(Photo: Joshua Gunter/The Plain Dealer)
The Outkick NFL Past Preseason Hype Series will consist of separate posts examine preseason hype generated by a specific player, coach, or team based on a single performance or a collection of performances during the NFL preseason.
I could make a strong case that the Past Preseason Hype Series could consist of an entire month’s worth of articles about the Cleveland Browns players and coaches throughout the past 19 seasons. The franchise’s futility has been well documented and ridiculed. Since re-launching as an expansion team in 1999, the Browns have only made the playoffs once (in 2002), and have only won more than nine games once (in 2007).
Throughout all the losing, many Browns fans have shown an amazing ability to continue to remain positive during each preseason as if the upcoming season is the year the team will get over the hump. 2010 was no exception, especially since Packers and Seahawks coaching legend Mike Holmgren signed on as team President in December 2009.
Quarterback has always been a major issue for the Browns. The team still hasn’t had a consistent passer since before 1999. In March 2010, Holmgren released Derek Anderson, who was once the Brown’s ray of hope after leading the team to 10 wins in 2007 but struggled the following two seasons. The team also traded former touted first round draft pick Brady Quinn, who had competed with Anderson for the starting job. Frequently, new quarterbacks will make their way into the franchise infusing a new injection of optimism as new hope amidst the previous failures. 2010 was no different. Holmgren’s temporary answer to the quarterback issue: signing 11-year veteran Jake Delhomme. Delhomme was coming off a solid seven years with the Carolina Panthers where he led the team to three playoff berths, including a Super Bowl and a subsequent NFC Championship Game appearance. However, after a nightmare five interception performance in a 2008 playoff loss to Arizona, and a horrible 2009 season, Delhomme was cut loose by the Panthers. Delhomme came into Browns training camp in 2010 as the favorite to be the starter, although veteran Seneca Wallace, who the Browns acquired from Seattle in a trade, was expected to give Jake a run for his money.
In the Browns first preseason game against the Packers, a 27-24 Browns win in Green Bay, Delhomme, in his only drive, led the team to a touchdown and went 6-for-7 with 66 yards.
Delhomme 6-7 on opening drive. He has instantly provided legitimacy to the #Browns offense
— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) August 15, 2010
Cleveland fans were steeped in optimism:
Teammates loved them some Delhomme:
Browns teammates call Jake Delhomme "great" and "amazing" http://bit.ly/aam7Ef
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 16, 2010
Holmgren’s influence was really starting to show:
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 21, 2010
The next week, in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, Delhomme was 12-for-16 for 127 yards and a touchdown.
I cannot wait for this season. Delhomme looks great, again. Defense is swarming. LETS GO BROWNIES
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) August 22, 2010
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 23, 2010
In game 3 in Detroit, Delhomme was 20-for-25 for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Jake Delhomme continues to look good this pre-season.. BIG step up from last year's QBs
— Garrett Downing (@gdowning14) August 28, 2010
But like almost every Browns quarterback, and almost every Browns season, 2010 turned out to be a disappointment. During a 17-14 week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, Delhomme suffered a high ankle sprain and didn’t play again until a week 5 loss in Atlanta. Delhomme started three more games in weeks 11-13, and finished the season with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Browns finished the season with a 5-11 record, head coach Eric Mangini was fired, and Delhomme was released just before training camp the following year. Delhomme played one more season with the Texans before retiring.
Would things have been different for Delhomme and the Browns if not for his Week 1 injury? Maybe. The Browns history, however, would argue otherwise.
Fred Segal is an attorney from West Palm Beach, FL. He operates the popular Freezing Cold Takes twitter account (@OldTakesExposed) which highlights, among other things, hilarious unprophetic and inaccurate takes and predictions.