The DEFEND Cleveland Show

How to Find an NFL Starting Quarterback


Wow…  Did you see that hit Colt McCoy took on Thursday?  I think that is what it would look like if you drove a motorcycle into the side of a 7-11.  Thank God he wore his helmet.  Otherwise dude would have been donating body parts.  I think we can all safely say that Colt McCoy is as tough as they come.  Unfortunately, we can also say he is probably not the solution at QB for the Browns.1

If you think about it, the Browns have not had a legitimate starting QB since Vinnie Testaverde in 1995 (and through 1997 with the Ravens if you want to get technical).  Thirteen years is a long time to go without stumbling into a QB that you can call your own.  But it’s not through lack of trying.  The Browns are like a desperate woman trying to Speed Date her way into happiness.  They come.  They go.  They fuck you.  And they leave.  Yet, the team still searches…

Colt McCoy is not a franchise QB.  He’s a decent backup.  Well, maybe he is…  But there is no way you can win with this guy.2   He misses too many throws, and his lack of arm strength condenses the field so it’s like they are always in a Red Zone offense.  Yes, he has no weapons around him, but you and I both know that’s not the heart of the problem.  He’s like Chad Pennington with less accuracy and less arm strength.  And that’s saying something.  He’s gutsy, and you can tell he competes.  He’s just not “The Guy”.  So it’s time, as always, to see if the Browns can find The Guy.3

There are three methods to find a starting QB in the NFL.  These are…

1)      Draft a “can’t miss” cornerstone franchise player:  This would be Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and Colt McCoy.  There is always much back slapping and fellatio when you land a big time college QB with a #1 draft pick.  It always seems inconceivable that the player would fail after watching this same player on TV for the last three seasons lead his college team up and down the field against Iowa State.  Plus, you have also heard 176 sound bytes from Mel “I Don’t Really Know Anything Either” Kiper touting the college kid’s “tools” complete with saliva inducing video clips.  But for some reason, for every Peyton Manning, there are three times as many Ryan Leafs, Akili Smiths, David Carrs, and Joey Harringtons.

It is true that if you look at most big time NFL QB success stories, they all start with the sentence “After being drafted #1 out of college…” .  Nobody really knows why some of these guys succeed and some don’t.  It’s a total fucking crapshoot.  Yet the Browns, with an inability to identify talent that is beyond comprehension, have chosen incorrectly every single time.  Brady Quinn and Colt McCoy are almost the exact same guy.  Big Stud high school kids that became Big Stud major college football program poster boys that became Overwhelmed Pro QB.  Since they were all drafted #1, and are household names to football fans, these guys can all enjoy long careers holding clipboards when they wash out as the #1 guy.  Matt Leinhart will always have a job.  God forbid that job includes actually playing football.

 2)  Find a guy on the bargain bin:  The Raiders always used to do this move, finding some dinged up veteran and milking another few years out of him.  Jim Plunkett, Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler and Rich Gannon immediately come to mind.   The Browns gave that a shot after they realized they couldn’t identify if a college kid could play NFL QB or not.  This seemed like a good strategy until it became obvious they also couldn’t identify if a veteran could have success on the Browns either.    Jake Delhomme, Trent Dilfer and Jeff Garcia had success elsewhere, why not here?  Probably because the rest of the team sucked, and in the case of Dilfer, they didn’t have the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense.

This is probably the strategy the Browns should return to, because at least you know the guy you pick up can at least play pedestrian QB.  Why they never went after Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, or Matt Hasselback is beyond me.  It seems unlikely they could identify an elite QB in the draft since they can’t even identify a serviceable running back.  Pay some guy that you know can make some throws, and move on from there.  You won’t land Aaron Rogers, but there are plenty of guys like Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, and Doug Williams that have won Super Bowls.  Hell, Alex Smith is going to make the Playoffs.

3)   The Value Pick or “The Tom Brady”:  As the NFL is a pack mentality; everyone assumed that since Tom Brady became a badass motherfucker QB as a #3 pick, there were plenty of guys like that.  Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Kelly Holcomb, and Luke McCown are here to testify that not to be the case.  Let’s be honest.  If Drew Bledsoe hadn’t been injured, Tom Brady would have been some good looking kid with a Patriots visor trying to bang the cheerleaders.  The only reason he got onto the field was that the Pats didn’t have a choice.  They just got really lucky that Tom Brady had been transformed into a monster QB by some sort of pact with Lucifer.  That’s all there is to it.  You remember Brady at Michigan?  I do.  He kinda sucked.  Chad Henne looked better than Brady, and what’s he doing today?  Does he still have a clipboard somewhere?

I think we can all agree that the Browns would never get lucky like that.  The Browns version of good luck was when Anderson had that one fluky year, or when Kelly Holcomb looked legit.  However, it all regressed back to the mean, and those guys just plain sucked again.  To hope that the Browns will get lucky is to totally disregard the last four decades of futility.  It will not happen.

These three methods of finding the QB tend to go in a cycle.  “Well, we tried to draft a Can’t Miss Guy with McCoy.  That Jake Delhomme thing was a bust.  Our last mid round draft picks haven’t worked out.  Hey?  What’s Donovan McNabb doing?  Does anyone have video of his last workout?  I heard he’s running like he was 23 again.   Who’s his agent?  Let’s see if we can bang out some sort of deal!  Then again, Kiper loves this kid out of Cal-State Fullerton.  I bet we can get him with a fourth round pick.  Maybe we let the kid get mentored by McNabb?  Yeah, that will work!  Get me McNabb’s agent!”

The important thing is that, as fans, you have a short memory and jump on board to the new guy as soon as possible.  I would recommend exhibiting some caution and keeping the price tag on your new Browns QB jersey.  That way when you need to return it for The Next New Guy, you won’t have any issues at the register.  Has anyone seen the receipt for my Jake Delhomme jersey?4

Go Browns.


-Greg Miller

Read more insensitive stuff written by Greg Miller at


  1. Editor’s note to self: I need to write a  Defend Cleveland disclaimer for Greg’s work. []
  2. Editor’s continued note to self: I could use it whenever he says things I’ve essentially said the antithesis of to my listeners. []
  3. Okay, standard Editor’s Note: After reading this line I had to stop and call Greg out saying that Colt has showed more promise than he was giving him credit for. In my argument I cited some recent Peter King analysis, and pointed out the very real style and statistical comparisons one could make with Colt’s first two seasons leading a woeful Browns team to Drew Brees’ first two seasons as a starter leading a woeful Chargers team. He simply responded that Colt is a “low rent Jim Harbaugh”. I’m pretty sure this means he thinks Colt will make a rather good head coach some day. Somehow in the end we wind up making a bet about any Browns future and making it to the postseason with my saying that they’ll be in with Shurmur as coach by 2013, and will repeat in 2014. I win this bet… []
  4. Final Editor’s note: When it’s all said, Greg Miller gets you. Admit it. He just always gets you. []

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Posted by on Dec 13 2011. Filed under Featured, Greg Miller on Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “How to Find an NFL Starting Quarterback”

  1. Greg Miller

    Guys that are better QBs than Colt McCoy: (17) Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Michael Vick, Cam Newton, and Joe Flacco. Guys that are probably better: (8) Alex Smith, Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez, Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford, and Christian Ponder. Guys that aren’t better: (5) Blaine Gabbert and Curtis Painter. Maybe Tavaris Jackson and Josh Freeman. Probably Rex Grossman. Guys that I don’t know what to say about: (1) Tim Tebow

  2. chris

    Where is the “growth” and “improvement” for Colt? I know the talent around him hasn’t been spectacular, but good qb’s can make honey out of sh!t. being a tertiary fan of MN, i’ve seen ponder make very visible improvements. as a first year guy and only half a season at that. how long do we wait on Colt? how long? sigh…

  3. chris

    also.. i think bad coaching plays a big part too. i don’t think every single qb that came through here was total shit, some of it has to be layed on the butt patters and whistle blowers.

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