With Alex Smith being dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, all indications point to Brandon Weeden being the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback in 2013. Weeden’s starting job looked to be in serious doubt at the start of the off-season after new head coach Rob Chudzinzki said “it was premature to name Weeden the starter”, while vice president of player personnel, Mike Lombardi, asserted that “Weeden will have competition for the starting nod”. But with Smith traded away to Kanas City, coupled with Browns CEO Joe Banner recently giving Weeden strong words of encouragement, Weeden will likely get a second season under-center that he deserves.
Joe Banner made it clear that the team has no intention of drafting a quarterback with the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft and depicted the team plans to give Brandon Weeden every chance to succeed with the Cleveland Browns. While Banner also made it obvious the team was not head-over-hells with Weeden as of right now, he explained that Weeden will probably get a second season to prove to the organization he is the best fit at quarterback moving forward.
Despite all the criticism, Brandon Weeden had a pretty decent rookie season. Weeden threw for 3,385 yards and tossed 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. Not only did Weeden accomplish these feats in a west coast offense that clearly did not suit his strengths, but he also was put in charge of an offense that included four rookie starters, including himself.
Brandon Weeden could show major strides this upcoming season with new offensive Norv Turner taking control of the play-calling. Turner is considered one of the best player-callers in the league, helping to lead the Dallas Cowboys to Super Bowl titles in 1991 and 1992 as the offensive coordinator. Turner’s offense emphasizes the down-field passing attack and that could fit to the fortes of Weeden, who has a very strong throwing arm.
In order for Brandon Weeden to succeed, though, he will need more skilled targets to fire the ball to this season. Greg Little and Josh Gordon are two young receivers that showed promise last year but the Browns are in need of a veteran wide receiver who can stretch the field. If Joe Banner is true to his word by planning to give Weeden all the opportunities to thrive at quarterback, then the Browns need to sign a top tier wideout in free agency. The Browns are $48.5 million under the salary cap so they certainly have the money to sign a talented player such as Mike Wallace, who the team is rumored to have strong interest in.
Nothing is for certain when it comes to the Browns quarterback situation as Brandon Weeden has yet to be officially named the 2013 starter. The team could still trade for Matt Flynn or Ryan Mallett but that appears unlikely at this point.
Because Brandon Weeden is already 30 years old, he will enter the 2013 season with an immense amount of pressure and understandably so. Critics will be quick to judge Weeden if he struggles early on this season. But the bottom line for Weeden is that he likely get a second year to prove he can lead the Browns moving forward and that is great news for the often maligned quarterback.