The Seneca Wallace factor is complicated.
In Part 1 of our Quarterback Preview, we looked at rookie Brandon Weeden and third-year man Colt McCoy. Today, we take a look at the other two quarterbacks on the roster -- Seneca Wallace and Thaddeus Lewis. We know where Lewis stands on the depth chart heading into camp, but what about Wallace (and McCoy)?
3. SENECA WALLACE - BACKUP QUARTERBACK
What do you do if you're the Browns coaching staff and you are trying to decide between Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy as your backup quarterback? We all know what Wallace brings to the table; after ten years of being in the league, that is not going to change. Wallace is a good backup quarterback who offers experience in the Browns style of offense. His mobility is a plus, but as a starter, it doesn't seem like he can put together a solid complete game effort.
Last year, Wallace made it clear to the media that he felt he should receive an opportunity to start over McCoy, both prior to and during the season. He basically said that he would not go out of his way to mentor McCoy because he felt he could beat him out. That attitude did not go over well with Browns fans, but it's the way Wallace is. In many ways, I think he is one of the few players who refuses to be "politically correct" when speaking to the media -- he tells you what he is really thinking. Considering Holmgren has dealt with his personality for a decade, I don't think he's overly opposed to it.
This year, Wallace has changed his tune. He says that he will mentor Weeden because he knows a franchise expects a first-round quarterback to be the definitive starter. He has also said that he does not see both he and McCoy making the roster, and that he would not be very accepting of being named the team's No. 3 quarterback. That's understandable -- again, I do not completely fault a guy who wants play rather than just earn a paycheck and fake-mentor someone.
If Wallace is named the third-string quarterback, I think he will request a release. Maybe Cleveland could call Wallace the backup quarterback, allowing him to come into games for a few plays if something happens to Weeden, but let McCoy be the starting injury replacement for Weeden, which would make him the No. 3 guy on a regular gameday. I don't know where the front office has their mind at. My preview has McCoy at No. 2 and Wallace at No. 3, but in reality, the two are interchangable on the depth chart at this point. I don't think the team will try to get rid of Wallace; if he doesn't make the final roster, I think it'll be at his own wishes.
Job Security: C
Player Quality: C- (He gets the minus because of his stupid decision during a two-minute drill last year)
Final Roster Odds: 90%
4. THADDEUS LEWIS - THIRD-STRING QUARTERBACK
The forgotten man at the quarterback situation, Lewis will be the direct benefactor if the team decides to move McCoy via a trade early on in training camp. Lewis has never played in a regular season game, but he spent two years with the Rams for preseason games (including one year with Shurmur in 2010). Here were his preseason stats for the past two years:
2010: 22-of-28 for 255 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
2011: 23-of-32 for 266 yards
He completed 75 percent of his pages during that two-year stretch. In his final season at Duke, he completed 61 percent of his passes.
If you want some encouragement on Lewis, consider this: last year, a person on our Rams affiliate, Turf Show Times, polled their community to see if fans wanted veteran A.J. Feeley or Lewis to be the team's No. 2 quarterback. With a guy like Sam Bradford as the starter, you'd think fans would like a veteran behind him. Instead, 86% of fans voted that they wanted Lewis as the No. 2 quarterback, as opposed to only 14% of fans who wanted Feeley. Fans were pretty surprised when Lewis did not even make the cut -- that's when the Browns swooped in for the steal. If Rams fans thought so highly of Lewis, then maybe it will make it easier for the coaching staff to cut or trade Wallace or McCoy. When Shurmur and the Browns first acquired Lewis last year, there was high praised given to him:
"He's a guy that we will try to develop and get him ready to play," said Shurmur. "That's what you do with backup quarterbacks. You try to develop them first into a dependable backup and then hopefully to a guy that can maybe start. He came to St. Louis as an undrafted free agent, and then he actually did a terrific job. I've watched him, I worked with him a year ago, and then I watched him in the preseason. He executed and played well, and I think he's a guy that we want to try and develop."
Here is last year's reaction on DBN when the Browns first acquired Lewis. I think Lewis is eligible for the practice squad still, but Cleveland kept him on the main roster all of last season, presumably, in fear that they would lose him to another team if he were on the practice squad. Just something to keep in mind.
Final Roster Odds: 50%
Practice Squad Odds: 80% (if he doesn't get claimed by another team)
That wraps up our quarterback preview! Over the next couple of days, we will begin taking a look at the team's situation at running back. In the mean time, it's time for another poll -- who should be the Browns No. 2 quarterback behind Weeden?
Who should be the Browns No. 2 quarterback behind Brandon Weeden?
Colt McCoy (530 votes)
Seneca Wallace (100 votes)
Thaddeus Lewis (71 votes)
701 total votes