The Browns Do Not Have a Quarterback
Brandon Weeden is not the guy. Jason Campbell is not the guy. Brian Hoyer is not the guy. The answer to the Browns quarterback is not on the roster, so if fans and the media want to argue over which should start or play, they can feel free to waste their breath. Weeden’s injury status might have a big impact on who plays next week, but it really does not matter. The question is figuring out which quarterback who is currently playing on Saturdays is the best fit and right answer to the situation and figuring out how to acquire them.
Sep 15, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden (3) rolls out against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at M
Weeden played about as well as he can today against a legitimate team. He avoided turnovers, made some nice throws, but when push came to shove, could not make the plays the Browns needed in big situations and had a number of mental breakdowns that proved to be huge problems. The most glaring pass he missed was a wide open wheel route to Chris Ogbannaya he overthrew. He responded by immediately coming back and getting called for one of three delay of game penalties, which killed multiple drives.
There is plenty to complain about with the coaching staff and how they called the plays that did not help Weeden. They bailed on Trent Richardson in crunch time for the second game in a row when the game was within a single play of being tied. As a result, the Ravens were able to pin their ears back and go after Weeden.
Josh Gordon coming back will be big for Weeden and the Browns in general, but Gordon is not going to make Weeden the quarterback he cannot be any more than Justin Blackmon did at Oklahoma State. He will stare them down like he did with his receivers today and make some plays that allow them to make a few plays but when they are taken away, he will fall apart under pressure. Weeden made a few nice passes today but he always felt like a game manager rather than a franchise quarterback.
And there were people last week who were quietly calling for Campbell. Those same people will excuse the inexcusable play of Campbell when he came into the fourth quarter. He was not warmed up enough, he did not get first team reps this week. That was the same Campbell it has always been. He comes right in and throws a prayer down the middle of the field right to Michael Huff who drops it, while the Browns are bailed out on a questionable pass interference penalty. Campbell promptly throws three inaccurate passes and does the vintage Jason Campbell thing and throws a shuffle pass dump off on 4th down-and-10. He might be better with a week to prepare but that was Campbell in a nut shell. That is what he did when he had the 71 games of experience throughout his career, which is why he was here in the first place.
Still others will call for Hoyer after the way he had an up and down game against the third string Chicago Bears in preseason. There will be more calls for Tim Tebow despite all logic and obvious reasoning why not. Tebow went to the playoffs and beat the Steelers. Super. Rex Grossman took the Bears to the Super Bowl. Go get him. It is nonsense. Also, the news that Josh Freeman is available for trade and the Browns should trade for him. Trading for Freeman in midseason will not fix the Browns problem any better than any of these other quarterbacks. They are all different flavors of mediocre for a position that demands greatness.
It is a quarterback driven league and the Browns do not have one. They are not going to find one in another team’s refuse. That should have been made painfully clear by Derek Anderson. The Browns are drafting a quarterback this coming May and the question is who they will want and how will they get in position to get there. It will take some incredibly futility to get in position to secure Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville, should he declare and is an unlikely situation. So, are the Browns going to look to get Tajh Boyd out of Clemson or one of the many other options. Derek Carr from Fresno State, Jeff Mathews from Cornell (Yes, Cornell), Stephen Morris from Miami(FL), Zach Mettenberger from LSU or even A.J. McCarron. Might they opt one of the other talented underclassmen including someone like Brett Hundley from UCLA, Marcus Mariota from Oregon, Brett Smith from Wyoming or even Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M. The track record for three year quarterbacks is an absolute abomination but expect to hear these names as the process goes forward as well. There are a few guys I like out there that will probably get further discussion as this season progresses.
One thing is clear; the Browns quarterback situation is ugly and this is certainly nothing new to Browns fans. What is new is the fact that a large amount of the rest of the team looks competent and the inability to get decent quarterback play is holding them back significantly; 16 points in two games. The answer is in the NFL Draft and everything about this season is about the front office to scout and find their guy to run the offense next year. They may get the opportunity to coach at the Senior Bowl in Mobile which would be a huge opportunity to start vetting some of these prospects up close in person. Beyond that, avoid the radio, do not get sucked into the meaningless debates about which terrible quarterback to send out there. Turn on college football and start watching the future of the Browns ply his trade in college football, come back here and discuss it. The combination of Joe Banner, Rob Chudzinski, Norv Turner and Mike Lombardi and everyone else in Berea have to find their guy for this team, because it clearly is not on this roster or available in the NFL right now.