On the playoffs and the downside of veteran QBs
If Sunday really was the last time we see Peyton Manning on an NFL field as an active player – and it yesterday wasn’t the end, it certainly is coming soon – then the Denver Broncos are about to learn the same hard lesson that teams, including Minnesota and Kansas City, have learned before.
It is also a lesson that the Cleveland Browns and certain corners of the fan base should heed.
When you sign an aging veteran quarterback, no matter how good they are, rather than develop a quarterback, and don’t end up winning a Super Bowl, you run the risk of setting your franchise back even further than you were before you signed said quarterback.
The Chiefs learned that lesson back in the day with Joe Montana, the Vikings learned it a few years ago with Brett Favre, and now the Broncos are about to learn it as well.
Denver went all in with Manning and no matter when he hangs it up, be it now or after next season (because with the way he looked on Sunday, Manning probably only has one year, tops, left), the Broncos are going to find themselves with an aging and expensive roster and no quarterback.
The Chiefs made it as far as the AFC Championship Game in two years with Montana and the Vikings made the NFC Championship Game in two years with Favre (both came in their first year with their new clubs) before things fell apart and the franchises were right back where they started, searching for a quarterback.
The Broncos may very well be in the same situation now after, coincidently, just two years with Manning. That’s not to say that Denver was wrong to go after Manning, necessarily, just that it’s a big risk that doesn’t always bring with it a big reward.
That’s why we cringe whenever we hear people talk, even if it is on just a cursory level, about the Browns going hard after a “veteran quarterback” with the expectation that that will solve all the team’s problems.
As we all know, finding and developing a quarterback has been the Browns’ Sisyphean task over the last 15 years (and counting), and after all we’ve gone through as Browns fans it’s hard to say we wouldn’t sign off on two years of Super Bowl contention even if it meant we were right back where we started (or worse) in a couple of years.
But we’re not ready to find out and hopefully general manager Ray Farmer isn’t either.
When in doubt, give it to the Kent State man
It was quite an afternoon for New England’s Julian Edelman on Saturday against Baltimore.
Edelman had eight receptions for 74 yards and returned three punts for 45 yards, but the play of the day was his 51-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the third quarter.
The former Kent State quarterback showed a nice form and delivered the type of touchdown strike that Johnny Manziel can only dream of right now. (But he’ll start working on that any day now. Seriously.)
“We’ve hit in practice a couple times,” Edelman said of the pass. “Practice execution becomes game reality. We saw it in practice, we did it right, and we were able to do it again.”
It was Edelman’s first touchdown pass since the 2008 season, when he hit Jonathan Simpson with a 25-yard pass in the Golden Flashes’ win over Buffalo.
The touchdown pass also means that Kent State quarterbacks now have just one fewer playoff touchdown passes than every Ohio State quarterback combined. The immortal Mike Tomczk being the only Buckeye quarterback to have thrown a playoff touchdown pass. He offset that with an amazing nine interceptions, however.
Talent trumps Geography
This weekend’s slate of playoff games once again underscored just how badly the Browns need to find a quarterback.
But it also highlighted something just as important.
Of the eight starting quarterbacks this weekend, not a single one played college football in the same state as the NFL team they now play for.
We’ve mentioned this in the past, but for that segment of Browns fans who still don’t get it, the takeaway here is that the Browns should focus on talent – and talent alone – not geography when they select players.
Especially when it comes to the quarterback position.
(Photos courtesy of The Denver Post, Getty Images and The Montreal Gazette)