You know how I know Browns new GM Michael Lombardi doesn’t like current QB Brandon Weeden? Because he said so, when he was a TV guy on NFL Network, via Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
(Lombardi) had called the drafting of the 29-year-old quarterback with the No. 22 overall pick a year ago, a “panicked disaster,” even as he admitted Friday of having no memory of making that statement. Lombardi has said the Browns would have been better served conducting a competition instead of anointing Weeden the starter.
In awkward situations such as this, the next step is to come up with a lie that attempts to let the fans, media, and your QB know that you didn’t really mean it. But at the same time, Lombardi doesn’t want to come off as a media hack who was just throwing out nonsense opinions for the sake of creating TV discussion. Here’s what they came up with:
“I think you do different things in the media,” said Lombardi, who also appeared on a weekly radio spot for the Cleveland sports station 92.3 FM, The FAN, this season. “Certainly, you need to get involved in terms of their personalities here. I don’t know Josh Gordon or Brandon Weeden, in terms of watching them play from the outside, so it’s a different evaluation from a media perspective from inside the house. It’s going to be different that way.
“I think when you do media you certainly have commentary of games, but I think for my part it’s a different set of circumstances. I’m looking more towards as an organization building a team and how it relates to that.”
Sweet. Good job, PR guys. OK, moving past that… The Browns have a talented, and very young team. They have just one player on the roster that will be 30 when the season begins, and that player (Jason Campbell) was only signed a month ago. They also have an inordinate number of rookies who received significant playing time last season. In fact, the Browns’ rookies played 6509 snaps last season, which was by far and away the most in the NFL. The next closest team was the Colts, with 4131, and the league average was 2538:
Who would you want to lead such a young team? A rookie? Or would you want to stick with a 2nd year player in Weeden, who happens to be the 3rd oldest player on the team. There are arguments for both sides. The Browns seem prepared to draft a QB a some point during the draft, and they have held private workouts with Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley, Syracuse’a Ryan Nassib, and Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. Why not Smith at 6?
Since 1976 there have been 5 QBs drafted 6th overall: Richard Todd (Jets, 1976), Rich Campbell (Packers, 1981), Kelly Stouffer (Rams, 1987), David Klingler (Bengals, 1992), and Trent Dilfer (Buccaneers, 1994). That group of QB combined for 263 TDs and 340 INTs. Yeesh.
During that same span, two have gone 5th overall: Mark Sanchez (Jets, 2009) and Kerry Collins (Panthers, 1995).
Two went 7th overall: Andre Ware (Lions, 1990) and Byron Leftwich (Jaguars, 2003).
A lot of mediocrity there. That 5th-7th overall range is kind of a weird spot for a QB. If a QB is really that good, he’d go 1st overall, or somewhere close to it depending on the needs of the top 3 or so teams. It’s almost a certainty that there is always going to be a QB-needy team drafting in the top 3 or 4 picks, and for a QB to slip to 5-7, one of those teams drafting at the top of the order either took somebody else, or just passed on taking a QB altogether. That’s kind of how I see Geno Smith. He’s not so good that a team with the 1st overall pick like the Chiefs wanted him, but he’s intriguing enough to be picked highly at around 6.
Obviously, going 6th overall doesn’t mean that player will have similar careers to guys like Mark Sanchez, but I just thought it would interesting to note.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner brought in “their GM” and “their head coach.” It stands to reason that the new regime could also be looking to bring in “their quarterback.”