As the calendar turns from June to July, speculation surrounding the quarterback position is intensifying.
Last week, one prominent NFL analyst, Greg Cosell, weighed in during an interview with John Hansen of FantasyGuru.com. Cosell, the nephew of legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell, currently serves as the executive producer of ESPN’s NFL Matchup and senior producer at NFL Films.
Cosell dropped plenty of hot takes on the show on every team, but all of his Browns takes are summed up below. (Listen to the full podcast here, Browns discussion starts at 21:38)
To begin the discussion on the Browns, Hansen asked Cosell to forecast an opening day starter. As Chris Berman might quip, Cosell responded, “Milt Plum,” the now 81-year-old former quarterback who played five seasons for the Browns.
Cosell then became serious and dug into the situation by talking about newly signed Robert Griffin III.
“Look, we’ve discussed RG3 ad nausem over the last number of years,” Cosell said. It’s fascinating to me, but all of the quotes coming out of Hue Jackson are basically telling you that RG3 can’t play, if you read between the lines. Now, they may want him to play, but at the end of the day, when it starts, he’s going to have to be far better than apparently he’s been. And I read the quotes by Hue Jackson and I look back at all the notes I took when RG3 played and I feel like I’m reading my notes. Because the eye in the sky doesn’t lie, John. That’s the reality.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of RG3.
So if RG3 isn’t the best quarterback on the roster, then who is? Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, or Austin Davis?
“I would argue the best quarterback on their roster right now is Josh McCown. Now, that might not get Cleveland fans excited. But I think he’s the best quarterback on their roster right now.”
That’s an encouraging sign.
Either way, Cosell continued to talk about the Browns’ offense. The longtime NFL analyst complimented starting running back Isaiah Crowell.
“I think Isaiah Crowell is a straight-line, faster Chris Ivory-type runner. Crowell has really good straight-line speed. Ivory might be shiftier, because he has decisive shiftiness and elusiveness, whereas I think Crowell has more straight-line speed.”
Hansen then shifted gears to the offensive line, asking about how the Browns would replace the two lost starters.
“[Cameron] Erving is a question at center: That was the position he was drafted to play, so he’s getting that shot in his second year,” Cosell said. “And then there’s the right tackle question mark with Mitchell Schwartz gone. They did draft a kid from Auburn, Shon Coleman, who played left tackle at Auburn, and I think a lot of people saw him as a right tackle. Whether he’s ready or not, they did draft him in the third round, and when you draft a tackle in the third round, I think you’re expecting that guy to at least compete for a starting job.”
To conclude the Browns talk, Hansen asked Cosell to talk about the Browns’ wideout position. The Browns addressed the position heavily in the draft, but which rookie wide receiver has the best chance to play, besides Corey Coleman?
Rashard Higgins, says Cosell.
“He perfectly profiles as your No. 2. For those who categorize these guys, he profiles as that guy. I think he has a chance to be one of those consistent, solid good route runners, not necessarily a vertical threat but can do that once in a while ... Of the receivers they drafted, Higgins to me, besides Coleman, would have the best shot, early on, to get snaps. I think there’s a little more refinement to his game as a route runner. And they really need two of these receivers to become factors early on.”
So there you have it. RG3 can’t play and McCown is the Browns’ best quarterback, but Crowell and Higgins are solid. We’ll see if Cosell’s words ring true come September.