As the Browns prepare to embark their second season under Pat Shurmur there are many questions that remain. With training camp opening Sat. July 28, we’re going to take a position-by-position analysis of the current roster as the team heads to camp over the next few weeks.
We start with the quarterback position.
Candidates: Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Thaddeus Lewis.
The hottest topic around the Browns naturally surrounds the quarterback position. Until Shurmur declares ‘officially’ that Weeden is the starter, the talk will continue.
Weeden (6-3, 220, rookie, Oklahoma State) — Weeden was taken 22nd overall and he is the heavy favorite to be the starter when the Browns open the season against the Eagles on Sept. 9. He displayed everything you want to see in a franchise quarterback during the rookie OTAs, the OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. The first thing you want to see in a quarterback is throwing the ball and Weeden showed he can make all of the throws.
However, all of what he has done so far has been in shorts without a pass rush. His biggest challenge will being able to thoroughly understanding the offense, handling pressure from the pass rush and being able to read NFL defenses.
McCoy (6-1, 215, 3rd season, Texas)—Last year’s starter, McCoy faces an uphill battle to retain his starting job. McCoy’s battle might be more for the backup position, rather than the starter. However, there is a sentiment among many that think the Browns will either trade or release McCoy before the regular season begins.
McCoy is just 25 and would appear to be a stronger backup than Wallace, given the fact that McCoy played ahead of Wallace until he was injured. That along with the fact he is under contract for about one fourth of the salary being paid to Wallace is a reason to keep him. McCoy has started 21 games in the NFL with a 6-15 record. McCoy threw 14 touchdowns last season while throwing 11 interceptions. His rating was 74.6.
Wallace (5-11, 205, 10th season, Iowa State)—Wallace will turn 32 on Aug. 6 and he has been a career backup. He took over after McCoy was knocked out last year and was unimpressive. He finished the season with a 65.4 rating. He threw two touchdowns and had two interceptions. Wallace was outspoken about not feeling like it was his job to be the mentor to McCoy in the West Coast offense, but has said he welcomes being the mentor to Weeden. He said during minicamp that he wouldn’t be happy being the third quarterback and said he didn’t think both he and McCoy would be with the team at the start of the season.
Lewis (6-2, 200, 2nd season, Duke)—Lewis is the least known commodity on the roster after being picked up after the preseason last year. He has only played in preseason games and has yet to play in a regular season game. Lewis’ only hope to stick with the Browns is if they move either McCoy or Wallace to make room for him.
Better than 2011? The Browns are convinced that Weeden’s strong arm will make the receivers and the offense better than last year. The other three quarterbacks are still on the roster with another year in the system. The Browns need to decide if they keep McCoy and Wallace to go along with Weeden. It might not be a bad idea given the fact that the Browns have had just one quarterback play all 16 games in a season since 1999.