There seems to be some level of disconnect between some media outlets around Cleveland as well as a certain segment of fans compared to the members and coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns. Like with so much of this season, it revolves around Brandon Weeden. Every fan is incredibly frustrated with Weeden, but there is a percentage of fans that seems to think there is an answer out there and the Browns have just not found that player yet, but are throwing every possible candidate out there. The players know there are no options, which is why so many of them are publicly supporting Weeden. First, they like Weeden as a person even if they do not love his performance as a player, but they know an answer is not going to drop out of the sky. Nevertheless, there are people out suggesting at least asking the question of whether head coach Rob Chudzinski should be criticized for his handling of the quarterback position.
Joe Thomas said that he believes Weeden can get them to the playoffs and the support for Weeden from the locker room is “unwavering”. Willis McGahee had similar sentiments. If Browns players were put under sodium pentothal, they would admit that if they had better quarterback play, they could be a playoff team. They do not and they know, so they have to make the best of a bad situation. It was lucky enough they found Mike Lombardi’s man crush Brian Hoyer. Quarterbacks are not just out there to find or everyone would have a good one and there would not be at least half a dozen teams who are looking ahead to May already to try to figure out the situation.
What makes this so odd is that this phenomenon does not happen with other positions or with other sports. If a starting player goes on the disabled list in either baseball or basketball, fans are not scrambling for them to find one that can instantly come in and be great. They basically make peace with the fact a guy is hurt and make due. It is usually the same with most other positions in football. Even with college football, fans are forced to grin and bear it. But when it comes to quarterback and comes to Cleveland, there is a segment of the population is just certain some quarterback that is available or the Browns used to have would be leading this team to the playoffs or a championship.
This is extremely perplexing and why this would extend to being a reason to criticize Chud is more than a little confusing. If there was a quarterback the team thought could help them win more games, they would sign that player and give them a shot. They do not, so they have not and which is why MarQueis Gray is technically the third string quarterback.
In a radio interview, Will Burge from Bleacherreport went as far saying Jason Campbell has not been all that interesting in playing. Making the comparison to Seneca Wallace who was chomping at the bit to get on the field, the sense from Burge is that Campbell is perfectly content to get paid to be the backup and let Weeden go out there and get beat up instead. So if Campbell is out, who does that leave?
Tim Tebow and his amazing 47% completion percentage that cannot get a job anywhere else all because he led the Broncos to a playoff win, sort of. Oh, he can pick up the offense as he goes. That will be great. The Browns should be clamoring for Rex Grossman from the Redskins, currently third string, because he led the Bears to the Super Bowl. Colt McCoy would still be a mediocre quarterback if he were still here.
The Browns cannot produce a second quarterback out of thin air. They were lucky enough to get solid play from Hoyer when he was healthy. If people want to criticize Chud, save it for when they draft their quarterback next year and how he is able to coach that player. He will be part of the decision making process with that as well as having Hoyer back next season at some point.
The Browns entered the season with a trio of Weeden, Hoyer, and Campbell and were 3-2 5 games into the season. That had not happened since 2001. This team was expected to competitive coming into this season. It was and has been, even with mediocre Weeden in there. The quarterback position is going to be miserable for the next ten weeks. Weeden may have some good moments and some more ugly moments, but that is what the Browns have. Chud has no attachment to Weeden outside of making it painfully clear he is not a viable option, which has been established. At this point, he would put anyone in there who gives the team a better chance to win. Sadly, the options are just as bad or even worse. Browns fans should have learned this painful lesson already with quarterbacks like Spergeon Wynn, Doug Pederson, and Luke McCown at various points in the time since they have come back. Many of the smart ones have and are trying to enjoy other aspects of the team while the team plays out the string this year. It will get better; just not this week.