Recently, the Browns made the smart choice when they handed their starting Quarterback job over to Rookie Brandon Weeden. If all goes swimmingly, Weeden will assume the position which has without a doubt been the biggest “revolving door” in Cleveland since they returned to the National Football League in 1999. While it is never easy for a franchise to find a solid starter at such an important position, the Browns blew their biggest chance to fix their recent Quarterback issues when the 2004 Draft rolled around.
Slotted at #6 overall in the 1st Round of a Draft which would eventually produce four Pro Bowl Quarterbacks, the Browns were in a prime position to take one of three highly-touted signal-callers which were assumed to go in the Top 10 (Matt Schaub went in Round 3). Yet as they had done so many times before, and have done so many times since, the Browns dropped the ball, and the rest is history.
Apparently set with the depth they had at the position at 1st and 2nd string (newly acquired Jeff Garcia and Kelly Holcomb), Cleveland waited until Round 4 to take a Quarterback (Luke McCown). Worst of all though, Cleveland opted to go with Tight End Kellen Winslow II in Round 1 instead of a Quarterback that played his college ball in Ohio named Ben Roethlisberger.
After doing a bit of fact checking and research on the subject, I found out that Weeden will be the 13th different Quarterback to start a game for Cleveland since that fateful 2004 season. Because of this, I figured that it would be interesting to take a look at how Cleveland Quarterbacks have done since they decided that Big Ben apparently was not the answer, and how both franchises have fared since that Draft over eight years ago:
(Warning: If you are a Browns Fan you might want to look away, it gets pretty ugly and some painful memories might be drudged up)
2004 (4-12, Last in A.F.C. North)
Kelly Holcomb: (1-1) 59-87, 737 Yards, 7 TD 5 INT
Jeff Garcia: (3-7) 144-252, 1731 Yards, 10 TD 9 INT
Luke McCown: (0-4) 48-98, 608 Yards, 4 TD 7 INT
2005 (6-10, Last in A.F.C. North)
Trent Dilfer: (4-7) 199-333, 2321 Yards, 11 TD 12 INT
Charlie Frye: (2-3) 98-164, 1002 Yards, 4 TD 5 INT
2006 (4-12, Last in A.F.C. North)
Frye: (4-9) 252-392, 2454 Yards, 10 TD 17 INT
Derek Anderson: (0-3) 66-117, 793 Yards, 5 TD 8 INT
2007 (10-6, Tied 1st in A.F.C. North, Lost Tiebreaker to Pittsburgh (0-2) record)
Frye: (0-1) 34-7 Week 1 Loss to Steelers caused him to lose job (4-10, 34 Yards, 1 INT)
Anderson: (10-5) 298-527, 3787 Yards, 29 TD 19 INT
2008 (4-12, Last in A.F.C. North)
Anderson: (3-6) 142-283, 1615 Yards, 9 TD 8 INT
Ken Dorsey: (0-3) 43-91, 370 Yards, 0 TD 7 INT
Brady Quinn: (1-2) 45-89, 518 Yards, 2 TD 2 INT
Bruce Gradkowski: (0-1) 7-21, 26 Yards, 0 TD’s 3 INT
2009 (5-11, Last in A.F.C. North)
Quinn: (2-7) 136-256, 1339 Yards, 8 TD 7 INT (Beat Steelers 13-6 on Thursday Night Football)
Anderson: (3-4) 81-182, 888 Yards, 3 TD 10 INT
2010 (5-11, 3rd in A.F.C. North)
Jake Delhomme: (2-2) 93-149, 872 Yards, 2 TD 7 INT
Seneca Wallace: (1-3) 64-101, 694 Yards, 4 TD 2 INT
Colt McCoy: (2-6) 135-222, 1576 Yards, 6 TD 9 INT
2011 (4-12, Last in A.F.C. North)
Wallace: (0-3) 55-107, 567 Yards, 2 TD 2 INT
McCoy: (4-9) 265-463, 2733 Yards, 14 TD 11 INT
Whenever I think that watching Bubby Brister, Kent Graham, or any of the other Quarterbacks the Steelers started between Terry Bradshaw and Big Ben was awful, I remind myself of what Browns fans have had to go through on a yearly basis as of late and tip my cap to those which have managed to watch with both eyes open. So how bad has it been? Well, Cleveland has not made the postseason from 2004-2011 (and not since 2002), has finished with a winning record only once, notched one win in sixteen chances against the Steelers, and finished with a dismal 42-86 record overall.
Compounding the absolute craptacular nature of all of this for the city of Cleveland is the fact that Derek Anderson can be considered the most “effective” Quarterback of this era simply due to the the fact that he won 10 of his 15 starts in 2007 (a season which the Browns did not beat a team with a +.500 record), yet still finished with a 16-18 regular season career record overall. Cleveland’s Offenses were so ineffective during this era that Cleveland finished 27th (out of 32 teams) or worse in Points Per Game from 2004-2011 (excluding their 2007 season), and finished 26th or worse (excluding 2007 again) every season in Total Yards Per Game as well.