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Commentary: Browns’ quarterback situation as muddled as ever

We’re just a little over two weeks away from the Browns’ attempt to snap their 17-year opening game non-winning streak. (There was one tie mixed in there).

This year, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam were so determined to snap that streak that they went out and bought the best quarterback money could buy.

Unfortunately, that quarterback won’t play in this year’s season-opening game. He also won’t play in the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, the game after that, and the game after that.

But after THAT, watch out! It’s go time!


The quarterback is not injured, but he is extremely rich. Jimmy and Dee Haslam made sure of that by trading for him and signing him to a five-year, $230 million contract.

They think that quarterback will be worth the wait, and worth the money. What he won’t be is the quarterback that snaps the Browns’ 17-year opening game non-winning streak.

How long?

This long: The last time the Browns won their first game of the season was Sept. 12, 2004, a 20-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens, Jeff Garcia outgunslinging Kyle Boller.

Ah, the good old days!

Since then, the Browns have played 17 consecutive non-winning season opening games, during which they were outscored 472-255.

To be fair, in addition to the tie, a couple of other games were fairly close.

But all those losses were pre-Deshaun Watson. This year’s season-opening Browns game, and the next 10 after that, will, um, also be pre-Deshaun Watson.

But after THAT …

For now, however, and for the first 11 games of this season, the Browns’ quarterback, or, perhaps, quarterbacks, will come from a group of three candidates currently on the roster, all of them not as good as the quarterback the Browns recently traded to Carolina so they could make room for the quarterback who won’t be able to play the first 11 games of the season.

Got that?

The quarterbacks-in-waiting who are waiting for the season to start so that one of them, conceivably, could help snap the Browns’ infamous 17-year season-opening non-winning streak, are Jacoby Brissett, the presumed starter, who has yet to appear in a preseason game, even though there are only four quarters left in the preseason, plus Joshua Dobbs, who appears to be the best of the available quarterback Joshuas.

The other quarterbacking Josh on the roster is a Josh who goes by “Josh” but whose full name, according to Pro Football-Reference, is Joshua Ballinger Lippincott Rosen.

Needless to say, Browns radio voice Jim Donovan is probably not rooting for Joshua Ballinger Lippincott Rosen to become the surprise opening-game starter.

But these are the Browns, and as we’ve all learned over the years, these are the Browns.

Jacoby Brissett’s season debut as the Browns’ presumed starting quarterback will come Saturday, against the Bears, in the Browns’ third and final preseason game. Why the team’s presumed starter at quarterback’s first appearance in a game will be in the last game of the preseason seems somewhat odd.

Could it be that Brissett should not be the presumed starter after all? Could it be that one of the Joshes have quietly wowed the coaching staff, and moved ahead of Brissett?

Or could it be that the Browns are waiting to spring on Dawg Pound Nation a potential 11th hour trade for Jimmy Garoppolo? Maybe coach Kevin Stefanski wants to see presumed, but not guaranteed starter Brissett in action Saturday before either officially anointing Brissett as the starter, or imploring general manager Andrew Berry to, posthaste, dial 1-800-JIMMY G!

Bringing in a new quarterback this late in the game and asking him to learn the offense as quickly as possible so he can halt a 17-year opening game non-winning streak, while also winning most of the first 11 games before turning the offense over to Watson for the last six games, might be asking a lot.

Or it might be asking exactly what should be asked of a franchise that has never been to a Super Bowl.

If there is a silver lining that really isn’t one, it’s that the Browns’ pre-Watson quarterback situation seems as murky as the receiver situation, although does it even matter who the quarterback is when the receiver room looks like the inside of a bus terminal at 3 a.m.?

Fortunately for the muddled quarterback and receiver situations, the Browns appear to be loaded everywhere else. So much so that they may, during the pre-Watson portion of the schedule, be able to keep the boat from rocking too perilously.

This is not exactly textbook countdown to kickoff maneuvering. But if the Browns have taught us anything through the years it’s that baseball season is just around the corner.

Jim Ingraham is a sports columnist for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette. Contact him at 329-7135 or and follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter


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