Browns Issue Strong Message on QB Depth Ahead of Free Agency

Deshaun Watson

Getty Quarterback Deshaun Watson with head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns will be searching for a backup quarterback this offseason, although they’re not ruling out that role going to Kellen Mond.

The Browns claimed Mond off waivers after final roster cutdowns in August and he stuck around for the entire year despite not being active. Jacoby Brissett was the starter for the first 11 games of the season, with Joshua Dobbs serving as the backup. When Deshaun Watson returned from his 11-game suspension, Brissett went to the bench, while Dobbs was cut, later being claimed by the Tennessee Titans and starting games down the stretch.

Mond — a former third-round pick — has no resume to speak of, going just 2-of-3 for 5 yards in his one career regular-season game with the Minnesota Vikings. But he’s the only quarterback the Browns have under contract outside of Watson and head coach Kevin Stefanski does not belive his lack of experience should disqualify him from being considered for the role.

“No, I don’t think so,” Stefanski said from the NFL Combine on Wednesday. “I think all options are available to us there with young players, obviously Kellen hasn’t played in that setting, but we’ll see how far he comes along to say that he can’t win that job. I don’t think it’s fair to say that on March 1. I think he’s a young player that we need to see certainly more of.”

Browns Have Spent on Backup QBs Previously

The Browns have not been shy to spend on backup quarterbacks with Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry at the helm. First it was Case Keenum to backup Baker Mayfield, and more recently, Brissett.

Brissett went 4-7 as the starter but exceeded expectations despite the losing record. He completed 64% of his passes for 2,608 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. But more importantly, he established himself a leader for the Browns during a very tumultuous year, commanding quite a bit of respect in the locker room.

However, it’s unlikely Brissett will be back as he tests the free agent market in search of a potential starting gig.

“Oh, for sure (I’m a starter),” Brissett said when his time as the starter in Cleveland was winding down with Watson returning. “Yeah, definitely. And like I said, that’s why I was brought here, because the Browns understood that, too. So, yeah, I think I went out and proved myself right.”

Stefanski Getting on Same Page With Watson

The Browns went 3-3 in Watson’s starts and the former passing leader completed 58.2% of his throws for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.

Watson has been open that it wasn’t the most comfortable year with all the off-field turmoil but a full offseason and no suspension looming should help in him finding his Pro Bowl form once again.

“We are still talking. I think just getting on the same page on everything — how we meet and how we structure practice making sure he is comfortable with different things,” Stefanski said. “You talk about everything under the sun with players in an exit meeting and certainly try to do the same with Deshaun. I know we are seeing the game very similarly. I think he is very excited about what we are going to be doing offensively and what we are going to be doing as a team. I think he is excited to go play some football in the spring and summer.”

The Browns saw QB coach Drew Petzing bolt for Arizona this offseason, taking an offensive coordinator gig. They replaced him with an internal candidate with Alex Van Pelt — who is also the offensive coordinator.

“AVP is ready for whatever I feel like and we feel like is best for the team,” Stefanski said. “So he’s ready to do that. I think it brings continuity to the position.”

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments