Nov 30, 2023 - Sports

A history of Browns quarterback woes

Data: Axios research; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

The wildest roller coaster ride in Northern Ohio isn't at Cedar Point. It's right here in Cleveland with the Browns' quarterback situation.

Why it matters: Cleveland holds the sixth of seven playoff spots in the AFC but must keep winning to hold off other contenders.

Driving the news: Last week's starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson is in concussion protocol, making it unclear whether he'll start Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

  • The other options are backup P.J. Walker and recently signed Joe Flacco, who won the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.

Flashback: Two weeks ago, the team's $230 million starting quarterback Deshaun Watson was ruled out for the rest of the season with a fracture in his throwing shoulder.

The big picture: Quarterback issues have plagued the Browns for over 25 years.

  • In 1999, Cleveland drafted Tim Couch No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, but he was the starter for just four years.

By the numbers: The Browns have had 36 different starting quarterbacks since 1999.

  • That includes three this season, with Watson starting six games, Thompson-Robinson starting three and Walker starting two.

Between the lines: Cleveland thought its quarterback problem had been solved after trading for Watson in March 2022.

  • But Watson has struggled to regain his Pro Bowl form and has played in just 12 of 28 possible games since joining the Browns.

The bottom line: Cleveland hasn't had a consistent starter at quarterback since Bernie Kosar in the 1980s.

What's next: The Browns have yet to name a starter for Sunday's game.

  • Three teams — Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos — are within one game of the Browns' sixth seed in the playoffs.
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