The Cleveland Browns fell apart in the second half of their 23-10 season-opening loss on Sunday, and, as one of the major downsides of being a quarterback, much of the blame and focus has been spent on Brandon Weeden.
A look at the stat sheet would support this, as it shows Weeden with three interceptions and only one touchdown, having completed 26 of 53 passes for 289 yards.
But having watched the game, it should be even more obvious that Weeden was a victim of his receivers, most of whom had trouble doing what they’re paid to do, which is catching the ball when it hits them squarely in the hands.
Just about everyone was accountable, including Greg Little, Davone Bess, and Jordan Cameron.
Little was especially at fault, as his career is becoming defined by drops. And on Sunday, his mistakes caused turnovers.
On one particular play, Bess ran a deep post route and Weeden hit him in stride, which would have been an easy touchdown. Bess dropped the ball, and it was just another incompletion for Weeden.
Cameron, despite his 108 receiving yards on nine catches, had his own trouble with the ball, along with staying on his feet once he actually did catch it.
These are the issues that can arise in the first game of the season. Weeden was throwing with plenty of force and it was obviously something his receivers either weren’t ready for or simply couldn’t handle.
And while interceptions are obvious drive-killers, drops can be just as hazardous. It takes the entire offense out of its rhythm and puts the team in third-and-long plays that are far less effective, which, again, often make the quarterback look bad.
Brandon Weeden’s receivers did run solid routes, though. Weeden himself found open teammates and delivered strikes. This offense isn’t hopeless.
Once the kinks are fixed, the Browns can still be potent.
Until then, though, Weeden will continue to take the brunt of negativity that already permeates throughout Cleveland. Fans want him out of town because they see the stats, which suggest a replica of 2012.
It’s not fair, but it comes with the territory of being the offense’s leader.
Would it kill the Browns to help their leader out?