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When it comes to backups, Browns are the NFL's 'cradle of quarterbacks'

Mar 20, 2014 -- 6:00am

By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/Orlandon Sentinel

The Morning Kickoff …

Selling like hotcakes: Last week Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell were released by the Browns 34 minutes apart.

This week they found new homes 48 hours apart.

On Monday, Weeden signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. On Wednesday, Campbell reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The sudden signings firmly established the Browns as the NFL’s “cradle of quarterbacks.”

The Browns have had 20 quarterbacks start at least one game since 1999. Five of them now have roster spots on other teams. Four more ended 2013 on a roster or injury list and are currently unsigned. And one is an NFL quarterbacks coach.

Here is the rundown, including each quarterback’s career won-loss record with the Browns:

* Brandon Weeden (5-15): Signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

* Jason Campbell (1-7): Signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

* Derek Anderson (16-18): Re-signed with the Carolina Panthers. With Cam Newton expected to have four months of rehabilitation after ankle surgery, Anderson will be the team’s starting quarterback through the spring minicamps.

* Bruce Gradkowski (0-1): Backup to Ben Roethlisberger with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

* Thad Lewis (0-1): Backup to EJ Manuel with the Buffalo Bills.

* Luke McCown (0-4): Ended 2013 with the New Orleans Saints. Currently unsigned, but recently linked to the Detroit Lions.

* Brady Quinn (3-9): Ended 2013 with the St. Louis Rams. Currently unsigned.

* Colt McCoy (6-15): Ended 2013 as backup to Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers. Currently unsigned.

* Seneca Wallace (1-6): Ended 2013 on injured reserve with the Green Bay Packers. Currently unsigned.

* Ken Dorsey (0-3): Enters his second season as Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach.

If you’re keeping score, the combined W-L record of these 10 fine men is 32-79, a win percentage of .288.

Big Blake: The Browns reportedly gave Blake Bortles the same cold shoulder at his pro day that they gave Teddy Bridgewater – with one major exception.

Only GM Ray Farmer and scouts attended Bortles’ pro day workout in Orlando, FL, on Wednesday. The workout was snubbed by coach Mike Pettine, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains – same as Bridgewater’s.

But the one difference was that Farmer reportedly had private time with Bortles prior to the workout. There was no report of Farmer meeting with Bridgewater.

Bortles’ workout was reported as a rousing success, a direct contrast to Bridgewater’s unfortunate hiccup on Tuesday.

Bortles has been linked to the Houston Texans, who have the No. 1 pick, ever since Bill O’Brien was named coach of the Texans. O’Brien raved about Bortles back on Sept. 14 when Bortles led a 34-31 upset of O’Brien’s Penn State team. Bortles’ head coach at UCF was George O’Leary, who hired O’Brien at Georgia Tech in 1995 and mentored him for six years.

“I was very impressed,” O’Brien said to the Houston Chronicle about Bortle’s workout. “He made every throw I wanted to see, and he showed good footwork.”

Houston GM Rick Smith told the Chronicle, “I like what he did. I was very impressed with him.”

The Browns have kept a curiously low profile in the scouting of the top-rated quarterbacks. We’ll see if they are more visible at Johnny Manziel’s workout at Texas A&M on March 27.

Stop the presses: In an Earth-shattering change of organizational policy, the Browns have decided to confirm visits to their team headquarters from free agents. Of course, they only adopted this policy after the first wave of free agency has come and gone.

Be that as it may, the club on Wednesday confirmed visits from defensive end Alex Carrington (Bills) and offensive lineman Paul McQuistan.

Carrington, 26, started three games for Pettine at defensive end in Buffalo last year before going down with a season-ending quadriceps injury. If Carrington were signed, it would bring immediate speculation about the future of left end Ahtyba Rubin.

McQuistan, 30, was a valuable swingman on the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line the past three seasons. He started 40 games at both guard spots and left tackle. McQuistan spent 24 days on the Browns’ roster in 2010.

As for the new policy, the Browns still refuse to confirm and specify their attendance at pro day workouts for “competitive reasons” – even though it is no secret in the NFL which teams are represented at the workouts.

Yet it’s perfectly alright with the Browns to allow ex-GM Mike Lombardi to join the New England Patriots immediately after his firing and take his Browns’ scouting notebook with him to the NFL Combine.

 

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hastage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to tgrossi@espncleveland.com

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi

 

 

 

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