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Browns' QB picture doesn't lack for intrigue

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Posted March 26, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The Browns wasted little time starting over at quarterback. In the span of about a week in March, the club traded for the Seahawks' Seneca Wallace, released Derek Anderson, signed ex-Panthers signalcaller Jake Delhomme and traded Brady Quinn to Denver.

Delhomme, who signed a two-year deal and is slated to be paid $7 million by the Browns in 2010, looks likely to be the starter. How much Delhomme, 35, has left remains to be seen. He threw 18 interceptions and completed just 55.5 percent of his attempts last season, and he is strictly a short-term option.

A rookie quarterback figures to join the mix, too. Team president Mike Holmgren told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer the club will draft a passer, though he indicated it's unlikely the Browns will use their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) or their second-round selection (No. 38) on a quarterback. However, the Browns do have three third-round picks (Nos. 71, 85 and 92) and a fairly high fourth-round pick (No. 105). (Ex-Jet Brett Ratliff is also on the roster; he did not play last season.)

Also, Wallace, who played his first six seasons for Holmgren in Seattle and who has made 14 starts, could be a factor in the offense, too. The way we hear it, Wallace could be an effective backup to Delhomme. The contrast of styles between the veteran passers is intriguing. Teams who prepare for Delhomme — who is not much of a threat to run — and then have to contend with Wallace will have to quickly adjust their game plans. One league source told PFW that Wallace materially changes the coverage and pressure schemes a defense can use because of his mobility.

Holmgren is high on Wallace's potential.

"I think he is a potential starter," Holmgren told Cleveland reporters after Wallace was referred to as a "career backup." "Yes, he has been a backup, but he has been a backup to a Pro Bowl player (Matt Hasselbeck). Mark Brunell was a backup for me to Brett Favre, and he went to the Pro Bowl. You get into a situation and you are a career backup, but that's a phrase, and I'm not sure exactly what that means sometimes."

Another interesting factor to keep in mind: Wallace, who also played a little wide receiver in Seattle, could be an asset if the Browns again use the "Wildcat"-style formations they employed last season. He is also a far better passer than Joshua Cribbs, the star of the Browns' Wildcat looks.

 

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