Cleveland Browns 2016 season position review: Quarterback

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Quarterback has been the continual question mark for the Cleveland Browns. The quarterback position has been a revolving door for the Browns since 1999. This past season continued the turn of quarterbacks in the starting position. The Browns had five quarterbacks take snaps under center this season, not including receiver Terrelle Pryor, who saw snaps in numerous situations. The Browns were forced to play Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst and Kevin Hogan at the quarterback spot this season. Let’s take a look at the quarterback position in 2016 and going forward to 2017.

Quarterbacks on the roster: Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, Josh McCown and Kevin Hogan

Notable Stats

Cody Kessler: Completed 65.6% of his passes for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.

Josh McCown: Completed 54.5% of his passes for 1,100 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions.

Robert Griffin III: Completed 59.2% of his passes for 886 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 190 yards and two touchdowns.


The Browns still do not have a quarterback to lead their team into the future. Before the season, I had hopes for Robert Griffin III to be the franchise quarterback. That turned out to be false hope. Griffin once again could not stay healthy for the entire season, missing 11 games with a broken shoulder he suffered in the season opener. When he was on the field, he was just not good enough. He was highly inaccurate and showed poor field vision in limited action at quarterback. He did not do enough to show that he could return his rookie performance level and be the team’s future quarterback.

Beyond Griffin, we saw a cavalcade of signal callers. Josh McCown has a great arm and can make some impressive plays, but his decision-making and pocket presence are not good. He is also getting older at this point of his career. He is a suitable backup and veteran presence on the team. Cody Kessler was the best quarterback the Browns had this season and that is not to praise Kessler for a great season. Kessler was accurate and protected the ball well from turnover. But, his pocket presence, arm strength and downfield passing are just not starting quarterback quality at this point in his career. Kessler will be a valuable backup, but I am not sure he can be more than that. Kevin Hogan will most likely not be on the roster next season, after he showed this season he was a better runner than passer.

The Browns quarterback position remains the biggest hole on the roster. The Browns quarterback position was a huge factor in the derailing of the offense. The five quarterbacks that took snaps this season were unable to snatch the job and lead the offense in a positive way. So, the position will be job number one for the front office to address this offseason. Just like it is every offseason.



The strength of the quarterback position is the three backups the Browns have on their roster, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown and Cody Kessler. None of these three are starting quality, but they do provide good backup options for the Browns whenever they acquire the starter. Both Griffin and McCown are veterans with ample amounts of starting experience. Kessler is a young player, who received a lot of starting experience in his first season. He has the room to develop and has the traits to be a really good backup option. The Browns are set in the backend of the quarterback depth chart, but the top of the chart is still empty.


Starting Quarterback

The Browns had five quarterbacks play this season and none of those five are the future starting quarterback. These five quarterbacks combined to complete just 59.7% of their passes, throwing for 3,652 yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. That is not good enough for a starting quarterback. Whether it’s through the draft, free agency or trade, the Browns will need to address the starting quarterback spot and find their franchise signal caller.

To Do List

  1. Find a starting quarterback!

This is the No. 1 task and the only task for the quarterback position. The Browns front office has to find a starting quarterback and the quarterback to lead this offense for years to come. The front office has to look at every avenue (draft, free agency and trade) to find the answer. The franchise cannot continue to go into every offseason with this task. Through the draft, just some of the names that could fulfill this need are: Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer. In free agency, the Browns could target Kirk Cousins. And in trade, the Browns look to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo. There are many ways to find the quarterback, but the Browns need to choose the right one for the first time since 1999.