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It's Steeler Week and the Browns are Competitive, but Who Can Play QB?

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Right now, the quarterback situation for Cleveland seems pretty ugly as they get ready for their first of two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. Let's take a quick look at each of the three quarterbacks currently on the Browns' roster:

  • First off, I think QB Jake Delhomme may be done for awhile based on the reports that have surfaced. Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported that Delhomme re-injured his ankle and now has a high and low ankle sprain. Delhomme is scheduled to undergo an MRI today to see the extent of the injury, but he "could be out an extended period of time." Given how poorly he moved against Atlanta, even if he has the same mobility available for the Pittsburgh game, he'd get destroyed by the Steelers' defense.
  • Our best hope is to see what the word on backup QB Seneca Wallace is. He suffered an ankle injury against the Falcons, and if his injury is anything like Delhomme's, Wallace would probably be even more affected than Delhomme would be by a lack of mobility. It's a major part of his game, especially given his lack of height -- linemen would just bull rush over the middle to take advantage of his injury.
  • What about rookie quarterback Colt McCoy? I actually would not have a problem starting him temporarily against the Steelers, but my expectations would not be very high. He has not had much, if any, practice time with the first-team offense. He was playing behind an atrocious offensive line in the preseason, but it still stood out that he didn't look very comfortable with a lot of his throws, especially on deep passes. If McCoy can only work in short passes that barely go beyond the line of scrimmage, Pittsburgh is going to feast on him.

Given those three options, the best option for the Browns this week is to utilize the running game (captain obvious, I know). When the Browns beat the Steelers at the end of last season, Brady Quinn only completed six passes. Joshua Cribbs had 8 carries, Chris Jennings had 20 carries, and Jerome Harrison had 7 carries. It wasn't a pretty 13-6 win for the offense, and it'd probably be pretty impossible to replicate a win with that exact gameplan. However, with something similar and maybe a couple of additional field goals here and there, you never know.

The other option for Cleveland is to sign a quarterback off the free agent wire. Off the top of my head, here are a few options:

  • Jeff Garcia: I don't see him playing for a team unless they are competing for the postseason. Also, I don't think he'd take too kindly to being fed to the wolves in Pittsburgh. He's playing in the UFL right now.
  • Brett Ratliff: The Patriots just added him to their practice squad a few days ago, but he did spend all of camp in Cleveland and has been under Mangini for several years. He probably knows just as much, if not more, of the offense that McCoy does.
  • J.P. Losman: Losman spent time in camp with the Seattle Seahawks, but hasn't seen significant NFL action since the 2008 season.
  • Daunte Culpepper: He did play for the Detroit Lions in 2009, so he might be a little desperate to shine in the NFL again. He hasn't been good for a long time, but he has some mobility. He's been playing in the United Football League this year.
  • Josh McCown: He has also had some success in the UFL this year and has been an average quarterback in the NFL.
  • Patrick Ramsey: The big-armed quarterback tried to win a backup role in New Orleans this year, but was released by the team. He's currently a free agent. I've never been a fan of Ramsey's, but I could see him garnering some interest from the Browns.

Are there any other free agent choices you think the Browns should consider if Delhomme and Wallace are out? Honestly, the option I'd prefer most is for Ratliff to sign with the Browns.