Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

This Isn’t the Big Ten

With Saturday’s cut down of NFL rosters to 53 players came the news that the Ravens finally cut ties with former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.

That news was predictably followed by the cries of the hoople heads who want the Browns to sign Smith.

The big question in that scenario is why would the Browns do something like that?

Smith was exposed in the 2007 National Championship game against Florida as not being an NFL-caliber quarterback. The Gators defense, loaded with NFL talent and speed, overwhelmed Smith and the Buckeyes that night.

Since then he’s done nothing in Baltimore to change that fact. He played in 14 games for the Ravens, starting two of them. In three years he completed only 53 percent of his passes in a league where the top quarterbacks best 60 percent, for three TDs and one interception.

The NFL is a quarterback starved league, with half of the teams barely able to find one decent quarterback. Derek Anderson has a starting job in Arizona. Todd Collins – who played at Michigan so long ago they may have been wearing leather helmets – earned a roster spot in Chicago. Dennis Dixon is going to be starting Week 1 for Pittsburgh.

The jobs are there if you can play; it seems obvious that is not the case with Smith. He’s really no different than Pat White, who was cut by the Dolphins.

The Browns need players who can compete on the NFL level. It doesn’t matter where they went to school, they just need players who can be the dogs bollocks on game days. Thankfully, Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and Eric Mangini realize this. They aren’t going to sign someone who can’t help the team on the field.

And for those who think that Smith just “needs a chance” to prove himself, ask yourself this question: If Smith had played at any other college than Ohio State, would you still think he’d be a good fit for the Browns?

If you’re being honest, then the answer is clearly no.

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