Cleveland Browns Need to Be Patient with Brandon Weeden
Not enough can be said about perspective, or the lack thereof with regards to the Cleveland Browns quarterback situation. At the very least where Brandon Weeden is concerned.
When Jason Campbell signed with the Browns little under a month ago, many were quick to give him a shot at the starting job. Some felt he was even better suited to run new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s high flying offense better than Weeden, and as such should be the starter. All I could do is laugh.
Yes, the signing of Campbell was meant to push Weeden in camp. Is it realistic to expect him to a) win the job or b) provide more stability in either the short or long term though? Absolutely not. It’s not exactly fair to Weeden either, and seems a little counter intuitive with what the Browns front office has in mind.
It is easy to understand why the Browns were unhappy with Weeden’s performance last year. In what was a quarterback class good enough to be described as a “once in every 30 or so years” phenomenon, Weeden was arguably the weakest link. He failed to bring the Browns into the postseason and raised their win total by only one, for a total of five. With the best quarterback prospect in a decade(Andrew Luck) making Indianapolis forget about Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III changing the offensive landscape of the NFL and Ryan Tannehill exceeding expectations, Weeden dared to be human. The city of Cleveland was not impressed.
Statistically though Weeden isn’t half as bad as some would have you believe, and he certainly shouldn’t have to worry about his job security. His QBR of 72.6 ranks last among rookie starters and leaves much to be desired, but there’s not a lot of separation between Weeden and Luck as far as that’s concerned. Not even a full four points. Weeden is also only second to Luck in passing yardage with 3,385 yards. Looking solely at the numbers I’m not seeing a whole lot to complain about. His 14 TD to 17 INT is a little disappointing, - well, very - but it’s not even close to the kind of numbers that would lead me to write off a rookie quarterback. Even one that just turned 29.
I can see why Cleveland wants more from Weeden. It has been a decade since the Browns last playoff appearance after all. That’s no reason to rush things either. It took Jake Locker - considered to be a can’t miss quarterback prospect - over a year to start, and he did little to change the Titans fortunes. Actually played considerably worse than Weeden last year. To think, teams used to actually develop their quarterbacks...
In an age of seemingly perfect quarterbacks emerging from college, Cleveland’s going to need to be patient with their good one. Things could be worse.
You can follow J.D. Burke @JDBurkeOV