Monday, March 15, 2010

My Take on the Whirwind of Moves

Browns Prez Mike Holmgren started the 2010 offseason making some quiet, but shrew moves. Among them, potential starters were signed in free agency in the form of TE Benjamin Watson (Patriots), RT Tony Pashos (Niners), and LB Scott Fujita (Saints). Holmgren sent his old team, Seattle, a 2011 7th round pick for his old back quarterback, Seneca Wallace and restricted free agent linebacker Jason Trusnik was re-signed to his 2nd round tender.

While these moves were noteworthy, a franchise-changing set of events beginning at the end of last week with the release of cancerous QB Derek Anderson and signing of long-time Panthers vet Jake Delhomme culminated in a pair of Sunday trades: former first round picks Kamerion Wimbley and Brady Quinn were jettisoned to Oakland and Denver for a grand total of a 3rd round pick, a 6th round pick, Broncos running back Peyton Hillis and a conditional late round 2011 pick. Not exactly a return for the investment of two 1st round picks (and in Quinn's case, a slew of other picks as well).

As much as I had invested in Brady Quinn over the last five years (I began a personal campaign for us to draft him back while he was still tearing up defenses at Notre Dame), the writing was on the wall when Delhomme was signed. Holmgren evidently wanted to erase all memories of last season's joke of a passing offense, and dumping Anderson and Quinn appeared to be the easiest answer. I still have cautious optimism that Quinn can succeed under Josh McDaniels in Denver but Derek Anderson's words of vile against Browns fans (see, a whole nother discussion) will fall on deaf ears. Wherever the emotionless, inaccurate quarterback signs, it likely won't be as a starter. Not like he ever had the tools to be a starter. Signs pointed to Anderson being a flash in the pan at the end of 2007 where he single-handedly destroyed our season vs. Cincinnati. When rumors abounded of teams interested in trading a first round pick for Anderson, I begged for then GM Phil Savage to pull the trigger and hand the reigns to Quinn. He didn't, and the rest is history.

Wimbley's trade was a bit more surprising. Since his 11 sack rookie campaign, Wimbley has just 15 quarterback take-downs in three seasons despite not missing a single game. He showed signs of returning to his old form this past season under Rob Ryan, but apparently Holmgren didn't want to keep him onboard. I definitely see the Browns picking up another pass rusher either in a trade or in the draft, but apparently Holmgren and Coach Mangini like what players such as Marcus Benard and Jason Trusnik bring to the table. I'm hoping that fan-favorite Alex Hall will step up to the plate and make an impact in 2011.

With Jake Delhomme at the plate, its possible that this Browns season could be offensively worse than the last one. Delhomme tossed 8 touchdowns to 18 interceptions last season in one of the worst years in NFL history. I'm hoping he'll play more like the man who led the Panthers to the Super Bowl and be a calming veteran influence on this team. Either way, the future holds many question marks but one that is answered is what I will be doing with my Kam Wimbley and Brady Quinn jersies: eBay.

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