The Miami Dolphins hired Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as their new head coach on Friday, news that has some meaning for Browns fans because of quarterback Matt Flynn. Flynn has become this year's "hot-commodity-with-little-experience," and if the Packers don't slap the franchise tag on him, it seems like some team will attempt to sign him as their new starting quarterback.
Given that Flynn has been in the Packers' offense under Philbin the past several seasons, Miami could be the new favorites to land him. We saw a similar situation a few years ago when Matt Cassel landed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The question for Philbin, though, is if you should really replace Matt Moore, who had some pretty admirable performances last year and now has a lot of NFL experience under his belt.
If the feeling of Flynn-to-Miami is synonymous with the hiring of Philbin, that could rule out the Browns as contenders to land him, making it more likely that the Browns will pursue a quarterback in the draft, if they indeed intend to use their first-round pick(s) on one.
When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts, the situation seems crystal clear. Team owner Jim Irsay really has no reason to use smokescreens when talking to the media; he has the freedom to discuss the team's intentions because no one else picks in front of Indianapolis. Barring a radical change in demeanor, the Colts will land either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.
"With Griffin and Luck and the way it's shaping up at the top of the draft — could very likely go one and two like with Peyton and Ryan Leaf," Irsay told ESPN. "It's most likely one of those quarterbacks that you really feel is the best player in the draft, and where we're at moving forward you can't pass that up. I don't think anyone would expect that."
Irsay is in the process of really changing the face of the organization. Again, though, he has the luxury to do that because Peyton Manning is on the team. Manning's teams of the past were so successful mostly because of him. If Manning returns healthy, I really don't see it making a big difference that the Polians are gone, that Jim Caldwell is gone, or whatever else changes. Interestingly enough, it sounds like Jim Tressel is a legitimate candidate to replace Caldwell as the Colts' new head coach. Irsay has already met twice with Tressel, who was a consultant for the team last year. While the Browns are stuck with a guy like Pat Shurmur, we've seen Jeff Fisher and now potentially Tressel, two guys who some Browns fans would have liked as the team's head coach, hired just one year later.
That brings me to what Mel Kiper said on Thursday in a conference call chat on ESPN about Browns quarterback Colt McCoy:
"I think they've pretty much resolved themselves to the fact they're going to go that route," Kiper said Thursday during a conference call. "They're probably going to kick Colt McCoy to the curb. That's what happens to a lot of young quarterbacks that don't have great physical qualifications."
I'm not down on the Browns taking Griffin III, but we might be looking at a situation where the field of the top-coveted quarterbacks shrinks (Flynn to Miami, Luck to Indianapolis), leaving several teams vying for Griffin III. If getting him requires the Browns to trade up and give away some of the valuable picks they currently hold, I wouldn't "kick McCoy to the curb" just yet. The writing on the wall doesn't inspire a ton of confidence in McCoy at quarterback, but I don't think his end in Cleveland is as clear cut as it is being made out to be.