Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Cleveland Browns Down to One Major Position to Address?


The Cleveland Browns recently added a possible starting fullback in Chris Pressley to with the additions of a starting RB (Ben Tate) starting slot receiver (Andrew Hawkins), starting ILB (Karlos Dansby) and starting safety (Donte Whitner). The Browns have made a number of other moves that could help the team as well. Does that mean the Browns are down to one Major Position to Address as Pat McManamon of ESPN suggests? Lets take a look at his arguments and see where we agree and disagree:

All this does is set the Browns up to draft the way they want to draft, not the way they have to.
“[GM] Ray [Farmer] talked about that process of just stabilizing, leveling the ship,” coach Mike Pettine told the gathered media at the NFL owners meetings.
Which basically leaves one spot to address: quarterback.

Agree – Based on the list of players, and positions, he talks about prior to these statements Pat made the argument that pretty much every area of the field had been given some attention in free agency. So we agree the only area that hasn’t added a new player is at QB.

Disagree – Starting out with that statement makes it seem as though the Browns are set at every other position. It assumes that the #1 priority should be a QB in the draft, or at least that is the need. While adding 2 QBs is probably necessary the setup of the article presents it in a way that we disagree with.

“That’s the position that needs to be addressed,” Pettine said. “But we’re not locked into, ‘We’re drafting a starter.'”

Which is good to hear.

Agree – Pat likes what Pettine said and we agree with both. Needing to do anything in the NFL is a setup for failure. It is good to hear that they don’t need to draft a starter but they realize they need to address the position at some point.

Because if the Browns draft a guy to start and they force him in too quickly they’ll be following the wash-rinse-repeat cycle that has contributed to so many problems since 1999. The challenge comes in managing the situation.

Because if the team selects a quarterback with the fourth pick, Hoyer will find out quickly what it’s really like to play for his hometown team. Assuming he starts, the first time he has a two-interception, one-touchdown game in a 23-14 loss, the clamor will start from fans and media about the guy drafted fourth.

Agree – The Browns have Brian Hoyer who showed, in a short time, the ability to carry the baton. The Browns, no matter who they draft, should heavily weight the  “competition” in Hoyer’s favor both for short term success, and even if that doesn’t happen for the long term success of whoever the young QB is.

There is the Bruce Arians argument, which says a team needs to pass-protect and run the ball to help a young quarterback, but if the guy can play he can play. But Bill Walsh, the great quarterback guru and leader of the San Francisco 49ers, once talked about protecting a young quarterback from a damaging environment. He talked almost emotionally, as if the damage to the player was almost permanent.

The word he used: traumatic.

Agree – A young QB could be greatly damaged by an unhealthy environment, line and supporting cast. Even mentally strong QBs can be negatively impacted in such an environment.

Disagree – As a counselor the use of the word traumatic is a bit harsh for a football analogy, similar to the war metaphors that are often used. It can be defining to a QBs career no matter how mentally strong they are.

But the Browns have saved the most important position for last.

How they handle it not only in the next two months but also through the entire 2014 season could have as much impact on the team as the selection itself.

Agree – The QB position is the most important one. How they handle Hoyer and whoever they draft/bring in will be key to the future. 2014 doesn’t need to be sacrificed but win at all costs, ie the future, should not be acceptable.

Disagree – It is possible that the Browns QB position is addressed, for now with Hoyer. A team should not force a selection based on need. So while the Browns haven’t added anyone it doesn’t mean they aren’t content at the most important position, the starting QB. They should add at least 1 young guy to the pile, either at 2nd or 3rd string, but Hoyer could be the answer and the team didn’t wait till last, but already had him locked up.

How do you think the Browns have done addressing needs this off-season? Do they have to draft a starter this year? How should they handle “the most important position” in the draft this year?

Tags: Cleveland Browns

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