Writers have spilt gallons of ink writing about the Cleveland Browns and their abundance of quarterbacks since 1999. Statistically, if you are reading this, then you probably started a game under center for the Browns in the past 16 years. Despite an exhaustive and thorough vetting process, the club has failed to identify a franchise quarterback since being reborn. Fans have endured 22 different signal callers and prepare to embrace Josh McCown as lucky number 23 in September.
The previous quarterbacks have employed both encouraging skills and infuriating deficiencies. If only we could combine the quarterbacks’ strengths into one player. Maybe the essential QB ingredients have been on hand all along, missing only a Dr. Frankenstein willing to do the dirty work of assembling the ideal Browns quarterback. What would such a player consist of?
Right Arm: Derek Anderson
Derek Anderson never had problems airing out the ball. Despite his faults, he always had the strength to reach back for a little extra and sail it during a game. Those passes did not always end up in the hands of Cleveland personnel, but boy they were in the air a long time.
Left Arm: Jeff Garcia
The Browns have not had a left-handed quarterback since returning to the NFL. In lieu of a lefty, I chose Jeff Garcia, mostly because his was the best visage to appear when you search "Browns quarterback stiff arm" on Bing. Look at the steely determination in his eyes! Marvel at the veins popping in that arm! Ignore the fact that this photo comes from a game in which Garcia recorded a 0.0 quarterback rating against the Cowboys!
Hometown-ness: Brian Hoyer
I really wanted to give this one to Charlie Frye (goodness knows he deserves something), but Hoyer’s Lakewood upbringing and St. Ignatius matriculation make this an easy call. We wanted him to be the Chosen One, but the man rarely lives up to the legend in the NFL. Still, the romance of playing for one’s childhood team is undeniable.
Ring Finger: Trent Dilfer
The Browns’ stable of quarterbacks mostly consists of unproven rookies or veteran journeymen. Only one QB could share stories of February glory. Trent Dilfer won the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2000 season. Pundits may quibble over how much influence he wielded that season, but Dilfer boasts the best pedigree among his Browns colleagues.
Hair: Brady Quinn
Legs: Tim Couch
A list of Browns QBs would not be complete without Tim Couch. Timmy did his fair share of running in an orange helmet. Granted, many of those scrambles were as much about self-preservation as yardage, but still. He gained 556 yards in 124 attempts while scoring two touchdowns on the ground. His longest run measured 40 yards and he averaged 4.5 yards per touch. We are going to ignore his 37 fumbles because it will be a different person’s arms hauling the rock.
Hype: Johnny Manziel (née Football)
No one manufactured hype like Johnny Manziel. Before he left the NFL Draft podium, people were already lining up to buy his jersey while making the "money sign." The jury remains out as to what kind of professional football career Manziel will have, but the early returns are troubling. The limelight has softened on Johnny since 2014, but the buzz around him remains audible.
That is our ideal quarterback. I can see it now. He drops back to pass. Rolls out of the pocket. He points downfield! A receiver is wide open! He prepares to throw! Oops he ran out of bounds. We probably should not have given him Brandon Weeden’s brain…