Cleveland Browns Positional Preview: Quarterback

Cleveland's Quarterback Room

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Well this should be a fun little project to get going, shouldn’t it! Today will be the first installment of our Cleveland Browns Positional Preview so we might as well start with the most important position in football, the quarterback.

The Starter

Baker Mayfield
Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com

This is pretty obvious, it’s Case Keenum. Okay, but seriously, we all know it’s Baker Mayfield. Coming off of a great first season in which he broke the rookie touchdown record, expectations were high for Mayfield. His sophomore slump appeared to hit hard as we saw a sharp decrease in production. The touchdowns decreased, the interceptions increased and we saw Baker running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Obviously he can’t take all the blame for abysmal offensive line play but poor decision making was present and it seemed as if he was playing to prove all of the doubters wrong. If he settles in to the role and doesn’t try to show off then he should be at the very least an above average NFL starting quarterback.

The Backup

Now it’s time for the legend of Case Keenum to grace the city of Cleveland. The man who delivered a dagger into the hearts of Saints fans during the infamous Minneapolis Miracle, the man who built the University of Houston’s football program over the five years he played there and last but not least, the man who went 16-32 (excluding his fluke year in Minnesota) over the course of seven seasons on five different teams. Keenum is a quality backup who has shown brief, and I mean brief, flashes of his ability to start and win games. He’s signed to a team friendly deal and is set up to be a bridge if the Browns choose to move on from Baker.

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Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) celebrates after the NFC Divisional Playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) celebrates after the NFC Divisional Playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Battle for Third String

We’ll start with the one listed higher on the unofficial depth chart, Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert’s accolades speak for themselves. In 2008, he was one of the top high school recruits in his class and a member of the 2014 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Gilbert was most recently the starting quarterback of the AAF’s Orlando Apollos.

Finally, we have NFL Combine standout Kevin Davidson. The Princeton product looked good in his senior season which included a game where he set the Ivy League record with seven touchdowns. Davidson has a good shot of earning the third spot and has the potential to be a serviceable backup for a couple years to come.

Quarterbacks Still Available

Cam Newton: Newton is still a starting caliber quarterback and will most likely get signed in the event of an injury to a team’s starter. The only thing that has kept him unemployed is his injury history.

Dec 31, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2018 Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick: The last time we saw Kaepernick play he looked like he could at least be a solid backup quarterback. Recently, Kaepernick’s name has been thrown around about potentially being signed.

Kelly Bryant: The former Tiger, for both Clemson and Missouri, is the only quarterback in the 2020 class that remains unsigned. Bryant, who is by no means a starting caliber quarterback, is skilled enough to the point that he should at least be on a practice squad.

 

The quarterback play needs to improve drastically from where it was last season in order for this Browns team to be successful. Baker has a lot of room for improvement but only time can tell if he makes the jump and can put the team on his shoulders. In the next installment we’ll be looking at the running back position.

1 COMMENT

  1. The author of this article states that Case Keenum has gone 16-32 over 7 seasons with 5 teamed. That is false. Keenum’s record over that period is 27-35. Not at all bad considering he played only 1 season with a team that was a bit above average, 2017 in Minnesota when he went 11-3 as the starter and has the best Minnesota single season winning percentage of any starter there over the last 23 seasons. The other 4 teams he was with all had awful talent around Keenum but he did set or tie several positive offense records with those teams. Look it up.

    The author of the article also claims Keenum built the U of Houston football team while playing there. That also is false. The University of Houston had many, many stellar teams before Keenum ever arrived. Look it up.

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