When Mike Lombardi joined the Cleveland Browns as vice president of football operations, Brandon Weeden‘s chances at being their franchise quarterback of the future seemed gloomier than ever.
Even if Lombardi did downplay his remarks about Weeden that were made long before taking the Browns job, he still called the move “a panicked disaster” and it’s out there. Playing damage control with “(you) do (different) things in media, it’s (different) evaluation being inside the house” hardly changes what we all know about Lombardi’s opinion on the Browns’ starting quarterback.
The 2013 NFL Draft came and passed without Cleveland taking another quarterback, this after the free-agent signing of Jason Campbell didn’t exactly show a concerted effort to move on from Weeden. Now, according to ESPNCleveland’s Tony Grossi, there are other mitigating factors that could give Weeden more of a chance to hold onto this gig than it initially seemed.
“Like the national media, you are making the mistake of discounting the influence of coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner on the process,” Grossi said while answering mailbag questions. “I promise you this: If Weeden is at the throttle of a winning season in 2013, he will not be replaced in 2014. That doesn’t mean the Browns won’t draft a quarterback … but (Browns CEO Joe) Banner is not going to replace him simply out of ego. Also, I believe Lombardi’s influence on the QB position is greatly exaggerated. Banner is calling the shots, not Lombardi.”
It’s not unheard of for a struggling rookie quarterback to improve dramatically in year two, but after finishing as the worst-graded quarterback last season by Pro Football Focus, Weeden seems to have a long way to go before Cleveland is a winning team with him at the helm.