Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace had the gall to call things as they are when he spoke to the Cleveland media on Tuesday.
It seemed like his comments even drew some grumbling from the fan base, who don’t like a backup’s candor.
Wallace basically said that he knows Brandon Weeden at some point will be the Browns starting quarterback. He admitted he does not see it working with him, Colt McCoy and Weeden on the roster and he said the team needs to avoid what has happened in the past at the position.
“Obviously Cleveland has had situations where they had quarterback controversies and all this other stuff,” Wallace said in one of his most forthcoming and bluntly truthful statements. “If you’re going to move forward with a guy and it be your franchise guy, you need to put all your focus in that guy and let him play and take all the media situations out of it and the fan situations in order to build that franchise the way you want it.”
What exactly is the problem with that statement? Is he not “good enough” to be able to analyze things as they are? Please. Yes, there are times when a guy talks and it’s bluster, or he’s trying to earn a new contract, or there is a side issue. There are also times when a guy has been in the league long enough that he no longer cares what people think of what he says.
Wallace sees the writing on the wall.
Weeden will start.
Either he or McCoy will be the backup, and they both won’t be on the roster. It simply will be too cumbersome and complicated. So either he or McCoy will back up and Thad Lewis will be No. 3.
Wallace also has been around the league long enough to know what has happened in Cleveland since 1999. He knows any team needs a clear No. 1 who can play without anyone looking over his shoulder.
Note that Wallace specifically mentioned “media situations” and “fan situations.”
Both have been a problem in Cleveland, because every time the quarterback struggles the media asks about the backup. The coach is beleaguered, the locker room is split and the fans are screaming for both. And the team compounded the problem by not finding a guy, picking him and sticking with him.
There are players to this day who believe “media situations” and “fan situations” produced an environment where neither Tim Couch nor Kelly Holcomb could succeed, and where Derek Anderson regressed, and where Brady Quinn’s head was spinning so much he could barely see straight.
The argument could be made that McCoy dealt with some of that a year ago, but the reality is McCoy had a season-plus to play, and the team — led by Mike Holmgren — determined it was better to draft Weeden.
Somehow McCoy, a guy many wanted out a year ago, is now looked on as a sympathetic figure. It’s not crazy to think some will scream for him to play when Weeden has his first two-interception game.
To think it can work with Weeden and McCoy on the roster pretty much only works in fairy tales.
McCoy sounded a little more confident Tuesday than he did the first day of minicamp, but he’s played like a guy whose remaining confidence was put in the washing machine spin cycle when Weeden was drafted.
Wallace is right.
Weeden will be the guy. The team needs to pick him and make him the guy and take all the media chatter and fan discussion out of the picture.
Then it needs to pick the backup so the backup understands he’s the backup and not the starter. There may be better ones than Wallace, but right now he’s Cleveland’s best option.
At that point, it would be best for the team and McCoy if he were to start over elsewhere, where he’d have a better chance of succeeding without the distraction of his feelings about the new guy.
If the Browns make this happen, they’d accomplish something unheard of around here since 1999.
They’d enter training camp with a clearly defined starter, backup and No. 3 quarterback.
They’d actually enter the season with clarity at a team’s most important position.