The Cleveland Browns QB Carousel Keeps On Turning

By Dick Primo
Brian Hoyer
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The QB carousel in Cleveland seems like it may never die. I could start this article with a list of all the guys who have played quarterback for the Cleveland Browns since the start of the 1999 season. But I won’t. One, the point has been made many times by others. Two, I’m too lazy to look it up.

I love to harass Browns fans for always being in love with the back-up quarterback. Let’s take a look back at Browns back-up quarterbacks the fans have been in love with. Just off the top of my head are the following: Kelly Holcomb; Charlie Frye; Derek Anderson; Brady Quinn; and Colt McCoy. The fans wanted them all to start, and the Browns gave all of them a chance. The result? They all failed.

That’s why I get irritated when fans talk about how the team is supposed to listen to the them. As if they know anything. The list of guys the fans have wanted to play quarterback for this team is a long list of mediocrity. And so the carousel kept on spinning.

In a previous article I wrote, I joked about the fans calling for Jason Campbell to start in Week 3. It actually took about two quarters. After six more quarters, Weeden has looked so bad that some fans are calling for third-stringer Brian Hoyer. Hoyer, who wasn’t get drafted, who is on his fourth team in five years, including four since last year, is the object of some fans desire. Hoyer couldn’t unseat Charlie Batch in Pittsburgh! If someone called me right now to compete with Charlie Batch for a spot on an NFL team, I’d skip the whole way there.

Funny that Weeden can play less than a season and fans know he just doesn’t have “it.” But Hoyer — who has been in the league for four full seasons and yet has barely thrown for 600 yards (616); has three touchdowns, one of which he ran in; has four turnovers; and has yet to play a full season-worth of games (15) — is someone they have some hope for.

In all fairness, what can I say to them? Weeden has not looked good. Some of that is not his fault, but some of it is. The 927 dropped passes WR Greg Little has in two games hasn’t helped. The offensive line’s inability to block a flagpole hasn’t helped. But bad passes, like missing a wide open Chris Ogbonnaya on Sunday, hasn’t help, either.

In my mind, you have to give Weeden a minimum of two more starts this year, just to see how the receivers look with WR Josh Gordon back. But that thought may not matter. Weeden may be hurt. The carousel keeps on spinning.

Weeden left Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens to have his thumb x-rayed. In stepped Campbell who immediately went to work looking exactly like Weeden. So is it the wide receivers, or are these guys both that bad? A little of both? If it’s that they’re both equally bad, then what’s the point of replacing Weeden with Campbell? You may as well leave Weeden in. That’s exactly what I would do.

I don’t understand the point of benching Weeden. He’s obviously not the quarterback of the Browns future, but then why start Campbell? He’s not either. And certainly neither is Hoyer.

But that’s what it’s come down to for Browns fans. With nothing to get excited about, they want to see a change at quarterbacks just to give themselves something to watch. They’ve been so bored to death by mediocre Cleveland offenses, that the QB carousel is fun for them. However, not for me.

If Weeden is hurt and can’t start, then you start Campbell. And short of a Campbell resurrection, when Weeden is healthy, you put him back at starter. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do? No. You do it because there’s no point in doing anything else. This team is going to be drafting high again next year. You just have to let it play out. Let Weeden finish it.

In the 2014 NFL draft, the Browns will try to get their quarterback of the future. Will they? Who knows? But I sure hope so. To me, the turning and turning of the QB carousel in Cleveland isn’t entertaining. It’s nauseating.

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