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Bill Polian on Browns: 'All is not dark in Cleveland ... but it all comes back to the trigger man'

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 5, 2014

Former NFL executive Bill Polian conducted a conference call today and shared his thoughts about the Browns’ Ray Farmer embarking on a quest for a franchise quarterback in his first draft as a general manager.

The Browns will likely use one of two first-round picks (Nos. 4 or 26 overall) or an early second-round selection (No. 35 overall) on a quarterback. The draft will run Thursday through Saturday.

Below is an excerpt from the conference call with Polian, a former GM of the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. 

“I’ve said numerous times I don’t know what a franchise quarterback is,” Polian said. “What you’re looking for is a quarterback who’s good enough to get your team to the playoffs, and in doing so, be able to win your division. Anything that happens after that is a function of the strength of your overall squad. If you’re fortunate enough to get a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady or a Drew Brees or an Aaron Rodgers, that’s an added bonus. You don’t go looking for those guys, they find you if they’re out there. Just as Andrew [Luck] and RG III stood out so dramatically.

“The question is, what parameters do you know what you want? There have been regimes there [in Cleveland] that had no idea what they wanted. I suspect that this regime is a lot better in that regard.

“The second question you ask yourself internally: ‘What is it we want this player to do? What is our offense going to look like? What is it going to be?’ [Coach] Mike Pettine is the only guy who can answer that question. [Offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan has a track record, so you can extrapolate, ‘Here’s what he did in Washington, what he did in Houston.’ I’m very familiar with having played against him in Houston, so there are certain kind of quarterbacks that fit. They’ve got to identify the guy that has the characteristics to be a winner in the division and the characteristics to fit what Kyle’s and Mike’s vision of what the offense is. To me, this group probably has as good a chance as any who have been there to do that.

“The Mike Holmgren-[Pat] Shurmur regime did the best job of anybody in the new history of the franchise in building that team. They built a very good defense, a really good offensive line. We’ll find out what [running back Trent] Richardson can or cannot be in Indianapolis. We don’t know right now, and they missed on the quarterback [they drafted Brandon Weeden 22nd overall in 2012]. It’s that simple. We all do.

“To their great credit, this new group and the group that preceded them inherited a pretty good team, a pretty competitive team. So they’ve got a chance to move fast with this group. All is not dark in Cleveland. In fact, there’s a lot to be happy about. But it all comes back to the trigger man.”


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