Good day pig skin fans and I hope everyone out there is enjoying the beginning of the 2013 season. It’s amazing to me that a year ago I wrote a critical piece regarding the Cleveland Browns and their 2012 draft selections and here we are just one year removed and their new management is already throwing in the towel to make room for the 2014 draft.
As I stated in my earlier piece, ‘What Is Optimism For A Browns Fan’, I was very vocal in my disapproval of how Cleveland mishandled the 2012 draft with the picks they acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in 2011. At the time I was hoping Cleveland would pick up Morris Clairborne and Courtney Upshaw to solidify their defense. Especially being in the AFC North where defense seems to reign supreme. Looking back I also stated there was no way I was a closet Cleveland Browns fan, mainly due to my blood being black and red for my beloved Atlanta Falcons, however, when I see a franchise have so much turmoil my heart goes out to them and I guess you could say some burnt orange and brown has been showing up in my blood samples as of late.
The Lombardi trophy is the holy grail for every franchise in the National Football League. General managers and head coaches livelihood hang in the balance with every draft and every game of the season. And in today’s NFL, games are decided literally by a few yards and a play or two. A missed tackle here, a missed blocking assignment there and sprinkle in a dropped pass or two and you are staring at the unemployment line and hoping to find some insurance cheaper than Obama care.
Every year it seems there is a shiny new toy that makes it’s way to the top of the toy box and teams are always looking for that knight in shining armor to lead them to the promised land. This 2013-2014 NFL draft year seems to be the year of the quarterback as there will be close to half a dozen viable options for those teams at the top of the draft. Now, it’s no secrete Cleveland will be vying for one of those quarterbacks. However, I would caution the Browns against going after the very shiny toys at the top of the toy box and neglect building an offensive line as well as a good defense to compliment their franchise quarterback.
At this point I really don’t feel the need to give too much of a history lesson on the quarterbacks that have won the Super Bowl because for most of them the record books have yet to be written to be able to make a quantitative argument over which ones are elite and which ones are not. But looking at some of the winning Super Bowl quarterbacks from the last 13 years we can see that apart from the Manning brothers who garnered 3 trophies total (2 for Eli and 1 for Payton) and Mr. Tom ‘Terrific’ Brady who has gobbled up just as many as the Manning brothers on his own let’s review some of the past winners. Does the name Brad Johnson ring a bell? Maybe Trent Dilfer will sound familiar? Neither one of those guys sound familiar to you? Well both are currently wearing Super Bowl rings. Other names of course are going to sound more familiar as the history books haven’t been written on their careers such as: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Rothlisberger and of course our current champion Joe Flacco. One thing I would never argue is that all 4 of these guys are good quarterbacks. Each has a different set of skills with regard to the quarterback position, but all 4 are good. However, a quarterback only accounts for one fourth of a football teams total approach. The other three quarters are dependent upon the offensive line, the defense and also special teams. If any team is not established in all 4 of these areas I can assure you there will be no Lombardi trophy in their future.
I’m always astounded with the terminology that begins to surround certain quarterbacks, one such term that is used rather frequently today is “game manager”. Basically the “experts” and talking heads love to use this term if they can’t label a quarterback “elite” in the NFL. My question to them would be, was Trent Dilfer a “game manager” or an “elite” quarterback? Was Brad Johnson a “game manager” or an “elite” quarterback? Either way it doesn’t matter does it? Both are Super Bowl Champs. So where does all of this leave you Cleveland fans? I was getting to it, in my usual round about way, lol!
It seems you are left where your management should have started a year ago, at the draft. There are no quick fixes for a struggling team or organization. However, building a solid offensive line and defensive presence would certainly be my prescription for winning. It seems the Atlanta Falcons have also opted to forgo the proven receipt for winning in favor of a patch work defensive unit and duct tape offensive line, I can assure you Cleveland fans, Falcon fans are just hoping their franchise quarterback isn’t on Obama care before the end of the season. So pick up your chins Browns fans! The day is looking brighter and there is a silver lining for your team. Perhaps you finally have found a management group that will get back into the kitchen, pull out that proven receipt of winning and dust it off and begin putting the correct ingredients for winning into the organization: build a solid offensive line that plays as a unit, a mean and talented defense, an error free and productive special teams unit and of course sprinkle in a brilliant and precise “game manager” who will ultimately lead you to one day hoisting that Lombardi trophy high in the air, till that day Browns fans, you can count of this die hard Falcon fan, cheering on the brown and orange, just a little bit, with you each pig skin season. Till next time this is your fan presence in the ATL.