The Cleveland Browns are attempting to rally around Brandon Weeden. His teammates led by T.J. Ward have indicated they believe in Weeden and believe he can do the job. Head CoachRob Chudzinski has all but said they will roll with Weeden and while they will have a meetings discuss other potential candidates, have indicated they are not interested in free agent Josh Freeman. Weeden has given little indication that is the case but there are three reasons that could perhaps help Weeden going forward.
Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) drops back to pass during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The first starts with the rest of the team. They rallied around and really seemed to believe in Hoyer and his ability to lead the team to enough points to win. While it was clunky as it could get, Weeden was able to lead the offense to enough points to win.
As bad as Weeden looked and there was plenty to criticize from holding onto the ball too long to staring down receivers, he did enough and he did it after virtually zero practice the past two weeks and none with the first to offense with Hoyer running yet show.
In an interview on the NFL Network after the game, Weeden talked about how decisive he is with the football and how quickly he gets rid of it. It is good that Weeden at least acknowledges what he needs to improve, which may help him the rest of the season, but he has to go and actually do it. Acknowledging his shrotcomings and then not being able to improve upon them will do this team no good.
With the Thursday night game, the Browns have a week and a half to prepare for the Detroit Lions, so Weeden needs to take advantage of every minute of every practice in that time to be more decisive and avoid holding the ball too long. He gets himself drilled with his pocket presence. While many seem to want to blame the offensive line, much of the problem is simply caused by Weeden’s inability to operate in the pocket. He holds onto the ball too long which breeds coverage sacks and when he stares down receivers and cannot check down, it means he is missing open receivers and defenses can send more at him, which only worsens the problem.
With Hoyer out, even if he was essentially found money, it is not easy to find multiple quarterbacks who can play well. That is even more true when the Browns started with zero. Weeden said he would get another opportunity to start and that has turned out to be true, so he needs to make the most of the opportunity, because it is likely to be his last. As for the defense, they may be so confident at this point that they could put just about anyone back there and they could still feel like they could pull out a victory.