GamBlog LogoPicks Of The Week – January 17, 2008

Loyal reader Matt has asked to write a ‘Picks Of The Week’ segment for the Cleveland Sports Authority, and I decided it seemed like a great idea, so I am pleased to announce the first segment of ‘GAMBLOG’. Once a week Matt will give you his picks of the week against the spread. Enjoy these, and don’t take them too seriously. Matt is not an expert, just an enthusiast. So if you take his advice and lose some money, don’t expect compensation from Matt. Although, if you win some money, Cleveland Sports Authority will gladly take 10% for giving you such great picks. Enjoy, and take these for what they’re worth.

mjgreg’s GAMBLOG
featuring our picks of the week

Championship weekend edition

Sunday, January 20th @ 3:00 PM on CBS
San Diego vs
New England -14 at Gillette Stadium

This week marks two of the larger spreads in recent championship weekend memory. New England could obviously bust out a 14 point victory on any given Sunday; I just don’t see it happening with this much at stake against a pesky San Diego team that has won 8 games in a row. Both teams have distractions this week, the Chargers are suffering from multiple player injuries and the Patriots allegedly have players inflicting injuries on civilians. However, I don’t think either will play a big part on Sunday. I look for the Chargers to make a game out it for three quarters, with the Patriots pulling away in usual fashion winning by 13 points and making most gamblers sweat to the final snap.

Official prediction:

New England 34
San Diego 21

 

Sunday, January 20th @ 6:30 PM on FOX
New York vs
Green Bay -7 at Lambeau Field

The late game features two teams I never expected to make it to the NFC Championship game at the beginning of the season. The Giants lost their biggest offensive contributor in Tiki Barber to retirement, and the Packers seemed destined for another season hovering around .500. The Packers came flying out of the gates and never let up, and the Giants flew under the radar all the way until week 17 when they gave New England a scare. I have never seen a team gain so much confidence from a loss, but Eli and the Giants have seemed to pull together and are putting together a captivating run. Unfortunately for them, no one is more fascinating than Brett Favre and legend of Lambeau Field. Nobody wins in the playoffs at Lambeau besides the Packers, with the exception of Vick’s Falcons a few years back. Along with the rest of the country, I’m pulling for Favre to get back to the Super Bowl. The cold weather and bruising defenses help keep this a relatively low scoring game, but the Packers prevail with a game winning field goal as time expires. Giants cover, but Eli will have to wait another year to chase his brother’s fame.

Official prediction:

Green Bay 20
New York 17

Derek AndersonLooking For Clues To The 2008 Cleveland Browns

Ok, first things first….no, I am NOT writing off the 2007 Browns season. I’m still cautiously optimistic in the power of Jim Sorgi to send the Browns into the playoffs (something DA couldn’t do against the NFL’s 25th ranked pass defense). No, I am NOT writing off DA. I still think he has the potential to be a top 8 or so NFL quarterback. No, I am NOT on the Brady Quinn bandwagon. We have not seen the guy take one single real NFL snap. We have no clue what kind of player he will be.

All that being said, I have some time off this week from my paying job, so I decided to do some research for my non-paying job. My interest in this topic was sparked by reader Shane, who posted in the comments section on an earlier post a story on the site profootballtalk.com claiming that Bill Parcells will be interested in giving up the Dolphins’ draft picks to acquire DA in the offseason in an attempt to expedite the Dolphins’ turnaround. Now, I have never heard of profootballtalk.com and I have no idea how legit this report is, but Shane was right in that I did indeed enjoy the story because it sparked my curiosity. It got me to wondering what every team’s QB outlook for 2008 looks like, and accordingly, which teams would even consider trading for either DA or Brady Quinn.

So what I’ve done is looked at the QB situation of every team in the NFL, compared it to their draft position (as of now), and made my best guess as to whether or not each team would consider making a move for one of the Browns’ QBs in the upcoming season. Again, it’s important for me to emphasize that I am not saying that the Browns will be looking to trade either QB. I do not think that is the case at all. I believe it is the Browns’ preference to head into 2008 with both QBs on the roster. But will any teams make an offer to the Browns? It’s possible. Will a team give up their 1st and 3rd round picks to sign DA? It’s possible. That’s all I’m considering. From these other teams’ points of view, will they even consider making a move for one of the Browns’ QBs? Take this FWIW and have fun with it.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys:

QBs on Roster: Tony Romo (2008 Salary: $6 million; Signed Through: 2013) – QB Score per Play (rank): 3.37 (2)

Other QBs: Brad Johnson

Projected Draft Position: 30-31 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: No interest. None. They already have the Browns’ first round pick, and they have this guy named Tony Romo. Safe to say, they’re content with their current QB situation.

New York Giants:

QBs on Roster: Eli Manning (2008 Salary: $8.45 million; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.12 (25)

Other QBs: Anthony Wright, Jared Lorenzen

Projected Draft Position: 24-27 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: For better or worse, the Giants are stuck with Manning. Despite consistently poor QB play this season, the Giants are still in the playoffs again this year, and with a significant financial contribution to Manning through 2009, there’s no reason for the Giants to be making trades to bring in other QBs. Just not gonna happen. The Giants will be sticking with Eli Manning.

Philadelphia Eagles:

QBs on Roster: Donovan McNabb (2008 Salary: $6.3 million; Signed Through: 2013) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.08 (14)

Other QBs: AJ Feely, Kevin Kolb

Projected Draft Position: 13-18 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: The Eagles are a curious team to figure out. Publicly, everyone is putting on a happy face, but there have been numerous reports from behind the scenes stating that both the team and the QB feel that it’s time for them to part ways and head in a new direction. McNabb has actually played at an above average level this season, and will be an interesting piece to the QB puzzle this offseason. Rumors are flying about a possible trade sending McNabb back to his hometown of Chicago. With AJ Feely playing well in place of McNabb at times this season, and with Kevin Kolb being the heir apparent to the Philly QB throne, it could indeed be possible that this is McNabb’s final season in the city of brotherly hate. What does this have to do with the Browns? Not a lot directly. Philly will not be giving up draft picks to get either Quinn or DA. The McNabb impact will come into play as teams will consider whether it would be better to trade for McNabb or one of the Browns’ QBs. This will be a team to watch in the off season.

Washington Redskins:

QBs on Roster: Jason Campbell (2008 Salary: $635,000; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.65 (18)

Other QBs: Todd Collins, Mark Brunell

Projected Draft Position: 19-20 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: Fighting for a playoff spot, the Washington Redskins find themselves in a bit of a QB controversy all their own, with the excellent play of Todd Collins of late in place of the injured Jason Campbell, who was believed to be the Redskins’ QB of the future. If Collins can lead the team into the playoffs with a win over Dallas this weekend, and even possibly win a playoff game, then thing will get real interesting in Washington. Needless to say, with all this going on, the last thing they need is to introduce yet another QB into this equation. So no, they will have no interest in the Browns’ QBs.

NFC North

Chicago Bears:

QBs on Roster: Rex Grossman (2008 Salary: Free Agent) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.56 (31)
Brian Griese (2008 Salary: $1.4 million + $300,000 roster bonus; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.58 (22)

Other QBs: Kyle Orton

Projected Draft Position: 9-12 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: The defending NFC Champions have themselves a QB mess. Do they re-sign Rex Grossman and give him another chance? That seems unlikely given the simply awful play he’s given them the past couple seasons. Do they give Griese his roster bonus and bring him back to be the starter? At this point, it’s hard to fathom how that could even be a consideration for a team looking to get back into the ranks of the NFC elite. Do they hand over the team to Kyle Orton? No chance. The Bears are a team who will be looking to make a splash at QB this off season. They will inquire about Donovan McNabb, and you can bet they will inquire about Quinn. If the Browns do not sign DA to a long term deal and just give him the max tender, the Bears will at least weigh whether or not DA would be worth the cost. No matter how you look at it, the Bears will be a major player in the QB market this off season as it is their #1 most pressing need.

Detroit Lions:

QBs on Roster: Jon Kitna (2008 Salary: $1.95 million; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.88 (17)

Other QBs: J.T. O’Sullivan, Dan Orlovsky

Projected Draft Position: 13-18 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: Ah yes, the Lions. Jon Kitna made his bold prediction before this season that the Lions would win 10 games year. At 6-2, his prediction looked like it was coming true right before our eyes. 6 straight loses later, and the Lions were 6-8 before finally getting another win last week. They still have a chance to finish .500, and no matter what happens, the Lions were an improved team this year. I’d expect them to focus their off season on the defensive side of the ball and they will likely ride Kitna another year. They would probably love to add a guy like Quinn to take over for Kitna after this season (remember the excellent job Kitna did tutoring Carson Palmer), and maybe they will ask the Browns what it would take. Assuming the Browns are looking to get back into the first round of this draft, it’s just hard to see how the Lions could justify giving up a top 15ish draft pick for a luxury of a future QB when they have so many other more immediate needs on defense. I would consider the Lions to be a team with very mild interest in Quinn.

Minnesota Vikings:

QBs on Roster: Tarvaris Jackson (2008 Salary: $445,000; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.62 (19)

Other QBs: Brooks Bollinger, Kelly Holcomb

Projected Draft Position: 20-21 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: The Vikings will be a surprise player in the QB market this off season. This is a team on the rise, who with some help from Dallas can still find their way into the playoffs this year. Despite really not playing all that poorly this season, the Vikings are not sold on Tarvaris Jackson and will look for ways to improve their QB play next season. That being said, there is still talk that the Vikings do indeed like Jackson’s potential upside and perhaps they will be looking for a veteran to let Jackson get more seasoning underneath for a couple years. If that’s the case, the Vikings will enter the Donovan McNabb market. If they decide that Jackson just isn’t going to be their guy in the future, then they will at least ponder entering the DA market. With a fairly low draft pick anyway, they would conceivably at least consider making a move for DA. With a solid QB, it’s downright scary to think how good the Vikings could be with rookie sensation Adrian Peterson and with a stellar run defense. The Vikings will almost certainly look to get better QB play next season, one way or the other.

Green Bay Packers:

QBs on Roster: Brett Favre (2008 Salary: $12 million; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 3.30 (3)

Other QBs: Aaron Rodgers, Craig Nall

Projected Draft Position: 29

Prediction: With legendary Brett Favre playing some of the best football of his life, there’s really no reason for him to retire yet. But even should he choose to retire, the Packers have their guy in Aaron Rodgers, who showed a little of what he’s capable of doing when Favre went down with an injury against Dallas this season. So in a nutshell, the Packers have no interest in messing with their QB situation right now.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons:

QBs on Roster: Joey Harrington (2008 Salary: $2.5 million; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play: 1.61 (20)

Other QBs: Chris Redman, Byron Leftwich

Projected Draft Position: 2-4 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: The Falcons are the team with that 10,000 pound gorilla in the room (Mike Vick). It’s not an easy thing to overcome when you lose the face of your franchise just before the season. Adding to their frustration was the fact that they traded away prized backup Matt Schaub in the off season, leaving them perennial disappointment Joey Harrington and washed up Byron Leftwich as their only viable options this season. Leftwich was a disaster and Harrington played his typical frustrating self. The Falcons must address their QB situation this off season. The problem is, their draft pick is too high to trade to the Browns for either DA or Quinn. So while the Falcons are definitely in the market for a QB, it’s tough to see them giving up a top 4 pick for Derek Anderson.

Carolina Panthers:

QBs on Roster: Vinny Testaverde (2008 Salary: Free Agent)
Jake Delhomme (2008 Salary: $3.69 million; Signed Through: 2009)

Other QBs: Matt Moore, David Carr

Projected Draft Position: 9-12

Prediction: The Carolina Panthers served as the 2007 example of why QB depth is a premium luxury in the NFL, and why the Browns’ first choice will be to keep both DA and Brady on the team next season. As it is, looking ahead to the future for the Carolina franchise, it can be a bit tough to predict. Do they have any confidence in David Carr? Who is Matt Moore? Does Jake Delhomme have anything left? Will they bring Vinny back for his 100th NFL season? Honestly, I think the Panthers qualify as another team that would not really want DA, but would love to bring in Quinn and let him learn under Delhomme for a year or two before taking over. Are they interested enough to give up a 10-15 pick? It’s not impossible, but it’s also not likely.

New Orleans Saints:

QBs on Roster: Drew Brees (2008 Salary: $4.8 million; Signed Through: 2011) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.55 (10)

Other QBs: Jamie Martin

Projected Draft Position: 14-19

Prediction: No interest at all. Despite getting off to about as horrible of a start as you could, Drew Brees recovered in a big way and is still currently in the top 10 in the NFL in QB Score per Play. He’s the man for now in New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

QBs on Roster: Jeff Garcia (2008 Salary: $2 million; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.82 (7)

Other QBs: Luke McCown, Bruce Gradkowski, Chris Simms

Projected Draft Position: 22-24

Prediction: One of the best kept secrets in the NFL this season has been just how stellar Jeff Garcia has been (gulp). He has played out of his mind this season, and has the Bucs back in the playoffs. Still under contract for another season, it seems unlikely that Tampa will look to make any major moves regarding their QB position right now. Perhaps they might draft a QB this year to setup the future, but you don’t get the sense that this is a team that has any interest in trading a 1st round pick for a QB like DA or Quinn.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals:

QBs on Roster: Kurt Warner (2008 Salary: $4 million; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.04 (15)
Matt Leinart: (2008 Salary: $735,000; Signed Through: 2011)

Other QBs: Tim Rattay, Tim (Husband of Elisabeth) Hasselbeck

Projected Draft Position: 14-19 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: With Kurt Warner still playing slightly above average football and with Matt Leinart still looking to show his potential, the Cardinals have no interest in the Browns’ QBs.

San Francisco 49ers:

QBs on Roster: Alex Smith (2008 Salary: $2.3 million + $8 million buy-back; Singed Through: 2011)
Shaun Hill (2008 Salary: Free Agent)
Tren Dilfer (2008 Salary: $1 million + $500,000 roster bonus; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play (rank): -0.70 (33)

Other QBs: Chris Weinke

Projected Draft Position: 9

Prediction: Under Shaun Hill, the 49ers have gone from a team looking to fight for the #1 draft pick to a team who is trying to end the season on a 3 game win streak. Which really makes you wonder…will the 49ers really pick up the $8 million buy-back on former #1 overall pick Alex Smith? I’ve seen no indication otherwise, but it’s so hard for me to imagine putting over $10 million into a QB next season who has never really shown you much of anything. Why not pick up the $500k bonus on Dilfer’s contract and keep him around another year to help groom Shaun Hill if need be, and give this Hill kid a shot to be the man? Granted, Hill is about to turn 28 in January and has never shown anything in the NFL, but in the 3 games he’s played for SF he has been solid and shown some small potential. Regardless, until I hear otherwise, I will assume the Niners are sticking with Alex Smith and will sink a ton of money into him to keep him around, thus removing them as a player for the Browns’ QBs.

St. Louis Rams:

QBs on Roster: Marc Bulger (2008 Salary: $7 million; Signed Through: 2013) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.79 (29)

Other QBs: Gus Frerotte, Brock Berlin, Todd Bouman

Projected Draft Position: 2-4 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: No matter how you look at it, 2007 was a disappointing season for the Rams. More than just disappointing, you could also call it underachieving. The Rams have some explosive talent on offense. Injuries slowed down Marc Bulger as he tried to play with broken and bruised ribs this season. Assuming he can bounce back next year, the Rams will be fine at QB and on offense in general. Look for them to hang on tight to that top 5 pick and use it on the best defensive player available. They will have zero interest in making any kind of deal with the Browns.

Seattle Seahawks:

QBs on Roster: Matt (Not Married To Elisabeth) Hasselbeck (2008 Salary: $5.75 million; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.37 (12)

Other QBs: Seneca Wallace, Chuck Frye

Projected Draft Position: 25-28

Prediction: Hasselbeck has been his usual solid self this season, the Seahawks had a solid season so far, and they already took in Chuck Frye. No chance that they look to bring in DA or BQ.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills:

QBs on Roster: Trent Edwards (2008 Salary: Terms Unknown; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.94 (16)
J.P. Losman (2008 Salary: $645,000; Signed Through: 2008)

Other QBs: Gibran Hamdan

Projected Draft Position: 14-19 (depending on tie breaker)

Prediction: All indications seem to be that the Bills are happy with Trent Edwards and now see him, and not J.P. Losman, as their QB of the future. With both Losman and Edwards due to be on the roster in 2008, the Bills will not be looking at adding a QB in this offseason.

Miami Dolphins:

QBs on Roster: Cleo Lemon (2008 Salary: Free Agent) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.07 (26)

Other QBs: John Beck (2008 Salary: $370,000; Signed Through: 2010), Trent Green

Projected Draft Position: 1

Prediction: The Dolphins are the team that started this whole post. It’s easy to see why they will be looking for a QB. Trent Green has been completely unable to stay healthy and on the field, and may yet retire from the NFL. Cleo Lemon has been underwhelmin and is a free agent anyway. In limited action, rookie John Beck has thrown 0 TDs and 3 INTs on the season. And then there’s the new sheriff in town, the Big Tuna himself, Bill Parcells. Parcells is not a patient man, and he will want to make a big splash to make his impact and influence felt immediately throughout the Miami organization. Will that really mean giving up their first overall pick in the draft for Derek Anderson? Gosh, it’s just so hard to imagine that. Were DA in the draft pool this year, even with this season under his belt, it’s still hard to picture DA being the #1 overall pick. Obviously the Browns would go for it in a heartbeat if Mr. Tuna offered it, but I’m guessing that doesn’t happen. If the Browns still had their 1st round pick, maybe it would work. But why would the Dolphins want to drop out of the first round of the draft altogether? It just doesn’t make any sense. Look for Miami to address the position via draft, free agency, or by bringing in a low cost veteran like Chad Pennington to hold things over for a year. Do not expect a deal to be done with the Browns, no matter what profootballtalk.com says.

New England Patriots:

QBs on Roster: Tom Brady (2008 Salary: $5 million + $3 million roster bonus; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 4.19 (1)

Other QBs: Matt Cassel, Matt Gutierrez

Projected Draft Position: 32

Prediction: Are you serious?

New York Jets:

QBs on Roster: Kellen Clemens (2008 Salary: $445,000; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.93 (28)
Chad Pennington (2008 Salary: $4.8 million; Signed Through: 2011) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.42 (23)

Other QBs: Marques Tuiasosopo

Projected Draft Position: 3-5

Prediction: The Jets like this Clemens kid. Sure, Pennington actually performed slightly better this season, but the difference is marginal enough that it makes sense for the Jets to cut Pennington and go with Clemens, especially when you consider that due to his restructured deal, Pennington’s cap charge is actually $7.8 million. Again, a team just isn’t going to give up a top 5 pick for DA and especially not for Quinn, so my best guess is that the Jets try to trade Pennington in the offseason (perhaps to the Tuna in Miami) and will give Kellen Clemens a full year to prove he can handle the starting job.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens:

QBs on Roster: Kyle Boller (2008 Salary: $2 million; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.94 (27)
Steve McNair (2008 Salary: $4 million; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.23 (32)

Other QBs: Troy Smith

Projected Draft Position: 6-8

Prediction: You gotta love the QB mess the Ravens always seem to find themselves in. Troy Smith isn’t ready to be a starter yet, Kyle Boller has been wildly inaccurate and frankly awful his entire career, and Steve McNair is old and broken. 2007 was a horrible year for Baltimore, and a good portion of that stems from their QB play. With Boller and McNair still under contract, it’s unlikely much will change there. I’d expect them to give McNair one more year to prove he can still play and Boller one more year as a backup before they can finally get rid of him. Then, it will be Troy Smith’s turn to either prove he can play or be relegated to the bench for a long, long time. As bleak as it is, there’s no way they would even consider giving up a top 10 pick to the Browns to re-acquire a QB they foolishly let go for free anyway. Nothing is going to happen here between these two teams.

Cincinnati Bengals:

QBs on Roster: Carson Palmer (2008 Salary: $7.75 million; Signed Through: 2014) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.44 (11)

Other QBs: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeff Rowe

Projected Draft Position: 10-13

Prediction: Carson Palmer regressed a bit this season for the first time in his young NFL career……..and he still has a chance to finish in the top 10 in the NFL in QB Score per Play this season. That’s how good Carson Palmer is. I would be scared of this talented Bengals team having this high of a draft pick, but who am I kidding….we all have seen how horrible the Bengals’ first round draft picks have been (with the exception of Palmer). Anyway, that’s beside the point. The Bengals are set at QB. No interest there.

Cleveland Browns:

QBs on Roster: Derek Anderson (2008 Salary: Restricted Free Agent) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.72 (8)

Other QBs: Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey

Projected Draft Position: 22-24

Prediction: Ok, so I just put the Browns in here so everyone could see how DA ranks this season amongst QBs and so you can see how nicely the Browns are setup at QB. I sure do wish they had that first round draft pick, though.

Pittsburgh Steelers:

QBs on Roster: Ben Roethlisberger (2008 Salary: $1.365 million; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.33 (13)

Other QBs: Charlie Batch, Brian St. Pierre

Projected Draft Position: 25-28

Prediction: Big Ben has already won a Super Bowl, has had a great season this year, and had the Steelers as potential AFC contenders (if you forget about NE for a second) prior to Fast Willie Parker’s injury. The Steelers are thrilled with him, he seems happy to be there. No reason for change there any time soon. No interest in the Browns.

AFC South

Houston Texans:

QBs on Roster: Matt Schaub (2008 Salary: Terms Unknown; Signed Through: 2012) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.61 (9)

Other QBs: Sage Rosenfels, Shane Boyd

Projected Draft Position: 14-19

Prediction: This is another easy one. After making the move to acquire Schaub in the offseason, and with the way he has provided results, the Texans are quite content at QB for the time being.

Indianapolis Colts:

QBs on Roster: Peyton Manning (2008 Salary: $11.5 million; Signed Through: 2012) – QB Score per Play (rank): 3.10 (4)

Other QBs: Jim Sorgi

Projected Draft Position: 30-31

Prediction: See New England Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars:

QBs on Roster: David Garrard (2008 Salary: $1.25 million; Signed Through: 2008) – QB Score per Play (rank): 3.09 (5)

Other QBs: Quinn Gray

Projected Draft Position: 28-29

Prediction: This has been an absolute breakout season for Garrard. In general, the AFC South is probably about the most stable division in terms of starting QBs with Schaub, Manning, Garrard, and Vince Young. Expect the Jags to try to work on an extension for Garrard in the offseason. They will have no interest in the Browns’ QBs.

Tennessee Titans:

QBs on Roster: Vince Young (2008 Salary: $1.5 million; Signed Through: 2011) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.33 (24)

Other QBs: Kerry Collins

Projected Draft Position: 22-24

Prediction: Vince showed his growing pains this season, and struggled for much of the season. None the less, the Titans are a win against the Colts this week away from being back in the playoffs. Vince has been a winner at every level, and Tennessee has no reason to doubt that he can win at this level, too. The Titans will not be interested in the Browns.

AFC West

Denver Broncos:

QBs on Roster: Jay Cutler (2008 Salary: $647,500; Signed Through: 2011) – QB Score per Play (rank): 2.84 (6)

Other QBs: Patrick Ramsey, Darrell Hackney

Projected Draft Position: 10-13

Prediction: If Jeff Garcia was this season’s best kept secret, then Jay Cutler was 2nd on that list. He has had an outstanding season, being topped in QB Score per Play only by Brady, Romo, Favre, Manning, and Garrard. With Cutler’s development, the Bronco’s future looks bright, and they have no need to look at other QB options.

Kansas City Chiefs:

QBs on Roster: Damon Huard (2008 Salary: $1.75 million; Signed Through: 2009) – QB Score per Play (rank): 0.77 (30)

Other QBs: Brodie Croyle

Projected Draft Position: 6-8

Prediction: Honestly, I think the Chiefs are a team that would consider making a move for DA. Both Croyle and Huard have been awful, and both are gone after 2009. They’re going nowhere with these guys. The Chiefs will look at McNabb, DA, and the draft pool. Of course, it’s always possible that they could make no change and stay the course for next season, but if you were the GM of the Chiefs, how could you not look at all your options and consider ways to improve your QBs?

Oakland Raiders:

QBs on Roster: JaMarcus Russell (2008 Salary: $3.72 million; Signed Through: 2012)

Other QBs: Josh McCown (free agent), Daunte Culpepper (free agent), Andrew Walter

Projected Draft Position: 6-8

Prediction: They have their guy for now in JaMarcus Russell. Despite having little depth behind him, they can’t give up a top 10 pick just to try to get some backup help. Look for them to sign a veteran to backup Russell next season.

San Diego Chargers:

QBs on Roster: Philip Rivers (2008 Salary: $1.265 million; Signed Through: 2010) – QB Score per Play (rank): 1.60 (21)

Other QBs: Billy Volek, Charlie Whitehurst

Projected Draft Position: 25-28

Prediction: For better or worse, they made their bed and now have to lie in it. They made their choice when they let Drew Brees go and annointed Philip Rivers as the new guy. Brees has gone on to be one of the better QBs in the NFL while Rivers has been erratic and inconsistent while struggling at times to get along with teammates. That being said, the Chargers are stuck with him and they did go 14-2 with him last year and are headed back to the playoffs this year, so it’s not all bad. As long as the team is winning and going to the playoffs, they will not be considering any other QB options.

Summary

First off, here are the free agents this offseason at QB: Derek Anderson, Rex Grossman, Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown, Quinn Gray, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Henson, Cleo Lemon, Jared Lorenzen, and Jamie Martine. If a team is looking to sign a big free agent QB, they just aren’t out there to be had. DA is the best option. Which is why he will be an intriguing option for teams desperate to bolster their QB stable.

Here are Mel Kiper’s top QBs in the draft as of now: Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Joe Flacco, Colt Brennan, and Andre Woodson. Scouts, Inc ranks the top 10 QBs as: Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Andre Woodson, Chad Henne, Joe Flacco, Dennis Dixon, John David Booty, Joshua Johnson, Colt Brennan, and Eric Ainge. Are any of these guys going to take over right away and be franchise QBs? It’s so hard to say. How can anyone really ever predict these things? It’s such a volatile marketplace.

Which goes to why I believe DA has to be an interesting option for teams. You’ve at least seen what you’re getting with DA. The rest of the free agents are either old or underproducing. The draft picks are a crapshoot. If I were a GM and knew I was going to be drafting a QB in the 1st round, I would give some serious consideration to just giving up the pick to sign DA. A lot would depend on my draft position, but I would have to give it due dilligence and at least look into it. Hopefully this list will give you something to think about as we consider which teams will be thinking about making a run for one of the Browns’ QBs.

Celebrate!Power Rankings Review

Time for our midweek look at what the analysts are saying about our beloved Brownies. I gotta tell you, this post gets more and more fun to write every week as the Browns keep adding the wins.

First up is the power rankings review. In ESPN.com blogger Matt Mosley’s Hashmarks rankings, he has the Browns ranked at #9. Quite a rise for the ol’ Brownies considering Mosley had the Browns ranked #32 (yes, that’s dead last in the NFL) in his first power rankings (and yes, I’m going to keep bringing this fact up because the #32 ranking was so laughable even without considering how well this season has gone….there’s no way the Browns were going to be the worst team in football this year).

Next up is Mike McAllister’s Power Rankings for ESPN.com. This week he has the Browns moving up 4 spots, from #13 to #9. McAllister writes,

“The next two weeks are critical for the Browns’ playoff chances. If they can beat division foes the Steelers and Ravens, their schedule is extremely favorable in the final six weeks, facing opponents with a combined record of 16-34.”

Yahoo.com’s power rankings are out this week, and once again both Jason Cole and Charles Robinson have the Browns in their top ten. In Cole’s rankings, he moved the Browns up one spot from #9 to #8, and Robinson moves the Browns up two spots, from #10 to #8. Cole writes,

“Big props go to Romeo Crennel and the Browns. There were more than a few observers who thought Crennel would have been fired by now. Instead, he and the Browns are rolling at 5-3 and have a shot at first place in the AFC North. Good stuff.”

And finally, for the Cleveland Sports Authority power rankings, I have the top 10 as follows:

01. New England Patriots
02. Indianapolis Colts
03. Pittsburgh Steelers
04. Dallas Cowboys
05. New York Giants
06. Green Bay Packers
07. Tennessee Titans
08. Detroit Lions
09. Cleveland Browns
10. New Orleans Saints

For Further Analysis, Keep Reading…

And now to look at some stories and chat transcripts to get a better feel for what the national media’s perceptions of the Browns are. First up, Scouts Inc’s Matt Williamson talked a little in his ESPN.com chat about the Browns’ come from behind victory last week, saying,

Jay (NC): Matt, when is everyone going to stop saying why the other team lost instead of why the browns won? That was a fair fight down to the wire, and the browns earned that one. I think Anderson is the real deal – improvement literally every game from day 1 – and I think the seahawks D was very tough and Anderson had his best game of the year.

SportsNation Matt Williamson: Not sure that I can argue with that. Well said.


Adam (OH): Matt, what do you think about Cleveland… Down 21-9 at half they fight back and again find a way to win these guys are playing with a lot of heart! SportsNation Matt Williamson: They most certainly are and R Crenel should get some Coach of the Year votes. Dangerous offense. For the long term this season, I see the D still holding them back, but the future is very bright and this has been an extremely succesful season.

I found that to be an interesting point. I think the reason people are looking for explanations as to how Seattle let Cleveland win as opposed to saying what Cleveland did to win, is because of how poor our defense has played for the most part on the season. When you have the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL, people are going to doubt you. That’s just the way it is.

In the AFC Winners chat (I still love the sound of that) on ESPN.com, Scouts Inc’s Doug Kretz tackled several Browns questions. The first one was regarding the soon to be QB controversy that is inevitably around the corner,

Mike (Cleveland): So if you were Phil Savage and someone offered a 1st and a 2nd for Anderson you would do it? I personally would keep the guy I know can perform over the guy you think can perform.

SportsNation Doug Kretz: I’d agree with you Mike.. I heard a lot of varying opinions on Quinn when he came out – everywhere from a middle of the first round to a second day (fourth round) grade on him.. I’d take the guy that is currenly winning games for me.

This is an interesting topic that is sure to get more attention as the season progresses. Matt Williamson also tackled a question on this topic,

Treye (Erie, PA): Is the Browns managment kicking itself for giving up next year’s #1 for Brady Quinn, considering the success Derek Anderson is having this season? Also, who is the Browns QB of the future?

SportsNation Matt Williamson: Hard to say how that will play out, but usually in a situation like this, the older guy goes. Anderson is a RFA after the year. Clev will offer him the highest tender, which would get them a 1st and 3rd round pick as compensation if someone were to sign him. That might be steep, but they probably could trade him for a late 1st or early 2nd. Good problem to have. If you were in charge of Chicago, would you give up your number one for DA? Still, Quinn had BETTER be good though.

That seems to be the 2 differing schools of thought on this issue. Do you trade the guy who gives you more trade value right now (DA) and go with the guy who is the unknown commodity but possibly a higher upside (Quinn), or do you stick with the guy who’s winning right now and give him a long term contract, but thus give up on a guy who could be the QB of the future? Frankly, it’s another one of those questions I’m just glad I don’t have to answer. I would lean towards giving the job to Quinn and taking whatever I could get for DA.

For those of you thinking Pro Bowl, you’re not the only ones inquiring. Doug Kretz also answered a Pro Bowl question with regards to the Browns,

Mike (Cleveland): Do the browns have 4 pro bowlers? K2, Braylon, DA, and Steinbach/Thomas? Seems pretty reasonable to me. K2 and Braylon seem to be no brainers.

SportsNation Doug Kretz: K2 and Braylon are legitimate candidates.. Thomas has a chance.. I don’t see Steinbach simply because Thomas takes votes away from him (too much attention Joe’s direction).

I actually think Steinbach has a better chance than Joe Thomas does. For instance, ESPN.com released their mid-season All-Pro’s, and Joe Thomas wasn’t on the list, but Eric Steinbach was. Len Pasquarelli’s reasoning?

“One of the few big-money guards of the past two seasons who actually is living up to his paycheck, Steinbach has solidified the Browns’ blocking unit. Cleveland is averaging more than 5 yards per carry on plays run over him, and Steinbach has improved his pass-protection skills.”

The only other Browns player that Pasquarelli picked to his mid-season All-Pro team was wide receiver Braylon Edwards, which was an obvious choice. Pasquarelli’s reasoning for picking Braylon was,

“The third-year veteran has become the deep threat the Browns envisioned when they selected him with the third overall pick in the 2005 draft. Edwards has nine touchdown catches, and his impressive 17.5-yard average is the best among players with more than 30 receptions.”

Finally, I want to discuss this trend that’s been going around lately of looking back at this year’s draft and asking which teams regret their picks. First of all, I find the whole thing a little silly because if we knew then what we know now, of COURSE certain teams would pick differently. But that being said, most teams picked the best they could with the information that they had at the time. We as Browns fans know better than most just how much of a crapshoot the NFL draft really is. That being said, Doug Kretz took this question in his chat about the draft,

Mistake by the Lake, Ohio: Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach… Look at the browns O-Line now compared to last few years. This gets a little attention but very little compared to DA. I love DA, Edwards and Winslow insanely, but they would be hard pressed to have the year they having without those 2 coming. I wanted AP in the draft but I think Savage made the right choice, agree?

SportsNation Doug Kretz: I agree that Thomas was a no brainer.. I love what AP is doing, now, but there were some questions about his durability coming out of college.. Thomas has met and exceeded every expectation.. When you get a chance to draft a great talent at left OT you have to jump on it.

I personally couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. But ESPN’s Todd McShay has a much different take. He did an entire first round re-draft this week. He kept the first 2 picks the same, with Russell going 1 and Johnson going 2, but at #3, he absolutely stunned me, picking Adrian Peterson, saying:

“This is the toughest decision of any pick in this redraft. Cleveland selected Thomas back in April and he has turned into one of the offensive leaders for the resurgent Browns. But I said it in April and what’s happened so far this season has only reinforced my feeling: The Browns should have taken Peterson at No. 3 overall. Yes, Thomas is a key player along the offensive front and will likely have a longer career than Peterson, but Peterson has simply been too special early this season not to make this choice. Any of the six teams that passed on him originally might take a mulligan to get him this time around, but the Browns look like the best fit right now as they could use a little more running to balance the seventh-best passing game (254.5 ypg) in the league.”

I’m sorry, but I find this logic to be a bit ludicrous. There’s no way the Browns could give up the stability on the offensive line that Thomas provides. The Browns have been trying to build from the outside in for 7 years. It is finally time they figured out that you need to build from the inside out, starting with the line, and it’s working for us. Don’t get me wrong, Peterson is a special, special player for sure….but I wouldn’t give up Joe Thomas for the world right now. The sight of DA standing upright and throwing while under absolutely no pressure is just too precious of a sight for me. Look, I like Todd McShay quite a bit, and I think he’s an excellent analyst who really knows college football well, but that doesn’t mean he gets the transition to the NFL and how successful NFL teams are built. He even admits in his writeup about it that he’s merely trying to validate something he wrote before the draft last year. That’s all.

For what it’s worth, he also talked about the Browns at pick #22, saying that by not taking Thomas at #3 they obviously need an O-lineman now, so Tony Ugoh would be that pick. He writes,

“The verdict is still very much out on Quinn, but having taken Peterson instead of Thomas with the third overall pick and armed with the knowledge of QB Derek Anderson’s emergence, Ugoh is the logical choice. When healthy, he’s been outstanding for a rookie left tackle being asked to protect QB Peyton Manning’s blind side. Ugoh should only continue to improve with better footwork and conditioning.”

That’s great and all, he’s going to get better and all, but 2 points here. First, why wait for a guy to get better when we can have Joe Thomas, who is growing into an absolute elite LT right before our eyes this season? Point #2, why are we trading to the #22 spot if we know what we’re going to have in DA? If we knew DA was going to be this good, we would have NEVER traded next year’s #1 pick for a chance to move back into the draft this year. It just wouldn’t happen. This stuff is all in fun, for sure, but there’s just no reason for the Browns to change a thing. We’re on our way up and improving every week. I’m content with this team for this season.

Finally, I’ll leave y’all with a response from Keith Kidd in the Winner’s Chat this week regarding the Browns’ playoff prospects:

Mike (Cleveland): Browns in the play-offs? Got a pretty pretty pretty easy schedule. And their O-line. You can say the Browns made a mistake by not taking AP but I couldn’t be happier with Thomas. Not to mention Steinbach. No sacks. None. Browns are for real!!!

SportsNation Keith Kidd: I agree. I think that the two hardest games are coming up, at Pittsburgh and at Baltimore. But they are right in the race. But they need to get help on defense this offseason. Just stay patient with Crennel because the guy is a winner.

BrownsNFL Analysts Pleased With Browns’ Direction

So the baseball season is over, and the basketball season has yet to begin. That leaves us with just our beloved Brownies playing real games right now. Normally, that would be cause for nothing but more heartache and upset stomaches. But not this year. Optimism is abound when it comes to this year’s Browns. Now, lets not all get ahead of ourselves and try to keep things in proper focus and scope, and lets not overreact to the quotes I’m about to paste. The last time the Browns were .500 after 6 games was 2004. That season we were 3-3, playing the undefeated Eagles at home in Week 7. We were leading in the 4th quarter and looking to go to 4-3 on the year. Well, the Eagles tied the game in the 4th, and then won the game in overtime and by the end of the season, our record was 4-12. So just because we’re 3-3 right now, there’s still a LONG season ahead of us and a lot of uncertainty in the upcoming weeks and months. Remember, this is a franchise which hasn’t even won back to back games since weeks 5 and 6 of the 2003 season, so lets start small and try actually putting together some win streaks. Since our return in 1999, only once have we won more than 2 games in a row, and that was when we won 3 in a row in weeks 2 through 4 of the 2001 season. Those numbers are shocking and an embarrassment to the team, the city, and us fans. So before we start proclaiming ourselves “back from the dead”, lets first just try to string together some nice wins.

With that being said, lets take a look at what the analysts said about the team today. First up is Scouts, Inc’s Matt Williamson writing in his chat for ESPN.com,

Adam (OH): Is 8-8 a realistic guess for the Browns this season? If not then what?

SportsNation Matt Williamson: That is realistic. Should beat STL without a ton of problems this week. I think 9 wins is steep though.

Williamson even thinks that a 2nd place finish in the division isn’t outside the realm of possibility,

Jay(Los Angeles): AFC north has to considered one of the toughest divisions in football. The good but under achieving Bengals could be the worst team in the division

SportsNation Matt Williamson: Agreed. Don’t sleep on the Ravens either. Just look at their injury list-a LOT of Pro Bowls on that injury list. 

Yahoo’s NFL experts Jason Cole and Charles Robinson released their NFL Power Rankings today, and both showed optimism in this year’s Browns team with Cole placing the Browns 10th on his rankings and Robinson sliding the Browns in his top tier at number 12. Cole had this to say about the Browns,

“As for the rest of the top of the league, you would have gotten some seriously long odds on a parlay from me that Cleveland and Kansas City would have been in the top 10 of the league. Yeah, the Browns are a pretty big reach at No. 10, it’s not like anybody else deserves to be there right now. Seattle needs to figure out if it’s going to be good or not after a couple of ugly games preceding the victory over St. Louis.”

Finally, for a look ahead to what the Browns may be looking at with their first pick in the draft next year (in the 2nd round….Brady Quinn is our 1st round pick next year, remember), Scouts, Inc’s draft analyst Steve Muench fielded some questions for ESPN.com today, and had this to say about the Browns’ pick,

Mike (Cleveland): My Browns need serious help on the D-line! What prospects would project to when they which seems to be in the middle of the second round?

SportsNation Steve Muench: The problem is their not going to get a true nose tackle for good vlaue at that point in the draft. So they may be better served taking a chance on Texas A&M’s Red Byrant in the third or fourth round or possibly Fresno State’s Jason Shirley in a later round. If they take a defenisve end there, USC’s Lawrence Jackson is a possibility though not an ideal fit. North Carolina State’s DeMario Pressley is another name worth throwing out there.

That’s all I have on the Browns for today. I’ll my Week 8 preview for this week’s game at St. Louis a little later in  the week.