Oct 13, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Lions beat the Browns 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Frustrating Reminder How Badly Browns Need a Quarterback

There is a ton of frustration aimed at Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and he deserves every bit of it.  Chances are that backhanded flip pass he tried to make that will go up there with Garo Yepremian’s attempted pass in Super Bowl VII as one of the most ill-advised passes in NFL history.  Like with Yepremian, that play will be forever encapsulated as the lasting memory fans have of Weeden in the NFL.  As bad as that pass was and it was awful, much of the game for Weeden and especially the first half, just average to solid quarterback play made the offense function, go down the field and score points, which is basically what the Browns were getting from Brian Hoyer.  The Browns can certainly keep Hoyer and should, but they have to draft a quarterback and let Hoyer compete for the job with that player.  Hopefully, the winner is good enough to lead the Browns to the Super Bowl but the Browns have a great backup option if they cannot.

Weeden had that disgrace of an NFL pass along with the other interception, also made by DeAndre Levy he had no business making.  In that instance, Weeden stared down Chris Ogbannaya on a wheel route and despite the great coverage by Levy, Weeden threw the ball anyway.  He was being rushed by Ndamukong Suh, but Weeden never appeared to look anywhere else and while a quarterback might want to put his faith in his teammates that they can go up and make a play for him, Ogbannaya is not that guy.  It would have been a little more understandable if Weeden threw a pass intercepted by trying to let Josh Gordon or Josh Cameron go up and make a play and the defender was just better.  Trying to have a running back and almost any running back try to make that play like that is begging for disaster.  And Weeden got what he was begging for in a turnover.

Other than that, Weeden showed a lot of what people thought would make him a good quarterback.  He made some strong armed throws and some really accurate throws that allowed players like Gordon, Cameron, and Little to make plays.  He had stretches where he looked solid and had a rhythm going and was able to move the offense.  Unfortunately, with Weeden, almost like a spastic tic, there is a knowing feeling that at some point, he will make a huge mistake that could be potentially crippling to the team.  That happened today.

The Browns need a franchise quarterback.  They need someone who makes the players around them better and do not simply allow them to operate.  While some might argue otherwise, Hoyer never really made anyone around him better.  He allowed Gordon to be great and Cameron to be great.  At times, so did Weeden.  The fact that Weeden was able to do it in stretches should point out to those who thought Hoyer was doing something out of the ordinary, that they were simply allowing the offense to function.

A strong, consistent running game would definitely help these quarterbacks, but it is only going to take them so far and outside of games against other mediocre quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel, the Browns cannot go into games against legitimate championship contenders without a sense that their quarterback can hold their own.

The fact of the matter is that the Teddy Bridgewater ship has sailed.  The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a pretty solid lead for that pick already and the only way the Browns could hope to get it is by having the Giants finish dead last and the Browns try to outbid teams to move up for him.  That is unrealistic.  It is becoming more likely the Browns will not be trading both first round picks to move up and get a quarterback.  Rather, they will sit tight and select one available or possibly maneuver up a few picks and grab one, but in doing so, likely keep the other pick to help build the offense around them.  Who the quarterbacks are that warrant such a move are up for dispute, but that is where the Browns are at this point.

Hopefully, Hoyer can get healthy and be in a position where he is able to compete for the job next year.  If they are not comfortable with the quarterback they draft initially going in, Hoyer is a great option to start some games and allow them to ease that player into the game.  The discussion and analysis as to which quarterback the Browns are draft will be ongoing for the next seven months.  Average quarterback play can make this offense function in stretches.  That much is clear.  The question is how they elevate that position to be good or great so they can win the Super Bowl.

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  • Nick

    While I am in agreement about Weeden, the rest of your assessment is classically flawed. Hoyer appeared to inspire the players on offense and they spoke up about it. Regrettably I guess you weren’t impressed. Now you lament that the Browns won’t have the first pick so we are doomed to have a sub-par QB. You are the worst type of commentator, no facts just myth. I am sorry I cannot support you man-crush on Bridgewater. Giving everything to get that 1st overall QB is what the Browns have tried for 14 years. How is that working for you? Yes, draft a QB but do it wisely. Use one pick and take the best QB available at the time (that fits your scheme).

    • Pete Smith

      Taking one QB with one pick is exactly what I suggested. I said Bridgewater is an unrealistic option

      The players talking up a player does not do much for me. They also talked up Weeden at various points. Meaningless. Hoyer was hardly a star in his two games either. He was an average to solid quarterback. That is not enough.

      The Browns need a franchise quarterback. Until they have one, they will continue to need one.

      • Nick

        Nice to see we are almost in agreement. I didn’t get that from your post. Sorry if I was harsh. My point about Hoyer was that in two games he looked solid and some are already writing him off. How many games did we give Weeden? Hoyer should get the job next year. Draft a QB and groom him for a year. Hoyer has good instincts and skill sets so he would make a good mentor. The draftee will get his chance soon enough. Don’t put him in too early or he’ll develop bad habits like previous Browns QBs. We didn’t draft bad QBs, we ruined good rookies. Build a solid line and a workable running game first. QBs that start off running for their lives never get over it. Neither do those that get sacked a dozen times a game. Our OL needs help and another quality RB besides Lewis.


        • TopGearRules

          In the the short time Brian Hoyer was at the helm, he not only demonstrated that he can run this offense effectively but he can inspire a whole team through his leadership skills. Unfortunately; we will still have to draft a QB next season since
          A torn ACL surgery is something that will take many months to heal thoroughly 10-18 months. The Branden Weeden era is officially over!

  • Greg

    Yes, it’s a no brainer Browns need a quarterback. They have one (Hoyer) but he got hurt.
    The answer isn’t in the college ranks. This hasn’t worked for the browns in the past.
    A second half defense would help too.

  • Berdj Rassam

    Greg – agree with you, also could use a RB that goes for at least 4.0 yards a clip. Many holes on this team.