By Scott Piker
It’s no secret the Cleveland Browns have had no luck in finding a franchise quarterback since they returned to the National Football League in 1999. No matter what strategy was used by the many different front office and coaching staffs that have walked in and out of Berea, there is one thing in common, no matter who the quarterback was, it hasn’t worked.
With the kickoff of the 2015 season this weekend, the talk around Cleveland continues to be about the most pressure packed position in all of professional sports, the starting quarterback. The Browns will go with 36-year old Josh McCown this season, but he certainly is just a stop gap for this year.
Last year, the Browns used the second of their two first round picks to select former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in a move to add some flash and flare to the Browns.
It certainly brought a media circus to the shores of Lake Erie last year, but it didn’t bring any wins and just more frustration for a long suffering but very loyal fan base.
Now the talk around town is whether or not the Browns should fail for Cardale, as in Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, the hometown kid out of Glenville high school.
After leading the Buckeyes to the inaugural college football playoff national championship last season with wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon, Jones’ stock skyrocketed. After being named the starting quarterback over J.T. Barrett this past Monday, Jones is now in the conversation for both the Heisman Trophy and a potential high pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
The hashtag fail for Cardale has been trending by Browns fans since Monday’s Ohio State season opening victory at Virginia Tech. So should the Browns actually tank this season to increase their chances of bringing the hometwon kid back to Cleveland?
If you ask me there are pros and cons to wanting Cardale Jones. I certainly would like to see a hometown kid play for the Cleveland Browns at any position but quarterback especially.
However, the Browns have tried that twice already. If you use a baseball analogy, the Browns have swung and missed twice so the count is 0 and 2. If they swing and miss on Jones it’s strike three and they’re out.
The first strike was with former Willard Flash and Akron Zip Charlie Frye. The Browns used a third round pick in 2005 on Frye. After game one of the 2007 season, Frye was shipped off to the Seattle Seahawks and his NFL career was all but done. At least we don’t have to see the fans who created the stupid Charlie’s frys costumes anymore.
Strike two came just last year with former Saint Ignatius Wildcat, Brian Hoyer. After taking over as the starting quarterback in 2013, Hoyer lead the Browns to upset wins in Minnesota and at home against Cincinnati before suffering an acl injury against the Buffalo Bills which ended his season.
Hoyer started the 2014 season as the starting quarterback and lead the team to seven wins. However, as soon as Hoyer started to struggle, the boo birds came out calling for Manziel.
Once Hoyer was benched for good, his career in Cleveland was done. He’s now the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans, but I can’t see him being anything but a one year stop gap just like McCown here in Cleveland.
Let’s hope the Browns don’t make Jones strike three. Now that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want the Browns to pass on Jones. His size alone makes him a very intriguing pick. You don’t have to look very far to find a comparison to Jones that’s currently in the NFL. Just looking at a pair of hated rivals in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.
Jones has the height and the relaxed demeanor that Joe Flacco of the Ravens possesses. Jones has the body type, the ability to break tackles and the arm strength that Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has. Both Flacco and Roethlisberger have Super Bowl rings, so maybe that type of quarterback is what the Browns need to eventually get the Browns to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
So what will the Browns do, well won’t known about the future of the quarterback position until the calendar turns to 2016. For now we just have to sit back and wait and see what McCown and perhaps Manziel will do this season.
I can’t see the Browns finishing anywhere other than last in the AFC North this season, which could put them in position to select Jones, but there will be other teams looking for a future franchise quarterback. Maybe the Browns will finally do something right and get the franchise quarterback it needs, whether it is Jones or not. Only time will tell.