Eric Mangini said Monday that the Browns’ starting quarterback job is Jake Delhomme’s to lose. Some Cleveland fans may want to throw their Jim Brown bobblehead through their office window after reading that news, while others probably shrugged and muttered, “Well, at least it’s not Derek Anderson.”
Thus far, all of the reports on Delhomme this summer have been positive. Mike Holmgren was looking to add a veteran quarterback who could help provide leadership in the locker room and he found one in Delhomme. Perhaps more importantly, the former Panther has developed a good report with young receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie.
Of course, Delhomme has been around long enough to know how to make an impression in OTAs. While his veteran presence has probably been a welcoming sight around Cleveland this summer, the real work is still ahead. This is a player that hasn’t played with confidence in the recent past and his decision-making has been downright brutal over the last year and a change. If the Browns were looking for a savior at the quarterback position, Delhomme isn’t it.
I’ve been critical of Holmgren’s decision to sign Delhomme and I won’t change my tune now. After the Panthers released him, Delhomme only had two choices as where to sign: Cleveland or New Orleans. He wanted to be a starter, so his only real option was to sign with the Browns, yet Holmgren still gave him $7 million guaranteed. That’s a ludicrous amount of money for a quarterback that couldn’t start for most flag football teams in this country.
But I also have to keep in mind what Delhomme’s role is. The Browns aren’t looking for him to be a savior; he’s merely a stopgap this season (and possibly even next season) until Colt McCoy or another quarterback is ready to take over the reins. If he provides the Browns with veteran leadership, plays a role in developing Massaquoi and Robiskie, and mentors McCoy, then Holmgren accomplishes his goal with the signing.
And hey, if Delhomme does have some success this season, then it’s a bonus. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on that scenario, but seeing as how the expectations will be much lower in Cleveland than they were in Carolina, anything could happen.