It is no secret that the Cleveland Browns have been plagued with poor quarterbacks. The struggling franchise finally got rid of Johnny Manziel, only to lose two quarterbacks at the start of the season. While no one is seriously expecting the Browns to go all the way, it’s a large hit for the Dawg Pound to lose their season in just a few weeks.
Luckily, it appears that the Browns have found a solution, for the time being, in the form of Charlie Whitehurst. Whitehurst brings experience to the team, even though he has spent a great deal of his time on the bench. Despite this, he has managed to get out on the field with several professional teams and will likely offer more than Cody Kessler could. Last year, he played for Tennessee and Indianapolis before ending up on the injured reserve list, and he was a free-agent quarterback before the Browns signed him to a one-year contract this week.
Rookie Cody Kessler played for USC and managed to get on the field for 51 games, but he has never started a game. Before the announcement that Whitehurst was going to join the team, this put Browns coach, Hue Jackson, in a difficult position. With no one left to choose, it looked like Kessler was going to be his starting quarterback against Miami, but now he may have a more experienced choice.
Whitehurst is 34 years old and has been playing in the NFL for six seasons. The 6’6″ quarterback is solid at 226 pounds and has played for a handful of teams, including Indianapolis, Tennessee, San Diego and Seattle. Throughout his professional career, he has played in 24 games and started in nine games. His professional NFL passing and rushing averages are 11.1 and 2.9 respectively, which are more solid than Kessler’s 12.1 and -2.7 in college ball.
One may argue that Kessler has at least some experience watching the Browns franchise operate, but others may say that a lack of experience with the team might actually be a plus. It seems the Browns have perfected the art of losing the game in the second quarter, so an outsider who is not familiar with this pattern may just be the charm that breaks it. Plus, Kessler was just drafted this year, and the opening season is barely underway, so Whitehurst has not missed too much.
The Browns have been struggling to get a good quarterback for years, and the team has not won a title since 1964 nor a playoff game since 1994. In 2014, it looked like their time may have come when they drafted college football hero Johnny Manziel. Manziel was the first freshman to be awarded the Heisman Trophy Award and took home a series of honors.
However, his college performance did not carry over to the NFL, where his entire time on the Browns was marked with inconsistencies and childish antics off the field. During a preseason game in 2014, he was fined for an offensive hand gesture and lost his starting position for the opener. Off the field, constant rumors circulated about his drinking habits, and he entered a treatment program. He received a DUI during the 2015 season, and several other antics eventually led to his dismissal.
This year, the Browns were ready to make 2016 their comeback season, but the Dawg Pound quickly saw their hopes fade during their home opener when starting quarterback Josh McCown fell hard on his left shoulder, placing him on the injured list.
Adding insult to injury, during the season opener just a week earlier, Robert Griffin III broke a bone in his left shoulder and is expected to also sit out seven more games. While the dreams of a comeback may be long gone, perhaps Whitehurst can at least help the Browns get back a little dignity.