clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

'QB controversy' doesn't work, Browns coach Pettine needs to stick with one

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

'Quarterback controversy' doesn't work.

One of the most rare situations you could ever struggle to find in the NFL's current era is a quarterback situation that gained the infamous "QB controversy" moniker because of two players' being just that great.

The truth is, the position of QB is so vital – so instrumental to an NFL team's success – that any sort of "controversy" regarding its depth on a particular team can actually be simplified to a more universal overarching tendency: Having a QB controversy does not mean that your team has two good quarterbacks, rather, it means neither of those quarterbacks was capable of playing well enough to establish and maintain his position as starter.

That's not a "good problem to have." The only thing a "good problem" is: an illogical oxymoron. Any situation described as such, in actuality, is either not good or not a problem.

It's hard enough to find one elite QB in the NFL. Having two, however incredibly unlikely, would not be a problem. Not in a league where the draft rights to Robert Griffin III went for three first round picks and a second. Even Matt Cassel was traded for a high second rounder.

We could go over countless examples of quarterbacks and their respectively significant value in the NFL market, but let's not belabor the more important point at hand: You don't have two great QBs. Worse, you might not even have one.

Those are the true indications someone can derive from a QB controversy.

If you're lucky, maybe the one riding the pine will emerge as a great player given the opportunity. When the current starter has reached such a point of regression that his turnovers have become a liability for the team, there's only one way to find out what you have in that backup.

And the latter is where head coach Mike Pettine determined the Cleveland Browns were at when he decided to pull Brian Hoyer last Sunday and plug-in Johnny Manziel.

''I've said it a million times, 'Who gives us the best chance to win this weekend? Period.' ... It's that simple.'' - Mike Pettine

Believe Pettine when he says he makes these decisions, incredibly crucial ones at that, based on what he and his staff thinks will give the team the best chance to win. Despite the loss, it held true in the fourth quarter against the Bills. It will hold true when he announces his decision later today.

With that said, playing musical chairs with the quarterback position is more evidence of the real problems outlined above.

If Hoyer gives the Browns the best chance to beat the Colts, it will raise the legitimate question as to why this best chance QB was pulled in a 17-point game with over 12 minutes left.

If Manziel were to prove to be just as bad or worse as Hoyer has been the last couple weeks, it's not any less discouraging. But Johnny's also not a 29-year-old journeyman soon-to-be free agent.

The play of Hoyer and the offense may have forced Pettine's hand when letting the "QB controversy" cat out of the bag, but we all know it's not going back in. What needs to happen now is that he makes a firm decision and sticks to it, regardless of fan and media noise. Flip-flopping QBs, even with just four games left in the regular season and real playoff hopes on the line, it will only serve to exacerbate the problem. And there are no "good" problems.

As always, winning cures everything. It's the only magic antidote in either case.



NFL insider Jay Glazer has the scoop:

Feel free to treat the comment section below as an open thread for reactions to the announcement that Hoyer will remain starter and any related ongoing discussion.