Tag Archives: Ryan Mallett

The Browns' QB Situation…Next August

The Draft is Here! The Draft is Here! The Draft is Here!

…Kind of. Ok, not really. But it is never too early to talk about the Draft, especially for the Cleveland Browns, who are still (as they have been for the past forever) in rebuilding mode. And, speaking of the Draft, the NFL Scouting Combine started on Tuesday, as Offensive Linemen, Kickers, and Tight Ends all arrived in Indianapolis, and will continue through Monday, when the defensive backs finally make their ways home. And so, with all the Draft-related happenings this week (and because I love love love the Draft), I am going to focus on the Browns on the Draft today. However, I am not going to look at everything. Instead I am going to focus on what everyone is really most interested in right now – the QB situation. So, without further rambling, here is what the Browns will do when it comes to the quarterback position over the next couple of months…

First off, Brian Hoyer is remaining at home. This is kind of a no-brainer to me. With Johnny Manziel in rehab and really just questionable overall when it comes to his ability to play at the NFL level, the Browns have to keep at least one quarterback that is familiar with the team and personnel and who is capable of winning games. While I like Connor Shaw, the only guy that fits this description is Hoyer. Hoyer still has an interest in remaining in Cleveland, and the Browns shouldn’t have too much trouble inking him to a rather cheap deal, although they have the room to give him more if necessary. But either way, he stays in Cleveland for at least one more year.

Second, Ray Farmer is not trading up to draft Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. Winston will be off the board to the Bucs at #1, and it would be incredibly stupid to package a boatload and a half of picks to move up and grab another project QB in Mariota. I don’t care that our new QBs coach has been working with him; it simply isn’t going to happen. Instead, the Browns will draft a quarterback in the later rounds. I’m thinking someone like Brett Hundley (UCLA) or Garrett Grayson (CSU), but more on that in a couple of weeks. Anyway, the bottomline is that the Browns have way too many other important needs (e.g. Wide Receiver) to idiotically trade up to grab Mariota.

Third, the Browns will pursue a quarterback other than Hoyer in free agency, but fail to be willing to fork over enough to sign him. This quarterback will be one Ryan Mallett, if only for the simple reason that there is no one else worth pursuing. The Browns won’t be looking for a backup in this search, instantly ruling out the perpetual backup who goes by the name of Matt Moore. The Browns aren’t looking to bring in somebody who seems to always be injured, so knock Jake Locker off the list too. The Browns won’t pursue either of the aging options that are barely worth mentioning, meaning one can ignore Shaun Hill and Josh McCown. And, finally, the Browns won’t be looking to sign a QB who couldn’t manage to lead an offense with more weapons than the Browns into the playoffs despite being in prime position to do so, so take Mark Sanchez off the list as well. So that leaves only Ryan Mallett. However, that leaves only Ryan Mallett, meaning a lot of other teams will be looking for his services, and the Browns are going to lose a bidding war over him.

So, come the end of the Draft this coming year, the Browns will have 4 quarterbacks on the roster. Three are old, one will be new. And all will appear to be equally poor options to the average fan. However one, and I’m putting my money on Hoyer here, will emerge during training camp and take control of the team. It will be hard for Pettine to begin another season with Hoyer at the helm, as the average fan is likely to be very unhappy. But Pettine has not been one to give into fan pressure much at all so far, and that isn’t changing this coming season. Anyway, with a more explosive set of receivers, some dude named Julius Thomas, and a stronger offensive line in front of him, Hoyer will quickly silence the critics. The only difference is that in 2015 he won’t fade after 8 games.

At least that’s my take on it. Over the next few weeks I will take a closer look at what the Browns will be doing in free agency, and then will move into the ever-exciting Draft. Stay tuned folks, for the Browns are never boring, and this offseason won’t lack news.

Are the Michigan Wolverines "Back"?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this question posed in the past few years and I’m still not sure exactly what people mean by it. What is the status quo that Wolverine fans are yearning for? I was under the impression that your goal should never be to recite the history books, but to write an even better version yourself. I wish I knew what we’re all trying to get “back” to.
Could it be 1997 and a share of the National Championship or is it 2004-07 and three Rose Bowl Game losses? Old timers surely conjure up memories of when the legendary Bo Schembechler patrolled the sidelines (not quite as violently as Woody Hayes I might add). But, I think a good amount of fans feel the same way I do. I’m simply trying to forget that Rich Rodriguez ever came to Ann Arbor while permanently erasing the 2008-2010 seasons from memory.
He was touted as a new college football visionary with his “pro-style” offense. His West Virginia teams lit up scoreboards weekly. People apparently didn’t notice that opposing teams were doing the same.
First of all, “pro-style” is what THEY were calling it. I happen to find that term, at least when applied to whatever Michigan ran during his tenure, downright inflammatory. Just look at the quarterbacks.
Say what you will about Chad Henne’s NFL career, the dude killed it while at U of M then got drafted. Enter Rodriguez. Ryan Mallett was originally recruited by Michigan, where he sat the bench for a season before being chased away by Rodriguez and transferring to Arkansas. It’s not merely a coincidence he was taken by the New England Patriots in the NFL Draft. They’ve got recent experience turning a guy who sort of played ball at Michigan into a pretty good quarterback *cough* Tom Brady *cough*.
But no, instead of having a guy who might actually be able to hit an open receiver forty yards downfield in the chest with a pass, Rodriguez opts for the athlete. He prefers the kid who can run circles around everyone until it is third down and time to heave up a fifty-fifty prayer. Denard Robinson put on some of the most amazing displays I will ever see on a gridiron. He also caused me anguish on a weekly basis and set back the University of Michigan’s football program for years. He has since been drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he now plays wide receiver and running back.
Now, Rodriguez is out in Arizona playing “First one to 70” in the Pac-12, and Brady Hoke is in. Things haven’t changed much. Why? Again, look at the quarterback.
Devin Gardner’s college football career has not been fair to him. He began as a backup to Robinson, moved to wide receiver, and then went back to fill the void at quarterback once Robinson had graduated. He is a far better pocket passer than his predecessor, but is still cut from the same cloth. And oh boy, he’s coming back for the 2014-15 season.
All great football teams are led by a quarterback; it is the nature of the game and the position. Until Michigan can get rid of the passers who are more threatening on the ground, the program will continue to flounder in mediocrity.
These issues under center are the root of the Wolverines inability to get “back” to where they once were. But the real question is: why are fans so eager to compare present teams to those from the distant past? The rhetoric surrounding this once top national program has long revolved around the history upon which it has built such high expectations.
The tone needs to change. Instead of looking to recapture past glory, the focus needs to be on the present and the future.  Nick Saban is aware that Bear Bryant set the bar quite high for Alabama coaches, but he doesn’t give a damn because he has taken that bar and raised it even further. He is doing what he can NOW.
If Michigan football can get a real quarterback and start looking forward instead of backward, then maybe they’ll get “back” to where the fans want them to be. Whatever “back” means.

Not a Fan of the Browns New Plan

The rumors have been swirling since the Browns debacle against the Washington Redskins. The inevitable is ahead for the Browns. Shurmur will be fired. Heckert will most likely be let go. The new regime is going to start picking out their own guys. It was to be expected from the beginning, as Jimmy Haslam wanted to put his mark on this franchise. It’s not the firing of Shurmur and Heckert that has me worried. As many of you know, Shurmur was in my doghouse from the very beginning. I would’ve rather him be fired before he was hired. Heckert made a good case to stay, but I’m ok with Haslam getting a new guy in there. Heckert has laid a base of talent for the Haslam Browns to grow upon, and for that we should all be thankful. So again, I’m not concerned so much with the changes that will be made. What worries me are the rumors.

I don’t like what I’m hearing out of Berea. Not one bit. All this talk of Lombardi, McDaniels, Banner, and Mallet really have me upset. This was not the way I, nor much of Cleveland, envisioned this playing out.

First and foremost, since Shurmur’s days were officially numbered in Cleveland, I always said he needed to be replaced by a Head Coach. Not a glorified coordinator, as Shurmur was and as McDaniels is, but a legitimate head coach of either a college or professional organization. Of course, I would much rather get someone with NFL experience, but I would even take a legitimate college guy for the job. The Browns need a Head Coach who knows how to coach a football game. A Head Coach who knows how to gameplan. A guy who knows how to make adjustments. A guy who knows how to play to his teams strengths. A guy who knows how to make decisions, and a guy who knows how to control the clock. All of these qualities are not usually found from coordinators at the NFL level. Guys like Cam Cameron, Josh McDaniels, Romeo Crennel, and Rex Ryan, among others, were all coordinators who have had a lack of success as NFL head coaches. These are guys that the Browns don’t need.

Here comes the rumor about McDaniels, and immediately I am upset. While McDaniels would certainly be a great hire as an offensive coordinator, as a Head Coach, I’m not so sure of his ability. While in Denver, McDaniels showed signs of greatness, however, he also showed an extreme lack of discipline from his team, and from the moment he was hired, was clouded in controversy. Between Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, McDaniels had no idea how to handle his superstars and as a result they were both traded. Essentially, while McDaniels could be a great X’s and O’s coach, he doesn’t know how to run an organization and be a leader for his football team. Again, if Haslam can lure him as a coordinator, I would be beyond thrilled, but it wouldn’t happen. As a Head Coach, I’d rather another organization take that gamble.

We then get to the rumor of the quarterback position. As McDaniels has been heavily rumored for the Browns job, Ryan Mallett, his backup quarterback in New England, has been a part of the package. We all remember Ryan Mallett, former Michigan QB who transferred to Arkansas and lost to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. A potentially tremendous pro prospect, Mallet fizzled out of steam and was eventually drafted to be a backup to Tom Brady in the third round of the NFL draft. Mallett has been studying under the tutelage of McDaniels for the past two seasons, and McDaniels would be someone who could develop Mallett into the QB he was originally supposed to be.

Included in my problems with McDaniels, my problems with Mallett don’t necessarily have to do with X’s and O’s. I’m sure Mallett will be a fine backup QB in the NFL. I have problems with him in the Browns organization. The Browns just wasted the 22nd pick in the draft on Brandon Weeden, who has shown he has the talent to play in the NFL, and now they would bring in a 3rd round draft pick to presumably compete for the job? No, thank you. Weeden goes through enough in dealing with Shurmur’s incapabilities and the lunatic Cleveland fans that believe Colt McCoy deserves the job. A new coach packaged with a new competitor for the starting job may not be the best move for Weeden.

Let’s also not forget that Mallett has had some attitude issues. He was charged with public intoxication during his time at Arkansas and is often known for being a bit arrogant. While Weeden may not be Tom Brady, he is definitely the guy you want for the job in terms of attitude, character, and work ethic. With Mallett, I can almost guarantee you that you’re going to get off the field issues, that you would never even dream of with Weeden. This Browns team has so many on the field issues, they can ill afford to have off the field issues as well.

Finally, the rumor has been spreading that whoever the GM will be, they will have no say as to what the final roster or even the player personnel looks like. That responsibility will be held by none other than Joe Banner. If I believed in the word hatred, I might use it here. This is atrocious on all accounts. I thought the Browns were trying to run a legitimate football organization here, and all of the sudden Joe Banner is going to control who is on the field? This is absolutely terrifying. That’s why Banner wants to hire Michael Lombardi. Michael Lombardi is the only person desperate enough to take the Browns GM job and be willing to have little power when it comes to the players on the field. Maybe I should have figured this out coming in, but Banner is going to try to make the Browns organization a dictatorship, rather than give it the balance of power that it so desperately needs. In this case, it really doesn’t matter who the GM of this football team is. Put Lombardi there, it really doesn’t matter. Whoever fills the position is not going to do anything, anyways.

When Jimmy Haslam first bought the Browns I was excited for a new era. Finally, things would be done right in this organization. The right guys would be brought in to finally turn things in the right direction with a new, and passionate, owner such as Jimmy Haslam. Thus far, Haslam has yet to disappoint, but if even one of these rumors is true, I will be severely disappointed in his ownership. This organization needs balance and smart decisions to be made. It doesn’t need a dictator running the show from high above Browns Stadium. I won’t pass judgement on the new owner until the hirings and firings unfold, but so far it’s not looking good for Mr. Jimmy Haslam, at least in my book.

Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove