COMMENTARY | 19.
With Wednesday's announcement that Brian Hoyer and not No. 2 quarterback Jason Campbell would be filling in for the injured Brandon Weeden (sprained thumb), the Cleveland Browns named the man who will be the 19th individual to start at the QB position for the team since it returned to the NFL in 1999. Every few years I like to look back and review Cleveland's woeful history of quarterback blunders, mostly because it's the laughter that keeps fans of the team from breaking down into tears.
There's plenty to giggle about in the list found below.
19 Cleveland quarterbacks since 1999: The worst contract
Remember when Jake Delhomme - yes, that Jake Delhomme - somehow managed to work out a deal that, thanks to the Browns and Carolina Panthers, earned him $19 million? That, to this day, is one of the most mind-boggling NFL contracts I can ever remember. Delhomme, for those interested, went 2-2 with Cleveland.
19 Cleveland quarterbacks since 1999: One and done
Both Spergon Wynn and Thaddeus Lewis left the organization with 0-1 records. Lewis was injury cover for the Browns in 2012, and he was waived by the team this past May. He is currently on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. Wynn, a quarterback with a strong arm and not much else, was drafted by the Browns in 2000 ahead of Tom Brady.
That's as Cleveland as it gets.
19 Cleveland quarterbacks since 1999: Fill-ins
Ty Detmer was supposed to lead the expansion Browns for a season in order to let Tim Couch ease into NFL life. Detmer played twice with Cleveland, going 0-2 in the process. Doug Pederson (1-7), Luke McCown (0-4), Ken Dorsey (0-3) and Bruce Gradkowski (0-1) all also fall into this category. I never would have guessed that Seneca Wallace played enough to go 1-6 while with the franchise.
Not a memorable Browns performance to be had in this bunch.
19 Cleveland quarterbacks since 1999: Deserved better
Even though the jury is still out on Weeden, all indications are that he will join Couch as being the biggest first round QB busts of the so-called "New Browns." I don't think the distinction is fair in either case. Both guys played behind offensive lines that left much to be desired, and Weeden has never had a true No. 1 WR (whether or not Josh Gordon can be one is still unknown). Neither guy lived up to expectations, which should have been way lowered in both cases considering the talent they had to work with.
19 Cleveland quarterbacks since 1999: It's the hope that kills you
I still vividly remember watching Kelly Holcomb throw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns in that playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a contest in which Cleveland blew a late lead in typical Browns fashion. That was, of course, Holcomb's best performance while with the team. He left Cleveland with a 4-8 record.
Immediately after Holcomb was Jeff Garcia. Hoped to be the reliable QB the team had desperately searched for since reentering the league, Garcia never settled in while with Cleveland for a variety of reasons. His 3-7 Browns record is one of the more disappointing in this list.
Game manager and Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer was signed in 2005 to mentor then young QB Charlie Frye. That plan backfired, as the two combined for a 10-20 record while with the Browns. Frye was so awful in the 2007 season opener, in fact, that he was replaced before the conclusion of that game and then traded to the Seattle Seahawks before Week 2.
Of all the Cleveland QBs mentioned in this piece, there's no question that Derek Anderson was the best. Anderson was the leader of the team's offense during an out-of-nowhere 2007 campaign that saw the team go 10-6 but ultimately miss the playoffs because of a tiebreaker. Anderson went 10-5 in games he started that season, and he signed a three-year deal with the team the following winter. He never again had a winning season while with the Browns.
Brady Quinn, a Browns fan during his youth, was one of three young players who were supposed to all make up the core of a team for the future. Of those three, only Joe Thomas remains with Cleveland. Quinn never could grab and hold onto the starting gig at Cleveland, and that trend has continued for him with a variety of other teams.
The same could be said about Colt McCoy. The National Champion and Heisman candidate went 6-15 with the Browns, and he lost his spot on the roster once the team drafted Weeden in 2012. McCoy's most memorable moment while with Cleveland is one that the player likely cannot recall without the help of video highlights.
That leaves Hoyer as next on the list of possible QB saviors. History suggests that Cleveland will again be searching for a starting quarterback next spring, but the unproven commodity who is a favorite of team GM Mike Lombardi is going to get his shot. Pessimistic fans of the Browns should remember one thing heading into Week 3 of the 2013 season:
There's little chance that Hoyer could do any worse than the lowest rated quarterbacks mentioned in this piece.
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010
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