April 16, 2014

What do you make of Brandon Weeden? – Cleveland Browns Roundtable

WFNY_roundtable

Craig: The takeaways from this week’s game seem to be setting the tone for the rest of the season. We’re going to continually look to define Brandon Weeden. On one side there will be those who seem to defend him out of hope, those that will bash him out of preemptive judgement, and those that continue to sit and watch and take it all in.

Where are you guys on Brandon Weeden at this point? Do you still have hope and expectations of Weeden that he can be the Browns quarterback? Have you given up on the guy and just wish the Browns could move on right now? Are you in the middle hoping that Weeden somehow proves to be a decent placeholder?

Andrew: Well, first things first, it’s been one game. I have to keep telling myself that, because every last fiber of my instinct is telling me that what we saw is reality. And it probably is. I just feel like we’ve seen this movie before. It’s pretty much the same one we’ve seen for the last 7 years or whatever. BUT…..it’s only 1 game. Brandon Weeden theoretically could get better.

But I don’t think he will. I think he’s just a bad QB. I wish the Browns could move on now, but there are no better options. For better or worse, we have to watch him play QB for 15 more games. Then next year, the Browns will try again. Draft a QB, hope he can be the guy. Until the Browns find a serviceable NFL QB, 5-6 wins is what we will continue to get year in and year out.

Jacob: Ya know, it’s Week 1 after an optimistic off-season and preseason. For starters, I thought the Miami Dolphins were better than folks gave them credit for: They went 7-9 a year ago and made a number of splashy, albeit controversial offseason moves. Their talent is real and they’ve proven more than the Browns.

For now, Brandon Weeden is the only real option in 2013. Obviously, I think we’ll all have our long-term concerns if he doesn’t show any of the improvement he flashed in the preseason. But for now, I’ve still got some slight benefit of the doubt in Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner, successful veteran offensive minds, to turn things around for Weeden while he’s the only guy available. I’m obviously hoping that’s the case. I’m just cautiously optimistic.

Scott: I just wish we could have the perfect storm of sorts. Last season, with a healthy offensive line, Weeden seemingly had all the time in the world, but would fall victim to his own decisions. We said he was a rookie abd that he needed additional shotgun formations. It was only one week, but Opening Day this time around was brutal. This time, however, it’s his offensive line which is causing the consternation. I can’t help but feel that these guys are never given a fair shake—weapons, system, whatever—but then I see how other young quarterbacks step right in and win (or come close to it) and all benefit of the doubt flies out the window.

TD: It doesn’t matter what we think or what the fans think. All that matters is what Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi think. I think they have already made up their minds. Give Weeden enough rope to hang himself and he will, then make a change. The QB draft was weak, so they stuck with him.

I want Weeden to be good and I know it is one game, but we all saw a guy who looked the same way he do last year. Big arm, little touch on short passes, stares down one receiver, and has trouble with pressure.

Other than that, he was great.

If he was 23 I think I would have more patience with his development at this stage. But in a league where rookie QBs have come in and been great right away, Weeden looks more like Blaine Gabbert than Andrew Luck.

Craig: I’m similar to a lot of you. I think he can be better than what he played week one, obviously. I just feel as if I can already see the ceiling and it is far too low.

Brandon Weeden has a nice arm. He seems to have very little ingrained quarterback instinct like Andrew Luck has. Very few quarterbacks have Andrew Luck’s instinct, of course. But if you look around at the other rookies from last year, guys like RG3, Russell Wilson and even Ryan Tannehill have some additional athleticism and mobility to buy them time to make up for lack of instant recognition on the first read. When Weeden misses his first read, he starts to get happy feet, can’t escape the pocket or otherwise extend plays.

Even Kirk Cousins – who was extremely limited as a rookie – was capable of being rolled out (continually) in order to let the team win with him. I’m afraid unless Weeden can somehow have the instinctual light go on, this is who he is.

Jacob: To Andrew’s point: “Until the Browns find a serviceable NFL QB, 5-6 wins is what we will continue to get year in and year out.”

Everyone remember this half-tongue-in-cheek conversation about how NFL coaches don’t really matter? That was fun.

But you know, it depends how you define serviceable, as Craig was rolling down the list of rookies. Because we also certainly haven’t been able to find easy replacements for players like Weeden in free agency over the years, so it’s not exactly replacement level. It’s just tough for me to consider he’s currently one of the 3-4 worst QBs in the NFL, which I guess is ultimately true and incredibly disheartening.
Craig: Well? Did he get picked up in anyone’s fantasy league? If so, how many teams are there in your league?

Scott: Sadly, I selected him with the very last skill position pick in my 16-team league as a QB2. I felt that there was a chance he could provide sporadic value given Norv’s offense and a few additional weapons.

Last night, I dropped him for a back-up tight end.

Andrew: I define serviceable as a QB that you are comfortable with starting for your team. A QB that, when you look around the NFL, you see plenty of teams with QB situations you don’t envy. Is there a single NFL team that would say today that they wish they had Weeden rather than their guy? I don’t think there is. He is truly one of the worst starting QBs in the league, and his age just makes this situation untenable. That’s just reality.

Jacob:I’m an intense fantasy guy. I play in a 10-team league. 15 QBs in our auction went for $2+. Some team grabbed Weeden as one of three $1 guys at the end and, for some unknown reason, still has him on their roster.

But the guy who did that also runs a Twitter account called @justsmileCLE and our league is notoriously pro-Cleveland. So whatever.

Agreed with Andrew though. It does appear he’s one of the worst. It’s sad.

——————————————

And that’s about enough of that conversation. So, where do you stand on Weeden right now? Or are you sitting? You know… on a fence or something?

  • boomhauertjs

    Bridgewater or Boyd in 2014! (and hope Pryor is good enough that the Raiders pass one of them over).

  • Archibald Butt

    I have Weeden in my Bad Quarterback Fantasy League so he’s singlehandedly carried at least ONE fantasy team

  • Harv 21

    Guessing so many think his age is crucial because of some combination of reasons like:

    - His foot speed or arm strength will soon wane.
    - 29 year olds are way slower learners than 24 year olds.
    - NFL QBs peak at 30 or something.

    I just don’t get this with a slow-footed, big-armed pocket passer. The few things he does well right now – like rocketing the ball – aren’t likely to quickly fade in the next year. My tepid hope for him is that he was out of football for like 5 years, and that decreased his football instincts, and these might return soon. Odds seem against it given how he doesn’t instinctively sense where his own players are on the chess board but guys do improve in year 2. And I have no idea if he ever had a football IQ.

    Pocket passers can fade quickly because of the beatings they take as they get older, not simply because they’re older. Bernie is a prime example; Marino escaped that because he was maybe the best ever at making quick decisions and releasing before he was touched. Legend Bernie was only great for like 3-4 years before the stuffing was knocked out of his head and elbow. Couch never had a chance to show whatever he had.

    Again, not saying Brandon can learn, has anything in his head other than rocks, and it’s very possible picking him was the Holmgren hubris that he could bake any big-armed palooka into a legit QB. Just don’t think the age thing should be front and center. There’s not a gleam, men. But maybe a sliver if in the next few weeks he stands back there and finds his second or third options without waiting and waiting.

  • Lunch

    I wouldn’t be surprised if neither of them are available when it’s time for the Browns to select a player in 2014. And if by chance one or both players are, I’m thinking that they will select someone that plays in some other position, like maybe a WR perhaps.

  • bossman09

    Browns finish 6-10 and draft around 8th. Trade 2013 1st, 3rd, 4th +2014 1st, 3rd + 2015 2nd and get any QB they want. It is what it is.
    For arguments sake, look at Weeden’s best game from 2012 – #2 against Cincy (really? week 2? – he probably only knew 20 plays which is why he was effective)
    26/37 70%
    322 yards and 2 TDs.
    If you multiply that by 16, it’s more Alex Smith than Tom Brady. This is starting to feel like the Mangini watch in 2010. Weeden basically has to finish the year as an all pro to keep his job at this point – which thanks to Derek Anderson – is apparently possible.

  • MrCleaveland

    Weedie’s got about five weeks to salvage his career. If he’s not playing very well by the time we visit Green Bay, then he’s done. He might start the rest of the season, but he won’t start next season.

  • BenRM

    I think the biggest thing we are seeing with Weeden is how detrimental his time in baseball was to his development of the instincts/IQ found in other “non-transcendent” players like Cousins or Tannehill.

    After he decided to leave baseball, Weeden had no other sport to focus on besides football…but was it his “life” like some of these other guys? He was married. Already had one professional career in the books. He was multiple years older than his peers.

    While I don’t doubt his work ethic (I kind of do) he probably didn’t share the same rabid immersion into the game that other quarterbacks had.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I’m with a combination of Scott and TD here.

    We never seem to get a QB a fair shake: Here, we’re going to let you play with a solid OL, a decent RB, and some good WRs. Last year as Little stopped dropping balls and Gordon started to develop, so did Weeden. This year, the hope was that a second year Gordon and a non-Butterfingers Little combined with Trent year two and the return of that line would make Weeden look good – or make it clear he’s not the answer.

    Instead, on Sunday, we watched a team without Josh Gordon or a starting RG or a blocking back; with a Little who still can’t hang on; and we watched Oneil Cousins and Mitchell Schwartz and Ogbonnoya and Bainbridge get thrown like rag dolls or run around like statues.

    The difference between Weeden with time and WRs who can actually get open is really incredible, and I hope we’ll have the chance to see a few games of him with a full offense around him this year, if only to find out if he really is as bad as he seems or if maybe, just maybe, he actually CAN play QB in the NFL.

    Unfortunately, that Cousins was left in there after they failed to pick anyone up at G does make one wonder if Lombardi and Banner have already decided on this one, and that’s a shame, because if they aren’t willing to invest in what they have in place now, that means this entire year is just an exercise in futility for us as fans. It means we aren’t even really re-starting until next year.

  • mgbode

    I was down on Weeden pre-draft due to his age, OkieState’s offense, the Texas game, and his complete lack of mobility.

    3 of the 4 continue to plague him. The college offense isn’t an issue seeing QBs such as RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Kaepernick thrive in the NFL (or Geno in game1 as it was the exact same coach/offense). The Texas game was a college demonstration of how terrible he was under duress. Obviously, he’s not getting any younger (which limits his overall window). And, I prefer QBs who can move. Even pocket QBs like Luck & Rodgers have good mobility. The days of pure-pocket guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are likely behind us.

    He still can improve and prove himself a worthy NFL starter. He needs to start by showing more touch on the short stuff and daring to go truly deep more often without staredowns and trusting his WRs to get to spots. He seems to only want to go places when he is sure the WR is there rather than trust the offense. That has to change.

    I don’t know. It seems like too much to ask. Even without huge strides, he can still be a below average QB and be good enough to win us 5-8 games. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing though. We’ll see.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I’ve been meaning to say something on this for days, great reminder. Does it strike anyone else that Weeden’s throws are effectively baseball throws? He’s fantastic when he can set and fire, especially to specific targets, even if it’s through tight coverage. But when it comes to a touch or lead pass, he struggles a lot more.

  • db

    Unless the O-line can protect the QB, it doesn’t matter who lines up behind center. Remember 1999-2006 when no matter who played center, they got the snot beat out of them? Hopefully we can get a healthy O-line in there soon and get a legitimate look at whether Weeden has what it takes or not. I don’t think Brady or Peyton Manning could have done much against the Dolphins with the recievers and line the Browns fielded Sunday. Hopefully when Gordon returns, things will get better. Benjamin is terrible lining up on the sidelines.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    An O-line and WRs who can get at least a little separation. Even when Weeden has time, it looks like nobody’s open. Maybe that’s on him, but any time I looked it seemed like there was nobody to throw to.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    He’s actually a good thrower on the move. When he rolls out, he tends to make very accurate throws. The TD throw to Barnidge that Cousins pulled back was a throw like that. But this is again a situation where Weeden has time to think about the throw that he’s going to make and make sure his mechanics are good.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    I should be more clear – it’s less about his setting than it is about his targets. The throw to Barnidge was a straight dart, not a lead pass. The only time he seems to lead people well is when they come across and he’s got a clear target ahead of them, or if it’s Gordon on the sideline where it seems more about Gordon winning than about a perfect lead pass. I’ve yet to see him throw a consistently nice touch pass, even on RB flares.

  • JHop

    I wouldn’t be opposed to an all-in strategy similar to the one the Redskins employed 2 years ago. At this stage, the Browns are a much more complete team on both sides of the ball than the Redskins were in 2012 when they drafted RG3. Pull something similar for a stud QB like Bridgewater, and I think the Browns will be poised to make the playoffs.

  • JHop

    If he was 22 or 23, I could maybe stomach last Sunday’s loss in favor of the “he’s still learning” excuse. But when you’re 30, you have no time to learn; you have to perform now. Particularly when many of his peers (i.e. over 75% of the other QBs in the league ) are both younger and more accomplished than him at this point.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I was pretty much flabbergasted seeing some of the names who are still out there in free agency and could help the Browns. The fact that front office would rather bring in undrafted players to fill holes that will be there for the entire season seems to tell me that they would rather see the team lose games this year. Michael Turner is very familiar with Norv Turner’s offense and he needs a job. Are we really supposed to believe that the Browns are better off with both Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson? Are they better off with Obi as the starting fullback AND backup running back?

    http://sulia.com/channel/atlanta-falcons/f/855bec55-3088-4d13-a8c2-d6d97d7b2633/?source=twitter

    If you’ve been watching hard knocks then you saw that Jon Conner is not a versatile guy, but there is one thing that he does really well… block as a fullback! If the Browns still like to keep Obi as an RB along with his FB duties, then why not make Obi the backup RB and bring in Conner to play FB and cut Dennis Johnson?

  • Hopwin

    Complete how? Our line is a disaster, our top 3 picked RB prefers east to west running and averages 3.6 ypc. We have no receiving corp to speak of. We have one tight end. We have no secondary beyond Haden…. Maybe I am confused.

  • Hopwin

    1.5 seasons as a professional player is a “fairer” shot than 99.9% of the HS and College QBs will ever see.

  • Clown Baby

    I would give more credence to the “We don’t seem to give QBs a fair shake” argument if any of the QBs that we’ve run out of town had EVER gone to another team and not been horrible. McCoy. Quinn. Anderson. Fyre. Does anyone at this point, regret the day any of them walked out the door? Yet, there was always pockets of people saying each one needed more time, more talent around them. We’re not a city that losses faith in good quarterbacks, we’re a city with a history of bad quarterbacks and a few years from now when Weeden is a third-stringer somewhere or out of the league he’ll be forgotten as well.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Part of me agrees with that; part of me thinks that there’s no reason for teams to take a gamble on our guys that seem horrible and certainly won’t win PR points with fans.

  • Clown Baby

    What? It’s not that they were out of the league after the Browns parted ways with them. They all were given chances by other teams and NONE of them capitalized on it. If Vick can do a stint in the Federal pokey for killing dogs and still gets picked up by a team, you think that teams would pass on Browns players for PR reasons? If they had starting NFL talent they’d be NFL starters.

  • Dotson

    I see value in your point, but at the same time I am right around Weedon’s age, and I’ll tell ya, my knees just don’t like me anymore, and my back is not nice either. I’m about 6’4, and am fairly athletic. My thinking is that natural wear and tear is the real deal whether you’re taking the hits or not. I think as time rolls on the hits hurt more and more.

  • Patrick Elder

    No receiving corp? That’s just disingenuous. Gordon looks very good when he’s on the field, Cameron looked awesome in week 1, Bess is a proven solid guy in the slot. A good QB makes those guys even better. Weeden brings them down.

    Our line is simply weak on the inside. Partly because we have a goddamn 3rd string RG playing. Regardless, every hole we have is pretty easily fixed through free agency. The Browns don’t need our next couple drafts to work out to be a contender outside of getting a franchise QB. So they should sell the farm for one and fill the rest of the holes via FA. The only major ones are CB2, RG (depending on Lauvau/Pinkston) and shoring up our FS and ILB corps.

  • mgbode

    pet peeve of mine. Cousins came into training camp as our 4th OG. since we start 2, he is technically a 2nd string OG.

    just want that to be clear. the FO thought Cousins was good enough to be a backup OG.

  • mgbode

    Sheldon Brown was better than Buster Skrine last year and definitely better than Owens. I have to think that he’s better this year and he probably is thinking the same thing while slamming his remote down on the table at home.

  • Patrick Elder

    He came into camp there, but was he still there before Pinkston and Lauvao went down? I honestly don’t recall. Regardless, 2nd string OG is not the same as 1st string, especially when 1st string wasn’t really a strength to begin with. Guard is a position easily addressed through free agency.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Absolutely. Most Browns fans seemingly despised Sheldon Brown, but it’s hard to think that he wouldn’t add more than Owens at this point. For whatever reason, the new CBA seems to be cutting NFL careers shorter. It’s not just the Browns who are passing on these guys, it’s every other team too.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Weeden is starting to remind me too much of a young and more inaccurate Brett Favre. Granted, if Weeden was throwing to Sterling Sharpe in his prime, I’m sure his completion percentage would be higher, but the thing that concerns me is that by the time Brett Favre started to add the appropriate number of TDs to his high-interception-laden gunslinging ways, he was only 25 years old and was in his 4th year in the NFL. Weeden won’t be given a long enough leash to get to that equivalent in his playing career and I don’t think it would make sense for the front office to wait around that long anyway. I fully expect a QB-of-the-future to be drafted by the Browns in 2014.

  • It’s not THAT bad!

    Thanks for the Shoutout Jacob. A few facts to combat the public shaming

    1.) We haven’t had waivers yet (thanks to an incompetent commissioner), so if he was on my roster before the weekend, he’s on my roster now.

    2.) I have Aaron Rodgers, so Weeden is more of a morale booster. Rodgers has a week 4 bye and as noted above, our league is notoriously deep with our QB free agency pool, if Weeden doesn’t get better, it won’t be hard to find a one week replacement. If Rodgers gets hurt, I’m screwed anyway, so I might as well have a Brown in there.

    3.) I’m a patient guy. He’s gonna come good, you just wait and see!

    4.) Your Mother.

  • MrCleaveland

    Ha haaaaaa!

    Guys being guys. Love it.

  • Compass90

    I know that everybody says that Weeden has a strong throwing arm, but he stares down his recievers and looks like he is slow to read defenses and make adjustments. I hope that he will have a good season in 2013, but I am not very confident.

  • Compass90

    I suspect that Lombardi has banked all of those extra picks in the 2013 draft because the Browns leadership have their eye on just one player who can make the difference between the Browns making the playoffs, or staying at the bottom of the AFC. I don’t know if Bridgewater will be that guy, but the Browns sure do have a lot of holes to plug!

  • Compass90

    Agreed. Weeden needs time to set before he throws. Weeden reminds me of Tim Couch. He had the same moves with every snap: 1, 2, 3, plant the foot, wind up and throw. The problem was that that every defensive coordinator in the league could see that pattern, and he was very easy to defend against the pass.

  • Bcoop5991

    HS and College QBs have no bearing on this discussion because they aren’t in the NFL. Weeden’s situation has bearing. In his situation, is it considered a “fair shot” to only be given 20 games to become great? That’s the question. Don’t interject red herrings Hopwin.

  • Hopwin

    So then in your estimation there is an arbitrary, universal “fairness” that applies to all? My so-called “red herring” defines the scope and scale of the argument, whereas your removal of the criteria pushes it out to encompass all humanity.

    If it is easier or more correct in your estimation, let’s limit it further to simply players drafted as Quarterbacks in the NFL. Is 1.5 seasons as a starting quarterback a “fairer” shot than most players drafted as quarterbacks get?

  • Hopwin

    Gordon’s 50 catches for 805 yards in an entire season as a starter looks like middling #2 to me. If you feel those are “very good numbers” that is simply a difference of opinion, it does not make either of us disingenuous. See mgbode’s comment below about the guards.

  • Patrick Elder

    For a rookie, who didn’t have close to a full offseason because he was a supplemental pick… Also, who hadn’t played even college football for the past couple years because of his transfers and suspensions. The consensus from nearly every writer, coach, fan, whatever, is that he looks like a #1 WR.

  • Hopwin

    Can you provide a link to the hive mind that established this consensus? Or even one or two?

    Rotoworld seems to think he would make a fantastic number 2:

    http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/8282/josh-gordon

  • Patrick Elder

    A WR2 in fantasy leagues is completely detached from whether or not he’s a #1 WR in the actual games. Besides, as I said, he’s a sophomore this year, and in his rookie year he missed much of the offseason, came in out of shape, etc. This year he’s missing the first 2 games of the season.

  • Hopwin

    Well ok, if you want to throw 6 qualifiers/excuses in front of the statement about him being awesome that’s cool too lol.
    Brandon Weeden is a fantastic quarterback when he has a hall of fame caliber line, Jim Brown from 1967 as his RB, A WR corp that includes: Randy Moss 2003 version, Jerry Rice from 1987, and Brandon has been surgically altered to be Joe Montana.

  • Ryan318

    wake up Brown’s fans…with 50-50 receivers…a one dimensional running game…and zero secondary…QB’s named Luck, Montana, Graham, or Jesus aren’t winning with this team!!!

  • Old goat

    After the browns get spanked in week2 maybe the coaches will wake up and send Weedhead down the roa. Give either Campbell or Hoyer the ball and see what they can do. because with Weehead at the helm, the outcome is predictable.