Ravens' Joe Flacco reaches 'elite' level as Super Bowl MVP; Browns set for quarterback competition

CLEVELAND - As Joe Flacco hoisted his first Lombardi Trophy and entered 'elite' territory Sunday, the Browns remain without their guy at quarterback, unless you think Brandon Weeden is going to become that.

The Browns themselves aren't even sure he will.

Owner Jimmy Haslam made that clear Friday in New Orleans when he said the team will stage a competition at quarterback this offseason.

That's right - again.

As teams find the next crop of young stars at the position with RGIII, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton flourishing, and veterans like Flacco moving forward, the Browns stay stuck in neutral watching.

Look at the Browns' records the past five seasons: 4-12, 5-11, 5-11, 4-12, 5-11. That's not the type of consistency you strive for - a suffocating standstill.

To win the Super Bowl, you need a top signal caller, something the Browns haven't had since their return in 1999.

Six of the past seven Super Bowl MVPs have been a quarterback, Flacco the latest in that line.

The Browns again look nowhere close to that having that type of option after now setting forth another competition, a year removed from investing a first round pick in a quarterback.

Weeden, the 22nd overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, won a battle tilted well in his favor aganst Colt McCoy last offseason, just as Brady Quinn beat out Derek Anderson in 2009 and Jake Delhomme got the nod over Seneca Wallace in 2010.

McCoy, Anderson, Quinn, Delhomme and Wallace all proved they not were not starting-caliber options for the Browns. A chance still remains with Weeden though year one did not inspire optimism.

Haslam said he thinks new head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner like a lot of what Weeden does but that there will be competition and "competition makes us all better."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Weeden will have a chance to prove himself but if the new regime brings in a guy they want, whether it's a draft pick or free agent signing, you have to imagine he will face an uphill battle. Read between the lines and there's a decent shot the Browns will have yet another new starting quarterback in 2013.

This NFL season ends with the image of Flacco, a mid-first round pick at quarterback who panned out, and the "old Browns" standing on the podium - not a pretty one for the Browns faithful.

What's sadder going into this offseason though are Haslam's comments, a nod to another summer of instability and question marks at the game's most crucial position.

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