Austin Davis will be Browns’ 24th starting quarterback since 1999


The news today that Austin Davis will start on Sunday for the Browns continues a long and disappointing trend in Cleveland: The team simply cannot find a franchise quarterback.

Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have started an NFL-high 23 different quarterbacks, with Davis slated to become the 24th on Sunday.

Here’s the full list of Browns quarterbacks since they re-entered the league as an expansion team in 1999: Tim Couch, Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Bruce Gradkowski, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Thaddeus Lewis, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Josh McCown, Austin Davis.

You’d have to be both a huge Browns fan and a masochist to have that entire list committed to memory. Wasted first-round picks in Couch, Quinn, Weeden and Manziel. Veterans who had previously had success elsewhere but failed in Cleveland with Garcia, Dilfer and Delhomme. Players who would later go on to start for other teams in McCoy and Hoyer. Both McCown brothers. The list has a little of everything.

For a contrast with a successful franchise, here’s the entire list of Patriots starting quarterbacks since 1999: Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel.

Maybe some day the Browns will find a franchise quarterback who can lead them for 15 years or so, like Brady in New England. But at this point Browns fans would probably settle for a franchise quarterback who can last 16 games.

62 responses to “Austin Davis will be Browns’ 24th starting quarterback since 1999

  1. At first it’s funny, but Browns fans do not deserve this. To have their franchise stolen and then replaced with this mess that subjects them to stuff like the kick-six — against their own former franchise — is just cruel. I hope they get to the promised land someday.

  2. What do factories do? They keep doing the same thing over and over, producing new failures at QB. What a sad factory Cleveland is.

  3. Remember that unbelievable day in Cleveland back in October of 2002? Quarterback Tim Couch sustained a concussion in a loss to the Ravens and Browns fans cheered as he laid there. “HIS” fans.

    Is 13 years of QB karma enough?

  4. It takes a lot to keep the boilers that run The Facory of Sadness stoked. 24 starters is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Browns Fans Desrve Better!

  5. Focus on the running game. Get the defense off the floor. Reevaluate each member of the team accordingly and find out who really has control in the front office! Too often us fans focus on the all-mighty QB position but building a strong identity with a gameplan that travels well is also important. Whether its Johnny Football or their first pick in the next draft, once Cleveland finally figures out who they ARE the success will come.

  6. As a die hard Hawks fan I have to say the NFL has screwed over the Browns fans and Cleveland is the city where it all started. To allow the team to be stolen with all the $ the NFL makes was pathetic. On top of that the get dealt this current team and the old team is a two time SB champ. The game on Monday, wow! Cheers to you Browns fans if I had my wish we will have a Browns Seahawks SB 51.

  7. Man. I feel a kinship with Browns fans. You guys deserve WAY better for your loyalty. But I have a sneaking suspicion things will change for the better in the near future, and it will have almost nothing to do with the starting QB.

    Defense wins championships, offense sells tickets. This is a league where you can throw for 500 yards and lose a game(sorry San Diego fans, you are apart of the club). Us Vikings fans are the but of every dry joke on either side of the Mississippi, but being a fan of a franchise that continually breaks your heart only makes you a stronger person in life. If in your passion for a sports team you remain loyal to a team that leaves you feeling bad more than good, you have the heart of a warrior at a primal level. You fight with your squad until the last breath is taken by the last warrior on the field, you bleed your colors, you never falter.

    This is what I admire most about Browns fans. We are from the same branch of the NFL fandom tree, cousins in a way, but man, you guys deserve better. Ive been to a game at a Browns bar before, fantastic human beings.

    In combat, I would want to fight alongside Browns, Chargers, Lions and Vikings fans. Patriots and Packers fans would run to the enemy and hand them their weapons at the first sight of adversity.

    Good luck guys, its brutal out here.

  8. Timing has a lot to do with this. The years that true franchise QBs have been available were years the Browns only sort of sucked – like 5-11 or 6-10, putting them too low to get the franchise QB.

    I don’t know if any of this year’s QBs will be franchise QBs or not, but they couldn’t do much worse taking one with the top 5 pick they will have.

  9. Poor Browns fans, can’t help but wonder had Al Lerner not passed away only a few years after starting the franchise things might have been very different. He was no one’s fool as opposed to his fool son Randy. Haslam is just scum and so far there is nothing to indicate the team is anything more than a cash cow to him.

    Browns fans do indeed deserve better

  10. pftbro says:
    Dec 2, 2015 5:35 PM
    Belichick got lucky; Bledsoe got injured and Bill was “forced” to play this kid named Brady, 6th round draft pick…

    Browns fans probably wonder what if with Belichick. He got the original Browns to the playoffs with Testaverde, then Modell swept the rug out from under him and the rest of Cleveland.

    On topic, how much does Pettine hate Manziel? Dude is willing to lose his job not to play a high pick, and i’m not old enough to remember when Schnellenberger lost his job because he wouldn’t play Bert Jones.

  11. Hopefully, the Browns can find the right people who can bring some success to its fans, even if it’s for a short time. The fans deserve it. As a Royals fan, I can relate to rooting for a consistently disappointing franchise.

  12. Smart move by the Brownies. If they started Johnny, and he lit it up, he’d probably party like it was 1999 (and post a video). If he plays terrible, then he could well go out and drown his sorrows.

    Safe play is to start the kid from Austin Peay.

  13. Have they cut Johnny Busto yet?

    That’s the decision they need to make that would let everyone know they have a clue about what to do and they are not afraid to do it.

  14. Why just pick of the Browns for the lack of a franchise QB?

    New York Jets- No franchise QB since Joe Namath
    Miami Dolphins- No one since Dan Marino
    Houston Texans- Still waiting for their first one
    Kansas City Chiefs- No one since Len Dawson
    Chicago Bears- unbelievably Jay Cutler will be their all time leading QB since Sid Luckman
    St. Louis Rams- Nobody since Kurt Warner left
    Detroit Lions- have their first one in Stafford since the 70s with Greg Landry.

  15. It’s not that they can’t find a franchise QB, it’s that they can’t develop one or put a team around them. If the Browns had drafted Brady, no one would have ever heard of him. He would have been out of the league years ago.

  16. Ty Detmer started in the very first game. Got replaced by Tim Couch in game 2 of 1999.

    Funny you would mention the Patriots. Spergon Wynn was drafted in both the same round as and ahead of Tom Brady, being the last quarterback off the board before the Pats took Brady. Of course, if the Browns had taken Brady, maybe (like Wynn) he would have gone on to a fine career, in Houston, as an energy trader.

  17. … and the drumbeat to start Manziel continues, despite he’s the only QB in history to lose his job on his day off. That, in itself, is pretty remarkable.

    Why he has any support is beyond me. Did we forget that Johnny declared he would not change his ways? All he has done is, lived up to it.

    He should have been cut a long time ago. The love affair with this loser, is amazing.

  18. maybe someday the browns will get an owner who will hire management who know what they are doing. mabe they will hire a coach who knows what he is doing and then maybe they will not have a joke of a team. it does matter if you did not want the guy, he was drafted and it is your job to see if he can play or not. and if the management will not force you to then then they should could cut him. why won’t they do that? because they are scared another team will give him a chance and the browns will look like the fools they are for not seeing what the guy can do. as long as he is not getting arrested who cares if he enjoys the night life? there have been many all time great qb’s who have been known to enjoy the night life and nobody cared because they did the job on Sun. it’s not your job to teach him any lessons or how to live his life. his job is to be the best football player he can be not be a choirboy.

  19. @rugolin

    As a Texans fan, I can tell you the difference – the Texans don’t try. Management is totally okay with meh QBs, to the extent the owner even said “We don’t need a superstar QB, we need average, adequate QBs.”

    They haven’t drafted a QB over the fourth round since 2003. You’ll find defensive bust after defensive bust after defensive bust – Watt being the exception thanks to Wade Phillips bullying Rick Smith into doing the right thing – but a QB? Never.

    The Browns, say what you will, at least they try. They may not give their QB draftees any real help or support, but God help them, they try.

  20. As a lifelong Browns fan, I’m left pretty speechless by the recognition, respect and admiration from the PFT crowd to our fanbase. Thank you.

    Thank you for recognizing that we deserve better than the comedy of errors that our organization has become after its tragic theft.

    Clevelanders are loyal to a fault. We will not waver while we suffer.

    But please…win a Championship in my lifetime!

  21. On the contrary, Browns fans deserve this. Why? Because they keep showing up to watch a horrible team, with a clueless Head Coach (the worst, most petty, pun intended, head coach in the history of the NFL), with the worst GM in the history of the NFL, and instead of forcing the Owner to pull his head out of his backside, the moron Clowns fans keep showing up, ripping up their jerseys in the stands.

    If an Owner keeps making boatloads of cash with a horrible product, that Owner has zero incentive to improve, especially one that had the FBI raid the corpprate HQs. You think this scumbag cares about doing the right thing.

  22. It goes beyond the different QB’s too folks…

    Since 1999, the Browns have had 8 different head coaches. Well, from ’99 to ’14 when he was hired.

    Changing head coaches that often causes a team to always be starting over. New head coaches almost always mean new offensive and defensive coordinators, new offensive systems etc…

    All those head coaches aren’t invested in the previous QB either and they want “their QB”.

    They have had 7 different General Managers since 1999 too.

    Not to mention different Presidents such as Holmgren etc…

    Different owners too during this time.

    Simply way too much change. They have zero continuity.

    The immediate future doesn’t look too promising either for the current QB’s, their current coach or their current G.M.

  23. I feel bad for Browns fans, with the way the QB situation has been since the team returned, taking a gamble on Manziel was the dumbest thing Farmer/Haslam could have done. What did they think they had in place to keep Manziel in line? I would say fire Farmer, but Haslam might just hire a homeless guy to advise him on personnel moves.

  24. To be fair since 1999 the Redskins have had 16 and the Raiders have had 18. Poor Jason Campbell played for Washington, Oakland and Cleveland and people wonder why he wants to stay retired. Go back a bit further and you can get a bunch of guys on at least two of the three teams including (but not limited to) Jay Schroeder, Jeff George, Colt McCoy and Jeff Hostetler.

  25. This clown Pettine benches Johnny for partying on his bye week, you know his personal time off, yet praises and starts the dumbest play ive ever seen a QB make at any level, by sliding in bounds, instead of running out of bounds.

    But he was so prepared right, that he mismanaged, and you mismanaged the last 46 seconds of the game.

    Pettine is a flaming dbag.

  26. Johnny is going to the Cowboys or Jets, book it. Both teams are on the Browns schedule next year, and the NFL loves story lines.

    Its amazing how many times a player or coach will leave, get traded, get cut by one team, and that player ends up playing his old team the next year.

    The NFL needs to get Johnny out of here so he can have a career because the Browns do what they do best: INCOMPETENCE & LOSE.

  27. ragnarthemagnificent says:
    Dec 2, 2015 8:13 PM

    Who’s to say Austin Davis isn’t the next Brady? —————————–

    He might be, but it’s for sure that Pettine isn’t the next Belichick, so we’ll never know.

  28. tacomatiger says:
    Dec 2, 2015 5:50 PM

    They need a new identity and should change their stupid name. The Browns?? Sounds terribly intimidating
    I tend to agree. Whatever awful experiment has been going on with this team needs to end.

  29. Does it matter? Pettine and his high school buddies are still in charge. You could put this year’s pro-bowl team out there, and Pettine would screw it up.

  30. Austin deserves this… he came off the bench and played well. He was ready for action. Looking forward to seeing great things from him.

  31. If you shift the years, they still have a ways to go to top the Bears’ QB castoff run before Cutty….

    … and he’s the devil!

    Good thing he’s having a “go on and play foosball wit your friends” moment this year.

  32. Let’s be honest though it’s not Like starting franchise qbs are easy to come by.

    I said it at the time he was dealt to KC that Cleveland should have picked up Alex smith. They also should have picked up hasselbeck way back when he left Seattle. I would say their drafting has been bad but the draft is a crap shoot when they’ve passed in serviceable qbs who could have stablized their franchise for long enough to even evaluate the other 52 guys in the roster. Hard to do when you’re constantly second guessing your QB.

    Other teams get lucky. I wonder where the Cowboys would be if they hadn’t gotten lucky with Tony Romo. Probably not much better off.

    They should try to pick up mark Sanchez in the off season. Say what you want about him, he’s definitely not a “bad” QB. He could at least be stable for them while they figure it out.

    But that being said their drafting has been a joke. Weeden was in an offense unique to college as a nearly 30 year old rookie. I can’t even fathom an actual grown adult front office executive making the decision to draft him. Manziel as well; you’ve been unstable at the position so you draft the most unstable QB in recent memory?

    I’m not FO exec but that seems pretty stupid to me.

    1.) find a coach you like and actually give him the time to build a team and draft and sign guys that fit what he wants to do. Give him a few seasons to do it.

    2.) sign a stable if not elite FA QB when the chance arises

    3.) draft some guys in later rounds that have promise, use your early picks on defensive starters that can keep you in games. Linebackers and secondary players are usually decent bets because if they aren’t getting burned in college they should translate.

    Hate to be arm chair FO guy over here playing madden but it seems like Browns leadership does everything completely backwards.

  33. Once upon a time, me as a since inception Hawk’s fan, railed as so many of you do. Then, the sky’s parted and the seeds of stability were rooted. Amen.

  34. 24 QB’s ago:

    Steelers – ’69, Dick Shiner
    Bengals – ’70, Sam Wyche
    Oilers/Titans – ’81, John Reaves
    Raiders – ’96, Jeff Hostetler
    Texans – Only on #13
    Ravens – Only on #16
    Jaguars – Only on #16
    Panthers – Only on #16
    Bucs – ’91, Jeff Carlson
    Seahawks – ’76, Jim Zorn (Wilson is the 24th QB)

  35. Johnny football is not going to make it in football, and I would expect in life either, very sad. If ( a big if ) I were to be asked by the Browns what course of action to take, I would suggest that NOW get a NFL ready experienced QB ( no not P Manning ) ( please ) do whats necessary to part ways with Johnny football. In the draft position yourself to be able to select Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State. Sit him for an entire year, remember you still have that journeyman NFL experienced QB. Bring Hack on in the second year. Before you say it won’t work ( for what ever reason ) I’d ask about how all your previous moves have worked out…..

  36. Flamer Boy Pettine sure loves those career backup QBs doesnt he?

    Yeah great idea lets start an undrafted scrub ahead of a 1st round draft pick that threw for 372 yds against the Steelers. 372 yards was for more yards than a Super Bowl winning QB Russell Wilson, with worse WRs than Wilson.

    Pettine logic. Thats an oxymoron.

  37. jgedgar70 says:
    Dec 2, 2015 5:47 PM
    Timing has a lot to do with this. The years that true franchise QBs have been available were years the Browns only sort of sucked – like 5-11 or 6-10, putting them too low to get the franchise QB.
    Gotta disagree. Here are some of the guys the Browns passed on since 99:


    as a life long Browns fan, I would have given my right arm for any one of these guys.

  38. Blame the NCAA not the Browns. Here’s the list of guys drafted in the 1st round since 1999 who’ve won a superbowl with the team that drafted him.

    Eli Manning*
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Aaron Rogers
    Joe Flacco.

    That’s 4 in 16 years. Yet team after team waste 1st round draft picks on theses overhyped guys like the Luck/RGIII’s, Manziels, Matt Staffords and Sam Bradfords. Even the Browns have had much more success with free agent QB’s than they have drafted ones (Holcomb, Anderson and Hoyer all had winning records with them before overhyped 1st rounders took their jobs). At some point having the same teams in the superbowl will get old and the NFL will be forced to have a minor league developmental system. The question is how many first round draft pick QB’s committing butt fumbles (Sanchez), running into walls (Bradford) and getting tackled by American flags (Weeden) has to happen before they do it.

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