Wallace gets serious consideration for the starting gig early on, Eric Mangini has already admitted to planning offensive packages that include Wallace as a quarterback, and possibly even as a receiver.

 

Colt McCoy

McCoy won 45 games at the college level, facing elite competition and putting up big numbers in the process.

Despite having excellent stats, athleticism, and experience, McCoy fell to the Browns in the third round because of his small size, average arm strength, and minor durability concerns.

However, despite an original line of thinking that had McCoy as no better than the third-string quarterback, a strong showing in training camp and preseason could quickly change his 2010 fortunes.

Holmgren even said, "If he's the guy, he's the guy," which at the very worst, likely means the Browns aren't necessarily set on who their starting quarterback is, and that McCoy should be allowed a fair shot at proving himself.

He has the tools and athleticism to be very effective in Cleveland's West Coast offense, and is easily the most talented passer on Cleveland's roster.

 

Brett Ratliff

Ratliff is a Mangini hold-over that Mangini stole from the New York Jets after getting fired following the 2008 season. Surprisingly enough, Ratliff actually has some talent.

However, he won't hold a leg-up over McCoy, and unless the Browns carry four quarterbacks into 2010 (which Mangini has lobbied to do) he'll likely be a preseason casualty.

 

Verdict

Judging by the most recent results, Delhomme is probably the last guy any realistic and logical NFL GM would have signed to be their starting quarterback.

When the Cleveland Browns did exactly that, the world could hear the NFL community burst into laughter. When we all remembered that it was Holmgren making the deal, we just scratched our heads.

It's very possibly Holmgren knows something we don't, and that Delhomme will enter the season with a huge chip on his shoulder. Wallace offers a very solid back-up, and if Delhomme can hold up for most of the season, it will allow McCoy to sit and learn in his first year.

To put it simply: The Browns don't have an elite quarterback on their roster for the 2010 season, and if they think Delhomme can come even close to playing that role, they're kidding themselves.

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