If the Brownsstill planto outsmart everyonewith their grand quarterback plan, at least they're doing a good job with one aspect: making everyonethink theyhaveno idea what they'redoing.
For a franchisethat hasstruggled to find a solution at the game's most important position for so long, Cleveland's latestplan to solve QB seems to be no plan at all. At least the Browns' brass is consistently inconsistent about it.
Coach Hue Jackson caused the latest confusion with his comments to reportersat the annual leaguemeeting this week.
Remember when the Brock Osweiler trade was all about paying to acquire a draft pick? Jackson made itclear that Osweiler is in the mix to compete for the team's starting job in 2017.
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As for another veteranQB for whom the Browns might trade, such as the Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo orthe Bengals' AJ McCarron, Jackson said the Browns "are going to do anything and everything we think we can."
At the same time, Jackson declared that his team will notdealthe No. 1 overall pick for a QB, which would be required to get Garoppolo. He alsodenied the idea that the team has been"in a mood" to considerfree-agent Colin Kaepernick, who wouldcost the Browns only a small chunk of their abundantsalary-cap space.
The message inconsistencyparallels what isrumored to be going on in their war room. Sometimesit sounds like the Browns are willing to use thatNo. 1 on Cleveland native Mitchell Trubisky. Other timesit feels like they wouldn't even want to touchDeshaun Watson at No. 12, waiting much later to take someone such as Patrick Mahomes.
Unlike the 49ers, who with general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahanhave been transparent about what they're looking for in a starting QB — Kirk Cousins sets up as their ideal target in 2018 free agency —the Browns have beenguarded intheir words and shaky in their thinking.
Cleveland already took a chance on a once-spectacular mobile QB with some durability issues, Robert Griffin III, and got burned, sothat might keep them from kicking aroundKaepernick's name.
By that same 2016 revisionistthinking, they should have regrets about dropping out of last year'sfirst-round spot (where the Eagles took Carson Wentz) and at least stayput to take Watsonthis year. Andsince the Brownsreachedon Cody Kessler inthe third round last year,it seems weird they would consider doing the same with Mahomes this year.
It's impossible to know what particular style of QB Jackson is looking for, except someone with so-called prototypical size. But, then again, they played the undersized combination of Griffin and Kessler last season.
New fangled athlete? Old-school pocket passer?
Your guess is as good as theirs.
Unfortunately for the Browns, there isno analytics formula to help themhitat quarterbackrather than miss yet again. For a position defined by intangibles, itrequiresbothguts and a gut feeling.
The who, what, when, why and how havebeen part of the Browns' problems for as long as that infamous jersey of failed QBshas existed, no matter the coach or decision-maker. In 2017, they remainall over the place with their approach to quarterback.