July 29, 2014

Campbell’s play the true indictment of Weeden

Jason CampbellThree straight three and outs.

The Kansas City Chiefs marching up and down the field, seemingly 14 plays at a pop to score points.

An offense that looked like they wouldn’t cross midfield let alone score.

Why do we waste our time with this?

Because we love the Browns and that is what we do here.

In the midst of what was looking like a 40-0 blowout, something just clicked. Two plays changed everything – The first, first down of the game on a pass to Jordan Cameron for 19 yards, which was followed by the flea flicker 39 yard TD pass from Jason Campbell to Josh Gordon. From that point on, the Browns played like a completely different team. There is still little to no running game, but there was one noticeable difference after those first three series that produced a triple of three and outs; Quarterback play.

Nobody will admit to being a Brandon Weeden backer anymore. I’ll say it. While I never thought he was going to be a star, I thought maybe, just maybe, he would flourish in the Norv Turner offense. You know, the one that was supposedly perfectly suited for his particular skill set?

It was one thing for me to see Brian Hoyer come in and provide a spark to the offense with his mobility, quick release, and command of the offense. It was quite another to see Campbell, a guy who the organization clearly did not want to go to unless an extreme circumstance occurred, move the team the way he did in yesterday’s six-point loss in KC. If not for a couple of Devone Bess mistakes, we could be talking about Campbell knocking off the last of the NFL unbeatens in their home stadium.

The rest of the skill position players really have not changed other than the rotation of average RBs (yes, this includes you, Trent Richardson). Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are the same big targets that thrived with Hoyer at the helm and didn’t have near the success when Weeden had the keys to the car. Campbell faced the #1 ranked defense in the NFL and once he got settled, moved the team with little help from his running game.

It was completely obvious from watching Campbell play yesterday that no matter what kind of physical specimen Weeden may be, he just will never succeed as a successful NFL QB. Campbell (22-36, 293 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT) did things that Weeden just never did, namely knowing how to avoid a rush and get rid of the ball. Hoyer did it. Campbell did it. Weeden never could figure it out.

I watched with amazement at how easy the veteran Campbell would see the edge rushers coming, slide his feet forward, step up in the pocket, and throw. This is QB 101. Why is it that Weeden was never able to grasp such an easy concept? In addition, Jason is mobile. He is not Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, but he uses his escapability to allude the rush and avoid sacks. The Chiefs came into Sunday leading the NFL in sacks and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that they got their first and only one. Had Weeden been back there, I assure you that wouldn’t have been the case. In today’s NFL, unless you are Peyton Manning, a master of getting the ball out quickly, you have to be able to move at least a little. Again, another strike against Weeden.

Even with Norv’s offense giving Weeden an increased number of snaps in the shotgun, nothing seemed to help his “stare at one receiver….hold….hold…hold…..hold…sack” routine.

While I am not here to tell you Jason Campbell is the second coming or even the answer, it was easy to see that he at last is a capable backup QB in a pinch. More importantly, his play and the two plus games we saw from Hoyer were the biggest indictment of Weeden’s skills.

The more you saw Hoyer and Campbell play, the more you realized just how bad Weeden was.

By all accounts, Brandon is a good guy. I actually feel sorry for him. But he is not just a starting NFL QB and may not even be backup worthy. Regardless, we all know what he can and cannot do and don’t want to see it again. He will be playing (well, not playing) somewhere else in 2014 and the Browns will be once again looking for a franchise savior QB in the draft.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

It just needs to be stated once more: Mike Holmgren hired Pat Shumur as his head coach and drafted Brandon Weeden as his QB of the future. Amazing what $40 million can buy you these days….

 (Joshua Gunter/ The Plain Dealer)

  • nj0

    The Chiefs defense has played really well against some of the worst teams in the NFL. Not to take anything away from them. Wins are wins yadda yadda, but they aren’t that dominating imo.

    I was never that down on Campbell to begin with, but I don’t think he changed my opinion yesterday. He’s might be between the 20th-30th best QB in the game. That’s his peak. He isn’t going to win you games. Not saying anything new there.

    Guess I am just surprised how magnanimous a regularly fickle fanbase has been with him.

  • nj0

    Agreed. Excellence should be what gets applauded.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hey I’m focused on game five tonight! Me and Papi been watching tape not to mention me, Nap and Gomey my Homey been doing some work on our beards. And I still have to get Lester’s glove ready for tonight. Priorities!!!!

  • nj0

    You find time to explain the basic rules of baseball to Salty?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    We don’t need no stinkin’ rules besides you should hear Koji say “wicked good!”

  • Jaker

    This title says it all. And if Campbell beats Baltimore, all we will wonder is “Where would we be with an average NFL starter”

  • http://www.redright88.com/ Tom_RedRight88

    Campbell not turning the ball over was important and is probably the biggest asset he has over Weeden.

    But the measuring stick shouldn’t be “better than Weeden” it should be “good enough to win” and Campbell’s performance doesn’t really fall into that category.

  • turnercr

    Campbell really did look good. But at this point I don’t know how much it matters. They aren’t going with Campbell long-term. It’s nice to see some decent QB play for sure. But in the end there’ll be a new QB in here next year. 21 and counting

  • saggy

    But you certainly must understand that playing the “fan-card” is just business – nothing personal.

  • saggy

    in my opinion, that Colts pick is basically worthless in a trade. If a team really thinks they need that QB of the future, the teams ahead of Cleveland in the draft are gonna be thinking of the RGIII deal. The Browns had better finish with a top-7 draft pick.

    I wouldn’t mind getting that OL from Iowa with the Colts’ pick if he’s still there. Supposed to be best run blocker in the nation. They just might be able to use one of those….

  • saggy

    the more i read that idea the more i like it. I mean, why not? more chips on the table.

  • saggy

    so you’re saying the Browns arent one of the “worst teams in the NFL”? hmmmmm…..

  • saggy

    Go Red Sox!
    (and take the Pats, Bruins, and Celtics with you!!)

  • Ben Frambaugh

    It’s not like Campbell cost us the game. Is he responsible for the Bess drops? At some point in time, you have to stop giving the QB all the blame and all the credit.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    17 points, 300 yards passing, 1 sack given up and 0 turnovers vs the #1 defense that knew you were not going to run the ball.
    A below average QB performance?

  • SwarmingDefense

    No matter who is at QB the Browns are still the Browns, average at best.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    One more win baby one more win!!!!