Cleveland Browns: What If Jake Delhomme Falters in Training Camp?
With the 2009 arrival of new Browns President Mike Holmgren, the first course of action was evaluating the quarterback position.
At the time the incumbents were Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, but that didn't last long. Holmgren cleaned house and brought in two passers that he was more familiar with—his former backup in Seattle, Seneca Wallace, and Jake Delhomme.
For months it has been an accepted fact that Delhomme was brought in to be the starter and would be so until draft pick Colt McCoy was primed for NFL action.
There are some very real concerns, however. Jake had an absolute train wreck of a season last year, throwing interception after interception, inevitably losing his job to backup Matt Moore.
It's assumed that Delhomme has his confidence back and will return to form. The big question, though, is what if he doesn't?
Seneca Wallace: Full Time Backup
Since being drafted in 2003, Wallace has been a career backup in Seattle under Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck.
In 12 career starts, he has been average with a career 59.9 percent accuracy and an 83.1 passer rating. Still marginally better than Brady Quinn's 66.8 or Derek Anderson's 69.7, so it's awfully difficult to be hard on him.
Even with a better rating than both prior Browns passers, the idea of Wallace as a starter doesn't sit right with even the casual Cleveland fan. He is the backup though, and if Delhomme self-destructs in training camp, we very well may see Wallace on opening day.
Colt McCoy: A Premature Starter
To avoid the quarterback controversy that faces Cleveland every year, after the draft Mike Holmgren stated that Colt McCoy would not be starting in 2010.
Problem solved? Not so fast.
Head coach Eric Mangini later stated that he couldn't rule out McCoy playing in the coming season. With Jake being the wild card that he is, and Wallace possibly starting, the fans will not accept Seneca as the quarterback for all of 2010.
In all likelihood, Wallace would start 6-8 games and McCoy would be prematurely thrust into the starting role after the bye week. While smart teams allow their young draft picks to sit for a season, Cleveland has never had that luxury due to inconsistent play at the position.
Holmgren sees Colt as Cleveland's future. It's been reported that Tom Heckert doesn't agree, but Holmgren has missed very rarely on his quarterback predictions.
Increased Running Attack
An increased running attack seems inevitable regardless of the quarterback play. With second round pick Montario Hardesty, Jerome Harrison, James Davis, and a Lawrence Vickers led Peyton Hillis, it seems the weapons on the ground will be featured this season.
The run game will be heavily favored if Delhomme cannot return to form. Cleveland's last four games were won on the backs of Josh Cribbs and Jerome Harrison last season, but Mike Holmgren knows that is no way to win a ball game regularly in the NFL.
Expect to see more running, but the ball must still be put in the air.
Increased Wildcat Offense
Instead of a few random trick plays, the wildcat offense may have to be employed more often, like it is in Miami.
If Delhomme can't move the chains, it'll be more on Seneca Wallace and Joshua Cribbs to put the offense in the end zone.
The wildcat is most effective when the defense doesn't see it every other play, but it can still be a solid formation when simply trying to get a few yards per down. Utilizing this scheme more often may be the result of a Delhomme training camp falter.
Veteran Free Agents
What has to be known only as "scraping the barrel". There is virtually no talent in the free-agent pool waiting in the wings.
Cleveland has put a lot of faith in Jake to bounce back, if he doesn't they may have to turn to another veteran after releasing him.
In this case, Raiders bust JaMarcus Russell or a washed up Marc Bulger. Not exactly something anybody wants to see, but options are options and all must be reviewed.
Backup quarterbacks for other teams that may be expendable include:
1. Tavaris Jackson
It's inevitable Brett Favre will be back for another season, that means Jackson sits on the bench again. He made it known last season that he was not happy about being replaced by the legend, now he could be trade fodder for a team in need.
2. Chad Pennington
Coming off an injury, Pennington is familiar with Eric Mangini's system. Chad Henne earned his starting role and will be the starter opening day. It wouldn't take much to get him, a low draft pick perhaps, but is there anything left in the tank?
3. Matt Moore
This one would be sheer irony, Jake Delhomme again being replaced by Matt Moore. Moore impressed Carolina last season, but with draft picks Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike, he also becomes expendable.
4. Michael Vick
No quarterback discussions would be complete without mentioning Vick again. He wants badly to be a starter but Kevin Kolb and Mike Kafka are more typical of what Andy Reid looks for in a passer.
As of now Vick is simply Reid's insurance policy, but would still be traded for the right price.